All children start school (Year Reception) in the September before their fifth birthday. If your child is offered a place at our school, we will contact you to take you through our admission process which will include visits for you and your child. Young children can find a full day very tiring at first. For this reason, we believe that it can be of great benefit that new reception children, starting school for the first time, have a gradual introduction for the first two or three days before attending school for a full day.
Older children joining the school mid-year usually join their class full time straight away, however, all children are different and some take longer to settle than others, so this can of course be adapted to fit the needs of the individual child. For children who speak little or no English, our Headteacher will discuss a phased admission with the child's parents before the child starts school.
It is important to us that your child feels happy and safe at school. Starting school for the first time or joining a new school can be a very worrying and unsettling time for both children and their parents. Parents are always invited to bring their child along to our school to visit and meet our staff prior to admission. We will do all we can to make the transition into school at The Downs as smooth possible.
Applying for a school place
Places are offered subject to availability as all schools have a limited number of places within each year group, including reception.
All school applications are made through Essex County Council. Parents can complete an online application via the Essex County Council website at www.essex.gov.uk/topic/admissions. All applications are then received and decided by the school. Please contact us directly if you require further information about this process.
Once an application has been made, parents will be contacted by Planning and Admissions and informed of whether there is a place available for their child at their chosen school. If the application has been successful, parents should then contact our school office to finalise arrangements for their child to start.
For further information and applications please go to www.essex.gov.uk/topic/admissions or contact our school office on 01279 445538. You can view a copy of our full Admissions Policy in the Policies section of this website.
If an application is refused, parents do have a right to appeal against it (under the 1980 Education Act). Information regarding admission appeals, including the appeals timetable, is also available on the Essex County Council website: https://www.essex.gov.uk/after-your-school-offer