Apply for a secondary school place

Things to consider when applying for a secondary school place

Children with an education, health and care (EHC) plan

The arrangements for admitting a child or young person with an education, health and care (EHC) plan are different to those for children/young people who do not. Admissions to school for children and young people with an EHC plan are dealt with by our special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) team, and not by our school admissions team. During the summer term of the penultimate year at the current school, the school will invite you to a review meeting called a ‘transfer review’. This will be held during the second half of the autumn term of the final year if in an Early Years setting. At this meeting, the school that you would like your child to transfer to will be discussed and the request will be processed by our SEND team. You will be notified of your child’s confirmed school by 15 February 2020 for pre-16 placements.

Your child’s current school will also be able to provide you with an information booklet regarding this process.

If you have any further queries or concerns about this process, please contact our SEND team on 0300 300 8356. If you prefer to email you can do so at statass@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

Applying from outside Central Bedfordshire

If you live outside of Central Bedfordshire you need to make an application through your home local authority (where you pay your council tax). If you are applying for schools in Central Bedfordshire they will forward your application onto us. They will write to you on the offer day with the outcome of your application.

You also need to check with them about school transport as you will not be eligible for free transport from Central Bedfordshire Council and cannot assume you will be offered a concessionary bus pass.

For families living in our neighbouring authorities' areas. we have included below the web address for their school admissions webpages, which should include details about how to make your application:

Can my child attend our catchment school?

You need to make your application on-time in order to be considered for your preferred school(s). Living in the catchment area will give your child priority however it does not automatically guarantee a place at your catchment school. If there are more applications than places available, the admissions criteria for the school will be applied. Should you not get your preferred school(s), we will ensure that your child is offered a place at the next nearest school with places available.

Do I have to apply for my catchment or local school?

No. You have the right to express a preference for up to 3 schools/academies which provide education suitable for your child’s age. You may wish to apply for your catchment school as this will usually mean that if a place is not available at your preferred school, you may still have priority for a place at your catchment school. If you do not ask for a place at your catchment school, it could result in your child attending a school some distance from your home. You may be responsible for transporting your child to that school.

Are places offered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis?

All applications received by the deadline are considered at the same time and priority is not given to those who put the school as a first preference. Decisions about who to offer places to are made solely using the oversubscription criteria for the school, no other information is taken into consideration.

Do I have to apply for three schools?

No, you can apply for up to three schools. Naming more than one school will not weaken your chance of gaining a place at your first preference school. Similarly naming the same school more than once will not increase your chance of gaining a place at that school, so therefore it is worth considering other local schools in case a place cannot be offered at your preferred school.

Will my child be entitled to school transport?

Find how to apply for school transport. It is important to consider how your child will travel to school before submitting your application.

Fraudulent applications

Central Bedfordshire Council takes very seriously any attempt to obtain a school place by fraud.  All fraud allegations are investigated.

If you know someone who intends to or has used a false address to get a school place, you can report this confidentially to our Fraud Investigation Team by emailing benefitfraud@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk or calling 0300 300 5476.

You do not need to give your name but please provide as much information as possible so that we can investigate the matter fully.

If we find that a school place was obtained using a false address we may withdraw our offer, even after the child has started school, and give it to the child who was entitled to the place. We consider every school place obtained through deception denies another child their legitimate place.

We will not accept a temporary address if you still have a property that was previously used as a home address, nor will we accept a temporary address used solely or mainly to obtain a school place. You may be asked to supply additional information to explain why you are not able to use your permanent address.

Conflicting applications

We will only accept one application per child. Where parents disagree on school preferences for their child, they must settle their differences between each other and submit only one application. Where different applications are received or we are made aware of a dispute between two parents, all applications will be placed on hold and will not be processed until such time that:

  • one joint application is made, signed by all parties; or
  • written agreement is provided from both parents; or
  • a court order is obtained confirming which parents’ application carries precedence

Conflicting applications that are not resolved by the closing date (31 October 2019) will be placed on hold until resolved and therefore will not be considered until the late allocation.

Whilst we appreciate differences between parents can be a difficult time for all involved, including possible court action, without a court order, we must remain neutral and treat both parties equally.

Change of circumstances

Applications are processed in the on-time allocation as they are on 31 October 2019. A change in your circumstances could have an effect on the criterion your application is processed under and therefore whether you are successful in being offered a place at your preferred school. Changes in circumstances which may affect the criterion your application is processed under can include; moving to another address, no longer receiving Child Benefit, an older sibling starting at your preferred school, your child starting at a named feeder school etc.

If your circumstances change it is your responsibility to inform us in writing of the change and when this took place. If we are not notified of the change then your application may be processed inaccurately.

If the change of circumstances takes place before or on 31 October 2019 and we are notified by this date then we will add the information to your application and it will be considered in the on-time allocation. If we find that your circumstances have changed before 31 October 2019 but you have not notified us of this, then we will amend the application to reflect the changes.

If the change of circumstances takes place after 31 October 2019, or we are notified after this date, then the information will not be added to your application until after the on-time allocation.

If you notify us of a change in your circumstances and it will not have an impact on the criterion your application is processed under we will let you know.

We will also amend an address if circumstances have changed but we have not been notified by yourself.

How are school places allocated?

All applications received between September 2019 and 31 October 2019 will be considered at the same time.

We will only use your order of preference (rank) if it's possible to offer your child a place at more than one of your preferred schools. If this is the case, we'll offer you a place at the highest ranked school possible.

If a school receives fewer applications than places available, then all applicants will be offered a place at the school, regardless of where they live.

If a school has more applications than places available then all applicants will be ranked using the school’s oversubscription criteria. The oversubscription criteria for all schools and academies in Central Bedfordshire is available on our website.

Where applicants have the same criteria, they will then be ranked using straight line distance with those living closer to the school having higher priority. Home to school distances for admission allocation purposes will be measured along a straight line between a child’s address and the relevant school/academy. The measurement is taken from the NLPG (National Land and Property Gazetteer) address point of the child’s house to the designated measuring point of the school. Address point data is a nationally recognised method of identifying individual residences. This is an objective method of measuring home to school distances consistently when applying admission criteria. It does not take into account the actual or expected route a child will travel to school. The distance is measured using the local authority’s computerised measuring system (Synergy Admissions database). Other mapping tools (such as Google maps) are not used in the allocation of school places.

What if I am not offered a place at my preferred school(s)?

Those not offered a place will be added to the school’s waiting list and applicants will have the right of appeal.

If a place cannot be offered at any of the schools listed on the application, and the child lives within Central Bedfordshire, then we will allocate a place at the nearest school which has a place available following the allocation. More information on this will be sent to these applicants with their decision letter.