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Schools Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

This information relates to applications for first admission into reception year, transfer from year 2 to year 3 at junior schools and transfer from junior/primary school to secondary school only. It does not relate to applications for a change of school in-year.

 Applying for a School

Choosing a School 

Outcomes and Decisions 

When can my child start school?

In Nottingham city, children start infant and primary school during the September following their fourth birthday. The law says all children must start school at the beginning of the term following their fifth birthday.

If a child attends an infant school, they will transfer to a junior/primary school in the autumn term following their 7th birthday.

The first year of school is called Reception Year. You will need to apply for your child's school place between November and January prior to the September your child starts school. All applications must be made by 15 January 2017.

When you apply online you will get an email back telling you we have received your application. If you apply using a paper application form this application will be acknowledged within 10 days. It is your responsibility to contact us if you do not receive an acknowledgement.

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What if I feel that my child is not ready to start school in September?

In some cases you may be able to delay your child's entry to school or your child may be able to attend part-time until they reach compulsory school age. You should discuss this with the head teacher of your preferred school before submitting your application.

Children must, by law, start school full time by the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday.

Please see our Accelerated/delayed admissions policy and 'Key points for parents and carers to consider' for further information regarding admissions outside the normal age group.

Key points for parents and carers to consider

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How do I apply?

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a school place is to do it online. An online application form is available from our homepage.

Supplementary forms for Church of England and Catholic Schools can also be downloaded from our website or collected from the schools. These must be returned direct to the school you are applying for. If you would like help or advice about applying for a school place please call us on 0115 841 5568.

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What can I do if I don't get the places I want?

Your decision letter will explain the reasons why it was not possible to offer you a place at your preferred school and the process for appealing against this decision. Your child's name may also be included on a waiting list, which means that we will consider your child for any places that become available after the initial allocation made on the publicised offer days of 1 March for secondary places and 16 April for infant, junior and primary places. There is no guarantee however, that a place will become available or that your child will get one if it does.

Being on a waiting list for one school does not prevent you from visiting others. We would strongly recommend you visit any preferred school. You can decide to accept our offer of a place at one school and still go on a waiting list for another.

For all schools in Nottingham city, places that become available after the offer day allocations will be offered by applying the admissions criteria to everyone on the waiting list and considering late applications received.

You can appeal against all decisions about school admissions. This means that you have a chance to put your case to an independent appeal panel made up of people who have had no connection at all with the original decision.

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We went through the admissions process three years ago with our elder child. Has anything changed?

Yes. There have been major changes to the admissions criteria for most schools in dealing with admissions and appeals.

Please check the information in the "Going to School in Nottingham" booklet to see how the process will work. If you don't understand the process, you can also discuss it with the Choice Adviser 0800 458 4114 who will take you through it step-by-step.

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Can I apply for a place at a school in another Local Authority area?

Yes. If you are a Nottingham city resident you can apply for a school place in another authority by completing Nottingham city's online application form. You do not need to complete an application for that authority as well.

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What if I do not live in Nottingham city but want my child to go to a Nottingham city school?

You can apply for a place in a Nottingham city school even if you live outside the city. We consider all applications regardless of where you live. However, you must complete an application to the Local Authority you pay your council tax to. Your Local Authority will then contact us who will in turn inform them if we are able to meet your request.
Your Local Authority will then inform you on the publicised offer day of the outcome of your application.
However, if you do not qualify for a Nottingham city school, your Local Authority will be responsible for making sure your child has a school place.

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If my child currently attends a nursery class in one of my preferred schools, will they be guaranteed a place in the reception class?

No, having a place at a nursery school does not guarantee your child a place for the reception class.

You still need to apply for a place at the school on the online or paper form.

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How can I find out more about a particular school?

You will find some basic information in the "Going to School in Nottingham" booklet.
Contact the school you are interested in to get a copy of their prospectus, which will give you more details about the school. We strongly recommend attending the open evenings or asking to visit the school and talk to the head teacher. If you have access to a computer linked to the internet, all schools have their own website and details of OfSTED inspections can be found at http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/.
The Choice Adviser can also give/explain this information to you.

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What happens if I move after the deadline for receiving applications?

You need to advise us as soon as you have moved address.

If you move before the closing date, then your preferences will be looked at using this new address.
You may also wish to change your preferences to take into account your new address.

If you move after the closing date it will not be possible to use your new address for the school offered on either 1 March for secondary places or 16 April for infant, junior or primary places. We will only be able to use your new address for allocating a place after the offer date.

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What happens if I miss the deadline?

We will deal with applications for school places based on whether we receive them on time or late. However, if your application is late it will not be dealt with until after 1 March for secondary applications or 16 April for infant, junior or primary applications.
You will not receive a letter regarding the outcome of your application until May or June 2017. You will be very unlikely to get a place in any of the popular, oversubscribed schools.

All applications which we receive by 31 October for secondary schools and 15 January for infant, junior and primary schools will be on time.

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How do I get onto the waiting list for a school?

If you are not offered a place at a community school you placed as a higher preference to one you have been allocated, then you will automatically be placed on a waiting list for that school/those schools. You can also write to us and ask to go on the waiting list for a lower preference community school.

We will keep the waiting list open for reception (at primary community schools) until the 2018 summer half term.

We will keep the waiting list open for year 7 for Ellis Guilford schools and Sports College until the end of the autumn term only (December 2017). If we receive your application after 17 October 2017 and we refuse your child a place they will only stay on the waiting list for 40 school days from the date of refusal of a place or until the 2018 summer half term, whichever is sooner.

For Voluntary Aided, Academy or Trust schools you will need to contact the individual schools concerned for details of their own waiting list arrangements.

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If places become available and there are more children on the waiting list than places, how are the available places allocated?

If there are more children on the list than there are places available, we will allocate the places in line with our admissions criteria.

We will use the same criteria that is used when processing the on time applications.

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Can I find out where I am on the waiting list for a particular school?

Yes, by contacting the School Admissions Team who will be able to inform you of the position you hold on the list for community schools.

It is important to remember that your child can move up or down this list depending on whether other children come onto or go off the list. Your child can come off or go on the list at any stage in the process.

For this reason we can only guarantee the position of your child on the list on the date of communication.

For Voluntary Aided, Academy or Trust schools you will need to contact the individual schools concerned for details of their waiting list arrangements.

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How does the government's policy on Infant Class Sizes affect my child's admission to school?

By law, no child at Key Stage 1 (Reception, Year 1 or Year 2) should be taught in classes of over 30 pupils. This may affect you. If there are more than 30 children wanting to go into a class, we will use the admissions criteria to decide who gets a place.

If you do not get a place in any of your preferred schools, you can appeal against our decision to an Independent Appeals Panel. However your appeal will not normally be successful if it were to lead to a class of over 30 children. If your child has been refused a place at a voluntary aided school or academy, please contact the head teacher for details of their appeals procedure.

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How do I find out how far away I live from my preferred school and which is my catchment area school?

You can find out details of your catchment area, primary school (which is not always your nearest school) by clicking  here and inputting your postcode and house number. You can contact the School Admissions Team on 0115 841 5568 or email us at schooladmissions@nottinghamcity.gov.uk to find details of your catchment secondary school (if there is one for your home address). We strongly recommend that you consider including your catchment school as one of your preferences, as you will achieve the highest priority ranking for the admissions criteria at your catchment school. You can find out the distance from your home address to your nearest school by contacting the School Admissions Team on 0115 841 5568. You will need to give your postcode and house number.

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If I live in the catchment area for the school, am I guaranteed a place?

No, there are no guarantees when allocating places at a school. To be offered a school place at ANY school, you MUST complete an application. In the vast majority of cases, parents who want their catchment area school will be eligible for a place, as long as they include it as one of their preferences in their application and they have applied by the closing date for applications. However in certain areas of the city, there may be more children living in the catchment area for a school than there are places. Therefore, it is always worth putting the maximum number of schools down in your preferences.

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If I put my catchment area school down as my 3rd preference, is that what I'll get?

This is not necessarily true. If there are more applications received than places at a particular school, places are allocated for each school based on the admissions criteria. Here's an example of how it could work:

You've selected School A, School B and School C (your catchment area school) on your application. School A is oversubscribed (more applications than places). The admissions authority can only offer places to those in the catchment area of the school - therefore, as you are not in the catchment area, they cannot offer you a place.

School B is also oversubscribed, and can offer places down to the distance criteria. The furthest distance they offer a place to is 1.8 miles, but you live 2.3 miles away - therefore they cannot offer you a place.
School C (your catchment area school) is also oversubscribed, but they can also offer places down to the distance criteria. Therefore, as you are in the catchment area, you will be offered a place there.
So, yes you've been offered a place at your catchment area school, but it is not simply because you put it as one of your preferences. If you had lived 1.7 miles from School B, you would have been offered a place there.

All preferences are looked at equally.

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If I only put down one preference, am I more likely to get it?

No. All places are allocated depending on how you meet the criteria for that school. Listing one school will not increase your chances of getting a place there - if you can't be offered a place there, you won't be considered for any other schools and your chances of getting a place at other preferred schools through a late application will be limited. The same can also be said if you include a school more than once on your form - it will not increase your chances of getting a place as it only counts as one preference.

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How can I stop my child going to a "bad" school?

Each school has pupils who achieve to very high standards academically. However, a good or a poor reputation can often be gained by schools based on evidence/memories from many years ago. Many people look at league tables to see how well a school is performing - however, this is only an indicator of a school's performance and does not give the complete picture.
We strongly recommend you go and visit the schools; you may be surprised at what you find!

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Why do some schools not accept applications from certain areas of the city?

This is not true. You can apply to any school within or outside of Nottingham city. Schools cannot refuse to offer a place to someone because of where they live. Your application can only be refused if the school is oversubscribed and more people meet the admissions criteria better than you.

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Are Catholic schools only for Catholic children?

This is not true. Baptised Catholic children do get priority for places in Catholic schools, but if there are places still available then non-baptised children can be offered a place.

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I made an application on time and now they're saying it was late - what can I do?

An application is considered on time if it is received by the closing date, either online or by the School Admissions Team at Loxley House.

You will get an email sent to your chosen email address almost immediately if you apply online or a written receipt to confirm its arrival if you apply using the paper form- if you do not receive one within 10 days, then contact the School Admissions Team on 0115 841 5568.

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What happens if somebody lies on their application? 

The process tries to be as fair as possible to all parents. We carefully monitor all application forms to look out for false information, including investigating false addresses.
If someone is found to have provided false information to gain entry to a specific school, then that offer of a place will be withdrawn and given to somebody else.

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"I don't have to fill in an application as she's going to independent school"

Even if you intend to send your son/daughter to a private school, it is still recommended you complete an application for a Local Authority / Academy / Church / Trust school. If in the end you decide not to send them to the private school, you will have a better chance of getting the school you want by applying before the closing date.

If you remain intent on going to the private school, you can simply decline any place you are then offered by the Local Authority.

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What address should I use on my application?

You should use your current permanent address (where you are living at the time of the closing date for applications). Please make sure that the address and postcode you give us is correct, because we may use the information to see whether you qualify under a particular admissions criterion.

We regularly check addresses, including arranging visits from the Education Welfare Service, and if details are not correct we will withdraw the offer of a school place. For example, it is not acceptable to use the address of a childminder, grandparent or any other relation.

If there are reasons why your child is not living at your address (for example, if you and the other parent or carer do not live together) you must declare this in a letter and attach it to the application form.

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If I register my child at a school, does this guarantee them a place there?

No. You will only be considered for a place at a Nottingham city school if you complete a Common Application Form, either online or paper.

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I know which school I want my child to go to. Why should I request other schools?

If you only request one school you cannot be certain that your child will be offered a place there. If you are unsuccessful, you will then not be considered for any other school. If other local schools have more applications than they have places, they will be full at the offer day. Therefore you run the risk of either being allocated a school some distance away or no place at all and having to make further late preferences.

You are strongly recommended therefore to use all your preferences. Doing so does not reduce your chance of getting your first preference school.

If you intend to apply for an independent school, it is also recommended that you apply for one or more of the schools listed in the Going to School in Nottingham booklet

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Can I write to support my application?

Yes. You have the legal right to explain your reasons for wanting a particular school, including philosophical or religious reasons. However, these reasons will only be taken into account if they are directly linked to the admissions criteria for the schools you have listed on your application.

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I need a school with before and after school care. How do I know which schools provide this?

To find out whether schools provide breakfast clubs, after school clubs or other services contact the schools directly. You can find contact details in the "Going to School in Nottingham" booklet.

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What if there are changes to the information I have submitted on my application?

All changes should be declared to the School Admissions Team on 0115 841 5568 whether they happen before the allocation date or after.

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Contact Us

Schools Admissions Loxley House Station Street Nottingham NG2 3NG United Kingdom
Tel: 0115 841 5568

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