Legal information - School Admissions
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 takes priority.
Social workers and foster carers do not have parental responsibility so should not make and application for a child. The application should be made by whoever has parental responsibility for the child (e.g. if a child is looked after by the local authority on a care order the application should be made in consultation with the care team and virtual school). Family law is explicit that foster carers do not have parental responsibility (and therefore do not have the authority to apply for a school place). It is the LA that is given parental responsibility for children under a care order or emergency protection order.
What address should I use?
You must use the permanent address at the time of application where your child lives with a parent or person with parental responsibility. You can't use an address where they don't live, for example a childminder or grandparent's house.
We carry out address checks and may ask for proof of address. Using a false address is taken extremely seriously (it is committing fraud). If we don't believe your address is genuine, we will withdraw any offer of a school place and may take further action.
My child splits their time between my home and my ex-partner's, what address do we use?
- If your child lives at more than one address Monday to Friday (for example due to a separation) use the address where your child lives most of the time on school days.
- Only one address can be used. If the child lives at two addresses, the Local Authority will decide which address to use based on child benefit, child tax credit, Court Orders and/or GP registration.
It is the parent/carer’s responsibility to prove residency if requested.
If both you and your partner apply and provide different information or ask for different schools, we can only process one application.
Service families being posted to Newcastle
If you are moving to Newcastle from somewhere else in England, you need to apply to the council where you currently live. Contact them for advice and information on how to apply.
If you live outside of England currently, apply directly to us. We will need a copy of an official Ministry of Defence, Foreign Commonwealth Office or Government Communication Head Quarters letter which confirms your relocation date and quartering area address.
What do I do if I’m moving house?
When you apply, you must use your child's permanent address at that point in time. If you move house after submitting the application, write to us with proof of your new address.
What happens if someone gives false information on their application?
Every year we have cases where parents give false addresses to get a place at a preferred school. We carry out address checks and ask for proof of address. If we don't believe 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 fraud isn't discovered until the child has been attending the school for some time, the school may remove any sibling link for other children in the family or remove the feeder link for secondary transfer. It is your responsibility to prove the child's address if requested.
Fraud can prevent genuine applicants from getting a place at a school. If you have any concerns or information about the use of fraudulent addresses, please contact the school admissions team in confidence.
If your child is given priority because you state that an older brother or sister (sibling) is attending a school, you must tell us immediately if this situation changes. If you accept a change of school for the older sibling, your younger child may lose their allocated place.
Can the offer of a place be withdrawn?
We have a legal 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)
- 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 are distances calculated in admission criteria?
Where straight line distance from central points is used in admissions criteria, 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 land 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.
Right of appeal
If you are not offered a place for your child at your preferred school you have the right to appeal against the decision to an independent appeals panel. However please be aware the panel has very limited grounds to uphold an appeal because of infant class size legislation which limits these year groups to a maximum of 30 children per qualified teacher.
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 (not because a higher preference was offered).
You can't 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 then refused.
Submitting an appeal does not affect your position on the waiting list.
You will not improve your chances of winning an appeal by refusing the allocated alternative school place – this has no bearing on your appeal.
Published admission numbers
The published admission number (PAN) for each school is the maximum number of children the school can take in each year group. It takes into account the size of the school and is calculated using a formula from the government. The council will allocate places in each school up to the admission number of the school or academy (PAN).