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How primary school places are decided

What happens if more children apply for a school place than there are places available


Which children get priority

If a community school run by the council receives more applications for school places than it has available, a list of five rules is used to decide which children get offered a place first.

These rules are known as school admission priorities.

Read our Guide to apply for a primary school place (PDF 3,032KB) for more information.

1. Children looked after by the council, or previously looked after

This priority includes looked after children and children who were looked after but are now adopted (or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order).

To show your child fits in this priority you will need to provide proof of your child’s status.

2. Children who have a medical or social need

Some children have a medical or social need that can only be met at a specific school. 

To show your child fits in this priority you will need to provide independent evidence that shows why your child’s needs can only be met at your preferred school.

3. Children who have a brother or a sister at the school, known as a sibling link

Sibling link includes brothers and sisters as well as other children in the home who share the same main address.

The main address is usually where your child benefit is paid and where the child is registered with a doctor.

4. Children who are transferring from a linked infant or junior school

Children who go to an infant school that is linked with a junior school have priority over other children who apply:

  • Downs Infant School is linked with Downs Junior School
  • Hertford Infant School is linked with Hertford Junior School
  • Patcham Infant School is linked with Patcham Junior School
  • Stanford Infant School is linked with Stanford Junior School
  • West Hove Infant School in Portland Road is linked with Hove Junior School in Portland Road
  • West Hove Infant School in Connaught Road is linked with Hove Junior School in Holland Road

5. Other children who apply

Other children includes all children who do not fit in the first four priorities.

If more children in each priority apply than there are places available home to school distance is used to decide who should get offered places first. 

Other schools

Church voluntary aided and free schools use their own rules to decide which children get offered a school place first.