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School admissions frequently asked questions

Q. Can I apply for a school place and view my child's allocated school online?
A. Yes. You'll be sent details of how to apply online with your child's application form. You'll need to register your details to apply online, and you will then be able to access the website and view your child's allocated school on the day the notification letters are sent.
Q. What happens if I don't apply for a school place for my child?
A. You are strongly advised to apply. If you don't apply for a place then your child will be offered a place at the nearest appropriate school which has places left after all other applications have been dealt with.
Q. Can I apply for just one school?
A. You're strongly advised to submit three different preferences. If a place can't be offered at your first preference school and you haven't stated any other schools, your child will be offered a place in the nearest appropriate school that has places left after all other applications have been dealt with.
Q. My child has a brother or sister already in my preferred school, will I automatically be offered a place?
A. No, everyone must complete a school preference form. All preferences are then considered against each school's oversubscription criteria.
Q. Which school catchment zone do I live in?
A. To find out which school catchment zone your home address is in, please telephone School Admissions on 01642 201890.
Q. How are school places allocated?

A. Allocations operate an equal preference system. Each school has a set number of places available, and an admissions criteria. If there are less applications than the admission number, than all applications will be accepted and offered a place at that school. If there are more applications than places, the applications will be treated in the following manner:

  • All preferences for a school, whether they are first, second or third preference, will be considered equally
  • The published admissions criteria for the school is applied to all preferences to rank the applications in order
  • This ranked list of applications is then used to allocate places at the school up to the maximum admission number
  • Parents are then offered a place at the school with the highest preference that can be met
Q. What are the admission criteria?
A. The criteria by which places are allocated at schools that are oversubscribed. The admissions criteria for all schools in Middlesbrough is given in the School Admissions Guide for Parents.
Q. What does consider preference mean?

A. Each school has an maximum number of children it can admit. If the number of preferences exceeds the admission number, the admission authority will consider a parent's preferences against the school's published admissions criteria.

Q. What happens if I'm not offered my first preferred secondary school for my child?
A. A place will be offered at your highest ranked preference at which there are places. You will also be offered the right to appeal. If it's not possible to comply with any preferences submitted, a place will be offered at the nearest appropriate school with places available.
Q. What is a school admission appeal?
A. Every parent or guardian has the right to appeal against a decision not to offer a place. Appeals are heard by independent appeals panels. The panel makes a decision based on the case presented by the admissions authority and the parent or guardian.
Q. Is the school admission appeal decision binding?
A. Yes it is, on both the admission authority and the parent. The only recourse is to contact the Local Government Ombudsman and prove maladministration.
Q. What happens if I submit a school preference after the closing date?
A. All preferences submitted late will be considered after those received by the due date. If your application is classed as late then your child may not get into a school of your preference. This applies even if you live in the admission zone or have another child already attending the school at the time of admission. 
Q. Who is the admissions authority?
A. For community schools, it is Middlesbrough Council. For academies, foundation schools and voluntary-aided (VA) schools, it is the governing body or trustee board.

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