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After you have applied for a place at a secondary school

Allocation of places

The admission authority for each school will rank applications according to its admission criteria, which are used to work out who receives a place if the school is over-subscribed.

If your child is only eligible for one school within your preferences, this will be the offer made. If your child is ranked high enough to receive an offer from two or more schools, your child will be offered the highest preferred place and offers of a place at the other schools will be withdrawn.

If you have applied to schools in more than one local authority we will liaise with them to offer you the highest available preference.

If we cannot offer you a place at any of your preferred schools and other Surrey schools have vacancies, we will allocate these places based on distance. Applicants who apply on time will be considered before those applying late.

During the main admissions round, it is common practice for Surrey to over offer above the published admission number at some schools in order to allocate more pupils a preferred school and prevent unnecessary appeals. A decision to over offer is normally agreed following discussions between Surrey officers and with headteachers. Places are primarily offered where there has been an historic fall out of school places and where it is anticipated that numbers will drop back to the published admission number by the start of term.

Details of how places have been allocated for September 2017 are available to view on the How school places were allocated in previous years  web page.

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Find out where your child has been allocated a place

  • If you live in Surrey and applied online we will email you the outcome of your application in the evening of 1 March 2017. You can also log into your account to see the outcome, from the same evening.
  • If you have downloaded the mobile app 'ParentComms' you will also receive a notification in the evening of 1 March 2017 telling you the school your child has been allocated.
  • If you applied online but have not been offered your first preference we will also send you a letter by first class post on 1 March 2017, giving more information on the decision and what steps you can take next.
  • If you live in Surrey and applied on paper we will send you a letter by first class post on 1 March 2017 letting you know the outcome of your application.

If you live outside Surrey, your local authority will let you know the outcome of your application, even if you have applied for Surrey schools.

If you have not received a letter by Wednesday 8 March 2017 you can contact us to have a copy sent.

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Accepting or declining a place

Once you have been offered a school place, you must accept or decline it by 15 March 2017. If you don't the offer may be withdrawn.

  • If you applied online you can reply online.
  • If you applied by paper, you will need to return the reply slip by post.

We strongly recommend you accept the place you are offered, even if this is not for the school you wanted, as it will ensure your child has a school place in September. You can still go on waiting lists for other schools or appeal.

If you decline the offer and you have no alternative place you will be responsible for finding your child another school. The place you decline may be offered to another child so may not be available later if you change your mind.

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Waiting lists

If you are offered a place that was not your first preference, your child's name will be placed on the waiting list for any community schools you named as higher preference to the school your place has been offered at. If you aren't offered a place at any of your preferred schools, your child's name will be placed on the waiting lists for all the community schools you applied for.

Waiting lists for academies and foundation, and voluntary aided schools are maintained by each of those schools; please check their waiting list policies for details. If you are unsure of the type of school you have applied for please check our schools directory.

If you would like your child's name to go on the waiting list for a school you didn't originally apply for, please let your home local authority know in writing.

As some families decline their offer of a school place, vacancies are created and will be filled from each school's waiting list. Offer letters are issued by the child's home local authority and at this time any preferences lower down on the parent's list are withdrawn, unless offers have already been made for those. So there may be occasions where a child receives more than one offer. If multiple offers are made, we work quickly to resolve them, to free up places for other children.

Waiting lists are ranked according to each school's admissions criteria, not the date the application was received or when the child's name was added to the list.

Your child's position on a waiting list

Note: we are currently updating our waiting lists for the new academic year. Information about waiting lists and your child's position on them will be available from 22 August 2017

Your child's position on a waiting list can go down as well as up, if other children are added to the list because they have greater priority against the school's admission criteria, for example – a child who moves into the area or whose family asks to go on the waiting list after the initial school places have been allocated.

For all community and voluntary controlled secondary schools you can call us on 0300 200 1004 to find out about waiting list positions.

You can also call us to find out about waiting list positions for the following academies and foundation, trust and voluntary aided schools:

The Ashcombe School, Esher Church of England High School, Farnham Heath End School, Hoe Valley School, Howard of Effingham School, Jubilee High School, The Matthew Arnold School, Oxted School, Rodborough, Rydens Enterprise School and Sixth Form College, Thomas Knyvett College, Warlingham School, The Warwick School and Woolmer Hill school.

For other academies and foundation, trust and voluntary aided schools you should contact the school directly regarding waiting lists.

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

If you are applying for a school place for more than one child for September 2017 and one child is allocated a place, to receive sibling priority for the second child (where this applies) please let the admission authority for that school know that a sibling has been given a place. In many schools, sibling priority can only be given to a child on an in-year waiting list once the sibling has started at 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 not wishing to remain on waiting lists for the new academic year
  • changes to the way admission criteria are applied at the start of the Autumn term.

Closing waiting lists

The waiting lists for community schools stay open until the end of the summer 2018 term. If you want your child's name to stay on the list beyond then you must write to our Admissions team by 27 July 2018. If you contact us after that date you will have to fill in a new in-year application form to apply for a place.

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If your child is not offered a place at one of your preferred schools and does not have an Education, Health and Care Plan, you can appeal against the decision. For Surrey schools you must do this by the deadlines shown in the appeals timetable. For schools outside Surrey you should contact the school or the local authority where the school is situated to find out about how and when to submit an appeal.

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Change of address

You must submit an application to the local authority where you live, before the closing date, even if you may move address after that date. If you do move it may be possible to update the application address, depending on when you move and you providing us with evidence of your new address.

If you move after applying to us or to another local authority, let us know immediately, telling us the date you moved and provide us with evidence of your new address, for example a copy of your tenancy agreement or confirmation of exchange with the date of completion. A new address can only be considered once a house move has taken place and we reserve the right to seek further verification from applicants.

If you do not tell us about a move, or about a declared house move that has failed to take place, we may withdraw your application or any offer of a school place we have made.

We will investigate any applications where there is doubt about the address being given. Use of false information may lead us to withdraw an offer of a place, even after a child has started at a school. More information on how we will investigate applications is available in our Address of Convenience Assessment Protocol (PDF).

Moving within Surrey

If you provide evidence of a house move to our admissions team before 12 December 2016, your new address will be used in the initial allocation of school places on 1 March 2017. If you move within Surrey after 12 December 2016 your previous address will be used for initial allocation purposes on 1 March 2017. From 1 March 2017 your new address will be used for waiting lists but only once a move has taken place.

Moving out of Surrey

If you move before 12 December 2016 and are no longer a Surrey resident, we will need to forward your application to your new local authority. You may be asked to complete a new application form and be able to change your named preferences.

If you move after 12 December 2016, responsibility for your application remains with us until 1 March 2017 (the national offer day) and your previous address will be used for the initial school places allocation. Your application becomes the responsibility of your new local authority and your new address will be used for waiting lists on 1 March 2017 or the date you move if your move has not yet taken place.

Moving into Surrey

If you move into Surrey before 12 December 2016, let your original local authority know in writing and provide proof of your new address. Please also let our admissions team know. Once your original local authority is satisfied that you have moved we will liaise with them to take over your application. We will ask you to complete a Surrey application form; we will need this and evidence of your new address by 12 December 2016 to be able to consider your new address in the initial allocation of school places.

If you move into Surrey after 12 December 2016, your application remains the responsibility of your original home local authority until 1 March 2017 (the national offer day) and your previous address will be used in the initial school place allocation. Your application becomes our responsibility and your new address will be used for waiting lists on 1 March 2017 or the date you move if your move has not yet taken place.

If your original home local authority uses a different date by which to accept a change of address, we agree with that local authority which of us should have responsibility for your application.

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