Welcome to The Wells Free School
The Wells Free School is part of the Kent County Council Co-ordinated Scheme for Primary Admissions. Please visit the Kent County Council website for more information. The KCC website also gives details about making a late application. Applications for September 2024 will open on Friday 3rd November 2023 and will close on Monday 15th January 2024. Reception offers will be sent to parents on Tuesday 16th April 2024.
Applying for Reception 2024
Applying for a place for your child to start school is an exciting time – but it can also be a daunting one. You will be looking ahead to the next seven years of your child’s life, considering which school you think would suit them best, and perhaps feeling uncertain about the application process. At The Wells Free School, we are keen to do everything we can to help. We have put together some resources on this page to give you more information about the school and to explain the application process. If you have any questions, no matter how small, we are always happy to answer them. Please contact our Admissions Officer, Natalie Arnold, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01892 739075 and select option 4.
Each year we admit 30 children to our reception class and our admissions arrangements are determined by our Governing Body. All applications to the school are ranked in order of our admissions criteria, which can be summarised as follows:
1. Children in Local Authority Care (or previously in Care).
2. Current Family Association (having a brother or sister at the school at the time of entry).
3. Children of the Founders of the Wells Free School.
4. Children of staff of The Wells Free School.
5. Health and Special Access Reasons (where a child has a demonstrable and significant need to attend a particular school).
6. Nearness of the child's home to the school, measured as a straight line distance.
The Wells Free School does not have a fixed 'catchment area'. The distance of the last place offered varies from year to year, depending on the number of siblings and on the number of other applicants and their distance from the school. The school is generally oversubscribed, and in recent years the distance of the last place offered has been approximately 0.2 to 0.5 of a mile. We do not know in advance what the distance for the next year's intake will be.
Full details of our admissions criteria can be found in our Admissions Policy below. We have also compiled an FAQ document that you may find helpful.
For full details of the application process, please find below the most recent KCC Guide to Primary Admissions:
Open Mornings - Bookings are now open
We are pleased to announce that open mornings are now available for booking for children due to start school in September 2024. You will be able to have a tour of the school with some of our older pupils followed by the opportunity to speak with our Senior Leadership Team.
Please note there are 4 slots available per half an hour starting from 9am until 10.30am (finishing at 11am). Your child is welcome to accompany you. Please only book 1 slot per family.
Monday 2nd October
Tuesday 3rd October
Wednesday 4th October
Thursday 5th October
Friday 6th October
Monday 6th November
Tuesday 7th November
Wednesday 8th November
Tuesday 9th January
Wednesday 10th January
Please note our bookings website uses the American date style (month first).
We look forward to meeting you.
If you have any questions please email email@example.com.
In Year Admissions
If your child is already at another school and you wish to apply for a place at The Wells Free School please complete the In Year Casual Application Form and return to the school at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, call the office on 01892 739075 to pick up a paper copy of the form.
What do I do if I do not get a school place for my child?
The admissions process can often be confusing and when your child is not offered a place at your preferred school you need to know what steps to take.
If you’ve applied for a place at The Wells Free School and have not been offered one there are some options open to you.
You will be offered another school. All children of Reception age must be offered a school somewhere in Kent, and the Admissions Team will allocate the nearest suitable school to you. This will not necessarily be the nearest school to where you live. The school nearest to where you live will have an admissions procedure which shows you the order in which places are allocated. So at The Wells Free School places will be allocated firstly to children who are looked after by the Local Authority then to children who already have a brother or sister in school. The next children allocated to the school are children of founders and staff. Once all these places have been allocated, the remaining places are allocated to children according to how close they live to the school. So, in a year when there are a number of brothers and sisters, for example there will be fewer places for other children, and this means that, even if the school is your nearest in terms of distance, you may not be the closest applicant to it! Places are actually allocated according to who lives closest to the school, not according to which school is closest to the home.
It is always advisable to accept the place at the school you have been allocated and then to go onto the waiting lists of any other school you wish to attend. That means that you will have a place somewhere at least when September arrives. The pack you are sent by the Local Authority will tell you how to get yourself onto school waiting lists.
If you request for your child to go on the waiting list, we will put you in order according to the criteria outlined above. So, we will check to see if your child has a brother or sister in school, which will put you near the top of the list, after any new Looked After children. If there are no siblings, we will put you on the list according to the distance you live from the school. This is measured by a computer programme at the Local Authority, and is measured on a straight line basis between the front door of your house and the school. It doesn’t take into account the route you might walk.
Please check the Admissions Policy for further details.
Waiting Lists at The Wells Free School
You can ask to go onto our waiting list if you named us on your first application, or later in the year as an 'in year admission'. We will place you on the list according to the over subscription criteria outlined in our admissions policy. During the year, we contact everyone on the list to see if they still wish to remain. Sometimes people wish to be removed from the list, so we then move the other waiting list children up accordingly. Sometimes a new child will apply to come onto the waiting list and they may be put on the list further up than existing children because they are a sibling, looked after, or live closer to the school. As soon as a place becomes available, we call the first person on the waiting list to offer the place, and then work down the list in order until the place is taken.
What options are open to parents regarding school places?
If your child is four years old and eligible to apply for a school place, you can:
- Take the place offered to you
- Go on the waiting list of other schools, but take up the place offered until another place becomes available
- Appeal for a place at your chosen school – but bearing in mind that there may be few grounds upon which an appeal will be upheld if the school is full and there are no major health issues which require the place to be allocated
- Home educate on a full time basis – you will need to inform the local authority if you wish to do this.
If your child is due to start primary school in September 2024, you can appeal if you are refused a place at one of your preferred schools on National Offer Day (Tuesday 16 April 2024).
You must submit your appeal before Tuesday 14 May 2024 for it to be considered by Tuesday 16 July 2024. Any appeals received after this time will be heard within 40 school days from the deadline or where reasonably possible in line with updated guidance from the Department of Education.
For late applications, appeals should be heard within 40 schools days from the deadline for lodging appeals where possible, or within 30 schools days of the appeals being lodged where reasonably possible in line with updated guidance from the Department of Education.
It’s very disappointing when you don’t get the school you have set your heart on. But, particularly in this area, we are extremely fortunate to have a large number of fantastic schools. Even if you think the school you have been given isn’t right for you, it’s always worth a try. You will probably be very pleasantly surprised. And in a large town like Tunbridge Wells, there are many public transport options to help you.
If you require further help, please don’t hesitate to ask – we can point you in the right direction.