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Making a realistic application

Examples of how the primary process works for entry to reception class

The examples here highlight some of the issues you must consider when making your preferences.

To consider how successful your application might be:

  • check the admission criteria for each school you list on your preference form
  • use the other information available in the primary school admissions arrangements 2024 document, which is available from 1 October 2023

You can call Children's Services on 0121 303 1888, who will be happy to discuss your particular preferences and provide advice to help you make an informed decision.


John's story

The closest primary school to John's home (School G) is a school where, based on previous admission patterns, John would have been offered a place for each of the last three years.

John's parents decide to apply for a primary school (School A) that is further away from their home because John's cousin attends there. The family also applies for other schools further away from their home, hoping that John will be offered a place. Instead, John's family should look at each school's admissions criteria and previous admissions patterns. These would have indicated that it would be very unlikely that John would be offered a place at any of his three preferences. John's preferences include two Catholic schools even though John is not a baptised, practising Catholic.

School A gives priority to children who live closest to the school after siblings of children already attending the school. Schools B and C are Catholic schools that prioritise children who are baptised, practising Catholics.

The preferences submitted for John were:

  1. School A
  2. Catholic School B
  3. Catholic School C

John was not offered a place at any of the family's preferred schools.

John was not offered a place at School A as the school was filled with children who lived closer to the school than John. The fact John's cousin attends School A did not give him priority as cousins are not part of the school's oversubscription criteria.

John was not offered a place at School B or School C as he is not a baptised, practising Catholic. Both schools filled with children who met that criteria.

As John did not receive an offer for any of his preferred schools, he was offered a place at one of the nearest schools to his home that had places available when places were offered (School D). This school is 2500 metres from his home.

John was not offered a place at School G (100 metres from the family's home address) because the family did not list it as one of their preferences. Instead, School G offered all its places to children whose parents ranked it as one of their three preferences. John would have been offered a place at School G if the family had listed it as one of their preferences.


Amena's story

Amena lives close to three primary schools (Schools D, E and F), and her brother attends School C. Her parents have applied for Amena to go to Islamic School A and would prefer her to attend Islamic School A more than School B if she meets the faith criteria for Islamic School A.

Their preferences are:

  1. Islamic school A
  2. School C
  3. School D

Amena met the faith criteria for Islamic School A. She also qualified for a place at School C because she has a sibling there and lives close enough to School D to be offered a place under the distance criterion.

Because Amena met the admission criteria for all three preferences, she is offered a place at the school the family ranked highest, Islamic School A.


Andrea's story

Andrea lives 89 metres from her local primary school (School F), but her parents would prefer for her to attend another school if possible. Andrea's parents would like her to attend All-through School A, as they would like her to attend a school where she can start in Reception and continue all the way through to Secondary. The other school the family listed on their application is far away from the family's home, but the family hope Andrea will be offered a place there. The family used their last preference for School F as it is very close to their home, and Andrea would have been offered a place there for the last three years. The family knows Andrea will only be offered a place at School F if she does not meet the admission criteria for either of their other preferences.

Their preferences are:

  1. All-through School A
  2. School B
  3. School F

All-through School A fills with children who live closer than Andrea. She lives too far from School B to qualify for a place.

As Andrea was not offered a place at her first two preferred schools, she was offered a place at School F, where she met the admission criteria due to how close she lives to the school.

If the family had not listed School F as a preference, Andrea would have been offered a place at one of the nearest schools available with places. This is because School F received more applications for places than places available. The school Andrea would have been offered would have been much further from the family's home than School F.


Page last updated: 18 September 2023

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