Useful information about choosing a school and applying for a school, all in one place
This information provides help and advice for parents whose children are starting school or transferring to a junior or middle school in September 2020. If you have difficulty understanding this information, or you need help with the application form, please phone us. You can ask for more help with translation or interpretation.
Closing date for school place applications –15 January 2020
Closing date for exceptional circumstance applications and all supplementary information – 7 February 2020
Primary admission outcome emails will be sent to people who applied online and outcome letters will be sent out by second class post to people who applied using a paper form – 16 April 2020
Closing date for receipt of appeal applications from parents who were notified of their outcome on 16 April 2020 – 18 May 2020
Ofsted are changing the way they inspect and report on schools.
With the new Education Inspection Framework coming into force in September 2019, they have written a short ‘explainer text’ for parents on how these changes will affect them.
Children starting school for the first time, are normally expected to join in the September following their fourth birthday, so, children born between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2016 are entitled to a full-time school place from September 2020.
Parents and carers have the right to defer their child’s entry to school for a limited period, although legally a child must be accessing full time education from the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday.
Parents and carers are responsible for making a school place application for any children in their care due to start at a primary phase school in September 2020. This includes Primary, First, Infant, Junior or Middle schools. A legal definition of a parent or carer is included in the glossary at the bottom of this page.
Where shared care arrangements are in place and parents and carers of the child submit two separate applications for different schools, we will only accept one application, which will be the application made by the parent or carer who lives at the same permanent home address as the child. Where there are exceptional grounds, such as ongoing court proceedings, these applications will be considered on a case by case basis.
Where it is necessary to establish the child’s permanent home address, parents or carers will be asked to write to us stating the number of days each week the child spends with them. We may also ask for evidence of which parent or carer was in receipt of child benefit when the application was made. If the parent or carer is not in receipt of child benefit, we will ask for proof of the child’s home address as held by the doctor’s surgery when the application was made. If the child’s home address cannot be verified, we may request more information.
Please be aware, if you are applying for a school place for your child and your child does not live with you permanently, then information will also be sent to your child’s permanent home address.
Your address is important
The home address is very important, as school places are allocated on the basis of the permanent home address of each child. A child’s permanent home address is considered to be where the child spends most of their time with parents or carers. Where the child spends equal time with both parents, the admission authority may ask for more information, including evidence of which parent or carer is in receipt of child benefit and the name of the GP surgery where the child is registered
Documentary evidence of home ownership or suitable rental agreement may be required, together with proof of permanent residence at the property concerned. Places cannot be allocated on the basis of an intended future address, unless the house move can be confirmed through the formal ‘exchange of contracts’ or the signing of a minimum of a six month formal tenancy agreement from a letting agency.
Please note – private letting agreements may not be accepted as proof of residence. An address change due to a move to live with other family members or friends will not be considered until the move has taken place and you have given us suitable proof of residency. Proof that a move from the previous address has taken place may also be required, for example proof of exchange of contracts, a tenancy agreement showing the end date of the tenancy or a notice to quit from the landlord or repossession notice. We reserve the right to seek more documentary evidence to support any claim of residence, which could include contacting the estate agent, solicitor, landlord or relevant professional. We may carry out home visits without prior notice to verify a child’s home address.
An address used for childcare arrangements cannot be used as a home address for the purpose of applying for a school place.
Proof of address for Voluntary Controlled and Community schools will not be required for traveller families where the address is confirmed by the Traveller Education Service. A foster carer will not be required to supply proof of address for a child placed with them by a local authority.
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 the closing date or an address at which the child will be resident before the start of the new academic year in September 2020, providing the change of address is notified and evidence provided before the exceptional circumstance deadline of 7 February 2020. However, own admission authority school’s arrangements may vary.
It is very important that you notify the local authority of an intended change of address in these circumstances as this will determine the catchment or nearest school for the child concerned.
Fraudulent or misleading claims relating to the home address of a particular child may lead to the withdrawal of the offer of a school place.
Choosing a school
Parents have a legal right to express a preference for any schools they would like their child to attend. In Somerset you can choose up to 3 preferences in ranked order.
Finding out more about local schools before you apply
The best way to find out more about schools is to visit them. Contact the school direct for more information.
You can also
You must state your catchment school as one of your preferences
If you would like your child to be considered for your catchment school, you will need to include it as one of your preferences. But, this does not guarantee a place at this school. You can find your catchment school on our website or by phoning us on 0300 123 2224.
Some schools and academies that are their own admission authority do not prioritise children living in the catchment area of the school in their over-subscription criteria. If you think you live in the catchment area of a school or academy but the school or academy does not include catchment area in their over-subscription criteria it is recommended that one of the preferences expressed is for the nearest school to your home address. However, please note, this does not guarantee your child a place at this school. Please contact us if you are not sure which school is nearest.
If your catchment school is not stated as one of your preferences and becomes over-subscribed, we cannot guarantee your child a place at that school.
If you want to apply for a primary school
If you wish to apply for your child to move to another school (for example, 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.
How much your child’s current pre-school or school influences their next school place
Priority is given in the local authority over-subscription criteria for out-of-catchment children who are transferring to junior or middle school and are attending the infant or first school within that school’s catchment area.
In most circumstances your child’s current pre-school will have no influence on the application for their school place.
Supplementary Information Forms (SIF)
Where additional information to support your school place application is required, you may need to fill out a Supplementary Information Form (SIF). For example, your church representative may need to complete a SIF if you are applying for a school place under religious grounds.
You can get SIFs from the particular school’s website, or for VC schools here.
You can upload any supporting information, such as a SIF onto your online application.
Applying for a church school on religious grounds
Confirmation of church attendance or any involvement with the work and worship of the church must be confirmed on a SIF and returned by the published deadline. For VC schools, you can find this here.
For own admission authority church schools, please see the individual school website for a definition of religious criteria and where to obtain a SIF (see our glossary for definitions of the different types of school). For catholic schools you will often just need to provide a baptism certificate. You may not need to fill in a SIF.
For VC schools the Supplementary Information Form (SIF) states that The Diocese of Bath and Wells recommends to the clergy that the child or a parent has attended actual worship and that attendance at toddler groups or other activities that are held at the church does not meet the requirements.
If you have special reasons for wanting a place at a particular school
If a Community or VC school is over-subscribed, the local authority will allocate places by applying the local authority over-subscription criteria which does not take into account individual reasons (for example, medical conditions or social reasons)
For academies or schools which are their own admission authorities, you must check the individual over-subscription criteria for each school.
If you do not need a place at a local authority school or academy
If you are making alternative arrangements for your child’s education, such as an independent school or home education, please email us (email@example.com) as soon as possible so that we can update your child’s record.
If your child will be attending an independent school, please include the name of the school.
If you are moving out of Somerset, please provide your child’s new address.
For information about home education, please visit our website.
Please note, if you are considering a place at an independent school, you must make your application directly to the school concerned. For more information please contact the Independent Schools Council.
If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) your school placement will be dealt with by the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) team. You must contact the SEND team to make sure a plan is in place for your child’s transition. 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 an Education, Health and Care Plan, which names a particular school, then the admission authority for that school has a duty to admit the child. Where possible, the admission authority will take these admissions into account before the published offer day and will include these admissions in 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 local authority 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.
For information, advice and support on Special Educational Needs and disability, please visit Somerset SENDIAS website.
You may also find it helpful to visit the Somerset Choices website.
If your child does not have an Education, Health and Care plan but has special needs
In Somerset, Community and VC schools give priority to children who do not have an Education, Health and Care plan but whose needs can be verified by a multi-agency professional team, where it is recognised that a particular school is required to meet their specific needs. Evidence to support this application must be received by the Admissions and Entitlements Team on or before 7 February 2020. An on-time application form must have been submitted for the child concerned. For more information about these arrangements please phone us.
For Academies, Free schools, Voluntary Aided and Foundation schools, you must check the individual over-subscription criteria to see if this applies.
If you live in Somerset please apply online and list the names of any schools you wish to apply for on the application form and make sure it is received by Somerset local authority by 15 January 2020.
Please note that the published admission arrangements for another county may be different from those in Somerset.
You must make sure that you fully understand the published admission arrangements and over-subscription criteria that apply to the school concerned before you make your application and to find out if you need to complete a SIF.
An all-through school covers Reception through to the end of Year 11 – primary and secondary phase combined.
Parents who have children on roll at an all-through school do not need to make a separate secondary school application for the same school.
However, if your child is not currently on roll at an all-through school and you would like to apply for the secondary phase, you must make an application by the published deadline.
We anticipate that a new school called Isambard Kingdom Brunel Primary School will open in Wellington in September 2020 with a single reception class in the first instance. There will be 30 reception places available and the new primary school will be an academy sponsored by the Castle Partnership Trust.
Details about admission arrangements and how to apply for a reception place for 2020 are published on the new school website www.ikbschool.co.uk.
However, you must also apply for other schools through us. The closing date for all applications is 15 January 2020. As places may potentially be offered by us and the Castle Partnership Trust, you will then be contacted after the outcome date – 16 April 2020 – to confirm which school place you will be accepting.
How to apply for a school
If you are applying online, please choose the ‘No UID’ (Unique Identification Number) option on the online form, because we do not use these.
Complete the application form on Apply to Start School or Starting at a junior or middle school stating your preferred schools in ranked order. This will remain active until 11.59pm on the published closing date, 15 January 2020.
If you chose to make a paper application, you will not receive email notification of your school place application on National Offer Day. Instead, a letter will be posted 2nd class to your home address on this date. Outcomes will not be given out over the phone.
Make sure you have completed any necessary SIF(s) that are required. Please make sure you have fully completed your application form and if you have applied online make sure that it has been submitted properly and you have received a confirmation email. You must re-submit your online form if you view or make any changes at a later date.
If your child is registered on our system and you have not made a school place application and the deadline is approaching, we will try to contact you by text or letter, or through your child’s nursery or pre-school (if relevant), to remind you to make an application by the deadline.
Supporting information in respect of on-time applications will be accepted up to 7 February 2020 under the following circumstances
If an application is made to Somerset local authority by mistake, we will attempt to pass this on to the correct local authority or contact the applicant directly. However, please note that it remains the responsibility of the applicant to apply to the correct home local authority.
Any change of preference submitted online or by paper application on or before the published deadline date will override any previous applications.
Every school has a legal Published Admission Number (PAN) applicable to the year of entry, which indicates the maximum number of places available in the year group concerned.
The PAN is set to maximise parental preference within the resources and accommodation available.
If there are less applications than the PAN (such as, places available), every child will be allocated a place. However, if a school receives more applications than the PAN (is over-subscribed) the published over-subscription criteria will be applied to determine which children should be offered the available places.
Places will be allocated using the ‘Equal Preference with Ranking’ method. This requires the admissions authority to consider all preferences received for a particular school (1st, 2nd and 3rd) equally and where the school is over-subscribed apply the over-subscription criteria. Where more than one of your preferences can be met the local authority will offer you a place at your highest ranked preference.
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 PAN, the admission authority may refuse any further requests.
What you should do if your child has not been offered a place at one or more of your preferred schools
It may not be possible for the admission authority to offer your child a place at your highest preference school, however you may still be offered a place at your second or third preference school. On some occasions it may not be possible for an admissions authority to offer your child a place at any of your preferred schools.
If this is the case, the local authority would normally offer the catchment school if there are places available.
If this is not the case we would try to offer a place at the nearest alternative school with places available within statutory walking distance of the child’s home address (2 miles for children under 8 years of age and 3 miles for children aged 8 years and over).
For the criteria used to allocate places at schools and academies please search for the school or academy to see their admission arrangements.
The following document shows
School and Academy information and statistics
For Voluntary Aided (VA) and Foundation (F) schools the governing body is the admissions authority, and for Free Schools (FS) and Academies (A), the Academy Trust is the admissions authority. For VC and C schools the local authority is the admission authority. All admission decisions will be made in accordance with the published admission arrangements for the school or academy in question. Parents are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the criteria relevant to the schools they are considering as preferences and relate this to their own circumstances, in the event that these schools might become over-subscribed.
School and academy information and statistics
This includes a full list of all Somerset primary sector schools which for admissions purposes include Somerset’s primary, infant, first,middle and junior schools. The different types of schools in Somerset are;
First schools: Age 4 to 9 years
Infant schools: Age 4 to 7 years
Junior schools: Age 7 to 11 years
Primary schools: Age 4 to 11 years
Middle schools: Age 9 to 13 years
All through schools: Age 4 to 16 (there are 2 schools that cover Reception through to the end of Year 11 – primary and secondary phase combined).
A – Academy
C – Community School
F – Foundation School
FS – Free School
VA – Voluntary Aided School
VC – Voluntary Controlled School
PAN – Published Admission Number
For a full explanation see our glossary below
Allocation Summaries for September 2019
Here is a summary of how the places were allocated at schools for September 2019 or you can contact the school or academy direct.
If you are not offered one or more of your preferences you will be advised of your legal right to appeal for a place at your preferred school. Information about the appeal process will be sent to you with your outcome letter or email, detailing your options.
Please note that your appeal will not affect any offer you have already received in respect of another school, unless you are successful at your appeal.
Places becoming available.
For every over-subscribed school a ranked waiting list will be held in order of over-subscription criteria by the Admissions Authority until at least the end of the Autumn term.
For VC and C schools, you must make a written request to the local authority for your child to remain on the waiting list after this time. For own admission authority schools you must check the individual school or academy’s admission arrangements on their website.
If places subsequently become available within the PAN they will be re-allocated to the highest ranked child on the waiting list. The waiting list will include all applications refused, whether they were on-time or late and will be ranked according to the school’s over-subscription criteria.
You must make sure that your appeal application form is completed and returned by the published appeal application closing date (18 May 2020).
If your appeal application is late, then it may not be considered until all ‘on time’ appeal applications have been heard.
Help and support
The Somerset Choice Advice Service is a free impartial service to help families with school admissions and appeals. For more information please visit their website.
You can apply online on our Apply to Start School page.
Any applications received after 15 January 2020 will be considered as a late application.
For applications received between 16 January 2020 and 1 May 2020, we will aim to send outcomes on 5 June 2020. After this date, applications will be processed in the strict date order we received them.
If a change of preference is received and can be offered, the previous school place offer will automatically be withdrawn. It is not possible to withdraw a late application with a change of preference once the closing date has passed.
Compulsory school age
Your child is entitled to a school place in the September after their fourth birthday. Children must start school in the term (January, Easter or September) after their fifth birthday.
Part-time and full-time schooling
Children must not attend part-time after they reach compulsory school age. If your child attends school part-time you cannot claim early years funding.
Why some children start school on different dates and sometimes part-time
To help settle smoothly into school, some schools operate different start dates for children entering reception classes. This is known as ‘staggered entry’.
Schools will produce a clear statement about their September entry arrangements, and organise visits and taster sessions for children and parents, so that they can start school life in a positive way and parents can make arrangements for their care over the staggered entry period.
You have a right to defer your child’s entry to school until the start of term beginning immediately after your child has reached compulsory school age. However, places cannot be deferred beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year for which the offer was made.
When you decide whether or not to apply for deferred entry, you should think about any possible benefits of keeping your child in the early years setting. And you should balance these against the possible difficulties of your child joining an established group of children in a school reception class part way through the school year.
If you wish to defer your child’s entry, when you are offered a school place for your child you must discuss their start date directly with the school.
How long your child’s place will remain available
Unless you have formally deferred your child’s entry to school, your child’s place will remain available for 20 school days from the first day of the Autumn term.
Children in care or previously in care and now adopted
The admissions authority has a duty to give the highest priority within the over-subscription criteria to children in local authority care (Looked After Children) or those children who were previously looked after and are now formally adopted or subject to a residence or child arrangement order or special guardianship order. You may be required to submit a copy of the adoption order, residence order, child arrangement order or special guardianship order and a letter from the local authority that last looked after the child confirming that he or she was looked after immediately before that order is made.
Free school meals information
When your summer-born child can start school
Parents of summer-born children (born between 1 April and 31 August) may request that they start reception a year later. This is called delayed admission.
This is an important decision and a number of factors need to be taken into consideration. So, please make sure you read this important information carefully first.
If you would like to apply for delayed admission you must still make an on-time school place application but may apply for your child’s admission to be delayed at the same time. We would recommend that you include your catchment or nearest school as one of your preference.
Application for starting school a year early
Application for delayed admission
If it is agreed that your child’s admission can be delayed this will only apply specifically to that school. Therefore we recommend that you request delayed admission at all your preferred schools, not just your first preference school. We would also recommend that you include your catchment school as one of your preferences. This does not guarantee a place but does provide a priority in most cases.
Your school place application will be considered against the published admission number for each school and the over-subscription criteria will be applied should the school have more applicants than there are places available. Should we be unable to offer a place at any of your preferences there is no guarantee that delayed admission would be agreed at an alternative school.
Decisions will be made on a case by case basis by the admission authority of each school. The Head teacher of each school will be consulted as part of this process. The admissions authority must clearly set out the reasons for the decision in writing.
As long as you have made an on-time school place application we will ensure you receive an outcome to your request for delayed admission before the primary national offer date.
If your request is agreed, your school place application will be withdrawn before a place is offered and you will then need to make a new school place application for the following year.
If your request is refused, you must decide whether to accept the offer of a school place for the normal age group, or to refuse it and make an in year application for admission to year one for the September following the child’s fifth birthday. There is no right of appeal against the decision not to allow your child to be admitted outside of their normal age group.
If your child has delayed admission agreed, you may be unable to apply on-line as the system will not recognise your child’s date of birth. Please contact us for advice in these circumstances.
Starting school a year early
Parents may request that their child starts reception a year early. This is an important decision and a number of factors need to be taken into consideration. Therefore, please ensure you carefully read this important information first.
If you would like your child to start school a year early (at age 3) you must still make an on-time school place application but may apply for your child to start school a year early at the same time. You will be unable to apply for a school place online as the system will not recognise your child’s date of birth. Please contact us for advice in these circumstances. We would recommend that you include your catchment or nearest school as one of your preferences.
If it is agreed that your child can start school a year early this will only apply specifically to that school. Therefore we recommend that you request admission a year early at all your preferred schools, not just your first preference school. We would also recommend that you include your catchment school as one of your preferences. This does not guarantee a place but does provide a priority in most cases.
Your school place application will be considered against the published admission number for each school and the over-subscription criteria will be applied should the school have more applicants than there are places available. If we are unable to offer a place at any of your preferences there is no guarantee that admission a year early would be agreed at an alternative school.
Decisions will be made on a case by case basis by the admission authority of each school where early admission is requested. The headteacher of each school will also be consulted as part of this process. The admissions authority must clearly set out the reasons for the decision in writing.
As long as you have made an on-time school place application we will ensure you receive an outcome to your request for early admission before the primary national offer date.
If your request for early admission is agreed, your school place application will be processed and you will receive an outcome on the Primary National Offer Day.
If your request for early admission is refused, your school place application will not be processed and you will need to make a new school place application for the following year.
There is no right of appeal against the decision not to allow your child to be admitted outside of their normal age group.
Priority is given in the published local authority admission arrangements for siblings where there is an existing sibling link at the time of admission. However, no guarantee is given that siblings can attend the same school when the school is over-subscribed.
For academies or schools which are their own admission authorities, you will need to check the individual over-subscription criteria for each school.
If children of multiple births (twins and triplets) are tied for the final place, these siblings will usually be admitted over PAN (sibling definition applies).
Applications for children of school age moving to an existing year group in another school outside of the starting or transferring school process are called In-year admissions.
Applications must be made directly to the preferred schools using an application form that can be obtained directly from the school or from the local authority. Decisions will be taken by the admissions authority who must also inform parents of their right to appeal against the refusal of a place.
If your child is refused a place at a VC or C school, they will be placed on a waiting list until the end of the academic year. If your child is refused a place at an own admission authority school, you will need to contact the school or check the admission arrangements on their website to find out if they keep a waiting list. All waiting lists must be held in order of over-subscription criteria and re-ranked every time a child is added to or leaves the waiting list.
For information on availability of school places, please phone us.
In Year Admissions – children of UK service personnel
Somerset local authority endeavours to make sure that admission arrangements in their area support the Government’s commitment to removing disadvantage for service children.
In year applications are usually considered for admission up to a maximum of half a term in advance of the place being required. An exception is made for children of UK service personnel with a confirmed posting to the area and crown servants returning from overseas to live in the area. A place can be made available up to a year in advance of being required providing the appropriate documentation is provided as proof of posting (an official Government letter, for example MOD, FCO or GCHQ declaring a relocation date and intended posting).
Usually, an in year place may be allocated prior to actual residency, only on receipt of exchange of contracts or a formal signed rental agreement. An exception is made for children of UK service personnel with a confirmed posting to the area and crown servants returning from overseas to live in the area. This means that, providing the application is accompanied by an official Government letter (for example, MOD, FCO or GCHQ) declaring a relocation date and intended posting, the Admissions Authority will process the application. If proof of a home address is not available at this stage Somerset local authority will use a unit postal address or quartering area address to process the application.
If the parent or carer is moving to the area without a posting or as a result of leaving the armed forces then no special consideration will be given to the application under the grounds of the application being made by a service family.
Considering travel arrangements when choosing a school for your child
Unless your child qualifies for free travel assistance, it is the parents and carers responsibility to get them to school.
We will provide free school travel assistance to children who attend their designated transport area or nearest school, and they live more than the statutory walking distance of 2 miles for children aged under eight and 3 miles for children aged eight years old and over from that school.
It is your responsibility to check which school is your nearest or designated transport area school.
Finding out if you are entitled to free school travel assistance
If you applied for your child’s school place using a paper application form, this information will be included in your outcome letter. If you applied for your child’s school place online, you will receive a second email within 10 working days of your school place outcome email, if your child is entitled to travel assistance. If you do not receive a second email this means your child has been assessed as not being entitled to free school travel assistance.
Travel assistance entitlement is only assessed to the designated transport area or nearest school over the statutory walking distance of 2 miles for children aged under 8 and 3 miles for children aged 8 and over. If you wish for your child’s travel assistance entitlement to be assessed under low income grounds, you will need to make a separate application. You can do this on our school transport page.
If you are not entitled to free school travel assistance but would like the decision reviewed, you must contact the Roads and Transport team in the first instance.
Accepting an offer of school travel assistance
You will be sent a medical needs form with the outcome letter or email offering travel assistance for your child. You must return this within 21 days to accept the offer of travel assistance and to inform us of any medical needs your child may have. There is no guarantee that travel assistance will be set up for the start of the academic year if your form is returned late.
School travel assistance entitlement to schools that have changed their catchment area
Transport areas for schools match the catchment area for that school as at September 2012. If an admission authority has changed the catchment area for their school, there is no automatic change to the transport area. Transport areas are set by the local authority and can only be changed following a full public consultation.
We also provide transport for paying passengers, if we have room on our vehicles.
You can apply online at our school transport page. You will be notified of the outcome before the start of the academic year, but it is recommended that you have alternative travel arrangements in place in case there is not a seat available.
Full information on all home to school travel assistance provision, including low income transport, faith transport and exceptional transport, is available on our school transport page.
Other local authorities
Bath and North East Somerset
Admissions and Transport Unit
Phone 01225 394312
School Admissions Team
Phone 0345 155 1019
Phone 01275 884078 or 01275 884 014
School Admissions Team
Phone 01305 221060
School Admissions Team
Phone 01225 713010
Independent schools in Somerset
There are also a number of non-local authority maintained, fee paying schools in the county. The following organisation will be pleased to provide you with a list of schools in the south west area.
Independent Schools Council
27 Queen Anne’s Gate
Switchboard +44 (0)20 7766 7070
Academy (A) – Independently managed, all-ability schools. Set up by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) and the local authority. Together they fund the land and buildings, with the government covering the running costs.
Admissions arrangements – The overall procedure, practices and over-subscription criteria used in deciding the allocation of school places including any means used to determine whether a school place is to be offered.
Admissions authority – The body responsible for admissions to a school. For all C and VC schools, the local authority is the admissions authority. For all VA and F schools, the governing body is the admissions authority and for Academies and Free Schools it is the Academy Trust.
Catchment area – A geographical area from which children may be afforded priority for admission to a school. A catchment area is part of a school’s Admission Arrangements and must therefore be consulted upon, determined and published in the same way as other admission arrangements. See our catchments map.
Catchment school – The school designated to your home address.
Community school (C) – Provided and maintained by the local authority.
C of E – Church of England.
Child looked after – A ‘looked after’ child or a child who was previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption, residence or special guardianship order. A looked after child is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions.
DfE – Department for Education – the central government Department responsible for Education in England and Wales.
Education, Health and Care plan – A legal document issued by the LA specifying the needs, resources and provision required to support the child and can include a named school that is suitable for providing education for that child.
Foundation school (F) – Maintained by the local authority.
Free school (FS) – Free Schools are non-profit making, independent, state-funded schools.
Home address – This is the child’s permanent address at which they live with a person who has parental responsibility as the main carer (as set down by law).
Home authority – The local authority area you live in.
Infant Class Size Legislation – The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 placed a duty on local authorities and schools to limit the size of infant classes for five-, six-, and seven-year-olds taught by one teacher to 30 or fewer pupils.
ISC – Independent Schools Council. Provides information about Independent Schools.
OFSTED – Office for Standards in Education – the school inspection service for Central Government. Reports of inspections are available from their website
Online application – An application made through our website.
Other local authority – an authority other than your home authority.
Over-subscribed – A school is over-subscribed where more applications are submitted than there are places available within the PAN.
Over-subscription criteria – The admissions authority for the school will apply the published over-subscription criteria to decide priority for places.
PAN – Published Admission Number – this is the maximum number of places an admissions authority can normally allocate in the intake year group. The PAN is reviewed each year by the admissions authority.
Parent or carer – Natural parents, whether they are married or not, any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility for a child or young person. Any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person (having care of a child or young person means that a person who child lives with and who looks after the child, irrespective of what their relationship is with the child, is considered to be a parent in education law).
Preference – The schools you would prefer your children to attend.
RC – Roman Catholic.
Sibling – For the purposes of admissions, we define a sibling as a child living permanently at the same address as a half or full brother or sister, an adoptive brother or sister or children of the same household.
Statutory walking distance – The national standard used to measure entitlement to travel assistance to school and the availability of an alternative school, measured along the shortest available walking route.
Supplementary Information Forms (SIF) – A document that may be required to support your application for a preferred school under a specific criterion of the over-subscription criteria.
Transport area – Area within which a family must live to be considered for travel assistance.
Under-subscribed – A school is under-subscribed if there are fewer applications received than places available within the PAN.
VA school – Voluntary Aided School – these are Roman Catholic or Church of England schools, provided by the Church and maintained by the LA.
VC school – Voluntary Controlled School – these are mainly church schools (Church of England).
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Adoption is one of the most rewarding ways of making a difference in a Child's life. If you decide to take up the challenge, we'll be there to support you every step of the way.