Moving up to secondary school

6. How we allocate school places

Once you have submitted your application, we will start the process of finding your child a place, according to our Scheme and each school’s admission rules.

Step 1 - We look at the preferences made by our parents including grammar schools for qualified children.

Step 2 - We tell other LAs about applications for their schools made by our parents. Other LAs tell us about applications for Buckinghamshire schools made by their parents.

Step 3 - We put your child on the list for the schools on your application, in admission rules order.

Step 4 - We allocate places up to the Admission Number (number of places available) for each of our schools.

Step 5 - We tell other LAs which of their children can be offered places at our schools. Other LAs tell us which of our children can be offered places at their schools.

Step 6 - It will be possible to allocate more than one place to many children. So, we keep the allocation for the school you listed higher on your application. Any other places are freed up for other children. 

Step 7 - Steps 4, 5 and 6 are repeated, until we have allocated everyone the highest preference that we can.

Step 8 - On 1 March 2021 we let our parents know which school has been offered for their child. Other LAs will write to their parents. Where we cannot offer a place, the preference for that school will be refused.

Important information for Buckinghamshire residents

If we can’t offer any of your preferences, we try to offer a place at the nearest school with spaces.  This may not be your catchment school and might be a school in another area.  We do this in the following order:

  • for children where a Buckinghamshire upper/all-ability school has been included on the application. This might include qualified children where a grammar school place cannot be offered, then
  • if places remain, for children where a school in another area has been included on the application. This might include qualified children where a grammar school place cannot be offered.

We will not offer a place at the next nearest school with a place to unqualified children whose parents only expressed Buckinghamshire grammar school preferences on their application. Parents in this group had the opportunity, and were advised, to include an upper/all- ability or school in another area on their application had they so wished and chose not to. We do not assume that you want an upper/all-ability school. You may be sending your child to an independent school if they do not qualify. However, you can express alternative preferences for a later allocation round.

If your child is qualified for grammar school, we will try to offer a place at the nearest Buckinghamshire grammar school. However, in recent years this has not been possible as all grammar schools have been full on National Offer Day. This is why it is sensible to not just include Buckinghamshire grammar schools on your application. 

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Last updated: 21 August 2020

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