Apply for a primary school place 2020/2021

How to apply for a primary school place for the 2020/2021 school year. This includes infant, junior and middle school places.

Applications for the normal year of entry

Online applications: If you made an online application you can still view your application here.

Paper applications: If you have not yet made an application or wish to make a further application for a primary (including infant, junior and middle) school, please complete a paper application (CAF1).

In-year applications

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 entry year

Further information is within the step by step below.

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

School Admission guides

Full details relating to information on this page can be found in the following: 

Applying for a primary school place: step by step

Applications for the normal year of entry

Find out if your child is eligible to start school during the 2020/2021 school year.

The closing date for on time applications for primary school places for the 2020/2021 school year has now passed.

If you have not yet made an application or wish to make changes to your application for a primary (including infant, junior and middle) school, please see Step 5 or complete a paper application form (CAF1) (PDF, 137KB).

Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and to help you stay at home, 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.

However, we cannot guarantee that any post sent to us during this current time will be received.

Read the Admissions to Schools in Suffolk 2020/2021 guide (PDF, 465KB) for more information.

Summer born children

If your child was born between 1 April and 31 August you can choose not to send them to school until the September following their fifth birthday.

You can read more about this in the Admissions to Schools in Suffolk 2020/2021 guide (PDF, 465KB).

In-year applications

You can apply for a place for your child at any time to any school outside of the normal admissions round. However, an application will not normally be considered more than one term ahead of the date when you want your child to start at the school.

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

  • why you are applying to change 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 school is full, you are still able to apply for a place.

Read the guidance on transferring schools (PDF, 138KB) before moving your child from their current school.

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 have catchment areas.

Find out which primary 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.

Applications for the normal year of entry

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.

In-year applications

You should contact the relevant school or local authority where the school is located for advice on how to apply.

Finding information about schools

You can find information about schools in Suffolk and other counties from their:

  • website
  • prospectus
  • open days

Read the Directory of Schools in Suffolk (PDF, 968KB) 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

Applications for the normal year of entry

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.

In-year applications

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 school 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

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

Find the oversubscription criteria and the SIFs in the Directory of Schools in Suffolk or in the list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms.

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) introduced a new School Travel Policy in September 2019. It is important that you understand how this might affect your child’s eligibility for SCC funded school travel before you apply for a school place. All children living in Suffolk who will be starting at a new school 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, 100KB) 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 at www.suffolkonboard.com/schooltravel.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and to help you stay at home, 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.

However, we cannot guarantee that any post sent to us during this current time will be received.

Applications for the normal year of entry

The closing date for on time applications for primary school places for the 2020/2021 school year has now passed.

Online applications: If you made an online application you can still view your application here. You cannot make an online application after the closing date of 15 January 2020. 

View your online application here

Paper applications: If you have not yet made an application or wish to make changes to your application for a primary (including infant, junior and middle) school, please complete a paper application form (CAF1) (PDF, 137KB).

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.

You may need to complete a Supplementary Information Form (SIF), further information is below.

Read the Admissions to Schools in Suffolk 2020/2021 guide for more information on late applications.

In-year applications

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 entry year

If you live in Suffolk or in another county and you wish to make an in-year application to a Suffolk school, it depends on which school/s you want to apply for:

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

Click on the school name in our list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms to find out the type of your preferred school and the oversubscription criteria. You can also find this information in the Directory of Schools in Suffolk.

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), further information is below.
  3. email or post your application to the Admissions Team, these details are on the application form. 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.

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 wish to make an in-year application to a Suffolk voluntary aided, foundation, 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
  2. check whether you need to complete a Supplementary Information Form (SIF), see our list of schools' details, admissions policies and Supplementary Information Forms, further information is below.
  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.  

Supplementary Information Form (SIF)

You may need to complete a SIF if one of your preferences is for the following type of school:

  • Academy
  • 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, 968KB) 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)

 

Applications for the normal year of entry

Paper applications: We'll send you a letter by second class post or email, if you have provided an email address, by the end of June 2020 with the offer of a school place if you applied:

  • between 8 February 2020 and 15 April 2020 with a second or subsequent application and we didn’t agree that your reasons for a change were exceptional or
  • between 16 April 2020 and 15 May 2020.

We'll do our best to send you a letter by second class post or email, if you have provided an email address, before the end of the summer term, but cannot guarantee this, with the offer of a school place if you applied:

  • from 16 May 2020 onwards.

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.

Read the Admissions to Schools in Suffolk 2020/2021 guide (PDF, 465KB) for information on late applications.

In-year applications

For community and voluntary controlled schools, the Admissions Team are continuing to process in-year applications made for these schools.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) it may take us slightly longer than normal to process these applications as some of the schools we need to contact may be closed.

To help keep everyone safe and to stay at home, 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.

For voluntary aided, foundation, free schools and academies, you should speak to the school or visit the school's own website to find out how they will 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.

Read the Admissions to Schools in Suffolk 2020/2021 guide (PDF, 465KB) for more information about anything in this section.

If you're child has been offered a place in the Reception Year at a primary or infant school

It is important that you read the Information for Parent/Carers form (PDF, 129KB) to understand what alternative choices may be available to your child if they were born between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2016.

Once you have made your choice, please complete the form and send it directly by post or email to the school your child has been offered a place at.

You can download the Information for Parent/Carers form (Word, 44KB) and email directly to the school. You can find the email addresses for individual schools on Suffolk Infolink.

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 happy with the junior or middle 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.

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

Waiting lists

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 2020 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.

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

Appealing the decision

You have the right of appeal if your child has been refused a place at any of your preferred school(s).

Find out about the appeals process and download an appeal form.

If you want to apply for a different school(s)

You must submit a paper application form (CAF1) (PDF, 137KB) 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

Once a place has been made available for your child, they must take up that place by the date given in your offer letter. The school will put your child on roll by this date. If your child does not take up the place it will be withdrawn and may be reallocated.

Waiting lists

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

Some foundation, voluntary aided, free schools and academies do hold waiting lists throughout the year for all year groups. This information is available 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).

Find out about the appeals process and download an appeal form.

If you want to apply for a different school(s)

If it has not been possible to offer your child a place at any of your preferred school(s), we will have offered a place at the nearest suitable school with a place available if it is:

  1. a community or voluntary controlled school and;
  2. if your child does not already have a local school place.

If the nearest suitable school is a voluntary aided, foundation, free school or academy, we will have informed you of this and asked you to apply to the school directly. The nearest school will be measured by walking distance.

If you would prefer to be offered a place at another school where there are still places available, you can contact us to discuss this.

Making another application for the schools you have already applied for

If your application has been 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. However, this 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.

You can download Suffolk County Council’s Determined Admission Arrangements for 2020/2021 (PDF, 279KB). 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 2020/2021 school year. 

Find out about Suffolk's Fair Access Protocol.

Download the Local Authority Report (PDF, 295KB)

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