Admission criteria

All schools have admission criteria to decide which children get places. The school or local council usually set these.

Admission criteria are different for each school. For example, schools may give priority to children:

  • who have a brother or sister at the school already
  • who live close to the school
  • from a particular religion (for faith schools)
  • who do well in an entrance exam (for selective schools, for example grammar schools or stage schools)
  • who went to a particular primary school (a ‘feeder school’)
  • in care or being looked after (all schools must have this as a top priority)
  • who are eligible for the pupil premium

Your local council can give you a booklet about schools’ criteria and how to apply.

Children with special educational needs (SEN)

If your child has SEN their statement or education, health and care plan will recommend a school for them. If you apply there, the school must give your child a place.

Complain about unfair criteria

Contact the Schools Adjudicator if you think a school has unlawful admission criteria.

You must do this by 15 May.