School Admissions FAQs

Advice for parents about applying for a school place and what happens on National Offer Day.

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 suitable 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 suitable school to your home that would have had a place available for your child and they meet the distance criteria.

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 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. 

5. Full details about SCC funded school travel, including the School Travel Policy, additional arrangements for low income families and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), can be found at Suffolk on Board.

You can find out how to apply for a school place by visiting one of the following pages:

Please note: the closing date for applications to the normal year of entry to a middle school has changed from previous years and is Sunday 31 October 2021. Further information can be found by visiting the Apply for a secondary school place 2022/2023.

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 strongly recommend that you check which school is your nearest suitable school on our Nearest School Checker before you apply. This is because this it might not be your catchment area school and could affect any entitlement you may have for Suffolk County Council funded school travel if you live over the statutory walking distance.

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

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

Some voluntary aided, free schools and academies do not operate catchment areas. Please check the school's admissions policy for details, these can be found for the relevant school year on the pages below. 

A catchment area school may not be the nearest school to your child's home address.

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. Please be aware that school travel eligibility is based on a child attending their nearest suitable school that would have had a place available for them and they meet the distance criteria. More information on school travel can be found at Suffolk on Board.

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 cannot guarantee your child a place at any school, including your catchment area school.

Information and guidance is available on how to apply for the coming year:

Find out about making an in-year application for the 2021/2022 school year.

If you wish to apply for a place at Grace Cook Primary School in Stowmarket, which is opening in September 2022, you will need to apply separately and directly to Orwell Multi Academy Trust.

You will not be able to include this school as one of your three preferences on your online or paper application (CAF1). Your online or paper application (CAF1) will need to include up to three schools that are currently open.

You can apply for up to 3 schools, putting them in order of preference.

Each of your preferences will be considered equally and separately.

Your preferences and the order you put them on your admissions application could affect your child’s eligibility for SCC funded school travel.

You can find out more by reading the section Think about how your child will get to school (Step 4) on the following pages:

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.

Online applications

You should have received an email acknowledgement if you have submitted an online application for the normal year of entry.

If you apply online, you can change and resubmit your application at any time before midnight on the closing date. You must resubmit your form even if you haven't made any changes.

Paper applications

We do not acknowledge receipt of paper applications. We recommend you get proof of postage when submitting a paper application as we cannot be held responsible for forms being lost in the post.

If you’re still worried that your application has not been received, we recommend that you submit another application.

If you apply using the paper application (CAF1), you can change your application at any time up until the closing date by submitting another paper form.

You must make sure that these changes are received by us before the closing date. We will process the application received nearest to the closing date.

You can find information about the School and Post-16 Travel Policies by visiting Suffolk on Board.

If you cannot access your online account, please visit the school admission portal homepage which offers advice on common user problems.

You can also view the guide to making an online application and help with adding your child's details. These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

Please contact the Admissions Team on 0345 600 0981 (local rate) for further assistance.

You can try entering part of the school’s name in the required field and click on ‘search’.

This process is more successful if the ‘postcode’ and ‘schools located in’ fields are left unfilled.

If the search returns a list of schools, click on the button ‘select school’ to the right-hand side to select it and to continue with the application.

Please note: even if the search only returns one school, you must click on the ‘select school’ button to select it before you can continue with the application

Please contact the Admissions Team on 0345 600 0981 (local rate) for assistance.

If you are experiencing difficulties, such as starting an application after registering or certain functions of the form are not working, please visit the school admission portal homepage. It will explain what devices/browsers are best to use to complete an application.

You can also view the guide to making an online application and help with adding your child's details. These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

You cannot apply online after the closing date and would have to complete a paper application (CAF1).

Please contact the Admissions Team on 0345 600 0981 (local rate) for further assistance.

Suffolk schools for the normal year of entry

We assume that you are accepting the Suffolk school place offered unless you let us know in writing. 

Please note: We are unable to withdraw an offer of a school place unless your child has another education provision in place.

Schools outside of Suffolk for the normal year of entry

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.

Further information

You can find out more by reading the section What to do after receiving your offer (Step 7) on the following pages:

For the normal year of entry to a school, if your child has been refused a place at a preferred school, their name will automatically be added to a waiting list for that school in case a place becomes available.

If you do not want your child’s name on a waiting list, please email us at admissions@suffolk.gov.uk.

The waiting lists for community and voluntary controlled schools will close on 31 December 2022. The waiting lists for those voluntary aided schools and academies who have agreed to operate the same policy as Suffolk County Council will also close on 31 December 2022.

Information on when the waiting lists close for voluntary aided, free schools and academies who do not follow the same policy as Suffolk County Council is available from the schools directly.

Further information

You can find out more by reading the section What to do after receiving your offer (Step 7) on the following pages:

We understand that there are several reasons why parents may want to change the schools they originally listed on their application.

Read the Admissions to Schools in Suffolk 2022/2023 guide for more information on late applications or you can find out more about your options by reading the section What to do after receiving your offer (Step 7) on the following pages

If we cannot meet any of your preferences, we will offer your child a place at the next nearest suitable school with a place available. You will not be eligible for Suffolk County Council funded school travel to that school if you could have been offered a place at a nearer school, had you applied for it, or if you do not meet the statutory walking distance criteria.

For more information and guidance, read the section What to do after receiving your offer (Step 7) on the following pages:

You can contact the Admissions Team on 0345 600 0981 (local rate) or email us at admissions@suffolk.gov.uk to find out your child’s position on the waiting list.

Please remember that the information we provide is only accurate at the time you contact us.

There may be circumstances which affect your child’s place on the waiting list (for example, moving house). In which case you should send the appropriate written evidence to the Admissions Team as soon as possible. We recommend that you email this to admissions@suffolk.gov.uk.

The waiting lists for community and voluntary controlled schools will close on 31 December 2022.

The waiting lists for those voluntary aided schools and academies who have agreed to operate the same policy as Suffolk County Council will also close on 31 December 2022.

Information on when the waiting lists close for voluntary aided schools, free schools and academies who do not operate the same policy as Suffolk County Council is available from the schools directly.

If your child has been refused a school in another county, you should contact the school directly for details of waiting lists.

Further information

You can find out more about waiting lists by reading the section What to do after receiving your offer (Step 7) on the following pages:

You can find out more about applying for a school place by visiting one of the following pages:

If you’ve recently moved, or you’re unhappy about your child’s current school you can apply for a school place during the current school year 2021/2022.

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.