Admission Criteria for the Nursery

Children can start Orchard Nursery in the school term following their third birthday. Coming to our nursery setting will allow your child to develop their social skills and begin to make new friends in a safe, educational, play based setting which is run by qualified professionals. This is an important stage as it supports your child to develop and gain the skills needed for future learning including basic counting/number recognition, enjoyment of stories, phonics, social skills and physical developmental play.

From September 2017, some working parents will be eligible for a full-time place (30 hours per week) or a part-time place (15 hours per week).

Is your child 3 or 4 years old?

Parents who wish to be considered for a full-time place will need to check their eligibility the school term before their child is due to start nursery. This can be done online at

Eligible parents will receive a unique code which must be given to the school along with their national insurance number before the closing date for applications (see table below). All other children will be considered for a part-time place.

  • The proximity of the home/cares home to school.
  • The educational, social and medical needs of the child. These should be provided in writing to the school.
  • The balance of boys and girls in the Nursery.
  • Sibling connection is considered but does not mean a place can automatically be offered.

Orchard Nursery is both part time and full time. We have 20 full-time and 12 part-time places available. If all the full-time places are not taken up, additional part-time places will be offered. If there are still vacancies remaining, parents with part-time places can ask to top up the part-time entitlement to a full-time place for which there will be a charge.

To apply for a Nursery place at Orchard Primary School, please click here to complete the Nursery Application Form and return it to Orchard School Office at your earliest convenience. Should you require any assistance in completing the Application Form, please contact the school office on 0208 985 7785 and we will be happy to help.

Admission Arrangements for starting School

All children can start Primary School in the September prior to their 5th Birthday if this falls between 1st September and 31st August.

Parents can apply for up to six primary schools in Hackney including neighbouring boroughs.  If you want your child considered for our school, you will need to apply using the on-line application form. This is available from 1st September for admission to the following academic year. The form will be processed by Hackney Learning Trust. Early registration does not give priority as the closing date is the 15 January of the year of admission.

For more information on how to apply and the how the admission process works, please go to the Hackney Learning Trust website.

Oversubscription Criteria

Where there are more applications than places available, the following criteria will be used to decide which children will be allocated places.

1. If the child is ‘Looked After’ – A Looked After Child is a child who is in the care of the local authority. (see section 22 of Children Act 1989) Children in public care are a disadvantaged group who have very low average levels of attainment, often related to frequent changes of school because their care placements change. These children are given top priority in our oversubscription criteria.

2. If the child has a sibling in the school – A sibling is the brother or sister (children must have the same mother and father) of a child who is already on roll at the school, and will not have left the school by
the time the sibling starts, a step/half brother or sister (same mother
or father (half) as the child attending the school, or children who are living at the same address due to a new relationship but are not blood related (step). or a child who is living as part of the family by reason of a court order, or a child who has been placed with foster carers at that address as a result of being looked after by the local authority. If a child lives with parents with shared responsibility, the address at which the child has spent the most days in the past school year will be taken into account.

3. Nearest School – Children for whom it is the nearest community school, measured by the shortest walking on council pavements. (The length of the journey between the child’s home and the school by private car or public transport is not taken into account).

Social and Medical need – In exceptional cases, a Headteacher, in consultation with the Governors, may admit children because they have professionally supported educational, medical or social needs that the school is especially able to meet, even though they would not otherwise qualify for admission. Letters from an appropriate professional (eg doctor, social worker) must support these applications although these will not always be conclusive.

Tie Break situation

In the event of a tie break situation where two or more children meet the criteria as stated above, the distance from the public footpath directly outside the front door of the child’s address, to the gates of the school’s main entrance on Holcroft Road.

Meetings for New Parents

Reception parents meetings are arranged in the Summer and Autumn terms to give information about expectations for the Reception classes.

Notification of an offer of a School Place

Parents will be sent a letter in April by The Learning Trust to notify them of an offer of a school place.

Infant Class Sizes

The Education Act (Infant Class Sizes) (England) Regulations 1998 provide that, subject to certain limited exceptions, infant classes of 5, 6 and 7 year olds (Years R, 1 and 2) may not contain more than 30 pupils with a single qualified teacher. If the number of applications exceeds the published admission number then Southwold may refuse to exceed the published number on the grounds of ‘prejudice’. In other words it would have a negative effect on everyone else’s education and would limit the efficient use of resources, both human and physical within that class. Associated with this, the legislation
also sets out different arrangements
for the consideration of appeals where the child concerned is in a relevant
age group – in that a panel should
only uphold an appeal, if the decision was not one which a reasonable admission authority would make in the circumstances of the case, or if the child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented.

The class size legislation makes sensible allowance for the entry of
an additional child in certain limited circumstances where not to admit the child would do more harm than good. These circumstances include:

Where a child moves into an area outside the normal admissions round and there is no other school, which would provide suitable education within a reasonable distance of his or her home.

Where the child receives a statement of SEN naming the school or a pupil with a statement naming that school moves into the area, in each case outside the normal admissions round.

Where a pupil is initially refused admission to a school but is subsequently offered a place there for one of two reasons: the person making the original decision recognises that an error was made in implementing the school’s admissions arrangements; or an admission appeal panel upholds an appeal for reasons given in the above paragraph.