Move to a different school (in-year applications 2020/2021)

Find out what you need to know before, during and after applying for your child to move to a different school during the 2020/2021 school year.

Parents and carers can make an in-year application for their child to go to a new school:

  • during the school year
  • at the start of the school year but in a different age group from the school's normal year of entry

How you make an in-year application depends on which school or schools you want to apply for: 

  • Suffolk County Council deals with in-year applications for community and voluntary controlled schools
  • Voluntary aided, free schools and academies deal with their in-year applications directly

The list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms for the 2020/2021 school year shows where you need to apply to for each school.

Please be aware: You must consider how your child will travel to and from school before you apply for a school place. Your child might not be eligible for funded school travel to your catchment area school if this is not your nearest suitable school.

If your child is changing schools, you need to think about:

  • your reasons for moving schools
  • if the school is right for your child
  • how your child will travel to school
  • the availability of places in the year group at your preferred school. Be aware that even if the year group is full, you are still able to apply for a place.

Read guidance on transferring schools (PDF, 101KB) before moving your child from their current school.

You can apply for a place for your child at any time to any school outside of the normal admissions round.

Applications will not normally be considered more than one term ahead of the date when you want your child to start at the school. 

Some voluntary aided, free schools and academies may have different arrangements. You should contact them directly for more information. 

Find your nearest schools

We strongly recommend that you check which school is your nearest suitable school on our Nearest School Checker because this might not be your catchment area school.

You can find out which are your three nearest Suffolk schools (based on the statutory walking distance including Public Rights of Way) by putting your postcode into our Nearest School Checker

You can use our Nearest School Checker to find schools near you. 

We update this each year to include new roads and developments.

Check which school catchment area you live 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, free schools and academies do not operate catchment areas to prioritise applications to their school. Please check the school's admissions policy for details. 

Use our school catchment area lists to find out if your address has a catchment area school.

You can view the catchment area map for individual schools on Suffolk Infolink

We would only provide Suffolk County Council funded school travel to your Catchment Area School if it is the nearest school to your home that would have had a place available for your child. Please see Step 4 for further information.

If you live near a county border

If you live near the border with CambridgeshireEssex 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.

Finding out about schools in Suffolk 

You can find information about schools in Suffolk including their website, prospectus and open days.

View the list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms or read the relevant Directory of Schools in Suffolk. 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.

These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

Availability of school places 

Check with the Admissions Team or the school on the availability of places for your child’s year group. You need to be:

  • aware that even if the year group is full, you are still able to apply for a place
  • realistic about your preference(s)
  • aware that a place at any school, including your catchment area school, cannot be guaranteed

Choosing a school for a child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Read advice and tips for parents choosing a school for a child with SEND.

Suffolk County Council (SCC) Funded School Travel

Please be aware: You must consider how your child will travel to and from school before you apply for a school place.

The following information is very important:

1. We will provide SCC funded school travel to the Nearest Suitable School that would have had a place available for your child when they are: a) aged under 8 and live at least two miles from the school; or b) aged 8 or older and live at least three miles from the school. This would be whether or not an application was made for a place at that school. The nearest school might not be your catchment area school.

2. We strongly recommend that you check which school is your nearest suitable school on our Nearest School Checker because this might not be your catchment area school. You can find out which are your three nearest Suffolk schools (based on the statutory walking distance including Public Rights of Way) by putting your postcode into our Nearest School Checker. We update this each year to include new roads and developments.

3. We would only provide SCC funded school travel to your Catchment Area School if it is the nearest school to your home that would have had a place available for your child.

4. Your School Preferences and the order you put them on your admissions application could affect your child’s eligibility for SCC funded school travel. Our school travel scenarios (PDF, 100KB) can help you work out when your child might be eligible for SCC funded school travel to their school when the age and distance criteria are met. This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

5. 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 at Suffolk on Board.

Applying for a community or voluntary controlled school

If you wish to make an in-year application to a Suffolk community and/or voluntary controlled school:

  1. apply for a place by downloading and completing an in-year application form (CAF2)*.
  2. if you are applying for a Church of England voluntary controlled school based on religious grounds, complete a Supplementary Information Form (SIF).
  3. email or post your application and SIF (if required) to the Admissions Team, these details are on the application form. Further information below.

Please send any applications, evidence or supporting information by email to admissions@suffolk.gov.uk. If you don’t have access to a scanner, you can take photos of your application form, evidence or supporting information and attach these to your email.

If you are unable to send us your application or supporting evidence by email, you may wish to get proof of posting when you send your application. We are not responsible for forms lost in the post and we do not acknowledge receipt of paper applications. 

*If you don't have a printer please contact us on 0345 600 0981 (local rate) and we will send you a paper application form or a SIF in the post.

If you live in Suffolk and wish to make an in-year application to a school outside Suffolk, please contact the relevant local authority to find out how to apply.

Moving house

If you want to use your new address as your child’s ordinarily resident address you must send us written evidence that you are legally committed to the move with your application form. The evidence must be one of the following:

  • Proof of exchange of contracts for your new address.
  • Signed letting/tenancy agreement confirming your new address.

Please note that a sale memorandum or an unsigned tenancy agreement will not be accepted.

Oversubscription criteria

If there are more applications than there are places available, the oversubscription criteria for community and voluntary controlled schools will be applied and the applicants will be ranked. The applicant(s) with the highest criteria will be offered a place(s).

View the list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms or read the relevant Directory of Schools in Suffolk. 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.

These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

After you apply for a school place

The Admissions Team will aim to process your application within 10 school days of receiving it. It may take slightly longer to process your application at busy times.

If you have provided an email address on your application form, we will notify you of the outcome by email. If you haven’t provided an email address, we will send you a letter in the post.

If you have not received an email or letter within four weeks of sending your application, please contact us to check on the progress. You can do this by emailing admissions@suffolk.gov.uk or by calling us on 0345 600 0981.

The Admissions Team cannot give you the outcome of your application over the phone.

Unsuccessful applications

If your application is unsuccessful then you will be given the right of appeal.

You may also wish to make another application for a different school.

If your child does not have a local school place, we will offer a place at an alternative community or voluntary controlled school, or notify you of an alternative school in your area.

Waiting lists for in-year applications

We do not hold waiting lists for in-year applications to community and voluntary controlled schools.

Waiting lists for the normal year of entry

If we are unable to offer your child a place at any of your preferred school(s) for the normal year of entry, 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 2020 for:

  • community and voluntary controlled schools
  • 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.

You can contact us on 0345 600 0981 (local rate) to find out your child’s position on a waiting list for a community or voluntary controlled school. Please remember that the information we provide is only accurate at the time you contact us.

Making another application for the schools you have already applied for

If your application is refused we will not process another application for the same school in the same school year, unless there has been a significant change in circumstances of the:

  • parent/carer
  • child or
  • school.

This might be a house move or a place becoming available at a school.

If circumstances have not changed you can make another application for the following school year. 

For community and voluntary controlled schools, applications will not normally be considered more than one term ahead of the date when you want your child to start at the school. 

Applying for a voluntary aided, free school or academy

If you wish to make an in-year application to a Suffolk voluntary aided, free school or academy, you should:

  1. check with the school to see if they have their own application form that they would prefer you to complete and request a paper copy if required.
  2. check whether you need to complete a Supplementary Information Form (SIF), see our list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms. A SIF provides extra information for the admissions authority. This helps them apply their oversubscription criteria to rank your application.
  3. apply for a place by completing the school’s own application form or downloading and completing the in-year application form (ADM1)*
  4. complete the SIF (if required)
  5. send the application form and the SIF (if required) directly to the school you are applying for.

*If you don't have a printer please contact us on 0345 600 0981 (local rate) and we will send you a paper application form or a SIF in the post.

If you live in Suffolk and wish to make an in-year application to a school outside Suffolk, please contact the relevant local authority to find out how to apply. 

Oversubscription criteria

If there are more applications than there are places available, the oversubscription criteria for the relevant school will be applied and the applicants will be ranked. The applicant(s) with the highest criteria will be offered a place(s).

View the list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms or read the relevant Directory of Schools in Suffolk. 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.

These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

After you apply for a school place

You should speak to the school or visit the school's own website to find out how long it will take to process your application. The school will write to you with the outcome of your application.

Contact information for all schools is available from our online Infolink directory of schools in Suffolk

Unsuccessful applications

If your application is unsuccessful then you will have a legal right to appeal the decision. The details of how to appeal should be included in the decision letter from the school.

You may also wish to make another application for a different school.

If your child does not have a local school place and the school notifies us of their decision, we will offer a place at an alternative community or voluntary controlled school, or notify you of an alternative school in your area. 

Waiting lists

You should speak to the school or visit the school's own website for information on waiting lists.

Making another application for the schools you have already applied for

You should speak to the school or visit the school's own website for information on when you can make another application for a school you have already applied for. In most cases, if your application is refused another application will not be processed for the same school year, unless there has been a significant change in circumstances of the:

  • parent/carer
  • child or
  • school.

This might be a house move or a place becoming available at a school.

If circumstances have not changed you can make another application for the following school year. 

You can download Suffolk County Council’s Determined Admission Arrangements for 2019/2020. 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.

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

You can search the list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms for the 2020/2021 school year

Find out about Suffolk's Fair Access Protocol.

Download the Local Authority Report (PDF, 220KB). This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

Ofsted are changing the way they inspect and report on schools. Parents can find out how this will affect them.

How to contact School Admissions

Contacting us online is quicker, easier and costs less than a phone call. You can contact us using:

If you need to contact us by phone please call 0345 600 0981 (local rate).