Schools' admission rules

A number of schools' admission rules (including all 13 grammar schools) are being considered by the Office of the School's Adjudicator (OSA). Updates to the rules will be available on schools' websites when available. The OSA ruling may also impact on the moving deadline of 1 October 2017 for most grammar schools

Moving up to secondary school

4. Getting the order of your preferences right

If you live in Buckinghamshire, you can put up to six schools on your application. Make sure you complete your application carefully because this will give us the information we need to work out where your child will be on the list for each of the schools you have put down.

We use an ‘Equal Preference Scheme’ to decide which school can be offered to your child. This means that when we are making decisions, we don’t take into account the order (1 to 6) that you have put the schools in on your application; we will just list all children according to the admission rules for each school. It is as though you’ve made up to six separate applications to your preferred schools.

We can only offer a child one school place at any one time. When we are allocating places, if we can offer your child more than one school, we will always offer your child a place at the school you have put higher on your application. This is why the order you put the schools in is so important and why you should always put them in the order you really want them. Make sure you also understand the School Transport rules.

Make sure you enter your school preferences carefully – some schools have similar names.  We will not question preferences as parents may have a strong preference for a school that is a significant distance from their home as they work close by or are moving to that area.

You do not have to include a catchment school but it is a good idea if you want a local school. You have a greater chance of being offered a place at your catchment school if you have included it as a preference but we cannot guarantee that your child will be offered a place at your catchment school, or any of your preferred schools. You should list your preferences in the order you would like them to be considered.

If your child is taking the Secondary Transfer Test, you will be informed of the results before the application deadline - see the timeline.

You should list grammar schools on your application if your child qualifies for a grammar school and your preference is for a grammar school.

If your child qualifies for a grammar school but you nevertheless put an upper/all-ability school above a grammar school on your application, we will, if we can, offer a place at the upper / all-ability school, instead of the grammar school.

If your child does not qualify for a grammar school in the Secondary Transfer Test and your preferred school is a Buckinghamshire upper / all-ability school or a school in another area, then you need not include a Buckinghamshire grammar school on your application.

If your child does not qualify for a grammar school but your preferred school is still a grammar school then in order to continue pursuing this option, you must include a grammar school preference on your application. You may then request a Selection Review or, from 1 March 2018 (National Offer Day) onwards, an admission appeal. When completing your application, it is best to put any grammar school preference above any upper/all-ability school preference.

At the time secondary school places are allocated on 1 March 2018, if your child has not qualified for a grammar school and you have included grammar school preferences on your application, we will automatically refuse them. However, you will be entitled to appeal this refusal. If you have not included a grammar school preference on your application then you will not be able to appeal, as it is the refusal of a (grammar) school allocation on 1 March that will trigger the right to an appeal.

More information on appeals

Even if you think your child will qualify for a grammar school through the review or appeal process, it is always sensible to list an upper/all-ability school somewhere on your application.

We won’t tell any school where you ranked it on your application before we offer places.

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Last updated: 1 September 2017

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