Admission process

Calderdale Council coordinates admissions to all Primary and Secondary schools within Calderdale. If you live within Calderdale, you must complete a Calderdale online application, even if you wish to preference a school outside the Calderdale area. Parents of children resident outside Calderdale, who want to apply for a Calderdale school must apply through their home local authority.

Parents of children resident in Calderdale can apply for a school place online during the normal admissions rounds if:

  • their child is due to start reception class of a primary school in September 2017, or
  • their child is due to transfer from infant school to junior school in September 2017, or
  • their child is due to transfer to secondary school in September 2018.

Key dates

  Primary 2017-18 academic year Secondary 2018-19 academic year
Apply from 18 November 2016 19 June 2017
Open evenings See 27 June 2017 to 13 February 2018
Grammar schools admission test n/a 30 September 2017
Closing date 15 January 2017 31 October 2017
National day offer 18 April 2017 1 March 2018
Last day for re-allocations and appeal requests 1 May 2017 15 March 2018
Notification of re-allocation outcome 15 May 2017 31 March 2018
Appeal hearings June / July 2017 June 2018

If you wish to transfer your child to another school or if you need a school place at any time other than transferring from nursery to primary school or from primary school to secondary school, you will need to apply as an in year transfer. For more information, go to In year transfers.

Parental preference

Parents / guardians have the legal right to state the school they wish their child to attend. The admissions authority has a duty to meet their stated preference unless:

  1. this would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources, or
  2. for a voluntary aided or denominational school, this would be incompatible with the admission arrangements made by the school governors which are designed to preserve the religious character of the school, or
  3. where a school whose admissions arrangements are based wholly or partly on selection by reference to aptitude or ability and this would be incompatible with selection under these arrangements (Secondary schools only).

How an offer is made

Parents / guardians are assured that every effort is made to offer their child a place at their preferred school. Many schools have more applications than there are places available. When a school is oversubscribed, places are allocated using the admissions / oversubscriptions criteria. There are common Admission criteria, for Secondary schools and Primary schools , for a number of schools within Calderdale. Calderdale Council will then determine which school should be allocated:

  • where a child is eligible for a place at only one of the preferred schools, that school will be allocated to the child;
  • where a child is eligible for a place at more than one of the preferred schools, they will be allocated a place at whichever of these is the higher ranked preference on their application form;
  • where a child is resident in Calderdale and is not eligible for a place at any of the preferred schools, they will be allocated a place at the nearest school with vacancies, within Calderdale. For Primary schools only, this will be within a two mile walking route wherever possible. For Secondary schools only, this will be within a three mile walking route wherever possible.

Coordinated admissions scheme

Every local authority is required to operate a coordinated admissions scheme for children starting primary school, or transferring from primary to secondary school:

Also see:

In accordance with the requirements of the School Admissions Code, the Council is required to submit an annual report to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator on aspects of the admission arrangements of the relevant schools in its area.

What happens next

An allocation of a school place will be confirmed in writing to parents / guardians on National Offer day. This will be by email or letter, dependent upon the preferred method opted for, at the point the online application was submitted. Offers of school places for residents outside the Calderdale area will be notified by the home local authority even if a Calderdale school is to be offered. The offer notification will contain the following:

  • the name of the school at which a place is offered and the deadline for accepting the place. If a parent / guardian does not respond by the deadline, it will be assumed that they have accepted the place they have been offered;
  • the reason why the pupil has not been offered a place at any other schools preferenced;
  • advice to parents if they wish to be considered in the reallocation process for any places that might become available - Reallocations ;
  • information about the statutory right of appeal against any decision to refuse a place at a preferred school - Complaints .

Parental support

Useful information and guidance about support services for parents is available, such as Education Welfare, Virtual School (Children who are Looked After), or from Parental support.

Children with special needs and disabilities

From 1 September 2014, Statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) are being replaced by Education Health and Care (EHC) plans, as part of a gradual process. EHC plans support children and young people up to the age of 25, provided they still have educational needs. For full details on Statement of SEN and EHC plans with regard to admissions, see the relevant admissions booklet.

For more information about support and services for children and young people with special needs and disabilities, including EHC plans, see Local offer for children with special needs and disabilities.

Frequently asked questions

Q
How and when do I apply / register for a school place online?
Answer

When can I apply:

You can apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week from 19 June to 31 October 2017 for secondary schools and 18 November 2016 to 15 January 2017 for primary schools. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming your preferences. You can view and / or amend the online application anytime during the period. If you amend your application, please ensure that you 'resubmit it'. If you have resubmitted your application, you will receive a further email detailing your revised preferences. Your latest application will be used when allocating school places.

How do I apply:

To apply / register online, use this link: Apply for a school place online

If you are new to this service, you will need to register. You will be prompted to provide a password and complete registration. You will then receive an email with a unique link. Once you click on this link, you will be able to complete your online application. There is also a guide for parents applying online should you experience any difficulties.

Q
When completing the online application, what order should I state the schools?
Answer

All preferences are considered equally, so you should preference the schools in the order that you would like them allocated. The Authority will offer the highest preference possible if your child is eligible for more than one school. To clarify, your true first preference of school should be put first on the application you submit. This includes the grammar schools.

Q
Do I need to complete any supplementary forms for Calderdale schools?
Answer

For primary schools, if you applying for a faith (church) school amongst your preferences, you may need to complete the school's Supplementary information form if you are applying under the faith criteria. See: Primary schools' admission criteria for each school for more details.

For secondary schools, if you applying for Trinity Academy under the faith criteria, Rastrick High School under the music criteria, or The Brooksbank School under the sports criteria, you will need to fill in the school's Supplementary information form. See: Comprehensive schools and Academies for each school for more details.

If you wish to register your child for the Grammar schools admission test, you will need to complete a registration form between 17th April and 1st September 2017, see: Grammar schools .

 

Q
Can I choose any school?
Answer

The word used in law about school admissions is 'preference', not 'choice'. This means that you can state which school you would prefer your child to attend, but there is no guarantee that the application will be successful. You can list any school you wish as a preference.

Q
My child is being looked after by a grandparent / relative / childminder / friend. Can I use their address on the application?
Answer

No. The address used for the application must be the child's current permanent residence. Where parental responsibility is held by more than one person and those persons reside in separate properties, the child's ordinary place of residence will be deemed to be that property where the parent receives child benefit. The Local Authority reserves the right to request further evidence of a child's permanent residence if this is deemed necessary. An offer of a school place may be withdrawn if a false address is given.

Q
Are places offered on a 'first come first served' basis?
Answer

No. All applications received during the application period (18 November 2016 to 15 January 2017 for primary schools and 19 June to 31 October 2017 for secondary schools) are 'on time' and are considered together. Late applications made after 15 January 2017 for primary schools  and after 31 October 2017 for secondary schools will be dealt with once all 'on time' applications have been considered.

Q
I would like my child to sit the admissions test for one/both of the Calderdale grammar school(s). What do I need to do?
Answer

For admission in 2018 the test will he held on Saturday 30 September 2017.  Parents who wish their child to sit the admissions test must complete a NHGS/CHS Grammar Schools online application form either online or by paper copy by 1 September 2017.  Registration for admissions will open on Monday 17 April 2017.  Parents of children registered for Pupil Premium (Free School Meals) must indicate this when registering for the test.

Always open first question: 
Q
I have heard that if I only put one preference on the application I stand a better chance of being offered that school. Is that true?
Answer

No. The risk a parent takes by putting only one preference on the application is that if the school preferenced cannot be offered, there are no alternative preferences for us to consider.

Q
If I list a school as my first preference, do I have a better chance of receiving an offer than someone who lists it as a lower preference?
Answer

No. All preferences are considered equally and you will not be given any extra priority for your first preference. A parent listing a school as a fifth preference, for example, and who could not be offered one of their first four preferences, may be offered a place because they live closer than a parent who had listed the same school as first preference.

Q
What happens if my child does not reach the academic standard for grammar school? What happens to my other preferences?
Answer

The grammar schools will notify you of the outcome of the admissions test prior to the closing date for applications to be submitted, which is 31 October 2017. This information should assist you in making a decision as to whether or not to formally apply for one or both grammar schools (up to five preferences can be expressed). If it is border-line as to whether or not your child is ranked highly enough to be allocated a place at one of the grammar schools, you may still choose to preference the school(s). As all preferences are considered equally, your application for alternative schools will not be disadvantaged if you have preferenced a grammar school(s) but a place could not be offered.

Q
Do I need to apply if I already have an older child at the school?
Answer

Yes. The application procedure and timetable is the same for all applicants regardless of whether there is an older child or if the application is for an only child. If there is a sibling already attending the preferenced school, you need to make sure that you state this in the relevant section of the online application.

Q
I have already submitted the application for my child to start primary school in September 2017 / secondary school in September 2018, and now I want to change my preferences, what should I do?
Answer

You can log onto your account and change your preferences on your online application until the closing date of 15 January 2016 for primary schools and 31 October 2017 for secondary schools. Please contact the Admissions Team for more details.

Q
How are schools allocations made?
Answer

Once all the on time applications have been received, the admissions authority for the school will consider all the preferences for that school and, if there are more applications than there are places available, the admissions oversubscription criteria for Secondary schools , or Primary schools will be applied.

In the case of Calderdale community schools, the Authority will apply the oversubscription criteria to determine the priority order in which the applicants should be placed.

In the case of Calderdale's voluntary or foundation schools or academies, the governors of the school will use evidence provided on their supplementary forms, if they have one, to rank the applicants in terms of their oversubscription criteria.

In the case of schools in other areas, the admissions authority for the school (either the local authority for community schools, the governors for voluntary aided schools or the academy trust for academies) will make admission decisions.

Once all of the applications have been put in ranked order, these are submitted back to the Admissions Team and places are offered up to the Published Admission Number of the school. Where a child can be offered more than one of the schools they have applied for, the preference order will be used to offer the child the highest preference of the possible offers.

Always open first question: 
Q
What happens if more parents apply for places at a school than there are places available?
Answer

If there are more applications received than there are places available, the oversubscription criteria are applied. The following example may help explain how the procedure works:

A school can admit 60 pupils, but 80 applications are received. These fall into the following oversubscription categories:

Criteria Number of pupils
SEN (Special Educational Needs) 2
Priority 1 (Children who are looked after) 1
Priority 2 (Siblings) 20
Priority 3 (Distance) 57
Total 80

Therefore all 23 of the SEN, Priority 1 and Priority 2 pupils would be offered places. As the school has 60 places, this leaves 37 places to be offered to pupils in Priority 3. The 37 pupils living nearest the school (measured by a straight line) out of the 57 pupils will be offered places. The 20 pupils falling into Priority 3 living further away from the school would not be offered places, but could request to be placed on the reallocation list, which is ordered in terms of the oversubscription.

Q
Can I do anything to improve my chances of being offered my preferred school?
Answer

The most important thing to do is ensure that you apply before the closing date (15 January 2017 for primary schools and 31 October 2017 for secondary schools). The other thing to consider is that if you decide to apply for a school that is not close to your home, then you will be competing for a place with all those applicants who live nearer to that school. This does not mean that you will have to apply for your nearest school, or that you can be guaranteed a place at your nearest school.

Q
What happens if the Authority cannot allocate any of my preferred schools?
Answer

The Authority has a duty to allocate a school place to all children living within Calderdale. If none of the preferred schools can be allocated, the Authority will allocate the school which is the closest to the family home where there are vacancies. This will be within a two mile walking route for primary schools or a three mile walking route for secondary schools wherever possible, and may not be your closest school. For residents outside of Calderdale, your home local authority is responsible for allocating a school place if your Calderdale preferences cannot be met.

Q
When and how will I receive notification of the school place offered?
Answer

When will I receive notification:

National Offer Day is 1 March 2018 for secondary schools and 18 April 2017 for primary schools.

How will I receive notification:

If you live in Calderdale, the offer of a school place will be made by Calderdale Council, irrespective of where your child attends primary school. You will have the option of how you wish to receive your offer when you apply online. This may be by logging into your online application, by email, or by letter.

If you live outside the Calderdale area, the offer of a school place will be made by your own local authority.

Q
I have not received my offer, can you tell me which school my child has been allocated?
Answer

Allocation of school places will not be confirmed over the telephone. Parents must wait until they receive their email or allocation letter from the Authority, if you are resident in Calderdale, or from your home local authority if resident outside Calderdale.

Q
I have not been allocated my preferred school - what do I do now?
Answer

With your allocation notification, you will receive further information relating to the reallocation and appeals processes. You can submit a reallocation request at Reallocations .

Always open first question: 
Q
Why was my neighbour's child allocated a place at a particular school last year, but mine has not this year?
Answer

Allocations of places differ year on year. It is possible under the distance category to allocate a place one year, but to be unable to allocate one the following year, even in the same street / area. This is due to the volumes of pupils applying, where they live and whether any higher priority categories have been applied to an application.

Q
The allocation was based on my old address, but I have since moved. Can this be taken into account?
Answer

Yes, reallocation will take into account a change of address. However, if we are not already aware of this change, evidence of the move, such as a utility or council tax bill will be required.

Q
My application was late, will I be penalised during the reallocation?
Answer

No, after the initial round, the reallocation requests are considered equally for those that arrive before the closing date for reallocation requests, which is 15 March 2018 for secondary schools and 1 May 2017 for primary schools.

Q
How is priority determined during the reallocation process?
Answer

If any places become available, the oversubscription criteria are reapplied to those seeking reallocation.

Q
What is the likelihood of my child being reallocated to my preferred school?
Answer

The Authority cannot predict this as it depends purely on the number of places that are given up (if any) and who takes priority in terms of the oversubscription criteria.

Q
If the reallocation request is not successful, when am I likely to get an appeal hearing?
Answer

Appeals are normally scheduled to be heard during June of the admissions year for secondary schools and during June and July of the admissions year for primary schools.

Always open first question: 
Q
I have decided to send my child to an independent school / teach at home / move area and no longer require the place allocated. What do I need to do?
Answer

Written confirmation will be required to allow us to reallocate the place to another child.

Q
Where can I get advice on how to complete the online application?
Answer

The Authority recommends that the parents contact the Admissions Team for appropriate advice and guidance. The Authority cannot be responsible for advice taken from any other source.

Q
Can I get help with school clothing?
Answer

The governing body of each school is responsible for establishing a dress code for pupils and developing appropriate policies in respect of school uniform. The Authority is not able to assist parents / guardians to purchase items of school uniform or supply school clothing. In exceptional circumstances or dire emergency, parents / guardians should see advice from the Education Welfare Officer attached to the school.

Q
When will my child start school?
Answer

Legally children must start school from the beginning of the term following their fifth birthday. In Calderdale, children are able to start school at the beginning of the Autumn term in the academic year in which they turn five. Children born between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013 may start school in September 2017.

Q
Do I need to apply if my child is already in nursery at a school?
Answer

Yes. There is no automatic progression from nursery to reception and you need to apply in the same way as parents whose children are not in a nursery class. Attending a school's nursery class does not give a child priority for admission to the reception class.

Q
How likely am I to get my first preference school?
Answer

It is impossible to know this for sure because the number of parents who apply for each school varies year on year. For children who started secondary school in September 2017, 84% of parents who applied 'on time' were offered their first preference of school. Another 12.1% were offered one of their other preferences. The number of preferences received for each school and a breakdown of the allocation data can be found on Search for schools  .

Always open first question: 
Q
What is the admission policy for Early years?
Answer

Early years education and childcare is provided by some schools. For details on the admissions policy, see PDFEarly years admissions policy for schools with nursery and foundation units [PDF 151KB] .