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Secondary admissions arrangements 2023 to 2024

This page explains how we organise the admissions process for secondary and studio schools.

Warning The information on this page is correct for admission to schools in September 2023. If your child is due to join an secondary school in September 2022, please view our page for the year 2022 to 2023

These arrangements are updated every academic year, and consist of the following:

  • Admissions schemes, which set out how we will handle the admissions process, including important dates for this admission round
  • Admission numbers, which show how many places are available at each school or academy
  • Admissions policies, which are tools that admissions authorities will use to allocate school places. There are different policies, depending on the type of school and the admissions authority (see below for more details)

Admissions schemes

We set the co-ordinated admissions arrangements for all of the maintained schools in our area. This means that we organise when and how you will need to apply for a school place, how the application process works, and communicating decisions about school places. You can find all of this information in these documents:

  • For children moving to a school as part of a 'bulk admissions' round (starting school at the normal starting age) please read our Co-ordinated Secondary Admissions Scheme.

  • For children who need to move schools outside the usual school starting age, or in the middle of an academic year, please read our In-year Admissions Scheme

Admissions numbers

An important part of the scheme is setting the number of places which are available in each school, based on the available resources.

You can find out about how places have been allocated at schools you are interested in by viewing our Secondary Admissions Booklet.

Admissions policies

These policies explain the criteria that schools will use to allocate places. Some schools also have additional documents, such as supplementary information forms (SIFs). If you have any doubts or queries about what each school requires, please contact the school directly to discuss them.

In all cases, when an admission policy cannot give a definitive answer about how to allocate school places, we will use our Random Allocation Procedure.

From 01 September 2021, the admission criteria for Looked After Children and Previously Looked After Children also includes those who appear to the admission authority to have been in state care outside of England, and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted. Please refer to the Admission Booklets for further information.

Studio schools (Year 10+)

Random allocation procedure

When we use this

The school place allocation process applies admissions policy to create a ranked list of applicants, in order of priority for receiving an offer of a school place. Random allocation describes the procedure that we use to create a priority ranking, when the policy and guidelines we have already have failed to do this. Typically, we need to use this process in the following situations:

  • There is more than one applicant ranked equally according to the school's admissions policy, and there aren't enough places available to allocate one to all of the equally ranked applicants.
  • Two or more unrelated applicants live at addresses which have the same distance measurement from the school (using the measurement formula which is set out in the school's admissions policy).

The people involved

There must be three people to carry out the random allocation procedure:

  • Picker - This person must be independent of the school and of the council
  • Officer - This should be a member of the council's Admissions Team
  • Scrutineer - This person must be independent of the school and of the council

They will need paper, pens, and enough identical envelopes for each applicant.

What happens

  • The scrutineer oversees the entire process, but does not get involved.
  • The Officer assigns a number to each of the applicants who are ranked equally, and puts this cross reference sheet into a sealed envelope.
  • The Officer cuts up pieces of paper, numbers and folds them and puts them into separate, identical sealed envelopes. These are shuffled, and handed to the picker.
  • The picker shuffles the envelopes, picks one, and opens it. The Officer records the number inside on an official Random Allocation Record sheet.
  • The process is repeated until all equally ranked applicants have been ranked. The Officer then opens the first sealed envelope, with the cross referenced names and numbers.
  • The Officer records the ranking of the applicants on the Random Allocation Record sheet, and all three people sign and date both sheets.
  • The process can be repeated as many times as necessary, each time there are a number of applicants, and there is no other way to decide their ranking. 

Video conferencing version of this process (to be used if COVID-19 restrictions are in place)

In the event that COVID-19 restrictions are in place, the entire process outlined above will be carried out on camera, in sight of, and under the scrutineer.