School Admission guides
Full details relating to information on this page can be found in the following:
- Admissions to Schools in Suffolk 2019/2020 guide (PDF, 492KB)
- Directory of Schools in Suffolk (secondary) (PDF, 364KB)
Applying for a secondary school place: step by step
Introduction: Advice when applying for a school place (video)
Watch School Admissions video on YouTube.
Step 1: Check when you need to apply
You must apply for a secondary school place for the 2019/2020 school year by the closing date of
31 October 2018.
This will give you the best chance of being offered a place at one of your preferred schools.
If you're moving house, it is still important that you make an application by the closing date.
We will need evidence to show that you are legally committed to your move so that we can use your new address in the on time allocation process. You must send this written evidence to the Admissions Team by the closing date. If this is not possible, then by 3 January 2019 at the very latest.
If we don’t receive your application by the closing date it may not be dealt with until after places have been offered to those who applied on time. This means that all of the places at your preferred schools may have already been filled before we process your application.
If you are unable to apply by 31 October 2018, and we agree that there are very exceptional reasons for an application being late, we will consider it as on time if it is received by 3 January 2019 and evidence is provided with your application.
This only applies in circumstances outside your control which made it impossible for the application to have been made on time.
Read the Admissions to Schools in Suffolk 2019/2020 guide (PDF, 492KB) for more information about anything in this section.
Step 2: Find schools in your area
Find your nearest schools
You can use our Nearest School Checker to find schools near you.
Check which school catchment area you're in
A catchment area is the geographical area served by a school. Your catchment area school may not be the nearest school to your child’s home address.
Some voluntary aided, foundation, free schools and academies do not operate catchment areas to rank applications.
Find out which secondary school catchment area you're in.
You can view the catchment area map for individual schools on Suffolk Infolink.
If you live near a county border
If you live near the border with Cambridgeshire, Essex or Norfolk you may wish to apply for schools in those local authorities. You can visit their websites for details about the schools in their areas.
If your child lives in Suffolk and you want to apply for a school in a neighbouring authority, you must still apply through Suffolk County Council.
If you live outside Suffolk you must apply to your home local authority if you are applying for a Suffolk school.
Step 3: Find out about the schools you want to apply for
Finding information about schools
You can find information about schools in Suffolk and other counties from their:
- open days
Read the Directory of Schools in Suffolk (PDF, 364KB) or view the list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms online. This will help you to understand how places are offered for each school you are interested in, as they may be different from one another.
The Directory and online list of schools includes:
- contact details for each school
- the number of places in the year group, known as the Published Admission Number (PAN), and information relating to last year’s on time applications
- the admissions policy which includes the oversubscription criteria used to rank applications
Choosing your school preferences
You can apply for up to 3 schools, putting them in order of preference.
Each of your preferences will be considered equally and separately.
Listing second and third preferences will not affect your child’s chance of being offered their first preference. Your first preference will be offered above your second or third preferences where possible.
We cannot guarantee your child a place at any school.
Choosing a school for a child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
Step 4: Think about how your child will get to school
Important changes to School Travel eligibility
In Suffolk, 88% of families find they can walk to school or make their own travel arrangements.
Suffolk’s School Travel Policy 2019/2020 has been amended. It is important that you understand how this might affect your child’s eligibility for Suffolk County Council (SCC) funded school travel before you apply for a school place. Children living in Suffolk who will be starting at a new school in September 2019 will be eligible for SCC funded school travel when they meet the statutory walking distance criteria from their home to the nearest suitable school that would have had a place available for them. This would be whether or not an application was made for a place at that school.
Here are some school travel scenarios (PDF, 103KB) to help you understand the changes.
Full details about SCC funded school travel, including additional arrangements for low income families and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), can be found on Suffolk on Board.
Step 5: Apply for a school place
You must apply for a secondary school place for the 2019/2020 school year by the closing date of 31 October 2018.
How to apply
Most parents in Suffolk apply for a school place online.
When applying online you:
- will receive confirmation of your application by email
- can check or change your application right up to the closing date
- can view the outcome of your application online on the offer day
- will receive an email with details of your school offer on the offer day
Find the guide to making an online application (PDF, 1.2MB).
Your online application must be completed and submitted before midnight on 31 October 2018.
You cannot complete or make a new online application after this time.
When you apply online you must not submit a paper application (CAF1).
If you are unable to apply online you'll need to complete a paper application form (CAF1) (PDF, 136KB).
Your application form must be received on or before 31 October 2018.
You can email or post your application to the Admissions Team. We do not acknowledge receipt of paper applications.
We are not responsible for forms lost in the post. You may wish to get proof of postage when sending your application.
Supplementary Information Form (SIF)
You may need to complete a SIF if one of your preferences is for the following type of school:
- Free school
- Voluntary aided
- Voluntary controlled
A SIF provides extra information for the admissions authority. This helps them apply their oversubscription criteria to rank your application.
Check the oversubscription criteria for the schools you wish to apply for. Find the oversubscription criteria and the SIFs in the Directory of Schools in Suffolk (PDF, 364KB) or in the list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms.
You need to send your SIF to the:
- Admissions Team (if applying for a voluntary controlled school based on religious grounds only)
- School (all other types of school)
For voluntary controlled schools, your SIF needs to be received by the application closing date.
For all other schools, you will need to check with the school for the date the SIF should be returned.
Step 6: Find out when you'll be offered a school place
If you applied online
You'll be able to view the outcome of your application on 1 March 2019, the National Offer Day.
You can view your school place offer by logging into the school admissions portal you used to apply.
You'll also receive an email with details of your child’s offer of a school place.
If you have not been offered a place at your preferred school(s), this email will give you more information about what to do next. This will include details of how to make an appeal.
If you applied on a paper application form
We'll send you a letter by second class post on 1 March 2019 with the offer of a school place.
You'll receive this letter after 1 March 2019.
If you have not been offered a place at your preferred school(s), this letter will give you more information about what to do next. This will include details of how to make an appeal.
Step 7: What to do after receiving your offer
Read the Admissions to Schools in Suffolk 2019/2020 guide (PDF, 492KB) for more information about anything in this section.
If you're happy with the school your child has been offered
We will assume you have accepted the school place offered to your child if we have not heard from you by 14 March 2019.
This will not affect your chances of getting a place at a higher preference school either:
- from the waiting list
- through an appeal (for any of your preferred schools that your child has been refused a place at)
If your child has been offered a school in another county, you may be required to formally accept the place. Please contact the school directly for details.
If you're not happy with the school your child has been offered
If we are unable to offer your child a place at any of your preferred school(s), we will automatically add their name to the waiting list for that school(s).
Names are placed on the waiting list in priority order. This is set out in the school’s admissions oversubscription criteria.
The order of the waiting list can change when:
- a new child’s name is added
- the circumstances of a child already on the list changes
This means a child’s place on the waiting list can go up or down, for example, due to withdrawals or late applications.
The waiting lists will close on 31 December 2019 for:
- community and voluntary controlled schools
- foundation, voluntary aided schools and academies who have agreed to operate the same policy as Suffolk County Council
You can find out when the waiting lists close for voluntary aided, free schools and academies who do not follow the same policy as Suffolk County Council from the schools directly.
Appealing the decision
You have the right of appeal if your child has been refused a place at any of your preferred school(s).
If you applied on time, you should submit your appeal form to the Education Appeals Office by 29 March 2019.
Appeals received on or before 29 March will be heard by 18 June 2019.
If they are received after these dates they may be heard later. In some case, appeals may not be heard until after the beginning of the new school year.
If you want to apply for a different school(s)
You must submit a paper application form (CAF1) (PDF, 136KB) if you wish to apply for a different school(s) after receiving an offer of a school place.
Your new application will replace your earlier application and all your previous preferences.
This means you must include any schools from your earlier application above your new preferences if they're still one of your three preferences and you still want:
- the right to appeal
- your child’s name to remain on the waiting list
You can download Suffolk County Council’s Determined Admission Arrangements for 2019/2020 (PDF, 260KB). These include:
- The oversubscription criteria for community and voluntary controlled schools
- Co-ordinated Admissions Scheme
- Published Admission Numbers for Suffolk schools
- Supplementary Information Form for voluntary controlled schools
You can search the list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms for the 2019/2020 school year.
Download Suffolk County Council’s Fair Access Protocol (PDF, 204KB).
How to contact School Admissions
Contacting us online is quicker, easier and costs less than a phone call. You can contact us using:
- webchat from Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm
- email at email@example.com
If you need to contact us by phone please call 0345 600 0981.
Suffolk County Council
Children, families and learning
- Raising the Bar 2018-2020
- Childcare information and support for parents and providers
- SEND and the Local Offer
- Suffolk Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing Hub
- Fostering and adoption
- Children's Health and Children's Centres
- Keeping children safe
- Children in care and care leavers
- Support for young carers in Suffolk
- Youth support and careers advice, work experience and activities
- Common Assessment Framework (CAF)
- The Parent Hub
- Children’s Trust Board
- Transition to adult care and support
- Healthy Suffolk website
- School places
- School term and holiday dates
- Find a school in Suffolk
- Home to school and college travel
- School meals, uniforms and trips
- School closures
- What is the Local Offer?
- Govern Suffolk
- Pupil attendance, penalty notices and welfare
- County Inclusion Support Service
- Academies, free schools and open competitions
- Paying for the cost of your child's learning
- Elective Home Education (EHE) - educating your child at home
- Suffolk County Music Service for schools
- Making a complaint about a school
- School Organisation Review
- Education and Learning Infrastructure Plan
- Apply for a secondary school place 2019/2020
- Apply for a primary school place 2019/2020
- Move to a different school (in-year applications 2018/2019)
- When to apply for a school place
- School Admissions FAQs
- School catchment areas
- Choosing a school for a child with SEND
- Education Admission Appeals and Permanent Exclusion Reviews