School Admission Arrangements in Tower Hamlets for 2015/16

Tower Hamlets is consulting on its school admission arrangements. The aim is to improve the school admission process for Tower Hamlets schools, so that it is fair and that as many parents as possible gain a place for their child at one of their preferred schools. We would like your views on the following:

(i)   Proposed Admissions Policies for Tower Hamlets community schools

  • Nursery School/Class Admissions Policy
  • Oversubscription criteria, including the introduction of priority admission (catchment) areas
  • Introduction of a common application form
  • Single 'closing' date and 'offer' date for applications
  • Requirement to provide both part-time and full-time places
  • Primary Schools Admissions Policy
  • Oversubscription criteria, including a change to the priority admission (catchment) areas for community school
  • Secondary Schools Admissions Policy
  • Oversubscription criteria

(ii)   Proposed planned admission numbers for schools in Tower Hamlets

(iii)  Proposed schemes for the co-ordination of admissions for:

  • The reception year of primary school
  • Year 7 of secondary school; and
  • Admissions outside of normal points of entry ('In-Year')


1.     Proposed Admissions Arrangements for Tower Hamlets Community Nursery Schools/Classes 2015/16

The authority is proposing to bring its nursery admission policy in line with arrangements for primary school admissions. This is to ensure consistency in the way places are offered and that, where possible, children attend their nearest school.

The proposed changes include:

  • The introduction of priority admissions (catchment) areas for nursery schools/classes and a new tie-break criterion, which gives priority to families in the catchment area for whom it is their child’s nearest nursery. The proposed oversubscription criteria and catchment areas are on the following link: Appendix A.
  • A Common Application Form – capturing all relevant information to determine admission under the new policy. A copy of the application form is on the following link: Appendix B.
  • Single closing date and borough wide offer day. In response to views from schools/nurseries the proposal is to introduce a standard closing date for all nursery applications and to announce all offers on the same day. This will ensure that as many families as possible receive a nursery offer at the earliest stage.
  • New criteria to determine priority for either a full-time or part-time place – to enable this area of policy to be applied fairly and consistently, ensuring that priority is given according to the child or family’s particular needs.

Please continue to answer consultation Question 1a, 1b, 1c and 1d.

2.    Admissions to Community Primary Schools

The proposed admission policy and oversubscription criteria for Community Primary Schools in 2015/16 are set out on the following link: Appendix C. No changes are being proposed to the existing oversubscription criteria, but your attention is drawn to the ‘tie-break’ criterion, which was amended following responses to the consultation for admissions in the 2014/15 school year. The amendment was designed to safeguard the opportunities for families to access the nearest community school as well as ensure that families in new housing areas were not unduly disadvantaged.

Please continue to answer consultation Question 2.

3.    Change to the Geographical Area for Priority Admission to Community Primary Schools (Catchment Areas)

Last year’s introduction of the primary school catchment areas system enabled 93% of families to secure a place at one of their preferred local schools. It also helped to significantly reduce the number of children having to travel to a school over 2 miles distance.  Whilst the early outcomes for the new catchment area system have been positive the council continues to seek to further improve accessibility to a local school. This is in recognition of the rising pupil population and planned school developments in parts of the borough to meet this demand. The particular focus in this consultation is on Bow and Poplar areas, which include the planned expansion of Stebon School in September 2014, and the proposed expansion of Olga Primary School in September 2016, as well as the proposed expansion of St Paul’s Way Trust School to cater for primary aged students from September 2014.

The council is therefore proposing to remove the catchment area currently known as Area 3 (Bow South) and replace it by expanding both of the catchment areas currently known as Area 2 (Bow North) and Area 4 (Poplar). This would reduce the number of primary school catchment areas from seven to six and would give families in the Bow and Poplar areas more choice as well as opportunity to access a nearby school. A map detailing the proposed changes to the catchment areas is on the following link: Appendix D.

The council would also like own admission authority schools to consider supporting these proposals to improve outcomes of accessibility to all Tower Hamlets primary schools by agreeing to be fully included within the catchment area system. Church schools would then be required to consult on altering their admission criteria so that priority could be given to children of that faith who live within the school’s catchment area.

Please continue to answer consultation Question 3.

4.    Admissions to Community Secondary Schools

The proposed admission policy and oversubscription criteria for Community Secondary Schools (including Central Foundation Girls School, George Greens and St Paul’s Way Trust School) in 2015/16 are set out in the following link: Appendix E. No changes are being proposed to the existing arrangements.

Please continue to answer consultation Question 4.

5.    Proposed Schemes for the Co-ordination of Admissions for Reception, Year 7 and In-Year

Tower Hamlets, along with the other London boroughs, has a system to co-ordinate the arrangements for children to start primary school in the reception year and to transfer to the year 7 of secondary school. This is known as the Pan London Co-ordinated System and it enables parents to apply for schools in their own borough and in other boroughs on the one application form. Parents can also expect to be informed of the outcome of their applications at the same time by the local authority in which they live. The proposed schemes for co-ordinating these admissions are on the following link:   Appendix F.

Tower Hamlets also continues to co-ordinate applications for admissions made during the academic year outside of the normal points of entry i.e. in-year admissions. The proposed scheme, including the procedures for pupils transferring schools is on the following link: Appendix G.

Please continue to answer consultation Question 5a and 5b.

6.    Planned Admissions Numbers for Tower Hamlets Schools

The planned admission number (PAN) for each Tower Hamlets school is stated in the following link: Appendix H.  The PAN confirms the maximum number of children that each school will admit to the reception (primary) or Year 7 (secondary) in the school year 2015-16. The PAN is based on the net capacity range of each school, or in some cases a higher figure.  Subject to consultation, these numbers may change in the light of increased demand.

Please continue to answer consultation Question 6a, 6b and 6c.


A factsheet for Tower Hamlets Community Primary School for 2015/16 can be found here.

The deadline for the consultation is Monday, December 30, 2013.

A paper version of the consultation, along with all the relevant documents can be found here, or by calling Pupil Admissions on 020 7364 5000.