General information about admissions

Information for parents and carers about school admissions.

Making an application

Each year, every council has to publish information about admissions to all of the publicly funded schools in the area. This information is designed to help parents say which school they wish their child to attend.

All parents must make application through their own council, even if the school they wish their child to attend is in another council area.

North Lincolnshire has three coordinated schemes. There are two for intake admissions, one for primary, infant and junior schools, and one for secondary schools.  Those schemes coordinate admissions to all publicly-funded schools (including those in the areas surrounding North Lincolnshire) ensuring that parents receive only one offer of a school place on the national offer day. There is also a scheme for in year admissions to all schools.

The council does not make arrangements for the attendance of pupils at fee charging schools either in its own area or outside. No assistance is available towards the cost of fees or transport to such schools.

If you need a paper copy of any of the information in this guide please ask at one of the council’s Information Advice and Guidance Offices or contact the School Admissions Team directly on 01724 297000 or admissionstoschool@northlincs.gov.uk

Admitting a child outside the normal age group is a significant decision to make which requires careful consideration, not only in meeting immediate needs but by considering the impact for the future. Admitting a child outside of the normal age range may have an impact on the rest of a child’s education, through primary school, secondary school, and college.

North Lincolnshire Council is committed to the education of all of its children and young people. It is not the policy of the council to admit children outside of their normal age group in its own schools. North Lincolnshire schools are able to meet the needs of a wide group of children and young people taking into account their developmental or additional needs.

North Lincolnshire’s nurseries and schools call upon specialist services to support them in meeting the needs of children and young people. Parents also have direct access to many of these services.  If you are concerned about your child starting school, changing schools, or their progress you can ring the School Admissions Team. They may suggest you speak with an Educational Psychologist.

If you are considering making a request for your child to be admitted outside the normal age group, you should first consider the following points:

  • If your child is admitted outside the normal year group, they may be joining a school where friendship groups have already been established.
  • Schools are very experienced in meeting the needs of younger children.
  • Children can be upset if they feel they have been held back from moving up with their friends.

If, having carefully considered these points, you wish to consider whether a request to admit outside the normal age group would be appropriate for your child we would recommend that you first talk to your child’s nursery or pre-school, doctor if you have any medical concerns and, most importantly, the schools you have an interest in.

If you then still wish to proceed, details of how to make such a request are in the co-ordinated admissions schemes in this guide. It is parents’ responsibility to provide the admission authority with any evidence which supports their application.

The admission authority for the school(s) requested will consider your application on your individual circumstances and what is in the best interests of your child. This will include taking account of the parent’s views; information about the child’s academic, social and emotional development; where relevant, their medical history and the views of a medical professional; whether they have previously been educated out of their normal age group; and whether they may naturally have fallen into a lower age group if it were not for being born prematurely; and the views of the head teacher of the school concerned.

The council acknowledges that service families are subject to movement within the UK and from abroad. Although the council is not able to reserve places for blocks of pupils we will consider requests from personnel moving to North Lincolnshire.

Places will be allocated, subject to a place being available in the relevant year group, prior to moving. If we are unable to allocate a place at that time, parents will be refused and offered the right to appeal.

When admitting the children of UK service personnel to infant classes outside the normal admissions round, schools are able to exceed the 30 pupils per class limit that normally applies.

Parents have the right to say which school they wish their child to attend.

The golden rule we would suggest is to always visit each school you are considering for your child.

Pupils in North Lincolnshire moving to secondary school will be given a timetable of open-days or evenings with details of the arrangements for all our secondary schools. This will enable parents to visit as many local schools as they wish before stating their preferences. Relevant information will be sent to each pupil at the appropriate time.

The council’s application form (online or paper) allows parents to list six schools in order of preference (first, second, third, etc.).

The council will allocate a place at the first preference school unless there are more applications for that school than there are places (this is called over-subscription).

When a school is over-subscribed the criteria set out for each school or academy in their admission policy will be used to create a ranked list of applications.

The ranked list will have those with the highest priority for a place (for example looked after children) at the top, then work down through the categories such as siblings and catchment. At the bottom of the list will be the child with the lowest priority for a place. This will usually be the child who lives the furthest away from the school, who is not looked after or previously looked after, does not have an Education Health and Care Plan, and will not have an older sibling at the school.

Places will be allocated from the ranked list, until the school has reached its published admission number (PAN) or a higher number agreed between the school and the council. Any parent who does not get a place for their child at their first preference school has the right of appeal to an independent panel.

To see admission information for any school in North Lincolnshire, including their criteria, their published admission number, and whether they have been full recently, look at that school’s page on our website.

What is a common application form?

A common application form allows parents to express up to six preferences in rank order on one form for any school in North Lincolnshire or for any school that falls within the area covered by Doncaster, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Councils.

Why should I have to apply?

Parents who have applied (either online or by paper) must be considered first when allocating places. This means that a parent who has not applied may not be given a place at the school they want if it has already been filled with children whose parents did apply.

How can I tell if my child is likely to be offered a place?

Children are only not given places when there are more applications for the school they want than there are places in the school (this is called over-subscription).

For September 2023, 98 per cent of North Lincolnshire primary age children and 95 per cent of North Lincolnshire secondary age children have been given a place at their first preference school.

To find out if the school you want tends to be full, look at the school’s page on our website for more information.

Will a place at my catchment school be guaranteed?

No.  However, if you include your catchment school as one of your preferences the chances are usually high that you will be allocated a place.

How do I apply for a school outside North Lincolnshire?

If you live in North Lincolnshire, you still apply to North Lincolnshire Council. You must include all schools on your application that you wish your child to be considered for, including any schools in neighbouring council areas.

What if I am not happy with the school place offered?

You can appeal against any decision.

How will my child get to school?

Before deciding which school you would like your child to be considered for, you will need to think about how he or she will get there and whether you will get any help with transport costs.

What if I want to change my preference?

If you have applied online you can log onto the website and amend your application before the closing date. If you have completed a paper form or wish to change your preference after the closing date please contact the Admissions Team.

What do I do if I move house after applying?

If you move house you must inform the Admissions Team so we can update your home address on our records. If you want to change your choice(s) of school(s) because of your house move please see the previous question above.

What if I want to change my preference after offer day?

If you wish to change your mind after you have received notification of the school offered you can make a second application to submit your changed preferences.

An in year admission is when a parent seeks to move their child between schools outside the normal transfer arrangements. For example:

  • If you are requesting a transfer because of a house move
  • If you are requesting a transfer for any other reason

Parents requesting a transfer for any reason other than a house move should first discuss the matter with their child’s current Head Teacher in order to seek advice concerning their child’s educational needs and about help with any problems.

Parents considering the transfer of their child should consider carefully the question of transport between home and school in the light of the council’s transport policy, as free transport is not automatically provided.

If a transfer of school is required parents can use our online in year transfer form to apply, or contact us for a paper form to be sent to them.

The council coordinates in year admissions for all schools in North Lincolnshire. This means you can apply for more than one school at a time and receive just one offer of a place. The offer will be for the school you ranked highest which has a place available. If the school you put first is not full your child will usually be offered a place there. If the school you put first is full, but the school you put second has places your child will usually be offered a place at the second school, and so on.

You have the right of appeal to an independent panel against any decision not to offer your child a place at your first preference school.

There are different types of school. The list below tells you who makes the decision on which children to admit for each type of school.

  • Academies – Academies are publicly funded schools that are not maintained by the council. The governors are responsible for allocating the places.
  • Community Schools – Most schools in North Lincolnshire are community schools. The council is responsible for allocating the places.
  • Foundation Schools – Foundation Schools are publicly funded schools which have formal links with relevant partners. The governors are responsible for allocating the places.
  • University Technical Colleges – are publicly funded schools that work with a university and local employers to teach technical and scientific subjects.
  • Voluntary Aided Schools – Some church schools are voluntary aided. The governors are responsible for allocating the places.
  • Voluntary Controlled Schools – These schools are mainly Church of England schools, with the exception of Sir John Nelthorpe School which is the only voluntary controlled school in North Lincolnshire that is not connected to any church. The council is responsible for allocating the places.
  • Special Schools – The council has provision for Special Educational Needs which includes two special schools. The council is responsible for allocating the places.

If you want to see which type of school a particular school is, look at the school’s page on our website.

These children must be given the highest priority in the allocation of school places.

The council will make every effort to ensure that looked after children receive continuity of education and will ensure that there is no unnecessary delay in the admission process for them. Other than transfer of schools at the normal stage, a school placement or suitable alternative education should be secured within 20 school days of notification.

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 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. Parents or carers will need to submit documents that show this.

A waiting list will be established for all over-subscribed schools.

Pupils will automatically be put on the waiting list for a school where they have not been made an offer of a place and where that school is a higher preference than the school at which an offer has been made.

Pupils will not be placed on the waiting list for a school ranked lower than the school where they have been offered a place.

Places will be allocated in accordance with the published criteria.

The council will coordinate waiting lists for all schools.

When school places become available they will be filled from the waiting list.

If a parent is on a waiting list it will not affect the parent’s right of appeal against an unsuccessful application.

Children who are the subject of a directed place under the in year fair access protocol will take precedence over those on the waiting list.

Once an offer of a school place has been made it may only lawfully be withdrawn in very limited circumstances.

These include when the admission authority offered a place on the basis of a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application from a parent (for example, a false claim of residence in a catchment area), which effectively denied a place to a child with a stronger claim.

It would not generally be lawful for an admission authority to withdraw a school place once the child was attending that school, except where that place was fraudulently obtained; in deciding whether to withdraw in such a case, the length of time that the child had been at the school will also be taken into account.

Where a place is withdrawn, the application must then be considered afresh, and a right of appeal offered if a place is refused.