National Offer Day - 18 April

If you have applied for a primary school place online we emailed your offer 11am on 18 April. You can view your offer online.

If you applied by post your offer will be sent by first class post on 18 April.

View further information on waiting lists and how we manage later allocation rounds

Starting school or moving up to Junior school

7. Understanding the terms we use

On the following pages we explain some of the terms used in the admission rules for the Community and Voluntary -Controlled schools.
You may find that some Academy, Foundation, Voluntary-Aided and Free schools use the same terms as us.

Looked After Child

For admission purposes a ‘looked after child’ is a child:

  • in care who is looked after by the LA, this includes a child who is accommodated, under a Care Order or Interim Care Order. This can include living with family or friends, in foster care, in a children’s home, residential school, special school or supported lodgings;


  • who was previously looked after and immediately after being looked after became the subject of an adoption, residence or special guardianship order. A Residence Order sets out the arrangements as to the person with whom the child is to live under Section 8 of the Children’s Act 1989. A Special Guardianship Order appoints a child’s special guardian(s) under Section 14A of the Children’s Act 1980.

Please include evidence of the circumstances with your application.

Catchment areas

Most Buckinghamshire primary schools have a catchment area, which is a geographical area that can give priority for admission to children who live in that area. Whilst living in a catchment area can help your child’s chances of being offered a place, there is no guarantee that this will always be possible. You can work out which catchment area you live in by using the ‘Find my child a school place’ checker.

The admission rules for each school show the priority given to catchment children when we look to see who can be offered a place. We follow the admission rules whether a child lives inside or outside of Buckinghamshire. 


The person who is the child’s ‘parent’ should make the application:

  • A parent is defined in law (the Education Act 1996) as ‘Any person who has ‘parental responsibility’ (defined in Children’s Act 1989) for the child or young person’


  • Any person who has care of the child or young person:

If two parents with parental responsibility live at different addresses the parent to whom the Child Benefit is paid should make the application with the full knowledge and consent of the non-resident parent. If child benefit is not received, then the parent living at the address at which the child is registered with a doctor should make the application, or failing that, then the parent with whom the child spends the greater proportion of
the school week from Sunday evening to Thursday evening. We may ask for evidence if circumstances have changed in the past 18 months. 


A sibling is a brother or sister – for admission purposes, we mean one of two (or more) individuals who have one or more parents in common, or any other child (including an adopted or fostered child) who lives at the same address and for whom the parent also has parental responsibility, or (in the case of a fostered child) delegated authority. We will only consider a pupil in a primary school as a sibling if they are at the school, or a linked school in Reception (Foundation 2) to Year 5 at the time the allocations are made (March 2017), or who have already been offered a place to start in the current academic year at the school or a ‘linked primary’ school. The child must also be expected to still be at the school or linked school at the time the younger child would start (September 2017).

For all schools, remember to tell us on your application if you have another child already at one of your preferred schools or at a school “linked” to your preferred schools. There is a specific place for you to do this on your application. If you have more than one child already at the school, please list the younger child. We always check the facts with the school so please make it clear if your child has a different surname.

When we are allocating places to a class which is covered by the infant class size legislation, if we have one place left and the next child on the list is a twin, triplet or other multiple birth group then both twins (or all the siblings in the case of multiple births) will be admitted. Whilst that child is in the class they will be an excepted pupil under the Schools Admissions (Infant Class Size) (England) Regulations 2012, which permit Key Stage 1 classes to exceed 30 following the admission of a twin for as long as necessary until a child leaves the class at which point the class will remain at the lower figure.

For admission to a class where infant class size legislation does not apply both twins (or all the siblings in the case of multiple births) would be admitted. Other schools may have different sibling rules so make sure you check their admission rules.

Exceptional medical or social applications

If you would like your application considered under this rule, you must have a very strong reason for your child attending a particular school. You must tell us that you would like us to look at your application under this rule and send us some supporting evidence. This supporting evidence should be from an independent professional person (this might be a doctor, health visitor or Education Welfare Officer, for example) who knows about your situation and supports your case. It must clearly show why the school is the most suitable for your child and what difficulties there would be if your child went to a different school. 

We will not collect information for you, so make sure you include all the evidence with your application that you would like us to look at to make our decision. 

Send in the evidence to us via our Contact us form or post it to us if you are applying on a paper form, marking clearly your child’s name, date of birth and which school the documents relate to.

A panel of independent educational professionals will decide which children can be considered under this rule before each round of allocations.

Home to School Distance

We use straight line distance for admission purposes. This is the distance from your child’s Normal Home Address, as set out by Ordnance Survey, to the nearest open school gate available for pupils to use. We use a computerised system to measure straight line distance.

The point we measure to at your child’s address is determined by the Ordnance Survey ADDRESS-POINT which is an Ordnance Survey data product that provides a National Grid coordinate and a unique reference for each postal address in Great Britain that is on the Royal Mail’s Post Office Address File. This is different to the shortest walking route which is used for transport purposes. More information is in the School Transport Policy & Guidance.

Where Service families or families of other Crown Servants are posted to the area, we will allocate school places in advance of the move if an official government letter declaring the relocation date and intended address is provided. 

You must check the admission rules for Academy, Foundation, Voluntary-Aided and Free schools to check how they measure distance.

Normal Home Address

This is your child’s home address; it is where you and your child live together, unless you can show that they live elsewhere with someone with legal care and control of your child. For admission purposes, this must be a residential property that is your child’s only or main residence. It cannot be an address at which your child may sometimes stay or sleep due to your domestic arrangements. The property must be owned, leased or rented by the child’s parent(s) or person with legal responsibility for the child. A child’s Normal Home Address is where he or she spends most of the week, unless it is accommodation at a boarding school.

Please make sure you tell us if you move house after you have made your application.

In deciding which is your Normal Home Address we would not usually accept an address if:

  • You or your family has a second home elsewhere as a main residence. We expect that you have sold, or leased through an agency, your previous property or that a lease agreement on a property you previously rented has expired and that you have no other residence.
  • Only part of a family has moved out of the Normal Home Address unless this was part of a divorce or permanent separation arrangement. If this is the case we will ask for
  • Two or more families claim to be living together in a property that is not suitable for the number of adults and children present and for which there is no formal record of this
  • A child moves to a home other than with their parent, unless this is part of a formal fostering or care arrangement. We may
    check this information.

We can refuse to accept where you say your child lives if we have any doubts, in which case we will continue to ask for evidence to show that you and your family actually live where you say you live. We may ask our legal team to investigate or ask that you provide legal confirmation of your address. We may check the evidence you have provided with other agencies including your child’s current school.

If we offer a place at a school and then discover that the offer was made on the basis of fraudulent or misleading information (for example, a false claim to living in a catchment area), and this denied a place to another child, we will withdraw the offer of that place. This has
happened in previous years. 

Shared or Joint residence

To avoid doubt, where a child lives with parents/carers (with or without parental responsibility) whether for part of a week, or month, the address where the child lives will be determined by confirmation of:

  • The registered address to which Child Benefit is currently being paid;


  • if Child Benefit is not being received, the address at which a child is registered with a doctor (G.P.);


  • the address at which the child spends the greater proportion of the school week from Sunday evening to Thursday evening.

You must therefore send us a copy of your latest benefit entitlement notice or your child’s medical card. We may ask for further evidence.

Infant Class Size

By law, no infant aged pupil should be taught in a class where there are more than 30 pupils for each school teacher. An infant class is one where most children will be five, six or seven during the academic year. This means that we will usually refuse to admit more than 30 children for each qualified teacher. 

Supplementary Forms

Some schools ask you to fill in a Supplementary Form to help them gather extra information about your child. This will help them decide who can be offered a place. All Roman Catholic schools in Buckinghamshire use the Supplementary Form. 

You can see which schools have a Supplementary Form by using the ‘Find my child a school place’ checker on our website.

Admission rules for schools in other areas

If you are interested in a school located in another LA area, you should contact the LA or school direct for more information about
their admission rules. 

School Transport Arrangements

Full details of the School Transport arrangements for children living in the area served by Buckinghamshire County Council are on our website and in the School Transport Policy Guidance.  

In summary, free school transport will only be provided if your child attends the catchment or the nearest appropriate school and the distance from your home to the school is more than the statutory walking distance which is 2 miles for a child who is under eight and 3 miles for those who are over eight.

The general assumption in the legislation is that the nearest suitable school for transport purposes will usually be the geographically nearest school by age and general type (mainstream). In Buckinghamshire we provide transport to either the catchment school or the nearest school. There is no legislative entitlement to transport to the nearest school of a particular type e.g. by faith or structure.

In all cases children are only entitled to transport in the term following their fifth birthday. This is when they become statutory (or compulsory) school age. If a child starts school before they are statutory school age then it is the parent’s responsibility to get their child to and from school each day.

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Last updated: 11 August 2017

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