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Admissions to Primary school September 2024

Section 2 - Additional admissions information - September 2024

Applications by non-Gateshead residents

If you do not live in Gateshead, you must apply direct to your home local authority. They will forward a copy of your application form to Gateshead. If you are not offered a Gateshead school your home local authority will ensure your child is offered a school place in your area. 

Likelihood of a place at your preferred school

To assess the likelihood of gaining a place at your preferred school, look at the school admission policy to see how high up the admission criteria your child will be. You can also look at the statistical information for the school in Section 3 - Admission statistics (academic years 2022 and 2023). This information will give you an idea of the number of applications, offers and appeals received for the last two academic years. However, these figures can change significantly from year to year. 

Purpose of applying to more than one school

If you only list one school on your application form you cannot be certain that your child will be offered a place there. If you do not let us know about other schools on your application form that you might have considered as a second or third preference then you may run the risk of leaving it too late to obtain a place at these schools if your application for a first preference school is unsuccessful. We strongly recommend you use all three preferences, doing so does not reduce your chance of gaining a place at your first preference school. Please remember we cannot guarantee that your child will be offered a place at one of your chosen schools, even if you live in the catchment area or already have another child attending the school, as this will depend on the number of applications the school receives. 

Application address information for shared custody arrangements

If you share custody of a child for whom you are processing an application, you must contact The School Admissions Team on 0191 433 2756 or 433 2757 before completing your application form and you will be given individual advice on this issue. It is expected that where there is shared parental responsibility for a child, that parents will agree which parent has the main responsibility before completing their application form. Documentary evidence will be requested. If you are unable to provide evidence of shared responsibility the local authority will use the address of the parent/carer who receives the child benefit. 

Applications for children with Special Educational Needs

If your child is being assessed for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), you should still complete an application form. However, if your child already has an EHCP, do not complete an application form as the EHCP will name the school that your child will attend. 

Applications submitted after the closing date of 15 January 2024

Your application will be classed as late and you will reduce your chances of gaining a place at your chosen schools. You must give a reason as to why your application was submitted late. For applications received after 15 January 2024 but on or before 22 February 2024 we may be able to consider your application for exceptional reasons. For example, you may have just moved into the area. In such circumstances proof of ownership or tenancy of your address will be required. 

Each late application will be decided on its own merits. You need to be aware that if we agree to consider a late application as on-time for exceptional reasons this does not in itself mean that we can offer your child a place. It simply means that your application will be considered in accordance with the admission criteria along with all other applications that were received on time. 

Late applications received after 22 February 2024 will not be processed until after 16 April 2024, however an offer will be made at an alternative school if there are still places available. 

If you submit a late application, you must explain the reasons on your form as to why it is late. 

Changing preferences after the closing date of 15 January 2024

Change of preferences will only be considered if you can demonstrate that there are exceptional circumstances relating to the reasons for the change. You need to think carefully about the initial preferences you rank on your application form as the majority of change of preference requests for oversubscribed schools are not considered to be exceptional. 

If we cannot consider your change of preference we will proceed with the preferences you gave on your original application form for determining the offer of places on 16 April 2024. Any change of preference request received after 22 February 2024 will not be processed until after 16 April 2024. 

Moving house after the closing date of 15 January 2024

View the information on how your application will be considered if you move house after the closing date. 

Offers without a complete application form

If you do not complete an application for and are a Gateshead resident, a place will still be offered to your child, at your catchment school or next nearest school with places available. However, this offer may be made after 16 April 2024. 

Unsuccessful applications for preferred schools 

If you are not offered a place at any of your preferred schools your child will be offered a place at your catchment school or next nearest school depending upon the availability of places. 

If you are refused a place you have the right to appeal to an independent appeal panel and request that your child's name is placed on the schools waiting list. Waiting lists are maintained according to the schools admission criteria with no regard to the ranking the school was given on the application form. A child's position on a waiting list may change due to additions or deletions of children on the list. 

In general fewer than half of appeals are decided in the parents favour for years 3,4,5 and 6. In respect of infant class sizes, reception and years 1 and 2 very few appeals are successful due to the legislation relating to statutory class size limitations in key stage 1. Further information regarding statutory class size legislation is available in Section 2 - Additional admissions information - September 2024

Over-subscription for preferred schools

If a school or academy has too many applications for the places available they are known as an over-subscribed school. Places will be allocated using the schools admission criteria set out in their admission policy. You must read the admission policy for every school you apply to, even if it is outside Gateshead. 

Admission of children below compulsory school age 

Children are entitled to start school full time the September following their fourth birthday. This is when most children start school. However a parent does not have to send their child to school until they reach compulsory school age A child will reach compulsory school age on the prescribed day following their fifth birthday (or on their fifth birthday if it falls on a prescribed day). The prescribed days are 31 December, 31 March and 31 August. Children must receive full time education from this point. 

For children under compulsory school age, once a school place has been offered and accepted, parents may, if they wish, request that their child attends school part-time until later in the school year, or starts full time, later in the school year, but not later than the start of the summer term, that is, April 2025. 

If you wish to make a request for your child to attend school part time or start school later in the school year, you must contact the local authority and school following receipt of your offer letter on 16 April 2024. 

Admission of children outside their normal age group including summer born children 

Parents may request a place for their child outside their normal age group, for example if the child is gifted and talented or has experienced problems such as ill health. 

In addition parents of children born in the summer term, 1 April 2020 to 31 August 2020 may request that they are admitted outside of their normal age group and start reception class a full year after they could have first started school (that is, in September 2025). 

While the majority of parents are happy for their child to start school in the September following their fourth birthday, some parents will have concerns about whether their child will be ready for school at this point. 

If you decide to delay your summer born child's school start until the September following their 5th birthday, you have 2 options: 

  • make an in year application for a place for the September following their 5th birthday

They will begin school in year 1, as the other children in their age group will be moving from reception to year 1 at this point. Contact the school admissions team about when it would be best to make such an application. It is important to remember that some schools are likely to be full at this point, and unable to offer you a place. Schools are unable to 'hold' a place for your child from the previous year. Consider, also, the potential impact of missing the reception year with its focus on phonics and early arithmetic. 

  • if you do not want your child to miss the reception year, you may request that they are admitted out of their normal age group, to reception instead of year 1, in the September following their 5th birthday

You must still complete an application form by 15 January 2024 to request this. Before deciding to delay a child's entry to school, the local authority recommends that parents visit the schools they are thinking of applying to and seek advice from the head teacher and from any other professionals involved in the care of the child so that you can make an informed decision. The school will be able to explain the provision on offer to children in the reception class, how it is tailored to meet the needs of the youngest pupils and how the needs of these pupils will continue to be met as they move up through the school. They may also be able to allay any concerns parents may have about their child's readiness for school. 

How to request deferred entry 

Parents wishing to request deferred entry must apply using the application form for the child's normal year of entry, which is available online from 8 September 2023 and return it to the local authority by no later than 15 January 2024. Once you have submitted your application, you must also email to advise that you wish to request deferred entry. You will then be emailed a supplementary information form for completion and we will request further information about why you think your child should be educated out of their normal age group. This will help the local authority make a decision about which year group your child should be educated. You should also provide evidence to support your request if possible. Once this form has been completed and returned, the Local Authority will then consider your request. 

All requests for admission of children outside their normal age group must be discussed with the LA and relevant school head teacher prior to the application being made. You will be notified of the outcome of your request before 16 April 2024. 

In reaching a decision, the local authority will consider the parents views, information about the child's academic, social and emotional development, where relevant medical history and views of medical professionals and they will also consider whether the child may naturally have fallen into a lower age group if they were not born prematurely. They will also take into account the views of the head teacher of the school for which the request is being made. 

If your request is agreed you must reapply for admission to reception class in September 2025 and your child's application will be considered against the relevant schools admission policy along with all other applications received on time for this year group. 

You will also need to ask that your child continues to be admitted outside of their normal year of entry when they move from primary to secondary school. You should do this before the normal admissions round closes for your child's normal age group. This will be on 31 October of the year your child starts year 5, rather than year 6. This is so you know the outcome of the decision in time to apply for your child's normal age group, should your request be refused. 

In deciding what is best for your child, the admission authority will take into account that your child is currently being educated outside of their normal age group. 

If your request is refused you can still delay your child's school start until they reach compulsory school age and make an in-year application for them to start in year 1. However we cannot guarantee that there will be a place at your chosen school as the year 1 class may be full. 

Alternatively, if you do not wish for your child to miss the reception year, you can accept the school place offered by the local authority and either take up a full time place from September 2024 or talk to the school about part time attendance or a delayed start date until later in the school year, but not later than the beginning of the summer term (that is, April 2025). 

Any parent that is refused a place has the right of appeal, however the right of appeal does not apply if a place at the school is offered but it is not the preferred age group. 

Governing Bodies of Voluntary Aided schools consider requests for deferred entry to their school. Please refer to the relevant school admissions policy for further information. 

You must request deferred entry by the application closing date of 15 January 2024. However, requests received after this date will still be considered by the local authority if they are received before 16 April 2024. Any deferred entry request for a summer born child, received on or after 16 April 2024, (once a child has already been allocated a school place) will not be considered and you will be unable to defer your child's entry to reception class by a full school year, after this date, unless you can provide us with supporting evidence from a professional working with your child, for example nursery manager, educational psychologist, or early years special educational needs teacher, who supports your request for deferred entry. 

If your request is agreed please note that when you come to reapply, if you decide to change any of the schools you originally requested, the relevant admission authority for those schools will need to make a decision on which year group your child should be admitted to in September 2025, for example: reception or year 1, as one admission authority cannot be required to honour the decision made by another. 

If you delay your summer born child's start to school by a year, they will still be eligible for government-funded childcare until they start school. 

Special circumstances - social or medical reasons 

Gateshead local authority can consider exceptional applications particularly in cases involving social or medical needs. 

If you wish to apply on social or medical grounds your application must be supported in writing by relevant registered health professionals such as a doctor or social worker. Please send your application and supporting information to:

The School Admissions Team
Civic Centre
Floor 2

by 15 January 2024

The evidence must demonstrate why the child's needs require placement at the particular school chosen and what difficulties would be caused if the child had to travel to and attend an alternative school. We will not consider such applications if the relevant professional evidence is not provided. 

Usually common childhood ailments such as asthma, giving a child's nervousness at starting school or difficulties with childminding arrangements would not be sufficient to offer a place. Appropriate examples may involve applications for children for whom there are exceptional medical factors directly related to the school placement. However, no assumption should be made that the submission of the relevant evidence will, in itself guarantee the offer of a place at your chosen school. 

Any evidence received after 16 April 2024 supporting an application on social or medical grounds will not be considered. 

Looked after children and previously looked after children 

Looked after children are children who are in the care of a local authority, as defined under section 22 of the Children Act 1989. Previously looked after children are children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a child arrangements order or special guardianship order). Looked after children and previously looked after children have top priority in our community school admission policy for September 2024. 

Special educational needs 

If your child is being assessed for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), you should still complete an application form. However, if your child already has an EHCP, there is no need to complete an application form as the EHCP will name the school that your child will attend and your child will automatically be offered a place at that school. 

If your child has special educational needs but not an EHCP, your application for a school place will be considered on the basis of the school's published admission criteria. All schools in Gateshead can provide for pupils with special educational needs. 

Reserving places 

We cannot reserve places in our primary, infant or junior schools in the expectation of further applications from families moving into the area. 

Exceptions to the duty to offer a community primary school place 

If there are more places available at a school than there are applicants, the admissions authority must accept all the applications except in the circumstances described opposite. 

Twice excluded pupils 

Unless a child has been permanently excluded on two or more occasions, applications for places must be considered on the same basis as all other applications and in line with the school admissions code. In the case of twice excluded children, the admission authority (the council in the case of community and voluntary controlled schools and the governing body in the case of voluntary aided and foundation schools) is not under a duty to comply with the preference of parents. However this does not affect a child's right to education. 

Class size restrictions in Key Stage 1 (infant years) 

Key stage 1 refers to reception, year 1 and year 2 in infant and primary schools. All schools must follow class size legislation in Key Stage 1 (ages 4 to 7). Schools are not allowed to have more than 30 children to one qualified teacher in any Key Stage 1 class, including reception. 

You should be aware that once the limit of 30 children to one teacher is reached and your child is refused admission then there are only very restricted reasons for appeal. You do have the right of appeal but an appeal panel can only uphold your appeal if they are satisfied that either: 

  • the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would make in the circumstances of the case
  • the child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented
  • the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had not been contrary to mandatory provisions in the School Admissions Code and the SSFA 1998

The appeal panel members must consider whether or not the council has satisfied them that their decision to refuse admission was reasonable in accordance with admission legislation and that the admission procedures were properly implemented. If this is shown to be the case, the panel are obliged to dismiss the appeal. 

Your child may be refused a place at a school on the grounds that the admission would cause class size prejudice. Class size prejudice means that a school would not be able to keep the 30 pupils to one teacher class size limit unless extra measures were taken, such as the need to provide an extra teacher or classroom or even a reorganisation of classes. 

Factors relevant to the admission authority's decision could be: 

  • where the introduction of an extra pupil would lead to the introduction of mixed aged teaching in a school previously operating in single year groups 
  • whether the admission of the child would lead to a breach of the limit further up the system - some schools decide to have a small reception class with larger year 1 and year 2 classes (for example admission number of 45 with two reception classes of 22 and 23 and three mixed year 1 and year 2 classes of 30)

Admitting extra pupils to the reception class would not breach the limit in that year but could do so in future years. 

Exception to Key Stage 1 class size legislation 

Exception to class size legislation is only possible in very limited circumstances. Additional children may be admitted under limited circumstances. The excepted children are: 

  • children admitted outside the normal admissions round with statements of special educational needs specifying a school
  • looked after children and previously looked after children admitted outside the normal admissions round
  • children admitted, after initial allocation of places, because of a procedural error made by the admission authority or local authority in the original application process
  • children admitted after an independent appeals panel upholds an appeal
  • children who move into the area outside the normal admissions round for whom there is no other available school within reasonable distance
  • children of UK service personnel admitted outside the normal admissions round
  • children whose twin or sibling from a multiple birth is admitted otherwise than as an excepted pupil
  • children with special educational needs who are normally taught in a special educational needs unit attached to the school, or registered at a special school, who attend some infant classes within the mainstream school

Other admission authorities 

Additional information about Church of England Schools in the Diocese of Newcastle can be obtained from: 

Diocesan Education Board
Church House
St John's Terrace
Percy Main
North Shields
NE29 6HS 

Tel: 0191 270 4100 

Durham Diocesan Board of Education
Carter House
Pelaw Leazes Lane


Tel: 0191 374 6017