Step 7: Adding your child to a waiting list

Summary of this step

If your child is not offered a place at your preferred school you can add their name to a waiting list for a place.

The outcome letter you receive regarding your application will explain how you can place your child's name on a waiting list so please read it carefully.

How to add your child to a waiting list

For community or voluntary controlled schools: You will have to let us know, in writing, if you want your child added to the school's waiting list. The exception is if you have applied for more than one child and not all children can be offered a place at the same school, when it is arranged automatically.

For academies and foundation, free, trust and voluntary aided schools: You should check with the schools as their waiting list policies as they may be different.

Your child's position on the waiting list

We maintain the waiting lists for community and voluntary controlled schools and for some academies and foundation, free, trust and voluntary aided schools. Other academies and foundation, free, trust and voluntary aided schools maintain their own waiting lists.

As children leave a school, vacancies are created which will be filled from each school's waiting list. The waiting list will normally be applied as it stood on the day the vacancy became available.

Waiting lists are ranked according to each school's admission criteria. Your child's position on a waiting list may go down as well as up, for example, if other children with greater priority according to the school's admissions criteria are added to the list.

If you have moved since originally applying and your child is ranked on the waiting list according to distance, then your new address will usually be used to determine your child's place on the waiting list. However you must make sure you tell the admission authority for the school that you have moved address. If you are unsure which address is being used, please check with the admission authority for the school.

A significant change may take place to waiting list positions at the start of the autumn term. This may be due to:

  • the volume of applications received during the school holidays
  • removal of any pupils who have not reapplied for a place for the new academic year
  • changes to the way admission criteria are applied once the new academic year has started.

Remaining on the waiting list after the end of the school year

  • For community and voluntary controlled schools: We maintain a waiting list until the end of each academic year, after which it is cancelled. If you want your child to stay on the waiting list after this date, you must submit a new in-year application form after the beginning of June but no later than 31 July, in order for it to be processed during the summer when the waiting lists are compiled.
  • Academies and foundation, free, trust and voluntary aided schools: These schools may have different policies on cancelling their waiting lists. You should check their requirements with them directly.