Parents of school starters urged to make most of their preferences

In the run-up to Christmas and with the deadline for new school place applications being 15 January 2022, Hampshire County Council is urging parents of children, due to start school in September 2022, to ensure they indicate three school preferences on their application

Dec 10 2021

Councillor Roz Chadd, the County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “Each year our admissions team deals with over 14,000 applications for a place in reception year – the first year of school. From previous years’ experience, we know that some parents believe that if they provide just one choice of school on their application, this will give weight to that choice and mean it is more likely they will be successful in being allocated a place at that school, but this is not necessarily the case and a very small number of parents have been left disappointed. 

“This can happen when their chosen school is over-subscribed which means there are more applications than the school has available places. This can lead to parents being allocated a place at another school which could be out of their catchment area.  If they have made the most of the opportunity to nominate three preferences, they are highly likely to secure a place at one of their preferred schools.”

Consistently, in recent years, 98 per cent of parents secure a school place for their child at one of their three preferred schools, with between 90 and 93 per (over the past five years) being offered a place at their first preference school. 

Any parent who has already submitted their application can log back into the online system to amend their application any time before the closing date. It is important to be sure to resubmit the application after making any changes. Anyone who needs to make changes to a paper application, should contact email: 

How applications are processed

When an application is received by the admissions team, the child is added to a list for each school that parents have named. Each school’s list is then ranked in accordance with the published admission criteria for that school to determine whether they can offer a place.

If only one of the preferred schools can offer a place, parents will be allocated a place at that school.

If the child qualifies for a place at more than one school, the one ranked highest on the application will be allocated.

In the rare cases when none of a parent’s preferred schools can offer a place, a place is allocated and offered for the catchment school (if places remain) or the nearest school (measured by straight line distance) with a place available. Parents in this situation are advised of the arrangements for placing their child on the waiting list and their right of appeal.

Application deadline

Children born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018, will be eligible to start school in the school year beginning September 2022. 

The deadline for applying for a place for a child either starting school, or moving from infant to junior school, in September 2022 is 15 January 2022.

Parents will be notified of the outcome if they applied online and on time on 19 April 2022 and two to three working days later by letter if they applied using a paper form.

More information and guidance about school admissions