Going to school

Going to school

Life event – going to school

If your child is due to start school in Southampton then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve pulled together a handy list of information that will help guide you through the process. Each link will open in a new tab so the list remains open for you.

If you only want to apply to an independent or private school, please contact the school directly. In all other circumstances you will need to go through the normal school application process.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan, you do not need to complete an application form. A school place will be identified through a separate process, please contact the special educational needs and disabilities team.

1 Find a school 

The first thing you will need to do is find and choose your three preferred schools and put them in your order of preference.

We strongly advise looking at the admissions policies for each school so that you know how applications are considered and how the distance from home to school is measured.

You can find a school within Southampton (SO14-SO19) using our online search. A full list of all of our schools by type with links to individual school websites is also available. Please note, information on school open days for parents will be shown on the individual school websites. There is also some further information below to help you make your decision.


2 Register via the portal 

The next thing you will need to do is register on our Citizen Portal. This is a separate login to any other account you may have registered with us. To set up an account you will need your email address and home address.

Once you have registered you will receive an email with a link to confirm your registration. The link will take you straight to the online application website to begin your application. Please remember your password and the answer to your security question so you can access your account at any time.


3 Apply for a school place (normal admission round) 

These applications are for the normal round of school entries in September. This includes those starting school for the first time in Year R, moving to junior school in Year 3 or moving to secondary school in Year 7 for the next academic year.

Once you have an idea of the school you would like your child to attend, you can apply online for a school place. If you pay your Council Tax to Southampton City Council then you must apply for schools through us, even those not in Southampton. If you’ve missed the deadline then you can also make a late application. We also have some useful help and guidance around making, submitting and changing an online school place application.

If you are moving house before the application deadline, you must amend your online application or submit a new paper application form – see ‘moving house’ below.

Some applications will also require supporting information. These include those applying for a faith school under the faith criteria, applying for a school for a significant medical or psychological reason or applying as an active member of the Church of England who require a Church of England controlled school. Find out more below under ‘supporting evidence’.


4 Apply for a school place (in-year) 

In-year applications are when you need to apply for a school place at any time in the year that it is not part of the 'normal admissions round'. In-year applications tend to be when you are moving house, for example.


5 What happens next? 

Normal admission rounds

You can view the outcome of your application and respond to the offer online by logging in to the Citizen Portal. You can also opt to receive this update by email. If the offer is for your first preference school, this is the only notification you will receive.

As there is no guarantee of being allocated your preference school, you have the right to appeal. You will automatically be placed on a waiting list for your preferred schools. We urge you to accept the offer made to you in order to secure a school place for your child even if it is not your preferred school. Accepting the offer does not affect your waiting list position for your higher ranked schools or any right of appeal for a school place. However, it does secure a place for your child.

In year applications

The school admissions team will make you one offer of a school place after they have processed your application. This will be the highest of your stated preferences that is available. If all of your preference schools are full, the admissions team will offer you a place at the nearest school with a vacancy that is prepared to offer a place. Alternatively, your child will be asked to remain on roll at their current school until a place becomes available at a preference school.


6 Help and support 

All schools have the same legal responsibilities for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and have a duty to publish an SEN Information Report. This provides details of support available for pupils with SEND on an individual school level. You can find these reports on school websites.

Our schools also offer support with school meals and travel.


7 Getting the most out of Southampton 

There’s so much happening in Southampton all year round that we’re confident you’ll find plenty to keep you and your kids entertained and engaged. Use the links in this section to find out what’s going on near you.


8 Keep up to date 

Stay up to date with all the latest council news and information. We’re always keen to hear how you’re getting on in Southampton. If you have any questions, enquiries or problems that can’t be answered by the pages above, there are plenty of ways to have your say and get in touch with us online.