Schools are out and as families settle into the Christmas holidays, parents are being reminded that the deadline for responses on a public consultation on school admissions arrangements is approaching.

Residents have until on 5pm on Friday, 13 January to give their views as part of the consultation, which started last November.

The council is keen to hear the views of parents, carers and schools on the proposed arrangements for the admission of children into primary and secondary schools for the start of the academic year in September 2013.

Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Les Wicks said: “Starting at a new school is a very exciting and important time for children and their families, and we want to ensure that Medway Council’s arrangements for this are as fair and straightforward as possible.

“This consultation gives everyone involved in the education of children and young people in Medway the opportunity to share their views on proposed changes to the arrangements for school admissions in 2013.

“I would encourage as many parents as possible to take part in this consultation.”

The consultation sets out the key dates for the application process, which will be co-ordinated by Medway Council. Some of the key dates must be on certain dates to ensure that they are the same for all parents no matter where they live in the country. These include the closing dates for primary and secondary school applications, as well as the offer date for secondary schools.

We will provide detailed and clear guidance to parents to help them to make the best decisions for their children. Our guide to secondary admissions will be published by 6 June 2012 and our guide to primary admissions by 12 September 2012.

Currently, children attending a Medway primary school who opt to take the Medway Test do so on a Saturday morning at an independent test centre. This year we are consulting on a proposal for the testing of Medway children to be undertaken in primary schools, rather than an independent test centre.

Other issues the consultation addresses include: entry for community and voluntary controlled schools, increasing the number of children at six primary schools in Medway, and changing the criteria for entry for community and voluntary controlled schools, including the number of children who can be admitted.

Foundation, voluntary-aided schools and academies are responsible for setting their own criteria for entry, but these will be included on the council’s website as part of the council’s guide to secondary admissions 2013 and primary admissions 2013.

Whilst our consultation asks for views on elements of the scheme, which we have changed for this year, we would also welcome views on any part of the arrangements.

Residents are asked to complete a consultation response form for the relevant scheme and these can be found on Medway Council’s website at http://www.medway.gov.uk/admissions or can be obtained by calling the Admissions team on 331110

Completed consultation documents can be returned by email to simon.harrington@medway.gov.uk or posted to Simon Harrington, Student Services Manager, Level 4 Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, ME4 4TR.

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