Starting primary school (reception)

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

7. Admission criteria

Admissions criteria are the rules for who is given priority for places in each school. They are applied when a school is oversubscribed (has more requests than there are places available).

School places are not allocated on a first come, first served basis.

You can view a summary of the admission policy for each school which includes oversubscription criteria.

You can view the full admissions criteria for community and voluntary controlled primary schools on our website.

For each voluntary aided, foundation, free school and academy the full policy is described on the school's website.

How admission arrangements differ

There are several types of publicly funded schools and academies. They have different admission arrangements. 

Most schools cater for the age range 4-11 but some just for infants (4-7) or juniors (8-11). 

Also, there are the following categories of school:

  • Community and voluntary controlled Schools - for these schools Lancashire County Council as the admission authority, sets the admissions policy and allocates places. 
  • Voluntary aided and foundation schools - these are Lancashire maintained schools where it is the Governors who are the admission authority. The Governors set the admission policy and decide which children to admit.
  • Academies and free schools - these are independent state schools not maintained by the local authority. It is the governing body who are the admissions authority, set the admissions policy and decide which children to admit.  Admissions are, however, co-ordinated by the County Council.  Free schools may be exempt from co-ordination in the first year that they open.

Admission number

The published admission number (PAN), is how many children can be admitted each year. This is published together with summary of the admission policy for each school.

Additional children may occasionally be allocated places under fair access arrangements outside of the usual admission criteria. In addition, admission authorities may exceed a published admission number if they inform the Local Authority in time for effective co-ordination to occur.

Multiple birth

Where a single place remains and the application being considered is for twins (etc), the Admission Authority will exercise flexibility wherever possible. If places for both (all) children cannot be offered, the family will be advised accordingly. Where only a single place can be allocated a random draw will decide which child receives the offer.

Supplementary information forms (SIF)

Some own admission authority schools will usually give applicants the option to complete a supplementary information form (SIF). Arrangements relating to the supplementary information form will vary and you are advised to contact schools and academies directly if you require further information about their form.

Medical, social and welfare

Please note that not all schools have a medical, social and welfare criterion within their admission policy. This can only be applied where it is part of the determined policy for a particular school or academy.

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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.