Care and
Education

The Application Process

All types of school have some form of application process. Generally this is straightforward, but it is always important to be prepared well ahead of the deadline.

Each year local authorities produce an information pack which is sent to parents/carers of children who qualify for the next academic year intake. This information contains a list of your local schools, relevant deadlines, and information on how places will be allocated if the school of your choice is oversubscribed.

Local authorities coordinate the admissions process for all types of state school, even if the local authority is not the school's admission authority.

How to apply

To apply, complete the local authority's common application form, within the information pack or online. This covers applications for all schools in its area.

You can apply for a school place at any time, and your application must be considered immediately. However, try to make sure you apply for a school place in good time: the admissions process begins around the start of the autumn term for entry in the following September.

For the exact date your application needs to be in, and the address to send it to, check with the local authority. This is very important. If you miss the deadline, you are less likely to get offered a place at your preferred school. Most local authorities set a deadline for applications at some point in the autumn of the year before the child is due to start school, when they are three or four years old.

Tip: Since most local authority areas now have a reception year for four year olds, it’s a good idea to start enquiring about primary schools well before your child reaches their fourth birthday.

If you are applying for a boarding place or to an independent or faith school you may be asked to attend an interview or your child may be required to sit a test. Although this may seem daunting at first your child should be prepared both emotionally and academically after being through the prepared for schools process.

For faith schools, you may be asked to supply a reference from your religious minister

Schools which use a banding system to make sure they admit pupils with a range of abilities may ask your child to sit a test.

Schools which admit a proportion of their pupils based on their aptitude in a particular subject may ask for an assessment, audition or test to get an idea of your child’s potential.

Appeals against a school place decision

Having followed all the guidelines, hopefully your child will be awarded a place at the school of your choice. However If they are not offered a place you can appeal to an independent appeal panel against the decision.

You will find details of how to make an appeal in the local authority's admission letter outlining your offer. The letter will also specify a deadline that you must meet if you want to appeal. In some areas, you may be able to submit your appeal online.

If your child has not been allocated a school place you will need to contact the admissions team at your local authority. They can let you know which schools have places available.