PARENTS with children starting school in September are being urged to get their applications for primary places in before Wednesday, January 15, to improve the chances of securing a place at their first choice school.

People who apply within the deadline have a far higher chance of receiving their first preference place and that deadline is drawing near.

Parents of children born between September 2009 and August 2010 must apply for a reception school place for September 2014. Parents of children in their last year at infant school must apply for a junior school place.

Cllr John Kent, Thurrock Council’s education portfolio holder, said: “Every year parents come to our surgeries asking for help because they had forgotten to get their application in on time.

“A late application is simply that and has to be at the bottom of the queue. It can be heartbreaking, but little can be done.

“Leaving the application late considerably increases the chances of your child going to a school that’s not near their friends, or that involves a lengthy journey, so please make sure you apply in good time.”

The easiest way to apply for a school place is by visiting the council’s website: