Starting primary school (reception)

Information for parents about applying for reception places for September 2024.

3. Choosing your school preferences

Before you apply, research the schools in your area. You could contact schools, read the school's most recent Ofsted reports or check school league tables.

Check school websites for up to date information about open days/evenings.

You can express three preferences.  You are strongly encouraged to use all three as these are considered equally at the outset.  The Local Authority or the governing body will allocate a place.

Where more than one offer is possible, only then will the priority order on your application be considered as a tie-break.  Where a place at none of your preferred preferences is available, an alternative offer will be made.

Most Lancashire applicants will receive an offer for one of their three preferences. All applicants resident in Lancashire will receive a single offer issued by the Local Authority.

For more information, please see how we allocate school places.

Think carefully about your preferences, if you need advice, contact your local area education office.

It is always best to include a school near to where you live as one of your preferred options. Demand for school places is high, in some areas greater than others, and this helps towards you being offered a local school.

Your nearest school for admission purposes is measured by a straight line. But, for help with travel costs, the nearest school is measured by walking distance. If travel cost is an important factor in your school preference or you are in any doubt over the distance between your home and a school please check with the area education office.

Chances of getting into your preferred school

The best way to assess the chances of your child getting into the school you want is to study that school's oversubscription criteria.

Before applying on-line or filling in an application form, please make sure that you have read and understood the oversubscription criteria for the schools you are listing. You need to think carefully about whether your child is likely to meet these criteria.

One of the most important criteria for many schools is the distance you live from the school. The distances from which schools allocate places change from year to year, depending on demand. You may need to check with the school whether they have been able to admit children from your address in recent years. When deciding your preferences, be realistic about how likely you are to be offered a place there.

Some third party websites offer parents an indication of their chances of securing a school place. Lancashire County Council does not validate the information on these websites and so parents should exercise caution when making decisions based on the data that they provide.

Having considered all these matters, rank the schools you want in order of preference.

Remember that other people will choose the same schools as you. If their children meet the criteria of a particular school better than yours, they will be offered a place ahead of your child.

Video - applying for a school place top tips

Debbie Ormerod, Admissions Manager recently spoke to the Lancashire Post to offer her top tips when applying for a school place.

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Apply online for a school place

Apply online

The deadline to apply for a primary school place for September 2024 is 15 January 2024. Any applications received after the deadline will be classed as late.