Information about the in-year application process

Before you start

  • Read our applying for a place in-year page
  • You must make a separate application for each child. Please tell us on the application if they have a brother or sister.
  • Each child can only have one application at any time, but you can name four schools in any local authority on the application. These are called “preferences”.
  • If your child is aged 5 to 16, and not currently in a Newcastle school, you can apply online for any government-funded school, except North East Futures UTC.
  • Contact the school direct if you want to apply for a place in the nursery class, the sixth form, a private school or North East Futures UTC.
  • Remember forms are processed in the expectation that places will be taken up within 10 school days. Schools are unable to offer places further ahead than this.
  • We will only discuss the application by phone or email with the person who has made the application unless you tell us in writing that we can discuss it with another named person.

Legal Requirements

If your child is aged between 5 and 16 they must be in full-time education. They should keep attending their current school until an alternative place is offered. If you do not ensure your child attends school, you could be guilty of an offence and prosecuted.


Will the same subjects be available?

We cannot guarantee the subjects your child currently studies will be available at your new school. Check with the school before you make your application.

This is particularly important if you child is currently studying for GCSEs as some schools use different exam boards. 


Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

If your child has  an Education, health and care plan (EHCP) this may recommend a school for them.

•If your child has an education, health and care plan (EHCP), contact our SENDAPR team about identifying an appropriate Newcastle school.

•If they don’t have an EHCP, complete the in-year form. Include details of your child’s needs and any previous specialist provision with your application. This will help your application to be processed more quickly and ensure appropriate support is provided.


Serving members of the UK armed forces and crown servants returning from overseas postings

Families of UK service personnel and other crown servants can apply in advance of your relocation if you attach an official Ministry of Defence, Foreign Commonwealth Office or Government Communication Head Quarters letter which confirms the relocation date and quartering address.

Your child won't take priority in a school’s admission criteria, but we can process your application in advance of your move provided this is within a reasonable time, for example the following half term.

Check the Evidence Checklist for suitable documents to provide.

Who can apply for a school place

Applications should be made by the person with parental responsibility for the child. A child’s mother automatically has parental responsibility. The father may also have parental responsibility. Being the resident parent does not remove the other parent's parental responsibility. 

Where more than one adult shares parental responsibility it is important that agreement is reached on which schools to apply for prior to making the application. If conflicting applications are received, or we are 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 parents’ application carries precedence; or
  • a court order is provided stating child can/cannot move schools


How soon in advance can parents apply

You should not apply more than four school weeks in advance as places cannot be held open. There is an exception if you are currently in the UK armed forces or a crown servant.


Timescale for hearing the outcome

We will process your application and forward it on for an admission decision within 10 school days (this may be slightly extended in September/October due to the number of applications we receive at this time of year).  These timescales may be delayed if information is missing from your application.

You should hear whether the schools you applied to can offer your child a place within 15 school days of submitting your application. The response should be in writing. A verbal offer or refusal is not a formal decision.

Places are not offered during holidays when schools are closed. This is because schools in Newcastle are their own admission authorities and must make the final decision on offers.


Who will tell you the outcome of the application

If you have applied for a school that manages its own in-year offers, they will communicate the outcome to you directly.

Some schools have asked us to manage in-year offers on their behalf. If the school you have requested does this, we will write to you with the outcome.

If you receive a letter stating you are on a waiting list or the place has been refused for other reasons, there will be details of how to appeal the decision on this letter.


How schools decide whether to offer a child a place

Every school has a maximum number of students it can admit in each class due to the size of the classroom, corridors and other rooms in the building. UK law also limits the number of children taught by a qualified teacher in reception, year 1 and year 2 classes to a maximum of 30.

If there is a space in a school and there are several children applying for the place, the school’s admission criteria are used to decide which child has the highest priority and they will be offered the place.


Responding to an offer

  • If your child is offered a place, contact the school within 5 school days to accept or the offer may be withdrawn.
  • If your child is offered places in more than one school, let the local authority know which one you will be accepting. this is important so unwanted places can be offered to other children who have applied for the school. 

Your child is expected to start within 10 school days of an offer. You can’t apply in advance and reserve a place. Your child’s actual school start date will be agreed between you and the school.


If your child is not offered a place

The school must tell you why a place has been refused and how you can appeal if you want to. If your child has no offer, we will send you updated information on which schools have places so that you can make a new application. You can also check this information on the school vacancy page.


Appeals and waiting lists

You automatically have a right to submit an appeal to an independent appeals panel if your child is refused a place, but very few cases are upheld. Appeals take up to 30 school days to arrange.

If you are not offered a preferred school straight away, most schools will add your child’s name to a waiting list. This means they will be considered for a place if one becomes available later, and you will be contacted if it becomes possible to offer your child a place.

Read the school’s admission policy to find out how long they keep their waiting list and when it is cleared. Most waiting lists are cleared termly, and you will need to reapply for your child to continue to be considered for a place at the school.

When a place in a school becomes available, all children on the waiting list in that year group are re-ranked based on the school’s admission criteria, regardless of how long they have been waiting for a place.

If you wish to change your school preferences within the same term, you can submit a new application online (if you have applied using the Citizen's Portal). Otherwise, we will need a new application form. In some circumstances we can accept preferences by email or text but this is unusual. Your original application will be cancelled and replaced with your new application. You will be removed from the waiting lists of the original schools. You can reapply for a school at any time.


Need more information?

If you would like further information and advice after reading our guidance online, you can contact us directly.


Phone:  0191 278 7878 (ask for “School Admissions”). We can arrange a telephone interpreter if required.

Our office hours are 9am - 2.30pm, Monday to Friday

We do not have a reception desk for visitors or appointments in person.  We also have no facility for you to hand in applications or supporting evidence at the Civic Centre.