Soon, councils will offer places in secondary schools for children in England and Wales.
What are the options if parents are unhappy with the outcome?
When do parents and guardians find out about vacancies for secondary education?
How do parents and guardians accept a school offer?
In England and Wales, parents who apply online will receive an email on 1 March with details on how to accept the place and the deadline for doing so.
Those who have not applied online will receive a letter.
If they do not accept by the specified date, the offer may be withdrawn and the seat given to someone else.
What if you don’t get the school you want?
In Englandif your child does not receive 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 are no places available at any of your chosen schools, your child may be offered a place elsewhere.
You can put your child’s name on the waitlist at your preferred school(s) – and they must remain open for at least the first term of the school year.
If you are offered a place at a school after being on the waiting list, you can accept even if your child has already started at another school.
In Walesany child who does not have a place at the school the parent has applied for will be added to a waiting list.
In northern IrelandIf your child is not offered a place at any of the schools you want, you will be asked to choose a new preference from a list of schools that still have places.
In Scotlandyour county decides which school in your local catchment area your child will attend.
You can ask to choose another school, outside your local catchment area, and the council should allow this if space is available – but it’s not guaranteed.
Can you appeal if the school you want is not offered?
In England, if your child is not offered a place at the school you want, 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 rejected and the parent argues why their child should be accepted.
Boards allocate vacancies according to strict criteria. Cared for children have top priority, followed by those who already have siblings at school and then those who live closer. Some religious schools have additional requirements.
To successfully appeal, parents must prove that the proper admissions process was not followed or that the relevant circumstances concerning their child were not taken into account.
Caregivers must be informed of the panel’s decision within five days.
If the appeal is successful, the child will receive a place. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the child may still be added to the school’s waiting list.
Once again, the percentage of appeals filed did not change significantly over the same period, although the proportion of those that were successful decreased from 26.3% in 2016.
Can I get help with school transport?
Parents and guardians across the UK can get free or low-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)?
You must offer them a place.
What if you didn’t apply before the October 31st deadline?
If you have applied for a place after the deadline in England and Wales, your application will not be considered until the day of the national offer.
This means your child is less likely to get a place at their preferred school.
However, your child can still be added to the waitlist for the school you want.