Frequently asked questions
When should my child be starting Primary/Secondary school?
If your child was born between 1 September 2009 and 31 August 2010 you must apply by Tuesday 15 January 2014 for a primary school place for your child
If your child was born between 1 September 2002 and 31 August 2003 you must apply by Thursday 31 October 2013 for a secondary school place for your child.
What if my child is already in the nursery class at my chosen school?
If your child is attending a nursery class attached to an infant or primary school, you MUST still apply. There is NO automatic transfer from nursery to reception class. You must submit an application by the closing date and your child must meet the published admissions criteria of the school, to be offered a place.
My child already has a brother or sister (sibling) in our chosen school. Will my child get priority if their older brother or sister already attends the school?
Not all schools give siblings priority; you must check each school's admissions criteria.
An older sibling in Year 6 during the application process does not qualify as he/she will have left the school by the time your younger child is due to start. You will therefore not be entitled to a sibling offer.
Important: Your sibling claim will not be treated as a valid priority unless you have completed the correct section on the online or paper application form, even if you have stated it in your reason for preference.
What if my child has a medical reason for applying to a certain school?
The medical reasons must be verified by a G.P or consultant and declared at the time of application if known at the time. Claims for priority admission on medical grounds will not be considered if submitted after a decision on the original applications has been made. Decisions on priority of admission on medical grounds will be made on the basis of the authority’s medical advisor. The application must be supported by a letter from a hospital consultant and/or the families GP.
My child attends an infant school; will they automatically transfer to the junior school, i.e. from Year 2 to Year 3?
For community schools, yes, all children automatically transfer into junior school, Year 3.
For voluntary aided schools you will need to apply to the relevant junior school in order for your child to transfer. These schools will consider your application in accordance with their published admissions criteria. You are not guaranteed a school place. Infant to junior transfers follow the Local Authority's Primary Reception class 2014 timetable.
My child is not resident in the UK. Can I still apply?
No. The child must be resident in the UK at the time of application. If your child arrives outside the normal admissions round you need to submit an 'In Year Admission' application form for a school place.
Can I express a preference for a school?
The law requires school admission authorities to meet parental preference of school wherever they possibly can. You do not have a right to choose a school for your child but you do have the right to express a preference or preferences. Most parents are successful in securing a place at a preferred school but, as there are only so many places available in each school, some parents are disappointed.
All admission authorities (i.e. local authorities, academies, voluntary aided and foundation schools) must provide information which explains how they decide which children will be offered places if they receive more applications than they have places available. This information is normally called 'admissions criteria'. The admissions criteria will vary from school to school (see Step 2).
How are preferences used?
If you have listed 6 schools in parental preference order and all 6 schools are in a position to offer in accordance with their published admissions criteria the system will automatically seek the highest preference i.e. your first preference and make an offer at this school. All your lower preferences are withdrawn as these are no longer required.
If you listed 5 schools in parental preference order and preferences 3, 4 and 5 are in a position to offer in accordance with their published admissions criteria the system will automatically seek the highest preferences i.e. your third preference and make an offer at this school. Your lower preferences 4 and 5 are withdrawn as these are no longer required. Your higher preferences 1 and 2 are automatically placed on the waiting list for reconsideration in the subsequent allocation round should any places become available. These offers will continue to be made in accordance with the schools published admissions criteria.
Will I have a better chance of getting my first preference than someone who lists it as a second or lower preference?
No. Schools you apply for will have no knowledge of where they are ranked in your list of preferences; this is confidential. All applications received by these schools receive equal consideration and are ranked against the schools admission criteria. The preference order will only be used when it is possible for more than one school to offer you a place; this is why it is important that you list the schools in your exact order of preference.
Applying for only one school will not increase your chances of being offered a place at that school.
The Local Authority will always try to match your highest preference, but many schools are frequently oversubscribed and receive more applications than they have places available. To give you the safest chance of getting into a local school, it is very important that you include other schools in your area, in the event that your first preference is not available.
Failing to list other preferences on your form can result in huge disappointment, as the Local Authority can only process applications according to the preferences you have listed on your application form.
Even if you live closer to a school than another family, they could be considered above you unless you have listed that school on your form. If your only preference is not available, you can only be offered a school with places left once all other parental preferences have been considered.
How much information from my application will be passed onto my preferred schools?
Each school will be given only the information it needs to consider your application against their admission criteria. Schools will not know what other applications you have made or your order of preference.
What do I do if I want to apply for a school in another borough?
You must apply on the Common Application Form (CAF) for the Local Authority in which you live, regardless of which borough the school is located within. This form is issued by your Home Local Authority - this is borough in which you live and pay your council tax to.
Lambeth school/Croydon resident: apply to Croydon using Croydon CAF
Croydon school/Lambeth resident: apply to Lambeth using Lambeth CAF
What if I am interested in private/independent (fee-paying) schools?
The Common Application Form (CAF) should not be used to list any independent/private schools you are considering; you must apply to them directly.
Will I need to complete more than one application form?
Certain schools require applicants to complete a Supplementary Information Form (SIF). These schools include Voluntary Aided Schools, Academies and Foundation Schools.
The SIF is designed to collect information that is not requested on the Common Application Form and will be used by the school to apply its admission criteria. This can be obtained by visiting the school website, or by contacting the school directly. This form must be returned directly to the school. Completion of a SIF is not mandatory, however if you do not complete one, the school will be unable to fully apply their admission criteria.
You must still complete the CAF, which you return to the Local Authority, and list the school as one of your six preferences. A SIF will not be considered on its own.
Applications for twins, triplets, etc
Schools consider applications separately. If families want their children to attend the same school, the same schools must be listed in the same order.
When must I apply by?
The deadline for applications to primary school is 15 January 2014.
The deadline for applications to secondary school is 31 October 2013.
You must submit an application by the closing date and your child must meet the published admissions criteria of the school, to be offered a place.
When will I know the outcome of my application?
Letters are posted first class to the applicant address on Thursday 17 April 2014.
If you applied online during the evening of Thursday 17 April 2014 you will be sent an email with the outcome of your application. Please wait until you have received the email before logging onto the Pan London Admissions website.
You will not be able to accept or decline your offered school immediately. You must wait to receive your letter from the Croydon Local Authority.
Letters are posted first class to the applicant address on Monday 3 March 2014.
If you applied online you can see the results of your application from the evening of Monday 3 March 2014 rather than waiting for your letter to arrive in the post. In addition you will receive an email with the results of the application later that day.
What happens if I am not offered my most preferred school?
You should accept the place offered as this is the best offer available to you at that time and ensures your child has a school place secured for September 2014. In the meantime, your child's name will automatically remain on the waiting list of any Croydon schools of a higher preference to the one already offered. Accepting the original offer will not affect your place on the waiting list or your right of appeal. Only a small number of places will become available to be re-offered.
What will happen if I do not want to accept the place offered to me?
Croydon is not able to process a refusal of an offered place until written notification has been received from the parent/carer stating the alternative school provision they have secured. Accepting the offer will not affect your place on a waiting list or your right of appeal at your preferred school/s. Although your child will remain on the waiting list at your preferred Croydon school/s there is no guarantee that a place will become available. It would then be your responsibility to secure an alternative.
Will my child automatically be on the waiting list for a school in another borough?
You are advised to contact the relevant admissions team to find out how the waiting list system operates for their schools.
What will I need to do if I am offered a place from a waiting list?
Should you receive a higher preference offer you can accept (and return the original place) or decline, and keep the school previously offered to you.
Can I re-apply for lower preferences or add further school preferences to my original application?
After 17 April 2014, you can apply for any Croydon or out of borough school you had not previously applied for.
After 3 March 2014, you can apply for any Croydon or out of borough school you had not previously applied for.
Do I have the right to appeal if I am not offered my preferred school?
Yes. You have the right to appeal to an independent panel at any school you have applied for. Details of the appeals process will be attached to the offer letter sent on 17 April 2014.
Yes. You have the right to appeal to an independent panel at any school you have applied for. Details of the appeals process will be attached to the offer letter sent on 3 March 2014.
Additional information and advice is available from ACE (Advisory Centre for Education) on the free telephone helpline: 0808 800 5793, 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Or from the ACE website.