How to apply for a secondary school place

The closing date for applications has now passed (5pm on 31 October 2016).

However, you can still make a late application for a:

  • Secondary school place for September 2017 if your child has their 11th birthday between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017 (year 6 in a primary or junior school)
  • Upper school place for September 2017 if your child has their 13th birthday between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017 (year 8 in a middle school outside of Northamptonshire)
  • University Technical College (UTC) school place for September 2017 if your child is currently in year 9 and wants to transfer to a UTC in September 2017. Daventry UTC will be closed from 31 August 2017. Therefore, you should not make an application for this school.

If your child is already at secondary school and wishes to move to a different school, you will need to make an in-year application instead.

Late applications will be processed from 14 April 2017 onwards. See the table of key dates for further explanation.

Apply online

The easiest way to make a late application is to apply online:

Apply now

Other ways of applying

Your local library

You can apply online at any Northamptonshire County Council library. There will be no charge for using the computers.

Apply by post

Download the information booklet and complete the application form at the back of the booklet:

Please ensure the correct postage is applied. We cannot take responsibility for a form not reaching us due to insufficient postage.

Frequently asked questions

The Department for Education (DfE) has a School Admissions Code that does not allow school places to be allocated on a 'first preference first' basis.

This means that we must consider all pupils stating a preference for a school regardless of whether the school is a first, second or third preference.

This process is known as equal preferencing.

If you include preferences for the most popular schools in Northamptonshire, it may not always be possible to give you your first preference. This is why it is important to state three preferences and to ensure you understand the relevance of the individual oversubscription criteria. Do not name a school as a preference if you do not want a place there.

When you make three preferences, each of the schools will consider your application to see if you qualify for a place at the school.

The local authority has to offer you a school place and the coordinated process is designed to give you the highest preference possible.

For example, if you only state one preference but it is not possible to offer you a place at that school, we will offer you a place at the nearest school with places available (after all other applicants have been allocated places). This school may be far from your home.

​If you are filling in a paper preference form, do not name the same school more than once in your preferences. Writing down the same school more than once will not increase your chances of getting a place at that school. The law makes it very clear that if you only tell us one preference and it is unsuccessful, your child will only be allocated a place after all the other applicants' preferences (first, second and third) have been considered.

The result might be that your child is allocated a place a long way from your home, and transport may not be available.

​If one or more of your preferences is for a state-funded school in another county, you can choose these when you fill in your online or paper preference form. But if you live in Northamptonshire you must send Northamptonshire's School Admissions Team your preference form, regardless of which local authority area your preferred schools are in. Do not send a preference form to the other local authority - we will liaise with that authority to make sure your application is considered according to your preferred school's oversubscription admission criteria.

If one or more of your preferred schools is in another county, you will need to find out from the school itself if you need any additional forms to support your application and return any additional forms directly to the school.

If you want your child to sit the 11+ exam for a grammar school in another county, you must contact that county's admission authority to apply for the test.

​If you do not live in Northamptonshire (even if your child attends a Northamptonshire primary school) you must apply to your own local authority for a secondary school place, even if you are applying for a Northamptonshire school.

University Technical Colleges
If you are applying for a place at a Northamptonshire University Technical College (UTC) you should apply to Northamptonshire County Council regardless of where you live.

​If a child lives with their separated parents for different parts of the week, we will consider the home address to be where the child sleeps for most of the school week (Sunday night - Thursday night).

If the child spends equal amounts of time at the two addresses, the parents must agree which address they wish to be the child's main address.

If the child's home address is not the same as the address held by the child's primary school, we will require written proof to verify that the address given is the permanent residence of the parent or carer (person with parental responsibility) and is the child's home address.

​If you have made a late application and send us more than one application, we will only consider the latest dated application received.

​In 2016 approximately 80% of applicants for a secondary school place who applied on time were allocated their first preference. A further 15% were allocated either their second or third preference.

Where your child is ranked in the individual school’s oversubscription criteria is more important when allocating places than where you have placed the schools in your preference list.

Remember, if you live in a school’s linked area and want to be considered for a place at that school, you must include it as one of your preferences. If you do not include your linked school in your preferences and it is oversubscribed, your child may be allocated a place at another school which may be quite far from your home.

In a very small number of cases we may not be able to offer applicants any of their three preferences. We will then offer a place at the nearest school to the child's home address with places available at the time of allocation. Please note this may not be your local school.

This may be due to the preferences that were made. For example if you live in the centre of Northampton Town NN1 and place the following schools as your preferred schools: Caroline Chisholm, Moulton and Guilsborough, the chances of gaining any one of the three schools is unlikely, because these schools are generally oversubscribed and you would be placed in the lowest criterion of ‘other children’.

Many schools receive more applications than places available. When this happens, places are allocated according to that school’s oversubscription admission criteria.

Different schools use different oversubscription admission criteria, for example:

  • Many schools’ oversubscription admission criteria give priority to children living in their linked area – this is an area around a school, usually in rural areas.
  • The oversubscription admission criteria for faith schools may give priority to applicants who can show practicing or regular attendance to church.

​If all your preferred schools are oversubscribed (ie they receive more applications than places available) and we cannot offer you a place at any of them, we will offer you a place at the closest school to your home address that still has places available at the end of the application process.

​Our birth policy does not entitle applicants with twins or multiple births to gain their first preference but does, where possible, entitle them to be kept together if they so wish. However, this may not be their first preference and may even be at a different school altogether.

Please be aware that if you make a preference for a school which uses random allocation as part of its oversubscription admission criteria, there is a chance that only one child will be allocated a place at the school. This could mean that twins, or other multiple birth groups, are allocated places at different schools.

​If you tell us fraudulent or misleading information in your preference form (for example, a false claim to be living at a certain address or a false claim to have a sibling link) which stopped us from giving a place to a child with a stronger claim, we will withdraw your offer of a place. We will make checks if there is any doubt about your address.

In previous years we have withdrawn places where we have found that a given address was false.

​Some schools require you to send separate information directly to them, for example:

  • Faith schools may ask for information about your allegiance to a religion
  • Specialist schools may need information to assess whether your child has an aptitude for the school's specialism (if you wish to apply on those grounds).
  • Some schools require you to apply for your child to sit a test before being considered.

If you have included one or more of these schools amongst your preferences, you must get the supplementary form directly from the school.

Check which schools require supplementary information forms.

For those who submitted an application before the closing date (31 October 2016) we allocate school places using the addresses we hold on 31 October 2016.

Change of address after the closing date

Please inform us of your new address, by email or letter, so that we can communicate with you.

If you move address after the closing date and wish to change your preferences as a result, you should complete a late application form. The application must be accompanied by documentary evidence of your new address (e.g a copy of signed lease/rental agreement (minimum six months) or copy of solicitor's letter confirming exchange of contracts/completion date). Late applications are dealt with during our further rounds of allocation which start in April 2017.

However, your on time application will be processed and a school place will be allocated according to the address we hold on the closing date (i.e. where you lived on 31 October 2016). We will be able to use your new address for correspondence purposes only. If appropriate, we will then process any late applications you make in the next round of allocations using your new address.  

We will not process an application for a child until they are residing in the UK. The only exception is the children of UK Armed Service Personnel and other Crown Servants. For families of service personnel with confirmed posting to their area, or crown servants returning from overseas to live in that area, admission authorities must allocate a place in advance of the family arriving in the area, provided the application is accompanied by an official letter declaring a relocation date and a Unit postal address or quartering area address.

​If your child is already at secondary school and wishes to move to a different school, you will need to make an in year application.

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