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How are UK primary school places decided?

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In the UK, primary school places are allocated by the local authority responsible for education in the area. The allocation process is based on a set of criteria that the local authority and individual schools use to determine which children are offered places.

The criteria can vary depending on the school and the local authority, but they typically include some or all of the following factors:

  1. Catchment area: Most schools have a catchment area, which is a defined geographical area from which the school takes its pupils. Children who live within the catchment area will usually be given priority for places at the school.

  2. Sibling rule: Some schools give priority to children who have siblings already attending the school.

  3. Admissions policy: Each school will have its own admissions policy that sets out the criteria that they use to allocate places. This may include factors such as whether the child has special educational needs, whether the child or their family has a particular faith or belief, or whether the child is in care.

  4. Distance: In some cases, places at oversubscribed schools may be allocated based on distance from the school, with those living closest to the school given priority.

Once the applications have been processed, the local authority will allocate places based on the criteria in the school's admission policy. Parents will then be notified of the school their child has been offered a place at, and they will have the opportunity to accept or decline the offer.

It's important to note that the allocation process can vary depending on the school and the local authority, and parents should familiarise themselves with the admission criteria and policies of their preferred schools before submitting an application.


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