Starting school places

Apply to start in the Reception year at a primary or infant school in September 2020.

1 Overview

This information only applies if you want to apply for September 2020 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

Before applying for your child's starting school place:

3 Before you apply

You must read the relevant guidance pages below 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 7 October 2019 until Wednesday 15 January 2020.

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 school place (external link)

Using the online application system

  • Your User ID must be between 6 and 16 characters long and must contain only letters or numbers (do not use special characters).
  • Your password must include all the following rules:
    • be at least 8 characters long
    • have at least one character that is UPPERCASE
    • have at least one character that is lowercase
    • have at least one special character (such as: * ! $)
    • have at least one number.
  • Online applications opened at 9.00am on Monday 7 October 2019 and close at 11.59pm on Wednesday 15 January 2020.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Only on time online applicants receive an email on national allocation day for starting school applications confirming the result of their application.

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 or infant 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 2020

If you applied online we will email you the outcome of your application on Thursday 16 April 2020. 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 sent a letter with the outcome by second class post on Thursday 16 April 2020.

Applications received after 11.59pm on 15 January 2020

If your application was received between 16 January and 14 February 2020 it is out of time, and your preferences will only be considered after all the applications received on time. You will be sent a letter with the outcome by second class post on Thursday 16 April 2020.

Applications received after Friday 14 February 2020 are late and outside the normal admissions round. They will not be processed until after 22 May 2020. You will be sent a letter after this date.

Last updated:
29 October 2019
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