Is your child about to start in year 6? It’s time to apply for their secondary school place!

Parents of children who are starting year-six this September are being warned they should put down four preferences when applying for their child’s secondary school place, to avoid losing out on their preferred school for September 2022.

While next September may feel a long way off, parents of children who are about to start in year-six and living in Nottinghamshire should start thinking about their application for secondary school and apply before the application deadline on Sunday 31 October 2021.

Those applying should check Nottinghamshire County Council’s website to find all the information they will need to help them to make an informed decision.

Parents are being urged to make sure they fully understand the admission criteria that apply to the schools they are considering, and whether their child would have a good chance of getting a place at one of those schools, before completing their application.

The council is urging parents to make use of all four of their school preferences, as only making one preference does not ensure that a place is allocated at that school.

If there are no places available at the parents’ preferred school, an alternative offer is made but this is not automatically in the catchment area or nearest school. Places can be offered at the next closest school with places available and this will only be after all the on-time preferences have been processed. This means their child could be offered a place at a school further away.

Using all four school preferences gives parents and their child the best chance of getting a place at a preferred school.

Councillor Tracey Taylor, Chairman for Nottinghamshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, said: “Starting a new school is a big milestone and I know that parents and their children may already have strong ideas about which secondary school they want – or don’t want –to attend.

“It is very important that parents apply on time and it’s crucial that they identify four preferences. The good news is that last year, nearly 97 per cent of families that applied for a secondary school place on time were offered one of their preferred schools. These are the things to consider:

  • If you apply late or list just one school, you may substantially reduce the chances of getting your child into the school you would like them to attend.
  • If you express only one preference on the application, and your child does not meet one of the higher criteria, you risk not being allocated a place.
  • If you have not listed other preferences, it will not be possible to consider your child for a school place at other local schools until all preferences made have been considered.

“This could mean that places locally will have been offered to those families that listed those schools as a preference on their application. A child may then be allocated a place at the next nearest school that has places available after all other applications have been processed.

“I urge parents to please make sure they have read the admissions to schools guide and the admissions criteria for the schools they are interested in by visiting the council’s website.

“It can be heart-breaking when a child does not get the school place they want, but if parents have made sure to list four schools on their application, that truly is their best chance of getting a school that they are happy for their child to attend.”

Nottinghamshire residents need to apply to Nottinghamshire County Council even if their preferred schools are in other areas such as Nottingham City or Derbyshire.

The easiest way to apply is online at Those who apply online will receive email confirmation that the application has been received.
Secondary school offers will be made on the secondary school National Offer Day, Monday 1 March 2022.

When making their application, parents should:

1) Apply on time – by 31 October 2021. Applying late significantly reduces the chances of their 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. All secondary schools in Nottinghamshire have their own oversubscription criteria – 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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