Please click on the following links for answers to the frequently asked questions that parents often have at this time. This information supplements the guidance in the other sections.

Is my child guaranteed a transfer place if they currently attend the feeder link or partner primary school?

No. There is no automatic transfer into the transfer class and places are not reserved.  If you apply on time by midday on 31 October 2016, your child is more likely to be offered a place in their feeder school. However if you apply late, your child may not be able to attend their feeder school because all the places may have been allocated to other children. If you are applying to a faith school, you also need to be aware that faith schools give priority to Catholic children from other schools before they consider applications from non-Catholic children, even if they attend a partner primary school.

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Do I need to apply for a transfer 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 transfer place as they will be admitted to the named school.  In all other circumstances you must apply for a transfer 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 transfer 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. 

If you feel your child should attend a specific mainstream school on medical grounds and 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 31 October 2016 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. Please note no medical cases considered in 2014 or 2015 were upheld and only 1 case in 2016 prior to national offer day was upheld.

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 feeder link school as you are more likely to be offered a place at that school.

Find your nearest school using our online school finder

If your child is currently receiving additional support in their current school or is undergoing assessment, the professionals involved will share all this information with your child’s new school.

Do not apply for a transfer place at a specific school on the basis that it has an ARC because your child will not be admitted to the ARC 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.

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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 31 October 2016 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. Please note no medical cases considered in 2014 or 2015 were upheld and only 1 case in 2016 prior to national offer day was upheld.

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. 

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How many schools can I apply for?

You can list up to four state schools, of any type, in any local authority on your application. Each school listed counts as a separate application so the more you list, the greater your chances of getting a preferred school.  Before you apply for any school, read the school’s admission arrangements to understand how places are allocated.  Find your nearest school using our online school finder

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

No. It will not improve your chances. 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.

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Which type of school can I apply for?

You can apply for a transfer place in the normal year of entry of any type of school, except an independent school. Independent schools are funded through fees paid by parents.  They set their own curriculum and admission policies. 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 and academy and will forward the applications on to the school or academy if it is its own admissions authority.

Before you apply for any school, read the school’s admission arrangements to understand how places are allocated. If there are more applications than places available, the school or local authority will apply these admission arrangements and allocate places accordingly up to the specified admission number. You can find these on the school pages on this website.

You must submit any evidence required in the timescale requested. If you are applying for a school place for faith reasons, the school may ask you to provide evidence of faith.  This may be a certificate of baptism, letter of support from a minister or faith leader, letter from a mosque or suitable equivalent.  Schools will contact you directly for this information.  It is therefore important that the information on your application form (such as address and telephone number) is correct and up to date.

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.

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How are Newcastle schools organised?

Newcastle has both a two-tier and three-tier school system.  In most of Newcastle, children are educated in a primary school from age 4 to 10 before transferring to secondary school at the end of year 6. 

Newcastle now has a new type of school which also admits children at the end of year 6, a studio school called Studio West. Studio schools are small schools designed for 11-19 year olds of all abilities. With year-round opening and a 9-5 working day, the school is more like a workplace than a school. Working closely with local employers, studio schools offer a range of academic and vocational qualifications, as well as paid work placements linked directly to employment opportunities in the local area.

In the Gosforth, Great Park and Dinnington areas of Newcastle, children are educated in first schools (age 4 to 8) and transfer to middle school at the end of year 4 (age 9 to 12).

From middle school, children normally transfer to the Gosforth Academy at the end of year 8 (age 13). 

Finally Newcastle also has a new free school called Discovery which admits students at the end of year 9. If you wish your child to attend Discovery School, you must apply for a transfer place there for year 10.

At secondary phase, there are two single sex Catholic schools – Sacred Heart (girls) and St Cuthbert’s (boys). St Mary’s Catholic School is mixed gender.

Most first, primary and middle schools have a designated feeder link school to which their pupils usually transfer.  However, there is no automatic transfer from a school into its feeder or linked school. In order to secure a transfer place parents have to apply for places.

  • If your child is currently in year 4 in a first school you should apply for a place in year 5 in a middle school.
  • If your child is currently in year 6 in a primary school you should apply for a place in year 7 in a secondary school.
  • If your child is currently in year 8 in a middle school you should apply for a place in year 9.
  • If your child is currently in year 9 you may apply for a place in year 10 at Discovery. (You do not need to apply to transfer into year 10 in your child’s current school.)

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Can I apply for my child to change between the two-tier and three-tier school systems?

Yes. But you can only apply through the transfer process for schools in their normal year of entry, in other words for year 5 in middle schools, year 7 in secondary, year 9 at Gosforth Academy and Studio West, and year 10 at Discovery.

Please consider the impact on your child of moving schools between the two tier and three tier systems, when this is not the usual age of transfer for their current school. As well as the expense of paying for a new uniform and travel costs to a school that may be further from home, your child will be separated from their friends.  They will not be prepared for moving schools in the same way that children who are approaching normal age of transfer are supported by their current schools.

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Why can I not apply for a place in year 7 in a middle school?

The normal year of admission to a middle school is year 5. You can therefore only apply for transfer places into year 5.  In September 2017, no local middle school will have an additional intake at year 7 and classes are full.  If you name a middle school on your child’s application for year 7 transfer, please note it will not be processed.

If you wish to apply for a place in a school in any year group other than the first year of admission to the school, you should apply as an in year admission.  If a place is available and your child is offered an in year place, please note they will be required to take up the place within 10 school days.

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Will my child be given priority for a transfer 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 offer 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.

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What do you mean when you say that the local authority co-ordinates admissions for transfer places?

The local authority (Newcastle City Council) is required by law to co-ordinate the admission process for all transfer places in state schools and academies for all children living in Newcastle.  The co-ordinated arrangements ensure that every child is only offered one school place, by the home authority they live in.

If your child lives in Newcastle, applications for school places must be submitted to the city council.  You need to apply to us even if you want to apply for a school place outside of Newcastle.  If you live in another local authority, you must apply to them even if you want a place in a Newcastle school.  We can only process applications for children who live in Newcastle. It is your responsibility to apply to the correct local authority. 

We will share your information with other admission authorities and they will inform us if a place can be offered.  We will contact you on the outcome.

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Do I need to provide any proof to support my school application?

If you are required to provide evidence to support your application, it will say so in the admissions policy for that school.

  • If you are applying to a school for faith reasons they may ask you for proof of faith.
  • If your child was looked after by the local authority and immediately afterwards was subject to an adoption, child arrangements or special guardianship order you must provide evidence of this by 31 October 2016 if you wish to be considered for a school place under this criterion.
  • You may be asked to provide proof of your address.  

You will need to submit any evidence in the timescale requested by the school or local authority or it may not be considered when allocating places.

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Can I tell you my reason for wanting a particular school?

Yes but we can only look at information directly related to your application where it means that you qualify under an admission rule. Any other information will not be taken into account.  “The school is easy to get to”, “the school is near grandparents who will be helping with the school run”, “cousins attend that school”, “I’ve visited the school and really like it”, “all my child’s friends go there” are all examples of information that will not have any bearing on your application.

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Will it make a difference if my application is submitted late?

Yes. If your application is received after 31 October 2016, it will be processed after we have processed all the on time applications. You are unlikely to get a place at one of the schools listed on your form and you will not receive your school offer until 10 April 2017. Evidence must also be submitted on time or will not be considered.

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My application is late but I have extenuating circumstances

If you provide evidence with your application to explain why it was late, the admission authorities for the named schools will consider whether they will accept your reasons as exceptional and process your application as though it was received on time.  The latest date for any late application to be submitted and considered as an exception is 25 November 2016. Beyond this date, it will be treated as late.

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Which address should I use for my child's application?

By law 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.

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 consider the evidence available such as the address of the parent/carer that claims the child benefit or child tax credit and the address where the child is regsitered with a GP in order to determine what will be considered to be the child’s main address.

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What address do I use on my application if I am moving house?

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 your application, write to us with proof of your new address which can be (1) a letter from your solicitor (or builder if your house is a new build) confirming your completion date or (2) a signed rental agreement that shows the start of your tenancy.  You must also provide proof that you and your child are resident at the new address.

  • For your new address to be used for national offer day we must have received evidence by 25 November 2016 which confirms that you are resident at the new address
  • For a new address to be used for the second waiting list run we must have received evidence by 27 March 2016 which confirms that you are resident at the new address.

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We are a service family being posted to Newcastle.  How do we apply for a school place?

If you live in England, you should apply for a transfer 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 25 November 2016 to be used for national offer day allocations
  • By 27 March 2016 to be used for the second waiting list run

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What do I need in order to apply online?

All you need is access to the internet and an email account.  We encourage you to apply online because:

  • Applying online is quick and easy to do.
  • You will get email confirmation that your application has been received.
  • There is no risk that your application will get lost in the post.
  • The system has security procedures that prevent anyone seeing information they are not entitled to.
  • You can check or change the details on your application up until the closing date. (Remember to resubmit your application if you do this.)
  • Every time you change your online application, you will receive an email confirmation.
  • The system is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week up until the closing date of midday (12 noon) 31 October 2016.
  • You can log in to your application on offer day to see which school your child has been offered.
  • You can accept the place offered online.

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I’m having technical problems accessing the website, who can help?

If you have forgotten your online password, please request a new one using the “Forgotten password” option on the login page.  If you experience any other technical issues, please email us with full details to admissions.information@newcastle.gov.uk. 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.

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Where can I get help to fill in my application?

You can get help filling in your application from one of the city’s Customer Service Centres or alternatively from a school. 

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If I apply online should I submit a paper form as well?

No. You should submit one application. Do not submit both a paper application and an online application.  Duplicate information can slow the process down. A paper application form can be found at the back of this booklet if you are unable to apply online.

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How will I know if you have received my application?

Applications made online will be acknowledged by return email. Online application is a secure process with no risk that the application will get lost in the post. 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 that you use the correct postage or the post office will not deliver the envelope and it may not arrive to us before the closing date. It is your responsibility to ensure that your application is submitted on time.

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Can I change my preferences after submitting my application?

If you apply online you can change your preferences online up to the closing date of midday on 31 October 2016.  Remember to resubmit your form.  You will get a confirmation email each time you do this.

If you submitted a paper application, you will need to inform us in writing about any changes to your preferences before the closing date of 31 October 2016.  Please include your child’s full name and date of birth in any correspondence.

If you want to change your preferences after the closing date, you will have to send us a new paper form.  Your original application will be cancelled and replaced with your new application. The new application will be classed as late and will not be processed until the second waiting list on 10 April 2017.

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What happens if someone uses a fraudulent address or gives other 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 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 and your child has not yet started school 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.

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.

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Is a first come, first served system used to allocate places?

No.  All applications received by the closing date of midday (12 noon) on 31 October 2016 will be considered together in the first round.

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 is a legal requirement and is called equal preference.

  • Our computer system is set up to apply the arrangements for schools that use the local authority admission policy.
  • We will be told if another admission authority (such as an academy, faith school or another local authority) can offer your child a place.
  • We will co-ordinate the information from each admission authority and ensure that every child is only offered one 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 two children have an equal right to a place, the place will be offered to the older child. The remaining child will be offered an alternative school.
  • If your child is not eligible for a place at any of your preferred schools, we will offer the nearest alternative school with a space.
  • We repeat these steps until every child has been offered a place.

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On offer day, why would I not be offered my preferred school?

Each school has a specified number of places they can offer to children starting the school – the published admission number (PAN).  If there are enough places, they will be offered to all applicants.  However, if there are more applications for a school than the number of places available, all 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 your 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.

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If I am not offered my preferred school on offer day, how many waiting lists can I be on?

Newcastle parents can have a maximum of four waiting list preferences, including schools within and outside Newcastle. The number will depend on which ranked preference you were offered.

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Can I ask to be on a waiting list for a lower preference school?

The only way to ask to be on a waiting list for a school ranked lower than the school you were offered is by completing a whole new application form.  This will overwrite your original application.  We will not process change requests made on the online acceptance form.

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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.  Examples of when a place could be withdrawn include:

  • Where you have given fraudulent or intentionally misleading information such as a false address.
  • Where you have not responded to an offer within the stated timescale.
  • Where the offer has been made in error.

We will 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.

If an offer is withdrawn as a result of fraudulent or misleading information, 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.

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Rights of appeal

  • If you want to appeal for more than one school you will need to appeal separately for each one.
  • You can only appeal for a school if you have applied and been refused admission to the school.
  • You cannot appeal if an offer is removed on the grounds of misleading or fraudulent information, unless you reapply for the school using the correct information and a place is subsequently refused.
  • Submitting an appeal does not affect your position on the waiting list.

For more information on making an appeal click here.

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How secure is the information I have provided you about my child?

In addition to processing your application for a school place, under the data protection legislation we may use your application information to co-operate with our partners in health and youth justice to improve the wellbeing of children in the Newcastle area as required by the Children Act 2004. Information sharing between partner organisations is sometimes necessary to help provide better services.

In accordance with the School Admissions Code 2014, we are required to publish statistical data about the number of applications for places at each school, the number which were successful and the criteria under which they were accepted.

All admissions application data is stored, maintained and transferred by secure methods in accordance with the Data Protection Act.  The online school admission system is regularly independently tested to guard against unauthorised entry.

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How do I pass on a comment, suggestion or make a formal complaint?

We value customer feedback on what you feel we have done well, and on ways we can improve the information, advice and support we provide for parents. Please contact us by email, phone or post with any comments or suggestions.

If you have a complaint about the service please contact us in the first instance on 0191 278 7878 (Ask for “School Admission”) or email to admissions.information@newcastle.gov.uk to discuss the problem.  Usually most cases can be resolved in this way. 

When you tell us what you are not happy with, we can try to put things right. In future, we can try to get it right first time. We will treat your complaint seriously and deal with your complaint positively. If you wish to make a formal complaint, you can:

Email complaints@newcastle.gov.uk
Phone 0191 278 7878 and ask for "Complaints".

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What age must my child be before they can leave school?

A young person stops being of statutory school age on the last Friday in June during the year they turn 16 years old, as long as the child’s birthday is before the beginning of the next school year. If their 16th birthday falls after the start of the new school year, they are still of statutory school age until the end of the last Friday in June of the following year.

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Page last updated: 
8 September 2016
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