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Admissions, Secondary School

Have you watched our Applying for Secondary School Video? Please let us know what you thought of it by filling out our online survey.

The table shows you a timetable of key times in the school year. Please use it as a guide.​
August to OctoberApply for a place
1 MarchOffers go out
11 MarchWaiting list deadline
29 MarchAppeals deadline
May to JuneAppeals heard
SeptemberStart secondary school

If your child is in their last year of primary school and is due to start secondary school in September 2016 you must apply for a school place between 1 August 2015 and 31 October 2015. All applications will be given equal consideration no matter when you apply during this period as long as the application is submitted by the deadline.

There are a number of things you should consider before submitting your application.

Have you visited the schools you are interested in before applying? Most of them have open days where you can find out more information. 

Watch our 'how to' video to help you use the online application form. 

Have you read the Starting secondary school book? This can be found in the Documents section on this page.

Use the Top Task section to Find a school in Leeds to gain detailed information about each school, including their oversubscription criteria which can be found within the admissions policy attached to each school page. This will help ensure you include schools where your child has a realistic chance of being offered a place.

Have you spoken to staff in the Admissions Team to clarify any issue you are not sure about, especially about the admissions policy? You can find our contact details in the Contact us section on this page. 

Remember to choose up to five schools you would prefer and include your 'nearest priority school' (as outlined in your invitation to apply letter). This will ensure you have the best chance of being offered a local school place.

Have you considered how your child will get to school and the potential transport costs?

Invitation to apply letters

Letters telling you which is your 'nearest priority school' are being sent out from 1 August. If you have not received your letter by mid August please contact us. Being told which is your child's 'nearest priority school' is an important part of many school admissions policies.

Applying for a school place

We recommend that you apply online for your child’s school place, using the link in the Top Tasks section on this page. Watch our 'how to' video to help you use the online application form. You can also apply using a paper form called a Secondary common preference form (CPF).  This can be found in the Documents section on this page, or alternatively you can pick one up from a school office or contact the Admissions Team. Please see contact details on this page. 

On your application, (both online and paper), you can include up to five schools as your preferences.  You should put these in order of your preference (i.e. your most preferred school at number one, and your least preferred school at number five).

Some schools require the completion of a supplementary information form (SIF) which should be completed separately and sent directly to the school. You can find out if a SIF is required by reading the school's admissions policy. Use the Top Tasks section to Find a school in Leeds. Each school page has a link to its admissions policy. If supplementary information is required a link to this will also be provided.

After the closing date, we then start the allocations process. This means we look at all the applications made for each school and, using the admissions policy, we rank them in order. We can then see if you have qualified for a place at any of your preferred schools. If you qualify for more than one of your preferences, we will offer the highest of these preferences and withdraw all the preferences below it. If you don’t qualify for any of your preferences, we will offer the nearest Community or Voluntary Controlled school to your address that still has an available place after the allocations process has been completed. We can also sometimes offer a place at a Voluntary Aided or Foundation school or Academy if their governing body has given permission for us to do so. 

The “invitation to apply” letter (mentioned above) includes details of your “nearest priority school”. It is very important that you include this school as one of your preferences, even if it is number five, as this helps increase your chances of being offered a local school place. Remember, this may not physically be your nearest school, as different types of schools follow different admissions policies.  Each school's admissions policy can be found by clicking on Find a school in the Top Tasks section on this page.

Make sure you check the following before the closing date

Have you completed your online application and received an email confirming we have received it? Or, have you returned the paper form to the Admissions team?

Have you completed and returned any supplementary information forms to schools who require them?

If you are claiming exceptional medical/social circumstances (priority 1b) have you checked that your preferred school considers exceptional circumstances as part of their admissions criteria?

Have you attached any relevant supporting evidence to your application?

Admissions Policy

​The Admissions Policy for a school is used to rank all the applications which are made for that school. It will usually consist of different criteria or groups.  Examples of the different types of criteria used are sibling (attending same school), nearest school priority, and distance.

Please remember that different types of schools use different criteria to rank their applications, so it is really important that you look at the admissions policy for each of the schools you are including in your preferences.

We strongly advise that you read through policies for the schools you are applying for before submitting your preferences.

For further information please look at the Leeds Admissions Policy 2016, which applies to all Community and Voluntary Controlled schools in Leeds, and can be found in the Documents section on this page.

To find admissions policies for other schools such as Foundation, Voluntary Aided and Academies, please follow the Find a school in Leeds link below.  Alternatively you can contact the schools directly.

Find a school in Leeds

How places are offered

We coordinate all applications for children moving from primary to secondary school in Leeds. This means we receive all the applications centrally, gather information from schools who determine their own admissions and send out all the offer letters. We make sure every child receives an offer of a school place. Whether we can offer you the place you want for your child will depend on your circumstances and the schools you have asked for. We do not share the preference order with schools, only that you have applied for them. We strongly recommend that you include the 'nearest priority school'  which we tell you about in your invitation to apply letter. This gives you the best chance of still being placed within your local area, even if you are not able to gain a place at one of your higher preference schools. It is not always possible to offer every child who preferences it a place at their nearest priority school.​

We consider your preferences in the following stages:

  • You list your five preferences.
  • We inform any Voluntary Aided schools, Foundation schools, Academies, or other local authorities that you have preferenced their school. They apply their policy to decide who they can offer places to, and tell us. Admission policies for these schools can be found by clicking on Find a school in Leeds in the Top Tasks section on this page.
  • We apply the Leeds policy to see who we can offer places to at Community and Voluntary Controlled schools.
  • If you meet the admission conditions for more than one school, we offer your highest preference school that you qualify for.
  • If we cannot offer your child a place at any of the schools you have preferenced we will allocate a place at the closest school to your home address that still has places available. This applies to all Community or Voluntary Controlled schools but may be a Voluntary Aided or Foundation school or Academy if their governing body has given us permission to do so. If you live outside Leeds, we will offer your child an alternative place.


Offers of school places will be sent out on 1 March. If you have applied online this will be by email. If you used a paper form your offer will be posted to your home address by 2nd class post. These can take up to a week to arrive.

You will be asked to accept the offer we give you. The information on how to do this will be in your offer letter.

When you have received your offer you must confirm your school place by contacting the relevant school directly; the Admissions Team are unable to register your confirmation.

Please be patient while you wait for your letter. If you do not receive your offer letter within the timeframes outlined above please contact the Admissions Team using the contact details on this page.

If you missed the deadline for applications to start secondary school or if you want to educate your child at home you must contact the Admissions Team using the contact details on this page and they will advise you.

You must apply for a school place using the address where your child lives for the majority of the time.

Waiting list

​After you have received your offer of a school place, you can add your child's name to a waiting list before 11 March without going through the formal appeal process, if you would prefer a different school.

For more information please go to the School waiting lists page which can be found in the Related pages section.


If you have not been offered a place at the school you have requested you can appeal against the refusal by 29 March. All appeals submitted by 29 March against a decision for a year 7 place will be heard within 40 school days.

If you do not reply by this deadline, your appeal will be heard but we cannot guarantee to hear your appeal before the end of the term and appeals are not generally held in the school holidays.

For more information please go to the Admissions Appeals page which can be found in the Related Pages section.

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