The school place offer
The 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.
Offers will be available to view on the Citizen Portal, emailed (if you have opted in for this) and sent by 2nd Class post on:
- Year 7 (secondary school) places: 1 March 2024
- Year R (infant/primary school) places: 16 April 2024
- Year 3 (junior school) places: 16 April 2024
If the offer is for your first preference school, this is the only notification you will receive.
If you have forgotten your password or have trouble logging in, please see our Citizen Portal guidance.
How to accept the offer of a school place
You can view the outcome of your application and respond to the offer online by logging in to the Citizen Portal.
Before you fill in this form
You won't be able to save this form to complete later, so please allow yourself up to five minutes to fill in the form.
The letter will also enclose a reply slip asking you to accept the offered place within 14 days. If you do not accept the offer, your place may be withdrawn and offered to another child.
Important: 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. It does however secure a place for your child.
If you are offered a lower preference school on National Offer Day we will automatically offer a higher preference school(s) if one becomes available later on in the process. This will be an automatic process which will remove the lower preference school, regardless of acceptance so if you do not wish for you child to be on the waiting list for the higher preference school(s) please email the team at via the online enquiries form.
Frequently asked questions
How are school places offered? SHOW
All admission authorities use an 'Equal Preference Scheme'. At the first stage of the process, each of your preferences is considered, regardless of your ranking or preference order, alongside all other expressions of preference for the school. All preferences expressed for a school are ranked purely against the school's oversubscription (admission) criteria.
If a school is oversubscribed (there are more applications than available places): Places will be offered strictly in accordance with the admission criteria stated in the admission policy for that school
If a school is undersubscribed: Places will be offered to all applicants
If you could be offered a place at more than one of your preferences: A place will be offered at the school which you have ranked highest in your application. Lower ranked offers will be returned to the system to be offered to other applicants for those schools
If your child did not receive a place at your higher ranked school: They will be placed on the waiting list for the schools ranked higher in your application
If a place cannot be offered at any of your preferred schools or you did not complete an application form: A place will be allocated at your catchment school, if a space is available
If there are no spaces available at the catchment school: A place will be allocated at the nearest community school to your child's home address with spaces available, or the nearest own admission authority school which is prepared to offer a place
After the offer date, we can detail schools with places available at that time of asking. For community and voluntary controlled schools, the admission policy is that of the local authority - Southampton City Council. For academies, voluntary aided schools, and trust schools, the admission policy for the school is that of the Academy Trust or Governing Body of the school, which for each school is their own admission authority.
The admission policies set out the priorities against which preferences are ranked and places offered.
What if I am unhappy with the school place offered? SHOW
You will be given reasons why a place could not be allocated at your chosen schools. Your child will be automatically added to the waiting list of your higher ranked school(s) where your application has been unsuccessful. When a place becomes available, it will be offered to the child who is at the top of the list at that time. The waiting list is ordered in accordance with each school's admissions policy.
You also have the right to make a formal appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel. The decision of the Independent Appeal Panel is final and binding on both the admission authority and the applicant. The decision letter will also include details of how to appeal.
What happens if I am not offered a place at any of my preferences? SHOW
If through the process of oversubscription an applicant is not eligible for a place at any of their preferred schools, they are offered a place at the nearest school to their home address with a space available.
While applicants have the right to express preferences, and these will be met, if possible, through the process of oversubscription, this is not the same as having ‘choice’.
It is the duty of the Local Authority to provide a state-funded school place to every child who requires one, but it is not bound to provide a school of preference if this cannot be offered due to oversubscription. It is also not suitable for applicants to refuse a school offered on the basis of it not being a preferred school.
Local Authorities cannot be compelled to provide a school of preference when another school place is available, or to provide home tuition in lieu of a school place.
How do waiting lists work? SHOW
Waiting lists are kept in the order of a school’s oversubscription criteria, rather than the length of time a child has been on that list. Because of this, waiting lists are re-ranked with each new applicant and an applicant can move down, as well as up, a waiting list.
Read more about waiting lists.
What happens if I decline the school place offered? SHOW
Always accept the offered place
We advise that you accept any school offer made to you, even if this is not a school of your preference, to ensure that your child has education secured for September. It may be that a school of preference has a vacancy that your child can be offered from the waiting list between now and September, but this is not a guarantee.
Our advice is always to accept the offer made to you now so your child is not without a school placement if a preferred school does not become available.
Refusing a place may mean you miss out
If you refuse an offer made to you now, there is no guarantee that the same offer can be made to you at a later date. If this school fills its vacancies you may be given a school further away from your address.
Accepting a school place at another school will not affect your waiting list position with preferred schools or stop you being offered a higher preference school.
If you are declining a school place, you will need to inform us how your child will otherwise be suitably educated. It is a requirement that parents ensure their children are suitably educated. If you do not accept the school place offered to you, you must establish with us how you otherwise intend for them to be educated.
Our duty as a Local Authority
The Local Authority has a duty to provide a school place to every child who requires one, but that this does not have to be at a school of your preference, if this cannot be offered due to oversubscription. It is not appropriate to refuse a school place and not otherwise source education for your child simply because you have not been offered a school of preference.
The Local Authority cannot provide home tutoring in lieu of you receiving an offer to a school of preference. You must accept the school offered to you or otherwise secure appropriate education.