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Admissions FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the schools admissions process.

When and how do I apply/register for a school place online?

When do I apply:

You can apply online any day/time from:

  • 21st June to 31st October 2024 for entry into Year 7 in September 2025 at secondary schools.
  • 18th November 2024 to 15th January 2025 for entry into Reception in September 2025 at primary schools.

How do I apply:

  • If you are new to this service, you will need to register.
  • You will be prompted to provide a password and complete registration.
  • You will then receive an email with a unique link.
  • Once you click on this link, you will be able to complete your online application.

When you submit your application, you will get an email confirming your preferences.

  • You can view and/or amend the online application anytime during the application period.
  • If you amend your application, please make sure that you 're-submit' it.
  • If you have resubmitted your application, you will receive a further email detailing your revised preferences.
  • Your latest application will be used when allocating school places.

Apply for a school place online

Do I need to complete any supplementary forms for Calderdale schools?

Primary schools

If one of your preferences is for a faith (church) school:

  • You may need to complete the school's Supplementary information form;
  • if you apply under the faith criteria.

For more details of each school, see: Primary schools' admission criteria.

Secondary schools

You will need to fill in the school's supplementary information form, if you are applying for:

  • Trinity Academy Halifax, under the faith criteria.
  • The Brooksbank School, under the sports criteria.
  • Rastrick High School, under the music criteria.

For more details of each school, see: Secondary schools' admission criteria.

Do you want to register your child for the grammar schools admission test? You will need to complete a registration form before 28th June 2024.

Do you want to register your child for the Fair Banding Assessment for for Trinity Academy Grammar (TAG) or Trinity Academy Halifax (TAH)? You will need to complete a registration form. You can do this on the school's website from 1st July 2024 until 23rd September 2024. If you do not register your child for the Fair Banding Assessment they will be at a disadvantage as students who have sat the Fair Banding Assessment take priority for admission.

For more details, visit: TAG or TAH.

Can I choose any school?

The word used in law about school admissions is 'preference' not 'choice'.

  • This means that you can state which school you prefer your child to attend. Although, there is no guarantee that the application will be successful.
  • You can list any school you wish as a preference, including schools outside Calderdale.

When will my child start school?

Legally children must start school from the beginning of the term after their 5th birthday.

In Calderdale:

  • Children can start school at the beginning of the Autumn term in the academic year in which they turn five.
  • Children born between 1st September 2020 and 31st August 2021 can start school in September 2025.

Do I need to apply if my child is already in nursery at a school?


  • There is no automatic progression from nursery to reception.
  • You must apply in the same way as parents whose children are not in a nursery class.

Please note: Attending a school's nursery class does not give a child priority for admission to the reception class. Unless, this is specified in a school's oversubscription criteria.

Do I need to apply if I already have an older child at the school?


The application procedure and timetable is the same for all applicants. This is regardless of whether there is an older child or if the application is for an only child.

If a sibling already attends the preferred school, make sure you state this in the relevant section of the online application.

My child is being looked after by a grandparent/relative/childminder/friend. Can I use their address on the application?


The address used for the application must be the child's current permanent residence.

Where parental responsibility is held by more than one person and those persons reside in separate properties, the child's ordinary place of residence will normally be deemed to be that property where the parent receives child benefit.

The Local Authority reserves the right to request further evidence of a child's permanent residence if this is deemed necessary.

Important note: An offer of a school place may be withdrawn if a false address is given.

Are places offered on a "first come first served" basis?


All applications received during the application period are 'on time' and are considered together, which is:

  • 18th November 2024 to 15th January 2025 for primary schools.
  • 21st June 2024 to 31st October 2024 for secondary schools.

Late applications will be dealt with once all 'on time' applications have been considered, these are after:

  • 15th January 2025 for primary schools.
  • 31st October 2024 for secondary schools.

I have heard if I only put one preference on the application I stand a better chance of being offered that school. Is that true?


There is a risk if you put one preference only. If that school cannot be offered to you, there is no other option for us to consider.

If I list a school as my first preference, do I have a better chance of receiving an offer than someone who lists it as a lower preference?


All preferences are considered equally and you will not be given any extra priority for your first preference.

For example:

  • A parent listing a school as a fifth preference and who could not be offered one of their first four preferences;
  • may be offered a place because they live closer than a parent who had listed the same school as first preference.

How are primary school allocations made?

Once all the 'on time' applications have been received, the admissions authority for the school will consider all the preferences.

If there are more applications than there are places available, the admissions oversubscription criteria will be applied.

For more about this, see: Primary schools' admission criteria.

Community and voluntary controlled schools

The Local Authority will apply the oversubscription criteria to determine the priority order in which the applicants should be placed.

Voluntary aided, foundation schools or academies

The school's governors will use evidence provided on their supplementary forms, if they have one. This is to rank the applicants in terms of their oversubscription criteria.

Other local authority areas

The admissions authority for that school (either the Local Authority or governing body) will make the admission decisions.

Once all applications have been placed in ranked order, these are submitted to the Admissions team who offers places up to the school's Published Admission Number.

Where a child could be offered more than one of the preferred schools, the highest of these preferences will be offered based upon the parental preference order on the application.

Please note: No child should receive an offer at more than one school.

What happens if more parents apply for places at a school than there are places available?

If there are more applications received than there are places available, what are called 'oversubscription criteria' are applied. The full details of these can be found in Primary schools' admission criteria.

The following example may help explain how the procedure works:

A school can admit 60 pupils but 80 applications are received. These fall into the following oversubscription categories:

Oversubscription criteria Number of applications
Special Educational Needs 2
Priority 1: Children looked after 1
Priority 2: Siblings 20
Priority 3: Distance 57
Total 80
  • Therefore all 23 of the Special Educational Needs, Priority 1 and Priority 2 pupils would be offered places.
  • As the school has 60 places, this leaves 37 places to be offered to pupils in Priority 3. The 37 pupils living nearest the school (measured by a straight line) out of the 57 pupils in this category will be offered places.
  • The remaining 20 pupils falling into Priority 3, living further away from the school would not be offered places, but could request to be placed on the reallocation list, which is ordered in terms of the oversubscription criteria.

How likely am I to get my first preference school?

It is impossible to know this because the number of parents who apply for each school varies year on year.

For details of preferences received and allocation data (by school), see: Search for schools.

Can I do anything to improve my chances of being offered my preferred school?

The most important thing to do is make sure you apply before the closing date:

  • 15th January 2025 for primary schools.
  • 31st October 2024 for secondary schools.

Also consider, if you apply for a school that is not close to your home:

  • You will compete with applicants who live near the school.
  • This does not mean that you have to apply for your nearest school. Also, you can be guaranteed a place at your nearest school.

What happens if the Authority cannot allocate any of my preferred schools?

The Authority has a duty to allocate a school place to all children living within Calderdale.

If none of the preferred schools can be allocated, the Authority will allocate the school which is closest to the family home where vacancies exist.

This will be within a two mile walking route for primary schools or a three mile walking route for secondary schools wherever possible and may not be your closest school.

For residents outside of Calderdale, your home local authority is responsible for allocating a school place if your Calderdale preference(s) cannot be met.

When and how will I get my allocation letter?

When you will get to know

National Offer Day is:

  • 3rd March 2025 for secondary schools.
  • 16th April 2025 for primary schools.

How you will get to know

If you live in Calderdale, the offer will be made by the Council.

  • Your offer will be sent to the email address you have used for your application.
  • You can also log on to your account and view the offer.

If you live outside the Calderdale area, the offer will be made by your local authority.

I have not got my offer, can you tell me which school my child has been allocated?

Allocation of school places will not be confirmed over the phone.

Parents must wait until they get their email from:

  • The Council, if you are resident in Calderdale.
  • Your local authority, if you live outside Calderdale.

I have not been allocated my preferred school, what do I do now?

With your allocation notification, you will get more information about the reallocation and appeals processes.

You can submit a reallocation request using the online form on Reallocations.

Why was my neighbour's child allocated a place at a particular school last year but mine has not this year?

Allocations of places differ year on year.

Under the distance category, a place could be allocated one year, but not the next year. This is even in the same street or area.

The allocation was based on my old address, but I have since moved. Can this be taken into account?


However, if we are not already aware of this change, evidence of the move, such as a utility or Council Tax bill will be needed.

My application was late, will I be penalised during the reallocation process?


After the initial round, reallocation requests are considered equally for those that arrive before the closing date:

  • 17th March 2025 for secondary schools.
  • 30th April 2025 for primary schools.

How is priority for places determined during the reallocation process?

If any places become available, the oversubscription criteria are reapplied to those seeking reallocation.

What are the chances of being reallocated a place at my preferred school?

The Authority cannot predict this as it depends on:

  • The number of places given up (if any);
  • and who takes priority in terms of the oversubscription criteria.

If the reallocation request is not successful, when am I likely to get an appeal hearing?

Appeals are normally scheduled to be heard during:

  • June of the admissions year for secondary schools.
  • June and July of the admissions year for primary schools.

I no longer need the place allocated, what do I need to do?

We need written confirmation to allow us to reallocate the place to another child, if you have decided to:

  • Send your child to an independent school.
  • Teach at home.
  • Move area.

Where can I get advice on the admissions process?

Parents or guardians should contact: schools admissions.

Please note: The Authority cannot be responsible for advice taken from any other source.

I am having difficulties with the online application process, where can I get help to complete it?

I have already submitted the application for my child and now I want to change my preferences. What should I do?

You can log on to your account and change your application preferences up to the closing date:

  • 31st October 2024 for Secondary schools.
  • 15th January 2025 for Primary schools.

For more details, please contact: The Admissions Team.

Can I get help with school clothing?

Each school's governing body is responsible for:

  • Setting a dress code for pupils;
  • and developing appropriate policies in respect of school uniform.

The Council cannot help parents/guardians to buy items of school uniform or supply school clothing.

In exceptional circumstances or dire emergency, parents/guardians should get advice from the Education Welfare Officer attached to the school.

What is the admission policy for early years?

Early years education and childcare is provided by some schools.

For details on the admissions policy, please read:

I would like my child to sit the admissions test for one/both of the Calderdale grammar school(s). What do I need to do?

For admission in 2025, the test will be held on Saturday 21st September 2024.

Parents must apply to Crossley Heath or North Halifax Grammar directly. Do this via their online forms or a paper copy by 28th June 2024.

For more details, please visit:

Note: Parents of children registered for Pupil Premium (Free School Meals), must state this when they register for the test.

What happens if my child does not reach the academic standard for grammar school? What happens to my other preferences?

For the September 2025 intake, your child will need to be ranked in the top 510 to be considered for a place at the grammar schools. The school will inform you of the test outcome before the closing date for applications.

This should help you to decide if to formally apply for one or both of the grammar schools. (Up to five preferences can be expressed.)

If it is border line as to whether or not your child is ranked highly enough to be allocated a place at one of the grammar schools, you may still choose to preference the school(s).

As all preferences are considered equally, your application for alternative schools will not be disadvantaged if you have preferred a grammar school(s), but a place could not be offered.

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