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You are here:home > Learning > Applying for a school place > How school places are allocated

How school places are allocated

This page explains how you will find out if you have been offered a school place, and how to accept the place.

When will I know if my child has a place?

You will receive a letter from the Admissions team offering you a school place; the letter will be posted on the following dates:

  • Secondary school places - 3 March 2014

  • Reception and junior school places - 16 April 2014

You will also be sent an email on the above dates if you have opted for this service.

You can also check online what school place you have been offered, using the Online Admissions system. You will need to use the same log-in details that you used when making your application online.

Your offer of a school place

The Admissions Team will make you one offer of a school place. This will be the highest of your stated preferences that is available.

Any child who remains unplaced after all preferences have been processed (either because it was not possible to allocate them a place at one of their preferred schools or because their parents did not complete an application form) will be allocated a place at their catchment school, if spaces are still available.

If there are no spaces available at their catchment school, they will be allocated a place at the nearest community school to their home address with spaces available or the nearest own admission authority school which is prepared to offer a place.

How do I accept a school place?

You will be sent a reply slip with your offer letter, asking you to accept the place offered within 15 days. This must be returned to the Admissions Team by the due date or your place may be withdrawn and offered to another child.

If you are unhappy with the school place offered

If you are not offered a place at a school you wanted, you will be given reasons why a place could not be allocated and you have the right to make a formal appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel.

Details of how to appeal will be included in the decision letter you receive, and further details are available on our appeals page. The decision of the Independent Appeal Panel is final and binding on both the Admission Authority and the applicant.

More information

For more information on the how school places are offered, please see our frequently asked questions below.

How school places are allocated - FAQ

1. When will I know if my child has a place?

All parents whose applications were received on time will be sent a letter on the dates listed above, advising them of the outcome of their application. Late applicants may not receive their offer letter on these dates.

This letter will be sent by the Southampton Admissions Team regardless of whether you have applied for a Southampton school or a Hampshire school. The letter will offer you a place on behalf of the appropriate admission authority.

2. Am I guaranteed a place at my catchment school?

Moving into a school's catchment area does not guarantee a place at that school.

We cannot guarantee a place at any school. If you apply for your catchment school as one of your preferences then the chances of being offered a place there are high but it cannot be guaranteed.

Also, if your child attends a school outside of your catchment area, there is no guarantee of a place at the linked school. For more details of linked schools, please see the following pages:

3. Can I reserve a school place?

If you do not apply for a place in your catchment school, the school cannot reserve a place for you.

You are strongly advised to give careful consideration to this when making your application. Details of the number of places available at each school can be found on the Pupil Allocation Numbers and Numbers on Roll page.

4. How is the distance from home to school measured?

Distance from home to school will be the shortest walking distance measured by public roads and footpaths in a computerised mapping system using data supplied by Ordnance Survey.

5. How do I accept the school place I am offered?

You will also be sent a reply slip asking you to accept the place offered within 15 days.

This must be returned to the Admissions Team or your place may be withdrawn and offered to another child.

6. What happens if I am unhappy with the place I'm offered?

If you are not offered a place at a school you wanted, you will be given the reasons why a place could not be offered and you can make a formal appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel (please see our appeals page for further information).

Details of how to appeal are also included in the decision letter you will receive. The decision of the Independent Appeal Panel is final and binding on both the admission authority (the LA or the governing body of the school) and the parent.

7. What happens if my child does not get a school place?

A child may be "unplaced" because they were not offered any school that was requested or their parents did not complete an application form.

Any child who remains unplaced after their application has been processed will be allocated a place at their catchment school, if places are still available.

If there are no places available at their catchment school, they will be allocated a place at the nearest community school with places available to their home address, or the nearest own admission authority school which is prepared to offer a place.

8. What happens if I miss the deadline for applications?

If you miss the deadline for applications, for example if you move into an area after the closing date, your application will be classified as 'late' and processed after the 'on-time' applications.

If a school has places available after admitting all on-time applications, late applications will be considered as outlined in the appropriate admissions policy.

Downloadable documents

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PDF document How is my application processed 85 KB 0secs @ 2Mbps
Link to download Adobe Acrobat if required

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