National Offer Day - 18 April
Starting school or moving up to Junior school
4. Getting the order of your preferences right
If you live in Buckinghamshire, you can put up to four 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 4) 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 four 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.
We won’t tell any school where you ranked it on your application before we offer places. Please use the 'Find my child a school place’ checker on our website to see if any of the Buckinghamshire schools you are interested in have a Supplementary Form for you to fill in. You will need to send Supplementary Forms back to the school by 16 January 2017.
Other things to remember
- Make sure we receive your application by the deadline of 16 January 2017. If an application is late we will not look at it until after all those that we received on time. The only exception would be if we received your application by 30 January 2017 and you have included evidence which we agree shows why you could not apply on time.
- Some schools have a medical or social rule that applications can be considered under. You can see from the admission rules if a school uses this and the priority it is given.
- It is important that you tell us if your child has a brother or sister at any of the schools you have put on your application. If you have more than one child at a preferred school already, always tell us about the younger child. There is space on the application for you to do this.
- Some schools also consider siblings at a linked school. Make sure you check the rules of the schools you apply for.
- Each school has an Admission Number (AN) which is the number of places that we can offer. You can see the AN for the schools you are interested in by checking the ‘Find my child a school place’ checker.
- We will tell all other LAs about Buckinghamshire children that would like a place in one of their schools. They will apply the admission rules and then let us know if a place is available.
- If your preferred school, or schools, have had more applications than there are places available, then we may not be able to offer your child a place. This will be because other children had higher priority for the places available. We use the admission rules to put children into order and then offer the number of places we have available (the AN).
- If we can’t offer any of your preferences, and your child lives in Buckinghamshire, we normally offer a place at the nearest Buckinghamshire school that has a place available. This may not be your catchment school.
- Remember that we cannot guarantee that your child will be offered a place at your catchment school, or any of your preferred schools.
Special Educational Needs
Many children with Special Educational Needs go to a local school and have some extra support. There are also special schools which support children with particular needs.
Most parents of children with a EHCP will know about their child’s primary school place before April 2017.
Your school preferences
You cannot choose a school for your child, but you can make preferences.
It is important to get lots of information before deciding on your preferred schools and the order you would like to put them on your application. You can find information about the schools in Buckinghamshire, including contact details and OFSTED reports, using our Directory.
The ‘Find my child a school place’ checker on our website has links to each school’s web pages. Some schools have a Supplementary Form for you to fill in to give them more information to help them decide who can be offered a place.
Some schools have Open Events to give you the chance to look around and learn more about them. It is best to visit a number of schools, including your catchment schools. Even if you are not sure if a school might be right for your child, it is helpful to learn more about the school and to visit it in person. A school might suit your child better than you had thought. You can find out when schools have their Open Events by looking in our Directory.
If a school does not have an Open Event listed you can ring the school to arrange an appointment to visit the school.
Think about how your child will get to school each day. Make sure you read and understand the School Transport rules.
School Admissions Code and Scheme
The School Admissions Code is provided by the Department for Education (DfE) to guide Admission Authorities when dealing with school admission. You may like to visit the Department for Education website for more information.
The Education Act 2002 also requires all LAs to have a ‘Scheme’ to show the arrangements for admission to primary schools in their area.
The Scheme is in place to make sure that every parent of a child living in the LA area who has applied for a school place in the ‘normal admission round’ receives the offer of one school place. You can read our Scheme in our Policy hub.
Last updated: 11 August 2017