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Admission criteria

Admission to primary and secondary schools is not automatic. All schools have admission criteria which the school's admission authority uses to allocate places if they receive more applications than they have places available. It is the parent's responsibility to apply for a school place for their child. A place will not automatically be allocated.

Every child aged between five and 16 is entitled by law to a place at a state school. Wherever possible you will be offered a place at one of your preferred schools, but this can't be guaranteed. Every school has an admissions limit, and this determines the number of children they will accept.

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If you are applying to a popular school, check how closely your child meets the criteria.

If your child meets one of the highest criteria for each of the schools you have chosen (for example, you live in the catchment area or have a child already at the school), your chances of being offered a place are much higher.

Be realistic - it is possible that not everyone who applies will be offered a place.

Whenever a child is refused admission to a school their name is automatically added to a waiting list for any voluntary controlled or community school.

If a child has been refused admission to a voluntary aided foundation school or to an academy you must contact the school directly to place the child's name on the waiting list. In all cases, where a child is refused admission parents have the right to appeal.

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The criteria

Every school has a set of rules, known as the admission or over subscription criteria. Schools that are oversubscribed will follow these rules when allocating places. Admission criteria are set by the school's admission authority but directly to the school.

  • Wiltshire Council is the admission authority for community and voluntary controlled schools.
  • The school's governing body is the admissions authority for foundation and voluntary aided schools and academies
  • Independent schools decide their own admission criteria. Applications for independent schools should not be made to the local authority. They should be made directly to the school

Each school has an admission authority which is the body responsible for deciding whether a place is available for a child to attend a particular school.

Wiltshire Council is the admission authority for all the community and voluntary controlled schools within the county.

This is the priority order given to applications when there are more applications than available places in community or voluntary controlled primary schools:-

1. Looked after children/previously looked after children

2. Vulnerable children

  • Children from families registered with the National Asylum Support Service
  • Children or families with a serious medical, physical or psychological condition where written evidence is provided at the time of application from a senior clinical medical officer and the general practitioner or specialist showing that it would be detrimental to the child or family not to admit to the preferred school
  • Children with particular educational needs where written evidence is available from Central SEN services to show that it would be detrimental to the child not to be admitted to the school
  • For the purpose of the above criteria the word ‘families’ is determined as living at the same address at the time of application and also living at the same address on a permanent basis. Proof will be required and must be provided by the deadline date

3. Linked infant school (this criterion applies to infant to junior transfer applications only)

  • In the case of year three applicants to junior schools only, children attending the linked infant school.

4. In-area siblings (step, half and foster/adopted brothers or sisters are also included in this category)

A child is considered under this criterion if:

  • A sibling is on the roll of the preferred school as at the deadline date (providing that the sibling is not in their final year at the school); and
  • The child lives within the designated area or shared area of the school at the same address as the sibling.

5. Other in-area children

A child is considered in this category if they live within the designated (or discrete geographical area) or a shared area served by the school

6. Out-of-area siblings (step, half and foster/adopted brothers or sisters are also included in this category)

A child is considered under this criterion if:

  • A sibling is on the roll of the preferred school as at the deadline date (providing that the sibling is not in their final year at the school); and
  • The child lives at the same address as the sibling.

7. Children of staff at the school

A child is considered to fall under this criterion:

  • Where the member of staff has been employed at the school for two or more years at the time at which the application for admission to the school is made, and/or
  • The member of staff is recruited to fill a vacant post for which there is a demonstrable skill shortage.

If applicants wish to be considered under this criterion then a letter from the Headteacher confirming the above applies to the applicant must be provided at the time of application.

8 Children eligible for service premium relocating to Salisbury Plain

The above criteria will only apply to the following schools:

  • Durrington All Saints CE Infants School
  • Durrington CE Junior School
  • Figheldean St Michael’s CE Primary School
  • Kiwi Primary School, Bulford
  • Larkhill Primary School
  • Collingbourne C E Primary School
  • Amesbury C of E Primary School
  • Amesbury Archer Primary School

9. Other children - children to whom none of the above criteria apply

If there are more applications than places available within any of the criteria above then the straight-line distance from the child’s home address to the school will be used as a tie-break.

Distances will be measured using Ordnance Survey eastings and northings (which are unique for each postal address). Those living closest to the school with be given priority. When two or more children with the same priority for admission live exactly the same distance from the preferred school, the available places will be decided by random allocation (casting lots).

The final year of a primary or junior school is year six and an infant school year two.

  • A sibling (i.e. brother or sister) is defined as a child who shares one natural parent, a step brother or sister, or has been legally adopted or fostered into the family
  • The address that determines a child’s designated or shared area is the place where he or she is ordinarily resident at the deadline for applications
  • There is no guarantee that a younger sibling will obtain a future place in the same school as his or her brother or sister.

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Each school has an admission authority which is the body responsible for deciding whether a place is available for a child to attend a particular school.

Wiltshire Council is the admission authority for all the community and voluntary controlled schools within the county.

This is the priority order given to applications when there are more applications than available places.

1. Looked after children/previously looked after children

2. Vulnerable children

  • Children from families registered with the National Asylum Support Service
  • Children or families with a serious medical, physical or psychological condition where written evidence is provided at the time of application from a senior clinical medical officer and the general practitioner or specialist showing that it would be detrimental to the child or family not to admit to the preferred school
  • Children with particular educational needs where written evidence is available from central SEN services to show that it would be detrimental to the child not to be admitted to the school

For the purpose of the above criteria the word ‘families’ is determined as living at the same address at the time of application and also living at the same address on a permanent basis. Proof will be required and must be received by the deadline date.

3. In-area siblings (step, half and foster/adopted brothers or sisters are also included in this category)

A child is considered under this criterion if:

  • A sibling is on the roll of the preferred school as at the deadline date (providing that the sibling is not in their final year at the school); and
  • the child lives within the designated area or shared area of the school at the same address as the sibling.

4. Other in-area children

  • A child is considered in this category if they live within the designated (or discrete geographical area) or a shared area served by the school.

5. Out-of-area siblings (step, half and foster/adopted brothers or sisters are also included in this category).

A child is considered under this criterion if:

  • A sibling is on the roll of the preferred school as at the deadline date (providing that the sibling is not in their final year at the school); and
  • The child lives at the same address as the sibling.

6. Children of staff at the school

A child is considered to fall under this criterion:

  • Where the member of staff has been employed at the school for two or more years at the time at which the application for admission to the school is made, and/or
  • the member of staff is recruited to fill a vacant post for which there is a demonstrable skill shortage.

If applicants wish to be considered under this criterion then a letter from the Headteacher confirming the above applies to the applicant must be provided at the time of application.

7. Children eligible for service premium relocating to Salisbury Plain

The above criteria will only apply to the following school: The Stonehenge School, Amesbury.

8. Other children - children to whom none of the above criteria apply

If there are more applications than places available within any of the criteria above then the straight-line distance from the child’s home address to the school will be used as a tie-break.

Distances will be measured using Ordnance Survey eastings and northings (which are unique for each postal address) with the child being the shortest distance from the school being given higher priority. In the event that two or more distances are identical, the allocation of places will be decided by casting lots.

NB. The sibling should not be in year 11, 12 or 13 at the school at the time of application.

  • A sibling (i.e. brother or sister) is defined as a child who shares one natural parent, a step brother or sister, or has been legally adopted or fostered into the family
  • The address that determines a child’s designated or shared area is the place where he or she is ordinarily resident at the deadline for applications
  • There is no guarantee that a younger sibling will obtain a future place in the same school as his or her brother or sister.

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Primary

  • A summary of the admission criteria for foundation, voluntary aided and academy primary schools in Wiltshire can be found in the list below. However, for full versions of the admission policies please contact the schools directly. These lists also show how many places there are at each school, how many children can be admitted this year, how many children were admitted last year and how places were decided.

Secondary

  • A summary of the admission criteria for foundation, voluntary aided and academy secondary schools in Wiltshire can be found in the document below. However for full versions of the admission policies please contact the schools directly. The PDFsecondary schools in Wiltshire  269kb document also gives details of the number of places available last year and how they were allocated.
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These schools select children based on academic ability which in effect becomes their first over subscription criteria for any admissions. Grammar schools are allowed to ask children to sit a test as part of the admissions process and can leave spaces empty at the school if not enough children pass the test.

There are two selective grammar schools in Wiltshire:

  • Bishop Wordsworth’s for boys (aided)
  • South Wilts for girls (foundation)

Both are in Salisbury. The test for 2017 entry will be held in September 2016. If you are considering any grammar school for your child then you are advised to contact that school directly in early September to enquire about their testing arrangements.

It is important that if you live in Wiltshire and wish your child to start at a grammar school in September 2017 you must complete an application form and return it to Wiltshire Council by 31 October 2016.

If you apply after this date your child will have to sit a late test and you may find the school is oversubscribed, even if your child passes the selection test.

Please note: if you name a grammar school as a second preference but we can offer your first preference school, we will do so even if your child passes the selection test.

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Children who have a statement of SEN or an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) are placed in schools through the arrangements set out in the SEN Code of Practice and not through any admission criteria.

All admissions to schools for students who have a statement or an EHCP are handled by Central SEN Services at Wiltshire Council. Their contact number is 01225 718095.

Children who may need additional learning help but do not have a formal statement of SEN, must follow the usual process when applying for a school place and the normal admission criteria will apply.

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Last updated: 23 November 2016 | Last reviewed: 23 November 2016