Admission to infant, primary and junior schools

Information for parents and carers about admissions to infant, primary and junior schools.

Apply for a school place

The following gives information on starting school, how to apply for a school place, moving schools, how places are allocated and admission policies.


Schools with nursery provision

Some infant and primary schools have nursery provision. As nursery education is not compulsory the council does not allocate nursery places.

If you would like to be considered for a nursery place you will need to contact the school directly.

Please note – gaining a place in a school’s nursery unit does not guarantee you a place in the reception class of the same school.

Schools with pre-reception classes

Some schools may admit ‘pre-reception’ children. These children will be admitted in the spring or summer term after their fourth birthday and before the academic year beginning the following September.

If you want to find out if a particular school operates in this way, please contact the school directly.

Please note – that gaining a place in a pre-reception class does not guarantee you a place in the reception class of the same school.

Reception class

Even if your child has attended a school nursery or a school pre-reception class you will still need to apply for a place in the reception class at the school. More information about this is in the ‘How to apply for a place for first admission to school’ section below.

Where applications for places at a community or voluntary controlled school exceed the published admission number set for the school the following factors will be taken into account in priority order when deciding which pupils will be allocated places.

Children with Education Health and Care Plans

These children will be allocated places in accordance with the Code of Practice on Special Educational Needs.  Where a school is named in a child’s plan the school has a duty to admit the pupil, this will reduce the number of places available.

The remaining places will be allocated in this order:

1. Looked after children and previously looked after children

A ‘looked after child’ is a child who is:

  • in the care of a local authority, or
  • being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions at the time of making an application to a school.

A ‘previously looked after child’ is a child who ceased to be looked after because they were:

  • adopted, or
  • became subject to a child arrangements order, or
  • became subject to a special guardianship order,

immediately after being looked after, including those who appear to have been in state care outside of England and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted.

2. Children who live in the school’s designated catchment area

You can view the school catchment areas covering where you live by entering your postcode on our interactive map.

There is also a pdf copy of the catchment map for each school on its page on our website.

The address taken under this factor will be that on the 8 December 2022 for secondary admissions, and that on the 10 February 2023 for infant, primary and junior admissions.

Parents who move after submitting their preference must inform the Admissions Team of any change of address.

For admission purposes, the home address is where a child usually lives with their parent or carer. You must not give the address of a childminder or relative.

Where a child lives with parents with shared responsibility, each for part of the week, the Admissions Team will apply the address of the parent who claims the child’s benefit as the pupil’s address for determining this criterion.

If neither parent claims child benefit other documentary evidence (for example, a medical card) may be required.

If it is found that you have given a false address your child may lose their school place.

3. Children who will have a sibling attending the school at the time of their admission

Included in this factor are siblings who will be attending the school at the expected time of admission. Sibling means a child living as part of the same family unit at the same address. This includes natural siblings, adopted siblings, step siblings, foster siblings, and the child of a parent’s partner. For Secondary admissions the elder sibling must be in years seven to 11 at the expected time of admission.

In the event of two applications for one vacancy using the above criteria, the council will apply a tie breaker decision based on geographical distance.

Siblings for the same year group (twins and multiple birth children)

Where there are twins or multiple birth children to be admitted to a school in the same year group.  If there are insufficient places available for all siblings, and one can be allocated a place, the admission number will be exceeded to allow them to be placed in the same school.

This only applies to community and voluntary controlled schools within North Lincolnshire where the parents have put identical preferences for all siblings.

4. Children who live closest to the school

The distance will be determined by measuring the shortest available route using the public road and path network from the pupil’s home to the main school gate, as determined by the council.

The distance will be measured by using a computerised geographical information system (GIS).

Priority will be given to those living nearest to the school using this system.

Pupils living in flats where the distance measures the same, priority will be given in ascending order of flat number/letter/floor.

Tie breakers

Where the offer of a place would lead to oversubscription under any of the above factors, places will be allocated by reference to subsequent factors in order. In exceptional circumstances where it has not been possible to decide between applications, because they have the same distance measurements, the place will be allocated by drawing lots independently verified.

All councils must have a coordinated scheme so parents only have to complete one common application form to apply for a place at any school, including schools outside of their own area. All parents must make application through their own council.

The North Lincolnshire scheme enables parents/carers to name up to six schools in rank order. Rank order means you should name the schools starting with your highest preference first.

Applications can be made online through our website or by completing a paper application form.

A coordinated scheme means generally that:

  • Parents must make application through their home council
  • Information will be exchanged between admission authorities

All parents who have expressed a preference for a school by the closing date will receive only one offer of a school place on the same day.

The coordinated scheme for North Lincolnshire will follow the process outlined below:

  • all parents must either apply online or complete the common application form;
  • parents to name up to six schools on their application;
  • schools named on the application should be in rank order;
  • the admission authorities for the schools will rank all applications in accordance with the schools’ published admissions criteria;
  • the council will use these ranked lists to determine if a place can be offered at the first preference school, or the second preference school, etc;
  • where the council cannot offer a place at any of the named schools the parent will be offered a place at the next nearest school with places available;
  • the council will send all parents a single offer of a school place on the same day;
  • parents will be given their statutory right to appeal against a decision not to offer a place at their preferred school(s).

How to apply for a place if your child is due to start in reception

Parents of children starting school can make application online – or you can contact your local school or the Admissions Team, who can provide you with a paper application form.

As required by law, all children must be admitted into full-time education by the beginning of the term following their fifth birthday.

Primary and Infant schools must provide for the admission of children in the September following their fourth birthday. Parents can request that their child attends part-time until the child reaches compulsory school age. Parents can also defer entry until their child has reached compulsory school age.

Deferred entry

A parent may defer entry of their child to school until they reach compulsory school age (the term after their fifth birthday), provided that the place is taken up within the same academic year.

For example:

A pupil whose fifth birthday falls between 1 September and 31 December could defer admission until January.

A pupil whose fifth birthday falls between 1 January and 31 March could defer admission until Easter.

A pupil whose fifth birthday falls between 1 April and 31 August could not defer admission until the following September as that would be a new academic year. Such pupils can delay starting school until the following September but would start school in year one, not the reception class. The allocated place for reception would be given up and reallocated to another child under these circumstances and it is important parents realise that a fresh application would then need to be made for entry to year one. At popular schools it is likely that the year group will already be full and it will not be possible to allocate the child a place, even if they had initially been allocated one for the reception year and live in the catchment area close to the school.

Infant class sizes

The Government has decided that infant classes should not usually have more than 30 children to one teacher. This applies to all infant children (reception, year one and year two) and parents should be aware that when they apply for a place in these year groups, schools have to keep to the 30 limit (subject to a few legal exceptions).

Parents can be refused a place because of the class size issue. Although an appeal can be made, the basis on which such an appeal can be upheld is very limited.

Children attending an infant school in North Lincolnshire and who are due to transfer to junior school in September 2023 will be given relevant information by their current school.

If your child attends primary school and you wish them to transfer to a junior school in September 2023 (at the beginning of year three) rather than continue at their current primary school you can apply for them to be included in the junior transfer group. Please contact the Admissions Team for further details.

All parents can express up to six preferences, in rank order, either online or on a common application form for any school in North Lincolnshire or the surrounding area.

  • North Lincolnshire Council will inform the voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and academies within North Lincolnshire of all children who have made application for a place at their school.
  • North Lincolnshire Council will inform neighbouring councils of all children who have made application for a place at one of their schools.
  • North Lincolnshire Council will apply its admissions policy for all community and voluntary controlled schools within North Lincolnshire, the governors will do the same for the voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and academies within North Lincolnshire and neighbouring councils will do the same for their schools.
  • Governors of the voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and academies within North Lincolnshire and our neighbouring councils will notify North Lincolnshire Council of the children they can offer places to.
  • North Lincolnshire Council will consider all preferences expressed equally.  Each school listed will be considered against the published admission criteria for that school but without any reference to how the school applied for has been ranked.  Where a pupil can be offered a place at more than one school a place will be offered at the highest ranked school at which a place was available. Where a pupil is not eligible for a place at any school named on the application a place will be provisionally allocated at the next nearest school with a place available.
  • Following the timetables set out earlier in this guide, North Lincolnshire Council will write to all parents with an offer of a place at a school. We will also offer places at voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and academies within our neighbouring councils. This duty is done on behalf of those bodies.

Where there are more applications than available places North Lincolnshire Council will apply its admissions criteria and the governing bodies of voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and academies will do the same using their oversubscription criteria. Please look at each school’s web page on this site to see what its criteria are.  Details of our neighbouring councils’ admissions criteria can be obtained by looking on their websites or contacting the relevant council.

Please note that it is essential that you submit your application by the closing date. Failure to do so may mean that your child will not be considered for a place at your preferred school and that the council will allocate a place at a school which has places available. You should also be aware that if your catchment school was full, as a result of allocating places from those parents who have submitted their application on time, your child would not be allocated a place there.

Date by which parents must apply online or return their common application form:
15 January 2023

Date on which notification of school place will be sent to parents:
17 April 2023

Deadline for parents to accept the place offered:
28 April 2023

Parents will be assumed to have accepted the place offered unless they contact the council to indicate otherwise.

Date by which appeals should be returned:
19 May 2023

Date appeals will be held:
If possible, appeals will be held during June and July.

Applications received after the closing date

The closing date for applications is 15 January 2023. Where applications are received after this date and up to 10 February 2023 each application will be considered and included in the offers of school places made on national offer day.

As far as is reasonably practicable applications received after the allocations procedure has begun on 10 February 2023 and prior to 17 April 2023 will be offered a school place on 17 April 2023, but the closer to the 17 April 2023 that an application is received, the less likely it will be that an offer will be made on that date.


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