Starting secondary school (Year 7)

Information for parents about applying for Year 7 places for September 2024.

When you apply for your child's school place, remember to consider how your child will get to school. To help you plan for the school run see our school transport web pages.

3. Choosing your school preferences

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

You need to list three different schools - your first, second and third school preferences. Think carefully about your preferences, if you need advice, contact your local area education office.

Each preference is considered equally. If you name the same school or academy two or three times, this will only limit your chances of receiving a place. The online system will not accept duplicate preferences.

You should name your three preferences in priority order. Your application for a place at each will then be considered separately and equally in order to decide the pupil's priority for a place within the relevant published admission criteria.

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.

Where more than one secondary offer is possible, the order of priority as stated on your application will be considered. The highest named preference at which there is an available place, will be the single offer.

Priority order is only used in a tie-break situation and not for initial allocations.

Think about how your child will get to school

Not all children are eligible for free school transport, and there is no guarantee of a space on a school bus.

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.

Visit page 8, transport, for more information.

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 schools have entrance exams. Please check the school websites for entrance examination details.

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.

What happens if you are not offered a place at your preferred option

When a place cannot be offered at one your preferred schools or academies, you will receive an alternative school offer. This is usually the school nearest to your home with an available place after allocations have been made.

Regardless of which school you are offered, you will be given the opportunity to place your child on the waiting list for any establishment and to appeal for places at any school.

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 Year 7 place is 31 October. Any applications received after the deadline will be classed as late.