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Schools and education

Reasons for school place refusal

The Admissions Team process school place applications throughout the school year.

All places are allocated in line with the school admissions arrangements and admission policy and are allocated to the highest preference school with places available.

Occasionally, a school or admission authority may not be able to offer a child a place at their school.


Reasons for refusal

It is a very difficult decision to refuse a school place application for a child. School places are refused where:

  • a school is oversubscribed, meaning more applications have been received than there are places available
  • the existing year group is already full and there are no places available

When a school place is refused, the decision letter will stipulate the reason for the refusal.

Standard refusal

Standard refusal is where the year group for which you are applying for a school place is already full. In this case the school or admission authority feel that they are unable to admit an additional child, as it would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources.

For applications to Reception, Junior and Year 7 places, as part of the annual national transition, also called an ‘Admissions Round’, standard refusal means that the school was oversubscribed. This is when more applications are received than there are places available.

Places are allocated in line with the school admission arrangements and the oversubscription criteria of your application.

Sibling refusal

Sibling refusal is where applications are made for more than one child. Most parents or carers prefer siblings to be allocated to the same school but on occasion a place may not be available for all siblings.

If your decision letter states sibling refusal as the reason to refuse a school place, this means that a place is available in school for this child, but a place was not available for one or more siblings.

Infant class size refusal

Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 places are restricted by infant class size legislation where a class size cannot exceed 30 pupils.

If your decision letter states infant class size refusal as the reason to refuse a school place, this means that the school has reached the class size limit of 30 pupils.


Waiting lists and appeals

Where any application is refused, the application is added to the waiting list for that year group, and should a place become available, the school will instruct the Admissions Team to allocate a school place from the waiting list. 

In Year applications will remain on the waiting list until the end of the academic year.

You may only reapply for the same school year if there is a significant change in your circumstances.

Parents or carers have the right to appeal against any school applications refusals.

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