Children born between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013 may start school in reception class in September 2017. This guidance aims to help parents and carers through the process of deciding which schools to apply for and making an application for a reception class place.

Use the quick links below to navigate our information. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered in the summary information, you may find the information you need in our frequently asked questions section.

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.

When do I need to apply for a reception place by?

The closing date for on time applications was midday (12 noon) on 15 January 2017, this date has now past.  After this date your application will be treated as late and will be processed after all the applications sent on time. This means you are unlikely to be offered a preferred school.

How do I decide which schools to apply for?

Search here to find your nearest schools and links to their admission policies

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.

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.

*** Please be aware that children in the nursery class do not have any priority for places in the reception class of the school. ***

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.
  • 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.

See how places were allocated in schools on offer day 2016 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 do I apply for a reception place?

If your child lives in Newcastle, all applications for school places must be submitted to Newcastle City Council, even if you want to apply for a school in another area. We are required by law to co-ordinate the process across all schools and academies for children living in our local authority.

To make a late application for Reception 2017 please use this link 

We have a parents guide on how to apply online here

You can request a paper application form from any Customer Service Centre or school from 1 September 2016.  If you submit a paper form, you are recommended to get proof of postage incase the form is lost in the post.  We will not provide a receipt unless you provide a stamped addressed envelope.  Please make sure you use the correct postage or the post office will not deliver it.

Please note if you wish to change your preferences after 15 January (midday), any new form will cancel and replace your original application and will be processed as late. For more information on late changes, please read the guidance about applying late in the frequently asked questions section.

Do I need to provide any additional information to support my application?

If you need to provide evidence to support your application, it will say so in the admissions policy for the school or academy. It is your responsibility to provide this in the timescale requested so that it can be considered when places are being allocated.  In most cases the deadline for submitting supporting evidence is 15 January (midday), the same as the deadline for applying for a place. Please include your child’s name and date of birth on any correspondence.

Admission authorities will not give an application priority against any of the following admission criteria unless you provide supporting evidence. The evidence you submit will be reviewed by the admission authority and either upheld or rejected.  Please note that not every school includes these criteria within their policies.

  • Faith reasons - send the school your proof of faith directly
  • Previously looked after status - send the local authority a copy of the adoption, child arrangements or special guardianship order that confirms that the child was looked after (in care) immediately prior to the order being granted.
  • Medical reasons - Some schools, but not all, give priority to children and/or parents with medical conditions. If you wish for your application to be considered on medical grounds you must send the local authority a letter from an appropriate health professional explaining why the named school is the only school that the child can attend. Before applying please check the school's oversubscription criteria within the admission policy to ensure medical reasons are considered.

You may also be asked by the school or local authority to provide proof of your address.   You must use the permanent address at the time of application at which your child is living with a parent or the person with parental responsibility. The address of a childminder or relatives must not be used.  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.

How will you process my application?

All applications received by the closing date of midday (12 noon) on 15 January 2017 will be considered together in the first round. Late applications will be considered in the second waiting list run.

Each school you list on your form is considered as a separate application. Every application is considered in exactly the same way against the school’s admissions criteria regardless of whether it is 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. This legal requirement is called equal preference.

Places will be offered up to the admission number of the school or academy.  The admission number for each school is shown in the schools’ information. This number is the maximum number of children the school can take in the reception class. It takes into account the size of the school and is calculated using a formula from the government.

If there are enough places then they will be offered to all applicants. If the school is over-subscribed, places will be allocated according to the admission arrangements for that school.

  • We will co-ordinate the information from each admission authority (such as an academy, faith school or another local authority) and ensure that every child is only offered one place.
  • We will be told by every admission authority if they can offer your child a place.
  • If just one school you applied for can offer your child a place, then that is where we will offer the place.
  • If more than one school can offer your child a place we will offer you a place at the school you listed highest on your form.
  • If your child is not eligible for a place at any of your preferred schools, we will offer a place at the nearest alternative school that has a space after all on time applicants for that school have been considered.
  • We will repeat these steps until every child has been offered a place.

You must inform us of a change in circumstances after you have applied that could affect your child's application, such as change of address or if an older sibling who you have named as a sibling link will no longer be in the preferred school in September. Failure to do so could result in the withdrawal of an offer of a school place.

Frequently asked questions

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered in the summary information above, you may find the information you need in our frequently asked questions section.  If you have any further questions after reading this, 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
Room 225 Civic Centre
Barras Bridge

Page last updated: 
16 January 2017
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