London Borough of Croydon

Frequently asked questions

When should I be applying for a Primary/Secondary school place for my child?

Primary schools

If your child was born on or between 1 September 2014 and 31 August 2015, you must apply by 15 January 2019.

Secondary schools

If your child was born on or between 1 September 2007 and 31 August 2008, you must apply by 31 October 2018.

What if my child is already in the nursery class at my chosen school?

You must still apply for a reception class place at the school. There is no automatic transfer from nursery to reception class, your child must meet the admissions criteria of the school to be considered for a place.

When should I apply for a junior school place if my child is attending an infant school?

If your child will be attending year 2 in an infant school during 2018/19, you must apply by 15 January 2019.

What other forms will I need to complete besides the online application form?

Certain schools need applicants to complete a Supplementary Information Form (SIF). These schools include Voluntary Aided Schools, Academies and Foundation Schools. The SIF collects extra information that is not asked for on the online application form and is used by the school to apply its admissions criteria. The form is usually available on the school's website or by contacting the school. The SIF must be returned directly to the school.

It is not a legal requirement to complete a SIF, but without it the school will be unable to fully apply their admissions criteria. You must still complete the online application form, listing the school as one of your preferences. A SIF cannot be considered on its own.

Applications for twins, triplets, etc.

Applications are treated separately. If families want their children to attend the same school, the school should be listed on all applications in the same order of preference.

Can I express a preference for a school?

Yes. You can't choose a school for your child but you can list six schools in order of preference . We recommend you use all six preferences.

The law requires school admission authorities (the council, academies, voluntary aided, foundation and free schools) to meet the preferences wherever possible. Most parents secure a place at a preferred school but, as places can be limited, some parents are disappointed.

All admission authorities must publish how they decide who will be offered a place if they get more applications than they have places available. This is called the admissions criteria. The admissions criteria will be different for each school, so you should check the criteria for each school you are interested in.

How are parental preferences used?

If you listed 6 schools in preference order and all 6 can offer your child a place, the system will select the highest preference on your list and offer you a place at that school.

Example

If you listed 6 schools in preference order and schools 3, 4, 5 and 6 can offer your child a place, the system will offer you a place at the third preference school. Your child will also be put on the waiting list for your higher preferences 1 and 2 schools, in case places become available at a later stage. These offers will continue to be made under the schools’ published admissions criteria. Please see the section below on the operation of waiting lists.
 

My child already has a brother or sister (sibling) in our chosen school. Will my child get priority if they have a older brother or sister already attending the school?

Maybe. Not all schools give siblings priority; you must check each school's admissions criteria. If you are applying for a reception class place, a sibling in Year 6 at the time of the application does not qualify as he/she will have left the school by the time your younger child is due to start. 

Your school preference on the basis of sibling criterion will only be considered if that section of the application is completed.

What if there is a medical reason for applying to a certain school for my child?

A consultant or GP needs to confirm in writing any medical reasons, and you must declare them when you apply. Medical reasons for a school choice cannot be considered after a decision is made on your application.

For community schools, a medical form must also be completed, and decisions on admission on medical grounds is made by the authority, with advice from a medical advisor. For further information regarding applications on medical grounds please refer to the Community Schools Admission arrangements for 2019/20.

For all other schools, check their admissions criteria to see how decisions are taken on applications made on medical grounds.

Will I have a better chance of getting my first preference than someone who lists it as a second or lower preference?

No, the preference order is only important if we are able to offer your child a place at more than one school. Schools have no knowledge of where they are ranked in your list of preferences; this is confidential and not considered as part of the admissions criteria. All applications received by schools receive equal consideration and are only ranked against the schools’ admission criteria.

Applying for only one school will not increase your chances of being offered a place at that school.

Many schools receive more applications than they have places, so it's important that you list 6 schools on your application. Your child can only be considered for a place at the schools you have listed.

Example

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.

What if I am interested in applying to private/independent (fee-paying) schools?

The online application form cannot be used to list any independent/private schools you are considering. You must apply to them directly.

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.

How much information from my application will be passed onto my preferred schools?

Schools are only given the information needed to consider the application against their admissions criteria. Schools will not know what other applications you have made or your order of preference.

What counts as a child’s permanent address?

The child’s address should be that of the child’s permanent home. A business address, work place address, or childminder’s address will not be accepted.

A relative’s or carer’s address can ONLY be considered if those person(s) have legal custody of the child. Evidence of legal custody or parental responsibility such as a court order will be required.

What if I have shared custody of my child?

Parents should agree before completing the application which parent has the main responsibility. If parents are separated and share custody, the parent who the child spends most of the school week with (it would normally be the address where child benefit is payable) should make the application.

An application can only be made from a single address and only one application can be made for each child. If the parent making the application doesn't live with the child, a letter explaining why should be given and signed by both parents. Custody issues cannot be resolved by the local authority.

If parents are going through a separation or a divorce and do not live together but share parental responsibility over a child, the local authority will share the child’s application details, if asked, with the other parent. Evidence of shared custody/parental responsibility will need to be supplied.

Who has parental responsibility and what happens in cases of private fostering?

Information on parental rights and responsibilities can be found at www.gov.uk/parental-rights-responsibilities.

If you are a distant relative or not related to the child you are caring for, it is likely that you are a private foster parent. In law this means you must tell your local council you are caring for the child. You need to get permission from the child’s parents (or the person with parental responsibility) before making the application.

What if the application is for a looked-after child or previously looked-after child?

The application must confirm which local authority is responsible for the child and include a letter from the child’s social worker. The letter should confirm their legal status and that the child will still be looked-after when the child is admitted to the school. With regards to children who were looked-after, but were immediately adopted / became subject to a child arrangements order or a special guardianship order the following letters must be included with their application:

  • A letter and/or documentary evidence from the child’s social worker, advisory teacher or other relevant professional.
  • A letter from the local authority that cared for the child, confirming that the child was looked-after immediately before the order was made.

What if the child’s address changes?

Primary school application

You must give the council the new address by 8 February 2019. Your new address will be used to prioritise your school preferences under the distance criterion. If your address changes after 8 February 2019, you must still tell the council as soon as possible. Your new address will be used when determining your child’s position on schools’ waiting lists after National Offer day on 16 April 2019.

Secondary school application

You must give the council the new address by 10 December 2018. Your new address will be used to prioritise your school preferences under the distance criterion. If your address changes after 10 December 2018, you must still tell the council as soon as possible. Your new address will be used when determining your child’s position on schools’ waiting lists after National Offer day on 1 March 2019.

What if my application is late?

Primary

Croydon will consider late applications in the initial allocation round only if the application is late for a good reason and it is received no later than 8 February 2019. An example of what may be considered a good reason includes:

  • when a parent with no support has been ill for some time or has been dealing with the death of a close relative.

Applications which are late for no good reason and any that are received after 15 January 2019 but before 16 April 2019 will not be considered in the initial allocation round but will be allocated available places after all on-time preferences have been processed.

The latest date that a late application (with good reason) can be accepted for Croydon residents will be 8 February 2019.

Secondary

Croydon will only consider late applications in the initial allocation round if the application is late for a good reason and it is received no later than 10 December 2018.

Applications which are late for no good reason and those that are received after 10 December 2018 but before 1 March 2019 will not be considered in the initial allocation round but will be allocated available places after all on-time preferences have been processed.

The final acceptance date for Croydon applications that are late for a good reason is 10 December 2018.

What if my child has special educational needs?

All mainstream schools make provision for children with a range of needs and /or disability. Every school will have a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) who has specific responsibility for pupils with SEND.

For the majority of children who have special educational needs, provision can be met through resources available from within the schools own budget and managed through a cycle of action known as the graduated response. This provision is known as SEND Support. The school will notify you if your child is receiving SEND Support.

If your child has special educational needs but does not have an Education, Health and Care Plan, an application for a school place must be made through the normal admissions process.

If you are in the process of requesting an assessment for an EHCP or an assessment for an EHCP has been agreed but not finalised, an application for school place must also be made through the normal admissions process.

Secondary

For a small number of pupils with significant special educational needs, the level and nature of provision to meet needs requires the support from Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. If your child has an EHC plan the 0-25 SEND team manages the process of admission.

During the summer term in Year 5 you will have received a letter explaining this process along with a school preference form.

The review of the EHC plan in Year 5 will include consideration and recommendations of the type of setting that would best suit your child’s needs when they move to secondary school.

If your child is in a mainstream school now, it is likely that a mainstream secondary school will still be the most appropriate setting. In a few cases placement in an Enhanced Learning Provision may be considered. Enhanced Learning Provisions offer additional specialist support within a mainstream setting.

Pupils attending Enhanced Learning Provisions split their learning time between their class group and a specialist setting within the school enabling them to access a broad curriculum while receiving the additional specialist support.

In other cases a special school placement may be considered as the most appropriate placement.

These recommendations will inform your completion of the school preference form. Your child is likely to be prioritised for a place at the school you have chosen unless it has been clarified and agreed with the 0-25 SEND team that the school is unable to meet your child’s needs in full, or the local authority has not agreed to your preference.

You must return this form as soon as possible.

Advice

You can seek independent advice from the KIDS SENDIAS service on 020 8663 5630.

If your child has an EHC Plan you can contact Croydon’s 0-25 SEND team on 020 8604 7263

When will I know the outcome of my application?

Primary schools

If you applied online and on time, you will receive an email or text alert telling you when you can log in to find out the result of your application, during the evening of 16 April 2019. You can also view the outcome of your application by downloading the 'ParentComms' App.

Important Information

You must ensure that you keep your eAdmissions account details safe (username and password) as you will need these to view the outcome of your application and accept or decline the school place offered to your child. The local authority will not send you a letter in the post.

Secondary schools

If you applied online and on time, you will receive an email or text alert telling you when you can log in to find out the result of your application, during the evening of 1 March 2019. 

Important Information

You must ensure that you keep your eAdmissions account details safe (username and password) as you will need these to view the outcome of your application and accept or decline the school place offered to your child. The local authority will not send you a letter in the post.

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 2019. In the meantime, your child's name will automatically remain on the waiting list of any Croydon schools for which you expressed 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?

Accepting the offer will not affect your place on a waiting list or your right of appeal for your preferred school/s. The authority 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. Although your child will remain on the waiting list for 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 school place.

Will my child automatically be on the waiting list for a school in another local authority?

You are advised to contact the relevant admissions team in the other local authority 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 place previously offered to you.

Can I re-apply for lower preferences or add further school preferences to my original application?

Primary

After 16 April 2019, you can apply for any Croydon or other authority school you had not previously applied for. However, please note that you cannot request to be added to the waiting list for a school you had listed as a lower preference on your application if you have been offered your first preference school. Requests to be considered for lower preference schools can be made through the in-year application process – that is from September 2019.

Secondary

After 1 March 2019, you can apply for any Croydon or other authority school you had not previously applied for. However, please note that you cannot request to be added to the waiting list for a school you had listed as a lower preference on your application if you have been offered your first preference school. Requests to be considered for lower preference schools can be made through the in-year application process – that is from September 2019.

Do I have the right to appeal if I am not offered my preferred school?

Primary

Yes. You have the right to appeal to an independent appeals panel for any school you have applied for. Please refer to the appeals section on this website for details of the appeals process.

Secondary

Yes. You have the right to appeal to an independent appeals panel for any school you have applied for. Please contact the schools directly or visit the individual websites for details of the appeals process.