Starting school is an important step for your child and can be a difficult and stressful time. Newcastle City Council co-ordintates reception class admissions to all Newcastle state schools and academies and we aim to make the system as simple as possible.
In order to help you make the right choices we have produced the information on this page and additional information in the Starting School – Information for Parents document below. Please take the time to read the information so you can make the best choice for your family and improve your chances of getting your preferred school.
Co-ordinated arrangements ensure every child is only allocated one school place by the home authority they live in. You can only apply here if you live in Newcastle City Council area.
If your query is about moving into a current reception class please see our in-year guidance.
|When does my child need to start school?|
|Applying on time|
|How applications are processed|
|Answer not here?|
Reception birth dates
Children born between 1 September 2014 and 31 August 2015 may start school in reception class in September 2019.
Compulsory school age
Children are given the opportunity of a whole year in reception class, regardless of their birth date. However children must be in full time education once they reach statutory school age. This is from the term after the child’s fifth birthday
|Child’s birth day is between||Statutory school age|
|1 September 2014 and 31 December 2014||Beginning of the term after 1 January 2019|
|1 January 2015 and 31 March 2015||Beginning of the term after 1 April 2019|
|1 April 2015 and 31 August 2015||Beginning of the term after 1 September 2020|
Can I delay my child’s start date?
Once you have a confirmed place at a school, it is possible to delay your child’s start date until they reach statutory school age. You must inform the Headteachre in writing that you wish to defer entry to the school. Your child’s place at the school will be kept open for them to join at a later date. Your start date must be between September 2019 and July 2020
Please bear in mind if you delay your child’s start date your child will be placed in a class of children who have already had the opportunity to adapt to school life and make friends in their class. You may not be able to keep your child in a nursery or other early years setting during this time.
Keeping your child at home until they reach statutory school age because you have not been offered a place at your preferred school will not increase the chance of being offered that school. By the time your child reaches statutory school age there may be no places left in schools close to home and the only place may be some distance away.
Can I offset my place? - My child is summer born
Children who are born between 1 April 2015 and 31 August 2015 are not of statutory school age until September 2020, parents can ask for their child to start school a year late in the following year group, but there is no legal requirement for the school to agree your request. The decision is made by each school’s admission authority based on the individual circumstances of the case and in what it feels is in the best interests of the child. A decision by one school is not binding on another school. This is called an offset.
In exceptional cases it may be possible to offset a school place for children who are not summer born. This must be supported by evidence and agreed by both the local authority and the school admission authority.
You cannot apply for a place for September 2019 and defer your child’s place until September 2020.
- How do I apply for an offset?
If your child is born between 1 April and 31 August 2015 and you would like your child to be considered for admission in September 2020 rather than 2019, you must write to the local authority in Autumn 2018 setting out your reasons and providing any relevant evidence. Please specify the schools you would like to consider your request for delayed admissions. The local authority will forward your request to the schools and they will each consider the request and advise you of their decision.
- When do I apply for an offset?
It is important that you send your request in good time for schools to consider it and provide a response before the closing date for applications (noon, 15 January 2019). If all the schools refuse your request, you will still have time to apply for a reception place for your child for September 2019 before the closing date. Alternatively you could keep your child at home during 2019/20 and then apply for year 1 places rather than Reception places for September 2020.
- Am I guaranteed a place if a school agrees an offset request?
You are not guaranteed a place in reception 2020 if a school agrees to accept an offset request. It just means the school have agreed to consider the application in the September 2020 admissions round alongside children for whom that is their normal year of entry.
- If you can’t offer my preferred school what would happen?
If your child is not able to be offered a reception place at your preferred school in 2020, there is no guarantee that a reception place in an alternative school will be offered. This will depend on whether another school is willing to accept your child as a delayed admission. If a reception place is not available, your child will be allocated a Year 1 place in the nearest school with available places.
- Can I appeal the decision?
You cannot appeal a decision to refuse an offset request however you do have the right of appeal if you are refused a place in your preferred school. You have no right of appeal specifically against being refused a place in your preferred year group. You can complain using the school’s formal complaints process.
- What happens when my child is due to move schools?
If your child is offset and taught in a year group that is not their normal age group, please note you will need to repeat this process at transfer time to request the secondary/middle/high school also agrees to consider the application as a delayed admission in the appropriate admission round. For example, if your child is due to move to a secondary school and is offset by one year, you will need to discuss school transfer with the LA and your preferred secondary schools when your child is due to start year 5 (when their age group would be entering year 6)
If you choose to move your child’s school before their normal transfer time, for example in year 2, any schools which you apply for would also need to agree the offset or your child may need to move into the age-related year group.
When do I need to apply for a reception place?
The opening date for reception applications is 1 September 2018 and the closing date is noon, 15 January 2019. After this date your application will be treated as late and will be processed after all the applications submitted on time. This means you are unlikely to be offered a preferred school.
Do I need to apply for a reception place?
Yes. You need to apply for a reception place even if you 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.
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.
If your child has special educational needs but does not have a EHC Plan, you must apply for a reception place.
Who should apply?
Either parent with parental responsibility can make an application for a school place unless there is a Court Order which states differently. Where more than one adult shares parental responsibility and they live at different addresses, it is important that agreement is reached, before making the application, on which schools to apply for. If conflicting applications are received, or the Admissions Team is made aware of a dispute between parents, all applications will be placed on hold and will not be processed until:
- one joint application is made; or
- written agreement is provided from both parents; or
- a Court Order is obtained confirming which parent’s application carries precedence.
Who do I need to apply to?
- If you live in Newcastle you need to make your application 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.
- If you don't live in Newcastle you need to make your application to the local authority you live in (who you pay your Council Tax to). They will share information with us and we will consider your application with all the other applications received.
Tips for deciding which schools to apply for
Think carefully about the points below to help make your decision
- Enter your postcode into the government’s school finder to find your nearest schools. These may be in a neighbouring local authority.
- Read the school’s admission policy (links in the School Directory)
- Read how places were allocated in previous years. Is it likely 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 a school further away from home.
- If you are applying to a school which will require evidence (for example medical or faith grounds) you must provide this evidence in time for it to be considered.
- Look at the school’s website and brochure for information about the school itself and to read what Ofsted said in the 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.
Remember – 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 many schools can I apply for?
You can list up to four schools on your application. The more schools you apply for, the higher the chance of you being allocated one of these schools. Your child is considered for a place at every school you name on the form (so naming four schools gives you four 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 and you cannot change this without putting in a late application.
If I only apply to one school am I more likely to be offered a place?
No. It will not improve your chances. Do not waste the opportunity to apply to four schools. We strongly advise you to use all your preferences so that you are considered for other schools if we are not able to offer your first preference. If you only name one school on your application and we are unable to offer you a place there, we will offer an alternative school with spaces. This might not be near your home.
Will my child be given priority in a school if I put it as first preference?
No. Every application is considered in exactly the same way against the school’s admissions criteria regardless of whether it was ranked 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. List the school you want most first. If a place is available at more than one of your preferred schools, we will allocate a place at the one you listed highest.
Listing four schools of the same type (for example, faith schools) does not mean your application for any of these schools will be looked at more favourably
Places are allocated by an electronic database based on information provided by the person applying. Staff cannot influence results however if you are refused a place at a school you have a right of appeal.
What types of schools 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 need to contact the school directly.
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 school if you apply at a later date.
Which address should I use?
By law you must use the permanent address at the time of application at which your child is living with a parent or person with parental responsibility. The address of a childminder or relatives must not be used. We carry out address checks and ask for 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 further action.
If your child lives at more than one address Monday to Friday (for example due to a separation) the address used should be where your child lives most of the time. Only one address can be used.
If your child lives at two addresses, the local authority will use the address of the parent/carer that claims the child benefit or child tax credit.
If these benefits are not claimed, the address where the child is registered with a GP will be used in order to determine what will be considered the child’s main address.
It is the parent/carer’s responsibility to prove residency if requested.
I’m moving house what should I do?
The address you give on your child’s application must be your child’s permanent address at the time of application. If you move house after submitting the application, write to us with proof of your new address (see accepted evidence)
For your new address to be used for national offer day we must have received evidence by 1 February 2019 which confirms you are resident at the new address
For a new address to be used for the second waiting list run we must have received the evidence by 14 May 2019 which confirmed you are resident at the new address
What to do if we are a service family being posted to Newcastle?
If you live in England, you should apply for a reception place to your home local authority; if you live anywhere else apply directly to us. Please also contact us directly and forward an official Ministry of Defence, Foreign Commonwealth Office or Government Communication Head Quarters letter which confirms your relocation date and quartering area address. The application and supporting evidence must be received by:
- 1 February 2019 to be used for national offer day allocations
- 14 May 2019 to be used for the second waiting list run
What evidence do I need to provide?
- If you are applying to a catholic school on faith grounds you need to provide evidence of your faith directly to the school.
- If you are applying to any school for a medical reason (and they have a medical element in their oversubscription criteria) you must provide evidence of the medical need. Send this information to Newcastle City Council and we will share it with the schools you have applied for.
- Previously looked after status – a copy of the adoption, child arrangements or special guardianship order that confirms the child was looked after (in care) immediately prior to the order being granted. Send this information to Newcastle City Council and we will share it with the schools you have applied for.
- If we ask for evidence of your address you must provide it within the timescale provided
In most instances, the deadline for providing evidence is noon, 15 January 2019. Please include your child’s name and date of birth on any correspondence.
What happens if someone gives false 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 everything you tell us is true and accurate. We carry out address checks and ask for additional proof of address. Using a false address is taken extremely seriously. It is committing fraud. If we are not convinced your address is genuine, we will withdraw any offer of a school place and may take 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 the family. It is the parent/carer’s responsibility to prove residency if requested.
We do all we can to make sure 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 2020 as the child you are applying for and this changes at any point before September 2020 (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 2019 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.
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 not stated in the policy, the school cannot lawfully consider medical circumstances.
If medical reasons are included in the admission policy, you must provide a letter from an appropriate health professional explaining why the named school is the only school 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 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.
Can I tell you my reason for wanting a particular school?
Yes, but we can only consider information directly related to your application where it means you qualify under an admission rule. Any other information will not be taken into account.
If I apply online should I submit a paper form as well?
No. You should only submit one application. Duplicate information can slow the process down.
How will I know you have received the application?
Applications made online will be acknowledged by return email. If you submit a paper application form we are unable to provide a receipt unless you include a stamped addressed envelope. You are strongly advised to obtain proof of postage in case it is lost in the post. Make sure you use the correct postage or the post office will not deliver the envelope and it may not arrive before the closing date. It is your responsibility to ensure your application is submitted in time and to provide evidence of submission if requested.
All applications received by the closing date of 12 noon on 15 January 2019 will be considered together in the first round. Late applications will be considered in the second waiting list run. Each school you list is considered as a separate application and 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 (PAN). The admission number for each school is shown on the school directory. 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.
The local authority co-ordinates 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 you apply for if they can offer your child a place.
If just one school you applied for can offer your child a place, that is the school which we will offer you.
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 not take into account your faith preferences during this process.
We will repeat these steps until every child has been offered a place.
We will only discuss admission related queries with the parent or carer who submitted the application unless we are given written consent by that parent/carer to discuss the application with another relative or carer who contacts us.
Is a first come, first served system used to allocate places?
No. All applications received by the closing date of 12 noon on 15 January 2019 will be considered together in the first round.
When will I hear the outcome of my application?
If you applied online, you can log back into your application on 16 April 2019 to find out the school we have offered your child. Follow the instructions online to accept or decline the school place by 2 May 2019. Please be aware you need to log into the application fully to see the offer; it is not on the summary page.
Most parents will also receive an automated email on 16 April to tell you that the online application system is live. There is no direct link between the timing of the email and the moment the website goes live. You do not have to wait for the email to access the website. There may be various reasons why you don’t receive an email so if you applied online remember to log back in even if you don’t receive an email.
If you applied on time on paper we will post you a letter second class on 16 April 2019. Offer information will not be given out by phone.
How are distances calculated?
Where distance is used in over subscription criteria, it is important to recognise that this is calculated by a bespoke system and is not comparable to other systems used to measure distance due to the fact it also measures last mass including topography (i.e. contours and elevation). There are strict standards which are used to determine these distances and they are scrutinised by external agencies, GeoPlace/Ordnance Survey. The central point of both your home and the school property must be within a building, for example not in a Courtyard or school field.
This document has more information https://www.geoplace.co.uk/documents/10181/120974/GeoPlace+DEC-Addresses+v3.4+2016/9edcdf42-be01-455e-bd25-6c596f00b6ec?version=1.5.
Why would I not be offered my first preference school on offer day?
Each school has a specified maximum number of places they can offer to children starting the school – the published admission number (PAN). If there are not enough places for all applicants, the applications will be ranked in accordance with the oversubscription criteria stated in the school admission policy and places will be offered in the priority order up to the admission number.
If your child is not offered a place at a preferred school, this means that more children applied for the school than there were places available, and other children ranked higher against the oversubscription criteria than your child.
Every year we publish information to show how the places at each school were allocated on national offer day according to the school’s oversubscription criteria.
Why would I be offered a place at a school which I did not apply for?
If we are unable to offer any of your school preferences named on your application form we will offer you the closest school which still has places available after all parent's preferences have been considered. We are legally required to offer a place at another school if we are unable to offer a place at your preffered schools as part of the School Admissions Code 2014. Accepting this alternative school will not affect the chance that you will be offered a place at one of your preferred schools through the rest of the admissions process after National Offer Day but does make sure that your child has a school place in September.
What are my options if I am offered a school which I am unhappy with?
There are several options which are available after National Offer Day if you are offered a school which you are unhappy with. In these circumstances we recommend thinking about all the options available to you before refusing a place at a school. It is better to accept a place at a school, guaranteeing your child a place at a school in September, while exploring the other options available. There is no advantage in refusing a school place.
See our Late Applications and after National Offer Day page for more information on options available..
What happens after I accept a school place?
We inform every school of the names of the children we have made offers to for reception places and whether the parent has accepted or refused the place. We update this regularly and after every round of offers to ensure they have up to date information.
The school will then contact you during the summer term to invite you to an Open Evening in the school, when they will introduce the class teachers, advise on how you can prepare your child leading up to the first day and the importance of regular attendance, and share information such as term dates, the school day, uniform requirements and so on.
If we are able to offer a higher preference school, we will remove the offer for any lower preference school even if you have accepted the place unless you inform us in writing that you wish to be removed from the waiting list for the higher preference school/s.
Can the offer of a place be withdrawn?
We reserve the right to withdraw an offer of a place in certain circumstances. By submitting your application you are stating that the information given is true and accurate, that you have read and understood the admissions guidance and the admission policy for each school you are applying for.
Examples of when a place could be withdrawn are:
- Where you have given fraudulent or intentionally misleading information such as a false address
- Where you have not responded to an offer within the timescale
- Where the offer has been made in error
- If you have not informed us of a change in circumstances after you have applied that could affect your child’s application, such as a change of address or if an older sibling will no longer be in the preferred school in September (loss of sibling link)
We also withdraw offers if we are able to offer a higher preference school. We will remove the offer for any lower preference school even if you have accepted the place unless you inform us in writing that you wish to be removed from the waiting list for the higher preference school/s.
If an offer is withdrawn as a result of fraudulent or misleading information or because you have not informed us of a change in circumstances after you have applied that could affect your child’s application (such as the loss of a sibling link) you will need to reapply using the correct information. If a place is subsequently refused when your application is reconsidered, you have a right of appeal.
How do waiting lists work?
If we allocate your child a place in a preferred school, he/she will not be added to the waiting lists for any lower preference schools and those applications will be closed. Waiting lists only operate for schools listed as higher preferences than the school we are able to offer. If you want to reapply for a school that you originally ranked as a lower preference, you must make a completely new application that will be processed as a late change.
See our Late Applications and after National Offer Day page for more information on this process.
I have forgotten my password
If you have forgotten your online password, please request a new one using the “Forgotten password” option on the login page.
I am having other problems accessing the website
Please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org. We cannot personally resolve technical issues within the Admissions Team and emails will be escalated to our technical support team for priority attention. Please note that our office hours are Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm.
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 0191 278 7878 (ask for “School Admissions”)
Access, Admissions and Attendance Service
Newcastle City Council
Civic Centre Barras Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne