Somerset County Council

Apply to start school


Willowdown Primary Academy - New Primary School in Bridgwater - please click on this link for further information and this link for the catchment map. If you require a starting school place at this school for September please apply directly to The Admissions and Entitlements Team using the Apply to Start School application form. If you require a place for an older sibling please visit the In Year School Admissions page for further information.

The information on this page applies to children who live in Somerset and are due to start school for the first time or are transferring to a junior or middle school.  Please refer to the 'Apply to Transfer School' page for information about transferring to a secondary or upper school.

Children usually start school for the first time in the September following their fourth birthday. If your child is due to start school for the first time, you can:
apply for a place online (available until closing date of 15 January 2014) or
download an application form.

Please see our helpful guide to making an on-line application on the right hand side of this page.

When you have made you on-line application we would be grateful if you could spare a couple of minutes to fill out this online questionnaire regarding our services and how we can improve them.

If we know about your child, and he/she is eligible to start school in September 2014, we will have sent you a letter and a flyer explaining how to make your application. On your letter is a UID (Unique Identification Number) which you use to pre-populate your child's details on the on-line form. If you have not received a letter:

  • download a copy of the primary admissions guide from the right hand side of the page. The guide has lots of information on all you need to know about applying for your child's school place, then; 

  • apply for a place online pressing the No UID button when prompted. 

If you have recently moved address please let us know by e-mailing or writing to us as it is very important we have the correct address details for your child.

If you live outside of Somerset and wish to apply for a Somerset school you will need to apply through your home local authority. If you live in Somerset and wish to apply for a place in a school in another local authority area, you will need to apply through Somerset as it is your home authority. For further information and contact details for neighbouring local authorities please see the information in the Primary Admissions Guide.

Please note, it is the parent/carer's responsibility to make an on-time school place application. If you are making an application after the closing date, it will be classed as late and you will need to complete a paper application form which you can download from this page or contact Somerset Direct if you require one to be posted to you. Outcomes for applications received by 9 May 2014 will be sent out during the week 2 - 6 June 2014. Applications received after 9 May 2014 will be processed in strict date order of receipt from 9 June 2014.

Every school has a legal Published Admission Number (PAN) applicable to the year of entry, which is the maximum number of places available in the year group concerned. The Admission Number is set to maximise parental preference within the resources available and to ensure that there are sufficient school places across the local area enabling the education service as a whole to be run efficiently and effectively.

The Admission Numbers for September 2014 admissions are shown in the school/Academy Information table in pages 37-55 of the Primary Admissions Guide.

All Admission Authorities are required to take appropriate account of a school's Published Admission Number when allocating school places and will not normally admit more children than there are places available within the Admission Number.

Unfortunately, at some schools, there will not be enough places for all the children whose parents would like them to go there. When all places have been allocated up to the Published Admission Number, the Admission Authority may refuse any further requests and offer the legal right of appeal. Please visit the page Appeal Against a School Admissions Decision for further information.

If a school is under-subscribed, places can be offered to all applicants. If a school is over-subscribed, the over-subscription criteria for that school is applied to determine which children can be offered places. Different over-subscription criteria will apply, depending on the type of school:

  • for Community and Voluntary Controlled schools, the Local Authority over-subscription criteria will apply.

  • for Voluntary Aided, Academies, Free Schools and Foundation schools, the Governing Body will apply their own published over-subscription criteria. 

You can find more information on the over-subscription criteria for all Somerset schools in the Primary Admissions Guide. Please note that there have been changes to the over-subscription criteria for some schools since the Primary Admissions Guide was published. Please see the document, Amendments to Over-Subcription Criteria' on the right hand side of the page for further details.

We would strongly advise that you carefully consider the following when making your school place application.

  • It is strongly advised you put three school preferences on your form especially if you live in an urban area. You are not given a higher priority for any school by stating it as your only preference and may be more likely to be allocated a school you have not chosen. This could also be some distance from your home address. 
  • Places are allocated using the 'Equal Preference with Ranking' method. This means all preferences are considered equally and a place is offered at the highest preference possible. 
  • If you wish to be considered for your catchment school you must include it as one of your preferences. You can check your school catchment area on a map on the Check Catchment School page. The map is a representation of the catchment areas and cannot be relied upon for purchasing a property. If you are considering purchasing a property or if you live near a school border then please contact our admissions team. 
  • There are no guarantees that siblings will be allocated the same school when the school is over-subscribed so you are advised to put other preferences, especially if you live outside the catchment area. 
  • Carefully read the over-subscription criteria for the schools you have chosen. For all VC and Community schools this can be found on page 21 of the Primary Admissions booklet. For all other schools the criteria are included against each school in the table in pages 22-36 of the Primary Admissions booklet. 
  • If your preferred school(s) requires a Supplementary Information Form (SIF) or further proof (for example, proof of regular church attendance), it is essential that this is sent in with your application form if you would like your child to be considered under the appropriate criterion. All SIFs can be found on the school website. For VC schools only the religious proof SIF can be downloaded from the right hand side of this page. 
  • If you have recently moved address or are due to move please provide proof of your new address. 
  • You will be responsible for transporting your child to any school you name as a preference unless you have a statutory entitlement or qualify for discretionary transport under exceptional circumstances.

If you apply on-line you will receive an e-mail with the outcome of your application on 16 April 2014. If you apply using a paper application form your outcome will be sent out second class post on 16 April 2014. Outcomes will not be given out over the phone or in person at the Council offices.

If you wish to apply for your child to move to another school (ie from an infant to a primary school), please see the page In Year School Admissions for advice on in year admissions which are school moves outside of the usual school transfer cycle.

Your child's home address is an important factor. School places are assessed on the basis of the child's home address. This must be the child's permanent home address, where he/she lives with a person of parental responsibility as the main carer (as defined by the Children Act 1989). Where there are shared care arrangements, Admission Authorities (for definition see page 60) will consider the application (with evidence) relating to the address where the child spends the majority of their time. Where the child spends equal time with both parents the LA may ask for additional information including evidence of which parent/carer is in receipt of child benefit, or the name of the GP surgery at which the child is registered. When the LA has received all the necessary information from both parents a decision will be reached based on the evidence provided. The LA acting on behalf of all Somerset Admission Authorities, reserves the right to request independent confirmation of the child's place of residence.

For admission allocation purposes, in most cases the address that will be taken into consideration is the address at which the child is resident at closing date or an address at which the child will be resident before the start of the new academic year in September 2014, providing the change of address is notified and evidence provided before the exceptional circumstance deadline of 31 January 2014 (see page 11 of the Primary Admissions Guide for details of evidence required). However, own Admission Authority school's arrangements may vary (see pages 22 to 36 of the Primary Admissions Guide).

It is very important that you notify the LA of an intended change of address in these circumstances as this will determine the catchment or nearest school for the child concerned.

The LA will consider withdrawing the offer of a place at a Community or Voluntary Controlled (VC) school if an address used to support an application is subsequently found to be fraudulent or misleading.

Choice Advice: You may wish to contact the Choice Advice Service who offer impartial information and support on school admissions and appeals.

Children with Special Educational Needs: If you are applying for a mainstream school, you must still complete and return the application form and be sure to indicate Special Educational Needs in the appropriate section on your application form. If you wish to apply for a Special School, you will need to contact the SEN Team direct. There would also have been an opportunity to discuss your views on your child's next placement at their last Annual Review meeting.

If a child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs which names a particular school, then the Admission Authority for that school has a duty to admit the child. Where possible, the Admissions Authority will take these admissions into account before the published offer day and will include these admissions within the published admission number.

The Local Authority has a duty to make suitable provision for children who have Special Educational Needs and to make appropriate education available in mainstream or specialist schools. Wherever possible, the LA will try to place children with Special Educational Needs in mainstream schools. The needs of the majority of children can be met from the resources available to the schools, including advice from the area support services.

Deferred Entry: Information on deferring your child's start at school and staggered entry to school can be found in the Primary Admissions - A Guide for Parents Booklet.

Independent Schools: If you are sending your child to an independent school next September you must inform the Admissions and Entitlements Team by letter or by e-mail. We need this information to keep our records up to date.


Contact: Admissions and Entitlements Team
Address: County Hall, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4DY
Contact no: 0845 456 4038
Fax: 01823 356113
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5pm, Friday: 8:30am to 4:30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.
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