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Making a realistic application | Apply for Reception / Primary school | Birmingham City Council

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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 that you need to consider when making your preferences.

Please check the admission criteria for each school you list on your preference form and use the other information available in the Primary School Admissions Arrangements 2021 document to consider how successful your application might be.

Children’s Services on 0121 303 1888, will be happy to discuss your particular preferences and provide any advice to help you make an informed decision.


David’s story

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

David’s parents decide to apply for a primary school (School A) that is further away from their home because David’s cousin attends there.

The family also applies for other schools further away from their home hoping that David will be offered a place, rather than looking at each school’s admissions criteria and previous admissions patterns, which would have indicated that it would be very unlikely that David would be offered a place at any of his three preferences.

This includes two Catholic schools. David 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 give priority to children who are baptised, practising Catholics.

The preferences submitted for David were:

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

David was not offered a place at any of the family’s preferred schools.

David was not offered a place at School A as the school filled with children who lived closer to the school than David.

The fact David’s cousin attends School A did not give him priority as cousins are not part of the school’s oversubscription criteria.

David 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 none of the preferences submitted for him could be met, David was offered a place at one of the nearest schools to his home with places available at the time of the offer of places (School D). This school is 2,500 metres from his home.

David was not offered a place at School G (100m from the family’s home address) as the family did not list is as one of their preferences and it offered all its places to children whose parents ranked it as one of their three preferences.

David would have been offered a place at School G if the family had listed it as one of their preferences.


Shabina’s story

Shabina lives close to three primary schools (Schools D, E and F) and her brother attends School C.

Her parents have also applied for Shabina to go to Islamic school A, and would prefer her to attend Islamic school A, more than the school where her brother attends, if she meets the faith criteria for Islamic school A.

Their preferences are:

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

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


Leslene’s story

Leslene lives 89 metres from her local primary school (School F), but her parents would prefer her to attend another school if possible.

Leslene’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 Leslene will be offered a place there.

The family use their last preference for School F as it is very close to their home, and Leslene would have been offered a place there for the last three years.

The family knows that Leslene 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 Leslene. She lives too far from School B to qualify for a place.

As the family’s first two preferences could not be offered, Leslene 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, Leslene would have been offered a place at one of the nearest schools available with places as School F received more applications for places than places available.

The school Leslene would have been offered would have been much further from the family’s home than School F.