Starting school places

Apply to start in the Reception year at a primary or infant school in September 2022.

1 Overview

This information only applies if you want to apply for September 2022 for your child to start primary or infant school (Reception year).

If your child needs a school place in a different year group or at another point in the year, you need to apply to move schools.

2 Find your catchment area school and other local schools

Before applying for your child's starting school place:

3 Before you apply

You must read the Information for parents booklet, the relevant Appendix and additional guidance pages before applying:

It is the responsibility of parents or carers to apply for a school place. You do not need to have a letter from the County Council.

Follow our checklist to ensure you have completed all the necessary steps before applying.

Places for all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes have a limit of 30 pupils per teacher. If the 30th child given a place is a twin (or a child from a multiple birth) the other siblings may also be given a place, as permitted exceptions.

4 Preferences

  • You can apply for up to three different schools. Rank the schools in order of preference - the first school listed should be the one you would most like your child to go to.
  • We advise that you use all three preferences and enter your catchment school as one of your preferences.
  • Please be realistic with your preferences. If you chose an oversubscribed school, the further away you live the less likely you are to be offered a place.
  • If you select a school as a preference that is not your nearest/catchment school, this may impact on your eligibility for transport. Please see the school transport pages for further information.
  • Do not include a school that you do not want as a preference as you may be offered this school.
  • If you apply after the closing date you are far less likely to get a place at one of your preferred schools.
  • After the application deadline you cannot change your preferences unless there is a genuine unforeseeable reason for doing so, for example, if a sibling changes school.

5 Apply for a place

You can apply for a starting school place from 9.00am on Monday 4 October 2021 until 11.59pm on Saturday 15 January 2022.

To make an application online you will need:

  • an email address
  • to create a user ID and password.

All applications require a new account to be set. If you applied for a place in a previous school year, your details will have been removed from the online system. 

Apply online for a starting school place (opens in a new window) (external link)

An email acknowledgement of your application is automatically sent by the system so you know your application has been received. Check your junk folder if you don't receive an email. We strongly recommend you keep a copy of the email. It will contain a unique application reference number, which will be your only proof that you applied. We cannot investigate any issues with your application without this.

You can save your application and return to it to make amendments before submitting it. You must ensure that you submit the completed application before the deadline.

If you need to edit your child’s details, or make any other changes to your application after you have submitted it, it must be re-submitted.

Applying using a paper form

  • If you have no option but to apply on a paper form, please contact the Pupil Admissions Team.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that the completed form is returned to your local West Sussex primary, infant or junior school by the application deadline.
  • Parents are not encouraged to return their paper forms directly to the Pupil Admissions Team unless they use Recorded Delivery post.
  • Claims regarding missing forms will not be investigated unless you can provide evidence that it was received by the Pupil Admissions Team. West Sussex County Council is not responsible for forms lost or delayed in the post. We recommend that you keep a copy of the form and evidence of posting.

6 Offer dates

You will be notified of the outcome of your application by email or letter, depending on how you applied. No information will be provided over the phone.

Applications received before 11.59pm on 15 January 2022

If you applied online we will email you the outcome of your application on Tuesday 19 April 2022. Emails will be sent throughout the day so we can't give you an exact time.

If you applied by paper form you will be emailed the result later this day if an email address was provided with the application.

The admissions office will contact you to request an email address if one is not specified on the form. If you do not have an email address you will receive a letter by second class post.

Applications received after 11.59pm on 15 January 2022

If your application was received between 16 January and 11 February 2022 it is out of time, and your preferences will only be considered after all the applications received on time. You will be emailed a letter with the outcome on Tuesday 19 April 2022, as long as you provided an email address in the application.

Applications received on or after 12 February 2022 are late and outside the normal admissions round. They will not be processed until after 16 May 2022. You will be contacted after this date.

7 Applying after the closing date

Applications close on Saturday 15 January 2022. Information about applying after that date will be available here.

Last updated:
6 October 2021
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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.