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Some Czech schools institute online reservations for first-grade enrollment

8.1.2016 16:38
PHOTO:  Wokandapix,
PHOTO: Wokandapix,

In mid-January the enrollment of children into first grade who will reach the age of six during 2016 will begin in the Czech Republic. The main criterion for a child's acceptance into first grade is, according to the Schools Act, whether the child lives in the school's so-called catchment area.

A child who is mature enough to attend school must be accepted by a primary school in the catchment area for the child's permanent residence. Schools, however, are also instituting other conditions for which parents should be prepared.

Every child's legal representative is obliged to apply for first grade registration between 15 January and 15 February of the calendar year in which the child is to begin mandatory school attendance. The precise conditions and deadlines are posted by schools on their websites, where parents will also find information as to whether the street on which their child has permanent residence falls into the catchment area of any given school.

The child's legal representative must bring his or her identification card and the child's birth certificate to the school for enrollment. In accordance with the principle of freedom of choice, it is also possible to enroll pupils into schools outside their catchment area.

Pupils enrolling outside their catchment areas will be accepted only in cases where the school they have chosen has sufficient capacity after first giving priority to children residing in the school district. Due to the birth of large population cohorts, the parental interest in enrolling children out of their districts currently exceeds the capacity of certain schools, so their principals are seeking ways to establish further criteria for the order in which children from out of the district will be accepted and enrolled - that order must be able to withstand legal scrutiny in order to avoid complaints from parents who do not succeed in enrolling their child into their chosen school.

Some schools in high demand, therefore, are taking the step of making it possible to reserve an application date by means of an online form through which parents can be assured they will be able to apply for enrollment. The City of Brno is introducing a unified system of online registration in which a numerical identifier generated by the system is a condition for filing an application for registration in a particular school.

If parents believe their child is not mature enough for school attendance and most probably will not be mature enough by September, they can request a delay of school attendance. The principal of a school in their catchment area will decide whether to grant such a postponement on the basis of an examination of the child conducted by an educational psychology counseling center.

Should it be demonstrated during the first grade that a pupil has serious difficulties with mastering the material, there is also the option to request delay of school attendance after the school year begins. In cases where mandatory school attendance is postponed, it is possible to enroll the child into a preparatory class.

During enrollment, data about the pupil is required such as his or her personal identification number, permanent residence address, school readiness, and if necessary, confirmation that the pupil's school attendance was allowed to be postponed. Some schools also require the child's vaccination record (health card).

jal, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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