Secondary school locations: When do parents find out?

A mother and daughter smile as they look at a phone screenimage source, Getty Images

Councils will soon offer secondary education places to children in England and Wales.

What are the options if parents are unhappy with the outcome?

When are parents and carers notified of secondary school places?

How do parents and carers accept a school offer?

In England and Wales, parents who applied online will be sent an email on 1 March with details of how to accept a place and the deadline to do so.

Those who did not apply online will be sent a letter.

If they do not accept by the specified date, the offer could be withdrawn and the position given to someone else.

What if you don’t get into the school you want?

In Englandif your child is not offered a place at your preferred school, you will usually be offered a place at one of the other schools listed on your application.

If there is no place at one of your chosen schools, your child may be offered a place elsewhere.

You can put your child’s name on the waiting list for your preferred schools – and these must remain open for at least the first half of the school year.

If you are offered a place at a school after being on its waiting list, you can accept even if your child has already started at another school.

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In Walesany child not given a place at the school for which the parents have applied will be added to a waiting list.

In North Irelandif your child is not offered a place at one of the schools you wanted, you will be asked to select a new preference from a list of schools that still have places.

In Scotlandyour council decides which school in your local catchment your child will attend.

You can ask to choose another school, outside your local catchment, and the council must allow this if there is space – but it is not guaranteed.

Can you appeal if you are not offered the school you want?

In England, if your child is not offered a place at the school you wanted, you can appeal within 20 school days and the case must be heard within 40 days.

The final decision is made by an independent panel at a hearing where the board or school explains why the application was refused and the parent argues why their child should be admitted.

Boards allocate positions according to strict criteria. Children in care are given priority, followed by those who already have siblings at school and then those who live closer. Some religious schools have additional requirements.

For a successful appeal, parents must demonstrate that the appropriate admission process was not followed or that the relevant circumstances for their child were not taken into account.

Carers should be informed of the committee’s decision within five days.

If the appeal is successful, the child will be given a place. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the child may be added to the school’s waiting list.

Again, the proportion of appeals made has not changed significantly over the same period, although the proportion that were successful fell from 26.3% in 2016.

Can I get help with school transport?

Parents and carers across the UK may be able to get free or reduced-cost transport if their child’s school is far away.

Applications must go through the relevant local education authority.

What if my child has special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)?

He must offer them a place.

What if you didn’t apply before the October 31st deadline?

If you applied for a place after the deadline in England and Wales, your application will only be considered after the national offer day.

This means your child is less likely to get a place at your preferred school.

However, your child can be added to the waiting list of the school of your choice.

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