How community secondary school places are decided

What happens if more children apply for a school place at a community school or an academy than there are places available

Which children get priority

If a community school or an academy 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 school application guides 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 sibling link and live in the catchment area

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 live in the catchment area

Your child's main home address needs to be in the catchment area.

You can check secondary school catchment areas on our schools map.

5. Other children who apply

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

If more children in each priority apply than there are places available computer software is used to randomly decide who should be offered a place first.

Other schools

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