Do I need to apply for a reception place for my child?

Yes. You need to apply for a reception place even if your child attends the nursery class or has an older brother or sister at the school. If you do not apply, we will not offer your child a school place.
There is no automatic transition from a nursery class into reception. It is a separate application process that does not take into account which early education or childcare the child has attended.

How do I decide which schools to apply for?

Enter your postcode into the government’s school finder to find your nearest schools. These may be in a neighbouring local authority.

Before you apply for any school

  • Read the school’s admissions policy to understand how places are allocated if there are more applicants than places available. Our school AZ will link you to every Newcastle school website where the admission policy for that school will be published.
  • Look at information from previous years on who was offered a place.  Is it likely that your child would be offered a place in the same situation?
  • Be realistic. You are more likely to be offered a place in your nearest non-faith school than in a school further away from home. 
  • If the admission policy says that parents must provide evidence before the school will give the child priority for a place, you need to send the requested documents in on time.
  • Look at the school’s website and brochure for information about the school itself and to read what Ofsted said in its last inspection.
  • Visit the school in person for a tour and to meet key staff.  Contact schools directly for details of open days or to make a personal appointment.
  • Do not base your decisions purely on what other people say.

***There is no advantage to your child attending a specific nursery or playgroup. The admission process for reception is completely unrelated to early years and childcare places. Children in the nursery class do not have any priority for places in the reception class of the school. ***

How were places allocated in previous years?​

See how places were allocated in schools on offer day 2017 here. 
Please be aware that demand for places at particular schools varies from year to year for different reasons. Use the information available as a guide but we cannot give any firm indications of any child’s chances of being offered a particular school.

How many schools can I apply for?

You should list four schools on your application to increase the chance of being offered a preferred school.  Your child will be considered for a place at every school you name on the form (so naming four schools gives you more chances). List the school you want most first. If we can offer a place at more than one school, we will allocate the school you listed highest.

Is my child more likely to be offered a place if I only apply to one school? 

No. It will not improve your chances. Do not waste the opportunity to apply for four schools.  We strongly advise you to use all your preferences so that you are considered for other schools if your first preference school is not successful. If you only name one school on your application and we are unable to offer your child a place there you will be offered an alternative school with spaces. This might not be near your home.

Will my child be given priority for a reception place in a school if I rank that school first on my application form?

No. Every application for a school is considered in exactly the same way against the school’s admissions criteria regardless of whether it was ranked as first or fourth preference. The order you list the schools only matters if we are able to offer you a place at more than one school, then we will offer you the school you ranked highest.   Please list your schools in order of preference with the school you most want first. If a place is available at more than one of your preferred schools, we will allocate a place at the one that was listed highest. It is important to understand that:

  • Listing four schools of the same type (for example, faith schools) does not mean that your application for any of these schools will be looked at more favourably.
  • Places are allocated by an electronic database based on the information provided by the parent or carer.  Staff cannot influence results.

Which type of school can I apply for?

You can apply for a reception place at any type of school on our application form except an independent school. Independent schools are funded through fees paid by parents.  If you want to apply to an independent school you should contact the school direct. The local authority co-ordinates the admissions process for every other type of school (these are called state schools) and will forward the applications on to the school if it is its own admissions authority.

If you apply for a state school and an independent school and are offered a place at both, please tell us which school place you are accepting. If you do not apply for a state school and your child is not offered a place at an independent school, you are unlikely to get a place at your preferred state school if you apply at a later date.

What happens if someone uses a fraudulent address or gives other false or misleading information on their application?

Every year we have cases where parents give false information about their home address to get a place at a particular school.  You must make sure that everything you tell us is true and accurate. We carry out address checks and may ask for additional proof of address. Using a false address is taken extremely seriously.  It is committing fraud. If not convinced your address is genuine, we will withdraw any offer of a school place and may take other further action. If the place is not removed because the child has been attending the school for some time, we will cancel the sibling link for any other children in that family. It is the parent/carer's responsibility to prove residency if requested.

We do all we can to make sure that fraud does not happen because it can prevent genuine applicants from getting a place at a school. If you have any concerns or information about the use of fraudulent addresses or other false information, please contact us in confidence.

Similarly, if you have applied on the basis that an older sibling will be attending the same school in September 2018 as the child you are applying for and this changes at any point before September 2018, (for example you have accepted an offer of a different school for the older sibling) you must inform the local authority immediately. A place allocated solely on the basis of an older sibling attending the same school in September 2018 will be withdrawn at any point prior to this date if the sibling will not be in attendance at the same time as the child you are applying for.

Do I need to apply for a reception place if my child has special educational needs?

If your child has an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan that names a particular school, you do not need to apply for a reception place as they will be admitted to the named school.  In all other circumstances you must apply for a reception class place. 

Even if your child is being assessed for a possible placement in an Additionally Resourced Centre (ARC) or special school, you should apply for a reception class place in a mainstream school. There are limited places available in ARCs and special schools and it may not be possible that your child can be offered a place in either at this point in time. If you do not apply for a mainstream school, your child may not have a school place for September.

The majority of children with special educational needs are able to have their needs met at any mainstream school.  Your child’s application will be assessed and ranked against the school’s admission policy oversubscription criteria if there are more applicants than places available. 

To help you decide which schools to apply for, read the information on their website which specifically explains the support they can provide to children with SEN or disabilities. Read their admissions policy and information about how places at the school were allocated in previous years. This will give you an idea how likely it is that your child would be offered a place. Arrange to visit the schools and talk to them about how they can support your child. We always advise that parents apply to their nearest non-faith school as you are more likely to be offered a place at that school.

Please note there is no automatic transfer from a school nursery class into the reception class, nor will any nursery child have priority for a place in the reception class.  If your child is currently receiving additional support in a pre-school setting or is undergoing assessment, the professionals involved will share all this information with your child’s new school.

Do not apply for a reception place at a specific school on the basis that it has an ARC because your child will not be admitted to the ARC (Additionally Resourced Centre) in this way. Placements in ARCs and special schools are decided by an SEN Assessment Panel. Parents cannot apply for places in an ARC or special school. 

If you have any specific concerns, please discuss these with the schools you are considering applying for and with the professionals supporting your child.  Alternatively contact us on 0191 278 7878.

What if my child needs to go to a named school for medical reasons?

Read the admission policy first to check whether medical reasons are given priority when places are allocated at the school. If it is not stated in the policy, the school cannot lawfully consider medical circumstances.

If medical reasons are included in the admission policy (for example where the child or one or both parents has a disability that means that the child can only go to one school) you must provide a letter from an appropriate health professional by midday 15 January 2018 explaining why the named school is the only school that the child can attend.  If the evidence is late it may not be considered when places are allocated. 

The evidence will be assessed by the admission authority and either upheld or rejected. The case is unlikely to be upheld if the preferred school is not the child’s nearest school. 
If your child has special educational needs and you feel they should attend a specific mainstream school on medical grounds, please be aware that the case will be assessed on the same basis as described above. The majority of children with special educational needs are able to have their needs met at any mainstream school and your case is unlikely to be upheld. 

Help and support

If you have any further questions after reading this guidance, please contact us directly.  We will respond as soon as possible but at busy times our response times are 3 working days for phone calls and up to 10 working days for written correspondence.

Phone on 0191 278 7878 (ask for “School Admissions”)
Writing to:
Access, Admissions and Attendance Service
Newcastle City Council
Civic Centre
Barras Bridge

Page last updated: 
3 August 2018
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