Choosing a Primary or Secondary School

Primary School Admissions

Starting school

All LEAs produce a booklet about all the schools in your area. This will have information about each school and explain admission procedures. These are available either from the LEA or your local library. This booklet should have an accompanying application form. It is advisable to fill this in about a year before your child is due to start, before the deadline.

Choosing a School

Whilst convenience of a close location to your home can be important, it should not be the main reason for choosing a particular school. The best way to decide whether the school is right for your child is to look round yourself. Any headteacher will be pleased to show you around and discuss how your child could benefit from attending the school. Your child may have particular needs, such as if he or she is gifted or talented. You should consider whether the school can meet these needs. It is a good idea to listen to the opinions of other parents of children already at the school. Request a copy of the school’s prospectus and also their Inspection report.

Inspection Bodies

Country Inspection Body Website
England Ofsted View Reports
Scotland Education Scotland View Reports
Wales Estyn View Reports
Northern Ireland ETI View Reports

Decide whether the school's weak areas are a cause for concern. Schools' performance data in SATs and exam results is currently available online if you are resident in England. Schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not publish their tables. Parents in Scotland trying to find a school for their child may find the publication Choosing a School - A Guide for Parents helpful.

Your Rights

In the circumstance that your child is not offered a place at the school of your choice you have a right to appeal to an independent panel. The letter you receive with the alternative offer should contain details of the appeals process and the deadline date. If these details are missing contact the admission authority that refused the place and tell them that you want to appeal against their decision. Find out more about the appeal process.

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