Frequently asked questions about school admissions
Q. Do I have a right to a place at the school of my choice for my child?
A. No. Parents do not have an absolute right to choose the school they want for their child. Parents have a right to state a preference for a school and the County Council and other admission authorities have a duty to comply with that preference except where it would prejudice what the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act calls ‘efficient education or the efficient use of resources’. If the County Council or governors of an admission authority school are unable to meet a parental preference, parents have the right to appeal to an independent appeal panel.
Q.How can I assess the likelihood of securing a place for my child?
A. From the school’s admission policy - available on the school details pages - you will be able to work out how high up the list of admission criteria your child will be. You can find information about the number of children the school can admit in September, as well as the number of children admitted within each admission category last year. For community and voluntary controlled schools this information can be found in the school details pages. For other schools you may need to contact the school. Schools will be able to give you an idea of the trend of applications and appeals. However, you must treat the information about previous years with some caution because circumstances can change from year to year. For example, if a new housing development opens in the catchment area of a small infant school, it may affect the number of out of catchment applicants the school can admit.
Q. How do I find out the catchment area school for my address?
A. In most cases, schools take most of their children from their catchment area, called the catchment area. To find your catchment school, check using the School catchment finder. Please note that your child’s permanent address determines your catchment school and it is this address which must be used on the application form. You should always check the school's admission policy - not all schools have a catchment area.
Q. Will my child be guaranteed a place in the catchment area school?
A. The County Council cannot guarantee places in any school. If you apply to your catchment school the chances are usually high that you will be offered a place, but this cannot be guaranteed. Changes in the pattern of parents’ preferences and changes in local population may mean that a few schools will be oversubscribed from within their catchment area.
Q. I live near the county boundary. Are procedures and deadlines the same in other local authorities?
A. For the main admission rounds, the deadlines for applications and notification dates have been set nationally. Hampshire residents applying to a school in another authority must follow the guidance in these web pages. If you intend to apply to a school in another authority, it is advisable to obtain the school's prospectus and find out about the local authority's procedures.
Residents in neighbouring authorities applying to a Hampshire school must use their own authority’s form and follow the advice given by their own authority.