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Maintained schools: First, infant, junior, primary and middle schools 2025-26

Admissions at normal age of entry: academic year 2025/2026

The normal point of entry for admission to First, Infant and Primary Schools is Reception where full time places will be available in September of the academic year in which the child becomes five years old. 

The normal point of entry for admission to a Junior School is the September in which the child is admitted to National Curriculum Year 3. 

The normal point of entry for admission to a Middle School is the September in which the child is admitted to National Curriculum Year 5. 

Staffordshire County Council is the admissions authority for the schools listed on the published admission numbers document. It is our policy to try and meet parents’ wishes where possible, however in some cases there may be more applications for a particular school than there are places available. Although parents have the right to express a preference for the school that they wish their child to attend, there is no guarantee of a place being offered at their preferred school where this is the case. 

In accordance with legislation, children who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP) that names a school as being the most appropriate to meet the child’s needs must be admitted to that school. This will reduce the number of places available to other applicants. 

Admission to oversubscribed community and voluntary controlled schools are decided using the oversubscription criteria detailed below. 

Oversubscription criteria 

If the total number of preferences for admission to a school exceeds the school’s published admission number (PAN), the following order of priority will be used to allocate the available places:

1) Children in care and children who ceased to be in care because they were adopted (or became subject to a child arrangements order or special guardianship order), including those children who appear to have been in state care outside of England and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted see additional note * below.

2) Children whose current exceptional circumstances satisfy both of the following tests:

Test 1: the child is distinguished from the great majority of other applicants either on their own medical grounds which requires regular and sustained medical treatment or by other extreme exceptional circumstances. 

Medical grounds must be supported by a medical report (obtained by the applicant and provided at the point of application). This report must clearly justify, for health reasons only, why it is better for the child’s health to attend the preferred school rather than any other school. 

Exceptional circumstances must relate and be relevant to the preferred school and the individual child, i.e. the exceptional circumstances of the child, not the economic or social circumstances of the parent/carer. They should be supported by a recent professional’s report (obtained by the applicant and provided when the application is submitted), e.g. social worker. This report must clearly explain why the child’s circumstances are exceptional and why it is considered best that they attend the preferred school rather than any other school. 


Test 2: the child will suffer hardship if they were unable to attend the preferred school rather than any other school. 

Hardship means severe suffering of any kind, not merely difficulty, inconvenience or mild to moderate emotional distress, which is likely to be experienced as a result of the child attending a different school. Applicants must provide detailed information (which may be included within the professional’s report) detailing both the type and severity of any likely hardship at the time of application.

3) Children who have an elder sibling in attendance at the preferred school (or in the case of an infants school, the affiliated junior school) and who will still be attending the school at the proposed admission date; (For the application to be prioritised under this criteria the children must be living at the same home address for the majority of the school week and either: have one or both natural parents in common; are related by a parents marriage; are adopted or fostered by a common parent or are unrelated children who live at the same address, whose parents live as partners.) 

4) Children whose home address is located within the catchment area of the preferred school. see additional notes ** below 

5) Children whose parents regularly attend a Church of England church, or a church in communion with the Church of England, or of a church which is affiliated to the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland or the Evangelical Alliance. Evidence of such attendance will be required in the form of a letter from a minister of the churches concerned (Only certain voluntary controlled schools use this criterion, see additional notes *** below). Regular attendance is defined as attendance at a church service (or an explicitly defined church activity) on a Sunday or weekday on at least two occasions per month for at least two years. In the event that during the period specified for attendance at worship the church has been closed for public worship and has not provided alternative premises for that worship, or the person has been unable to partake in such activities due to health restrictions, the requirement in relation to attendance will only apply to the period when the church or alternative premises have been available for public worship and/or the person was able to partake in such activities 

6) Other children arranged in order of priority according to how near their home addresses are to the main gate of the school, determined by a straight-line measurement as calculated by the local authority’s geographical information system. see additional notes **** below 

Where it is not possible to accommodate all children applying for places within a particular category then we will allocate the available places in accordance with the remaining criteria. If for instance, all the catchment area children cannot be accommodated at a school, children who are resident within the catchment area will be arranged in order of priority according to criteria 5) followed by those children resident within the catchment area arranged in order of criteria 6). 

If we cannot distinguish between applicants using the criteria listed, e.g. children who live in the same block of flats, then the child or children who will be offered the available spaces will be randomly selected. This process will be independently verified. 

Additional notes 

It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide any supportive information required in order for the application to be assessed against the above published admissions criteria, we will not seek to obtain any supportive information on behalf of an applicant in support of a school application. 

*Children in care means children who are looked after by a local authority in accordance with section 22 (1) of the Children Act 1989 and who is (a) in care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a Local Authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see definition in Section 22 (1) of the Children Act 1989) at the time of making an application to a school. This includes children who were adopted under the Adoption Act 1976 (see section 12 adoption orders) and children who were adopted under Adoption and Children Act 2002 (see section 46 adoption orders).

Child arrangements orders are defined in s.8 of the Children Act 1989, as amended by s.12 of the Children and Families Act 2014. Child arrangements orders replace residence orders and any residence order in force prior to 22 April 2014 is deemed to be a child arrangements order.

Section 14A of the Children Act 1989 defines a special guardianship order as an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s special guardian (or special guardians). 

**Copies of school catchment area maps are available from the local authority or individual schools. www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Education/Admissions-primary/Catchment-areas.aspx

***Category 5 is relevant and will be applied in respect of the following schools: 

Berkswich CE (VC) Primary, Stafford

Forsbrook CE (VC) Primary, Blythe Bridge

Hob Hill CE/Methodist (VC) Primary, Rugeley

Holy Trinity CE (C) Primary, Burton upon Trent

St Luke’s CE (VC) Primary, Cannock

St Margaret’s CE (VC) Junior, Newcastle under Lyme

St Paul’s CE (VC) Primary, Stafford 

****The local authority uses a geographical information system (GIS) to calculate home to school distances in miles. The measurement is calculated using Ordnance Survey (OS) data from an applicant's home address to the main front gate of the school. The coordinates of an applicant's home address are determined and provided by the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) and OS address point data. 

Attendance at particular nursery or infant schools will not prioritise admission to any particular primary or junior schools. Even where children are attending infant or nursery schools attached to particular schools, parents must make a separate application for admission to primary or junior school at the appropriate time. 

The requirement for the local authority to meet the infant class size legislation may result in the refusal of catchment area or sibling applications where a class has already reached its limit of 30 pupils. However, as an exception, the local authority will give careful consideration to offering places above the published admission number to applications from children whose twin or sibling from a multiple birth is admitted even when there are no other vacant places. 

Admissions for the normal age of entry are administered through a coordinated admission scheme and preferences for maintained schools will be processed centrally by the School Admissions and Transport Service. The aim of the scheme is to ensure that each child will receive only one offer of a place at a maintained school on a prescribed date. 

It is expected that parents will agree on school places before an application is made, and it may be necessary to request evidence from you to confirm that this is the case. The local authority is not in a position to intervene in disputes between parents over school applications and will request that these are resolved privately. 

Home Address 

The home address is considered to be the child’s along with their parent/carer’s main and genuine principal place of residence at the time of the allocation of places i.e. where they are normally and regularly living. If a child is resident with friends or relatives (for reasons other than legal guardianship) the friends or relatives address will not be considered for allocation purposes. 

Where parents have shared responsibility for a child, and the child lives with both parents for part of the school week, parents will be required to provide documentary evidence to support the address they wish to be considered for allocation purposes. 

If a child’s home address changes during the admissions process it is the responsibility of the parent/carer to inform the local authority immediately. Where there is a proposed house move taking place during the admissions process the local authority will only accept the revised address for purposes of allocation where parents/carers can provide documentary evidence of the move by 7 March 2025. It will be necessary for sufficient evidence of a permanent move to be provided by the applicant by this date before it will be taken into account for allocation purposes at the national offer date. 

If a place is offered on the basis of an address that is subsequently found to be different from the child’s normal and permanent home address at the time of allocation of places then that place is likely to be withdrawn. 

Any Staffordshire child not obtaining a place at any of their parent’s preferred schools will be allocated an alternative school place and advised about the independent appeals process. 

Deferred entry to reception class 

Parents may decide to defer the date their child is admitted to the school until later in the school year but not beyond the point at which they reach compulsory school age and not beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year for which the application was made. In addition, where the parents wish, children may attend part-time until later in the school year but not beyond the point at which they reach compulsory school age.

Before deciding whether to defer their child’s entry to school, parents should visit their preferred school(s) to clarify how they cater for the youngest children in reception and how the needs of these children are met as they move up through the school. 

Admission outside of the normal age group

Parents may wish to seek to apply for their child’s admission to school outside of their normal age group, for example if the child is exceptionally gifted and talented or has experienced problems such as ill health. In addition, the parents of summer born children may choose not to send their child to school until the September following their fifth birthday and may request that they are admitted outside of their normal age group to reception rather than Year 1.

Any such parents will need to make an application alongside children applying at the normal age explaining why they consider it to be in the child’s best interest to be admitted outside of their normal age, this may include information such as professional evidence as to why this is the case and why an exception should be made in the case of the child. A decision as to whether this is agreed will be made by the local authority. They will take into account the circumstances of the case including the parent’s views and information provided; information about the child’s academic, social, and emotional development; where relevant, their medical history and the views of any medical professionals; whether they have previously been educated out of their normal age group; and whether they may naturally have fallen into a lower age group if it were not for being born prematurely as well as views of the headteacher of the community or voluntary controlled school concerned. Parents do not have the right to insist that their child is admitted to a particular year group.

Waiting lists for Admissions and Normal Point of Entry 

Unsuccessful applicants will be placed on a waiting list in accordance with the oversubscription criteria stated above and not based on the date their application was received. There will be a period of two weeks after the national offer date whereby available places will not be reallocated. If places become available after this date they will be offered according to the child at the top of the waiting list. 

For cases where the infant class size regulations apply, the waiting list will operate until the cohort concerned leaves year 2. 

For all other cases, waiting lists will be kept until 31 December 2025

Inclusion on a school’s waiting list does not mean that a place will eventually become available at the preferred school. 

A child’s position on a waiting list is not fixed and is subject to change during the year i.e. they can go up or down the list since each added child will require the list to be ranked again in line with the oversubscription criteria. 

Children who are subject of a direction by a local authority to admit or who are allocated to a school in accordance with the fair access protocol will take precedence over those on the waiting list. 

Late applications

Preferences received after the closing date will be considered alongside those applicants who applied on time wherever possible. Where it is not practicable because places have already been allocated, or are shortly to be allocated, then late preferences will be considered only after those that were made before this point. 

A late application does not affect the right of appeal or the right to be placed on a school’s waiting list. 

For late applications made after the time that is practicable because places have already been allocated, are shortly to be allocated, there will be a period of two weeks after the national offer date whereby available places will not be reallocated. If places become available after this date they will be offered according to the child at the top of the waiting list. 

Repeat applications 

Parents do not have the right to a second appeal in respect of the same school for the same academic year unless, in exceptional circumstances, the local authority has accepted a second application from the appellant because of a significant and material change in the circumstances of the parent, child or school but still refused admission. 

“In-year admission” arrangements 

Parents or carers seeking to be admitted to a community or voluntary controlled school may make an application directly to the preferred school using the appropriate application form. This application will be processed in line with the procedure outlined in the determined admission arrangements and parents and carers need to be aware that in the case of transfers between local schools, any date set for joining the new school may be after the next term or half term holiday and those parents/carers are responsible for ensuring that their child continues to receive appropriate education in the interim. 

Relevant area 

Staffordshire County Council’s relevant area for consultation is contained within the administrative area of Staffordshire County Council.

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