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Secondary school applications deadline – what you need to know

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An image depicting the secondary school applications deadline.

The deadline for secondary school applications is coming – but you don’t need to worry as it’s a simple and straightforward process.

Here we provide everything you need to know about secondary school applications.

When is secondary school application deadline day?

The deadline to apply for secondary school places is 11:59pm on Monday, 31 October.

What happens if I miss the deadline? Can I still apply for my child?

Yes – although it is strongly encouraged that pupils’ applications are received in time for 31 October to ensure their application is considered alongside all the other applicants.

Where an application has been submitted after the deadline, the application may still be considered but after those who have applied on time.

How do secondary school applications work?

The application process to secure a place at a state-funded secondary school is run by local authorities – usually referred to as councils.

Typically, you will be asked to list the schools you are applying for by order of preference and supply proof of your address as part of the process.

Each council opens applications at different times. The deadline for secondary school applications is Monday 31 October 2022.

For more information on the applications process contact your local council.

Do I need to use all the school preference options when applying for a school?

We strongly encourage you to use all the preference options on the form. You will be given the opportunity to give at least three preferences and in some areas as many as six.

If you don’t receive an offer at your preferred school, you are likely to be offered a place at one of your other preferences. It is only if there isn’t space at any of your preferred schools, that your child will be offered a place at a school you have not indicated.

Using all your school preference options makes it less likely that you will be offered a place at a school that you haven’t expressed a preference for.

Do I still need to apply for a place if my preferred secondary school is linked to my child’s primary school?

You must still apply for a place, even if your chosen school is linked to your child’s primary school.

When will I find out what secondary school place my child has been given?

You will be told what place your child has been given on 1 March 2023 – national offer day for secondary schools. Usually, you will be contacted by email.

What happens if I don’t get into my first-choice school?

More than 8 in 10 families are offered their first choice secondary school and more than 9 in 10 get one of their top three choices.

If you aren’t happy with what you’re offered there are plenty of options available including:

  • Join your child’s chosen preferred school’s waiting list – schools are required to keep a waiting list open for at least the first term of each school year. You can still add your child to a waiting list even if you accept the offer of a place at another school, and if you are offered a place at your preferred school you can accept it, even if your child has already started elsewhere.
  • Appeal the decision – if your child is refused a place at their chosen school, you can appeal against the decision through the admissions authority. You can still appeal the decision even if you accept the place offered at another school.

It is important to know that you can both appeal the decision and add your child to the waiting list while also accepting the offer of the place at any school. Accepting that offer while you pursue other options means that your child does not risk being without a school place.

How does the appeals process work for secondary school applications?

If your child receives a rejection letter from your chosen school, you will have 20 school days to raise an appeal.

Your case must then be heard within 40 days of your appeal, and your schools’ admission authority must give you 10 days’ notice before the hearing.

Your case will be heard by a panel of 3 or more people, where the admission authority will explain why they turned your child’s application down, and you will be given the chance to make a case for why your child should be admitted.

The appeals panel will then assess your case, with a decision usually sent to you within 5 days.

If the panel decides the reasons you think your child should be admitted to the school outweigh the school’s reasons for rejecting your application, your appeal will be upheld, and the school must admit your child.

More information on the appeals process can be found here.

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