Each school has a set number of places in each year group called the Planned Admission Number (PAN).
And every school has an admissions policy which includes oversubscription criteria that are used to identify which children to offer places to when a school receives more requests than there are places available. School places are not allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Over-subscription criteria for community and voluntary schools
The duty to comply with parental preferences requires that all applicants will be offered a place providing there are enough places in the school for everyone who applies.
If the number of applications exceeds the admission number it will be necessary to determine which pupils can be offered a place by applying the following oversubscription criteria in priority order.
All schools are required by section 324 of the Education Act 1996 to admit to the school a child with a statement of special educational need that names the school. This is not an oversubscription criterion and all children with statements naming a school will be admitted before other children are offered a place.
For all other applications the following criteria will be applied to prioritise children for admission to community and voluntary controlled primary schools:
Children in care or children who have previously been looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption, residence, or special guardianship order will be given the highest priority for admission.
Those children who are considered to have exceptional medical or social reasons as to why they should attend a particular school. Parents will be required to submit evidence to support their application under this criterion (see note (a).
(a) Exceptional reasons for priority over other applicants - Decisions must be consistent and based on objective evidence, which must be provided in writing by an appropriate professional i.e. a doctor or a social worker.
Those children who already have a sibling at the school and who will still be attending when their brother/sister starts in reception.
Geographical proximity to school, with those families living next nearest to the school having higher priority. Distance is measured in a straight line between the home postcode and the school's postcode, measured electronically by GIS software within the admission database using Post Office data and Ordnance Survey data.
Should it be necessary to distinguish between applicants with equal priority within any of the above criteria, the distance is measured as a straight line from the child’s home address to the school property measured between the two central data points of the home postcode and school postcode. Measurements are calculated using Geographical information System mapping software based on Ordnance Survey and Postcode data.
Over-subscription criteria at Voluntary Aided, Foundation, Trust and Academy schools
In Voluntary Aided, Foundation, Trust and Academy schools, the school’s governing body determines the admissions policy and oversubscription criteria.
The admissions policies (including over-subscription criteria) are available on the individual pages for each school on this website.