Parental responsibility, disputes and access to information

What parents or carers need to do when applying for a school place.

A parent can make an application for a school place for their child and can express up to three preferences for their preferred school(s).

For the purposes of admission arrangements, a ‘parent’ can include:

  • all biological parents, whether they are married or not
  • any person who, although not a biological parent, has parental responsibility for a child or young person
  • any person who, although not a biological parent and does not have parental responsibility, has care of a child or young person.

A person typically has care of a child or young person if they are the person with whom the child lives, either full or part time and who looks after the child, irrespective of what their biological or legal relationship is with the child.

Evidence is required to support applications for looked after and previously looked after children, children subject to a Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardian or Adoption Order.

If more than one application is received it is for parents to agree between themselves which school(s) will be applied for before an application is submitted.

You should note that the Local Authority or the admission authority will only process one application per child and will only make one offer of a school place.

Where parents cannot agree about their child’s educational arrangements and cannot come to an agreement as to which school(s) to apply for then they may wish to seek to have the dispute determined through the Family Courts.

The Local Authority and the admission authority will not mediate between parent disputes about school applications.

Where more than one application is received, the Local Authority or the Admission Authority will determine which application to process, this is normally determined on the basis of the information detailed in the Child Benefit documentation, the address held by the current educational establishment, a council tax bill or medical records. Additional enquiries may also be made where applicable.

Please note that the Local Authority or Admission Authority will contact both applicants to advise that more than one application has been received.

An application for a school place will inevitably contain personal data. We will process all such requests in line with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Find information about your rights and how to make a request for information.

For details about how we process your personal data refer to the Pupil Entitlement Privacy Policy.

Last updated:
23 December 2021
Share this
Share this

Do you have any feedback about this page?

Help us improve this website

Let us know if this page was helpful so we can make improvements. Add a star rating and leave your feedback below to show how useful you found this page.

Rate this page:
Clear star rating...
  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.