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Unhappy with your child's primary school place? We're here to help

Friday 21st April 2017

If your child is starting mainstream school in September 2017 and you have applied for a primary school place through the admissions process, you should now know which school your child has been given. 

You may be happy with the result. However, we know that some families will be disappointed if their child did not get the school they wanted. If you are in this situation it may help to know that there are steps you can take:

  • Appeal. You can appeal for any school your child was turned down for, and you should have received information about the next steps. However, an appeal is difficult to win for children in this age group because there is a limit on class size. Seek advice first.
  • Check the waiting list. Your child may move up the list if other families do not take up a place offered. You should be able to check your child's position after a couple of weeks and see if a place is likely to become available before September.
  • Accept the school place offered. You may not like this idea if the school was low on your preferred list, or not on your list at all. However, if you reject the school offered, this could leave your child without a reception school place. Before turning it down, it may be worth visiting the school and talking to the staff, particularly the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) if your child has SEN. If you're still unsure, you could accept the place and ask if your child can start later in the school year. 
  • Consider other schools.  You can ask your local authority or other local authorities for details of other schools which still have places and make a late application. 

There are rules to decide who should get priority for a place if a school has more applicants than places available. For example, priority may be given to pupils who live closest or who have siblings already at the school.

All mainstream schools have duties to admit, include and support pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities. A child with a disability or SEN will not automatically be given priority to a particular school unless they have an Education Health and Care plan (EHC plan) that names that school. 

For more information about how mainstream schools must support pupils with SEN, and the process of getting an EHC plan, visit our education pages.

If you have further questions and you would like to talk to an adviser in more detail about your child's situation, call our freephone helpline.