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Parents advised to do their research before applying for their child’s reception or year 3 school place

08 November 2021

Apply for reception school place stats infographic Children playing with colourful parachute in school playground

For parents whose children will turn five years old between 1 September 2022 and 31 August 2023, it’s time to start thinking about making school applications.

Those with children living in Nottinghamshire can apply for their child’s first school (reception) or transfer from infant (year 2) to a junior/primary (year 3) school place from now until 15 January 2022.

Nottinghamshire County Council is encouraging parents to make sure they understand how school applications are considered, and whether their child would have a good chance of being offered a place at one of their preferred schools, before submitting their applications.

For the best chance of being offered a school they are happy with, parents are strongly advised to use all four of their school preferences and make sure they have submitted their application by the deadline of 15 January.

Applications received after the closing date, including changes of preference, are considered late, and will be processed after all on-time applications.

For parents who are applying for the first time, the council’s best advice for a strong application is to list four schools and make sure to include schools where the child would meet higher criteria. Doing so will give parents the best chance of getting their child into a school they are happy with.

If parents include only one school on the application and their child does not meet the higher criteria for that school, they risk not being allocated a place there. The child would then be allocated a place at the next nearest school that has places available after all other applications have been processed, which could mean their child is allocated a school further away than the parents had hoped.

This is because places at other nearby schools will have been offered to those families who did list those schools as a preference on their application, so their preferences would be considered first.

For parents whose child attends a school’s foundation unit, nursery class or early years’ group, it is important to note that there is no guarantee that they will get a place in reception at that same school. All applications for admission to full-time education are considered equally against the school’s criteria. Additionally, if a child is in year 2 at infant school, there is no automatic transfer to year 3 and their parent still needs to apply for their junior or primary school place.

Chairman of the County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, Councillor Tracey Taylor, said:

“It is important that all parents are aware they must make an application, even if their child is already attending a nursery.

“Children do not automatically transfer from nursery to full-time school, or from infant school to a junior or primary school. 

“If it is your first child who is starting in reception, we want to make sure that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision which will give you the best chance of getting your child into your preferred school.

“Last year, over 98% of families who applied for a primary school place on time were offered one of their preferred schools.”

Parents of children living in Nottinghamshire will need to apply through Nottinghamshire County Council, even if they wish to apply for schools in other local authority areas such as Nottingham City or Derbyshire.

The easiest way to apply for a place is online, but parents who do not have internet access can telephone 0300 500 80 80 to apply. Parents who apply online will be able to log in to their account on National Offer Day, 19 April 2022, to view the outcome of their application. All other applicants will have to wait a few days for a letter sent by second class post on National Offer Day.

The council’s website has information to help with the application process, including ‘Admissions to Schools: Guide for Parents 2022-2023’ which contains lots of useful information and advice. 

Key information for parents to remember:

1) Apply on time – by 15 January 2022. Applying late significantly reduces the chances of a child being allocated one of their preferred schools, as most places will have been allocated on National Offer Day to people who applied on time.

2) Use all four preferences – for the best chance at getting their child into a school they are happy with. 

3) Check the admission oversubscription criteria – and include at least one school within the four preferences where the child will have high priority within the admission oversubscription criteria. Information about the criteria for Nottinghamshire schools can be found on the council’s website – this can vary from school to school.

 4) Include other relevant information - in the application, parents should mention any information which may affect how the admission oversubscription criteria are applied. Parents should also tell the council if they are moving house, as this may affect how the application is considered. It is important to read the relevant sections in Admissions to Schools: Guide for Parents 2022-2023, which can be found:

For more information about the application process, schools, the number of places available or how places are allocated, please visit the website at or call 0300 500 80 80.

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