Starting secondary school

4. 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.

You can view a summary of the admission policy for each school.

The full admissions criteria for community and voluntary controlled secondary schools is published 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.

  • Community and voluntary controlled schools - for these schools Lancashire County Council is 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.

Most secondary schools in Lancashire are comprehensive, but there are a small number of schools which select pupils, and applicants must firstly take an entrance examination. Most schools cater for pupils aged 11 - 16 and some have sixth forms where pupils can continue their education until 18+. 

Admission number

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

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.

Geographical priority area GPA mapping

Some schools are subject to a geographical priority area (GPA) in which children have priority for a school place. 

These are described in the above area supplements where you can find information about previous year's admissions under the GPA criteria. 

You can also view GPA maps online and find out more about GPA mapping.

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Apply online for a school place

Apply online

The deadline to apply for a secondary school place for September 2022 is 31 October 2021. Any applications received after the deadline will be classed as late.