Choosing a secondary school

When you apply for a secondary school place for your child you must tell us your 3 school preferences in order of priority. To make these preferences you will need to find out more about the schools.

Find schools in your area

Use our schools directory to find the schools local to you.

Linked area schools

If you live in a rural area or village, your local school may have a linked area. This may give you some priority if that school is oversubscribed. Use the schools directory to see if a school is linked to your local village or town.

Do not assume that you do not need to apply for your designated, local or linked school - you must include it as a preference if you want a place there.

Find out about schools you're interested in

Take the following steps to find out about schools:

  1. View school type, details, reports and oversubscription admission criteria

    The schools directory also includes details for each secondary school, Ofsted and performance reports and admissions oversubscription criteria.

  2. Check whether you need to complete a supplementary information form

    Some schools in Northamptonshire require you to complete an information form which goes directly to the school, in addition to the preference form to the county council.
  3. Pick up a school prospectus

    Many schools have a prospectus or booklet. These are available to view on the school's website, or ask the school for a copy.
  4. Visit the school

    All secondary schools hold open evenings or days for parents. These give you a good opportunity to ask questions. You can find details and the dates and times of open evenings on the schools' individual websites - there are links to these in the schools directory.
  5. Understand the different types of school

    There are several different type of secondary schools in Northamptonshire. Whichever school you are interested in, the application and offer process is the same. The oversubscription admission criteria and allocation of places are managed differently:

    Community schools 

    The county council is responsible for the oversubscription admission criteria and the allocation of places.

    Voluntary aided schools and foundation (trust) schools

    School governors are responsible for setting the oversubscription admission criteria and the allocation of places.

    Academies, free schools and University Technical Colleges (UTCs)

    The Academy Trust is responsible for setting the oversubscription admission criteria and the allocation of places.

    Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) is responsible for coordinating the application process so you must return your preference form to NCC whichever type of school you are applying for.

  6.  Find out if your child qualifies for free school transport

Northamptonshire County Council will provide free transport on a school bus or via a bus pass for a scheduled bus service to secondary school children aged up to 16 years attending their nearest available or linked/designated school who live more than 3 miles from that school by the shortest walking route:

  • The shortest walking route might include footpaths, bridleways and other tracks that are not passable by cars.
  • If the distance from home to school is less than 3 miles, we will not provide transport unless, in exceptional circumstances, the route is considered unsuitable to walk. Transport which is provided due to unacceptable walking routes may change depending on the climate at the time.

Home to school transport is not a door-to-door service and secondary school children are expected to walk up to a mile to and from their home to their nearest pick-up point.

Does your child have special educational needs (SEN)?

Find out how you apply for a school place if your child has:

How to apply for a secondary school place

How to apply
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