How to apply for a primary school place

If your child lives in Northamptonshire, from 10 September 2020, you can make an application for a:

  • Primary school place for September 2021 if your child has their 4th birthday between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021
  • Junior school place for September 2021 if your child has their 7th birthday between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021
  • Middle school place (year 5) in another county for September 2021

If your child is already at primary school and wishes to move to a different school, you will need to make an in-year application instead.

The closing date for applications was 5pm on 15 January 2021.

You can still make a late application, these are processed from May 2021 onwards. See key dates.

Apply online

The quickest way to make a late application is online.

    Apply now

Some primary schools require parents to complete a supplementary information form (SIF) in addition to the application made to the county council.

Other ways of applying

Apply by post

Download and print the form below and return it to school admissions.

Postal forms received after 5pm on 15 January 2021 will be treated as a late application.

Please ensure the correct postage is applied. We cannot take responsibility for a form not reaching us due to insufficient postage.

New primary schools

Buckton Fields Primary School

The Department for Education (DfE) has agreed the opening of a new school on the Buckton Fields development as part of the Preston Hedge’s Academy Trust.

The proposed opening of the new 2-form entry Buckton Fields Primary School is scheduled for September 2021 and will initially only take pupils into Reception.

Parents or carers wishing to apply for a place at this school, will need to apply directly to the Academy Trust and the application should be made in addition to the common application form for their other preferred schools which is made to the local authority.

For more information on how to apply, go to new schools and/or visit the school website .

Marie Weller Primary School

The DfE has agreed the opening of a new primary school in Towcester as part of The Hawksmoor Learning Trust. The Marie Weller Primary School is to be built on the Sustainable Urban Extension in Towcester and is scheduled to open in September 2021 with a single Reception year class (30 pupils).

Parents or carers wishing to apply for a Reception place at this school for September 2021 will need to apply directly to The Hawksmoor Learning Trust. Parent and carers should also complete the Local Authority’s Common Applications Form to apply for places at up to 3 other primary or infant schools.

For more information on how to apply, go to new schools and/or visit the school website.

Frequently asked questions

When you apply for a place you are asked to list three preferred schools in order of preference. Every school has a number of places available for applicants – this is the called the published admission number (PAN) for the school. If fewer than this number of children apply for a place at the school, all of the children will be given a place. If more than this number of children apply then the school uses its ‘oversubscription admission criteria’ to decide which children must be offered a place.

By stating only one preference, it does not give your child any extra priority or guarantee that a place will be allocated at that school. Your child would still be ranked according to where they fell in the oversubscription criteria for that school. If it is not possible to offer a place at that school, your child will be allocated a place at the end of the process at the nearest school to your home address with places remaining at that point.

Equal preferencing
Equal preferencing means that each of your three preferences will be considered by the admission authority of each of the schools applied for. Each admission authority must consider all applications for places at the school and they will not be informed where parents/carers have placed the school in their list of 3 preferences (so there is no possibility of favouring those who name the school as first preference or discounting those who placed it as second or third preference). See equal preferencing for more information.  

​If you are filling in a paper preference form, do not name the same school more than once in your preferences. Writing down the same school more than once will not increase your chances of getting a place at that school. The law makes it very clear that if you only tell us one preference and it is unsuccessful, your child will only be allocated a place after all the other applicants' preferences (first, second and third) have been considered.

The result might be that your child is allocated a place a long way from your home, and transport may not be available.

​Some schools require you to send separate information directly to them, for example, faith schools may ask for information about your allegiance to a religion.

If you have included one or more of these schools among your preferences, you must get the form directly from the school or download it from our website:

Check which schools require supplementary information forms.

​In 2020 approximately 93% of applicants for primary school places were allocated their first preference, and a further 5% were allocated either their second or third preference. However, this figure does not include late applications.

Oversubscription criteria

Where your child is ranked in the individual school’s oversubscription criteria is more important when allocating the places than where you have placed schools in your preference list, view the schools directory or the 'Applying for a Primary School Place' booklet on the right for each school's oversubscription criteria and whether or not they were oversubscribed for 2020. This should give you a good idea of the chance of your child being successful in obtaining a place at your preferred school and your other preferences. Do bear in mind that this information can only be used as a guide, because the pattern of preferences may vary from year to year.

Some schools receive more applications than there are places available. When this happens, places are allocated according to the school’s oversubscription admission criteria. Different schools use different oversubscription admission criteria, for example:

  • Many schools’ oversubscription admission criteria give priority to children living in their linked area – often a criterion used in rural areas. Remember, if you live in a school’s linked area and want to be considered for a place at that school, you must include it as one of your preferences. If you do not include your linked school in your preferences and it is oversubscribed, your child may be allocated a place at another school which may be quite far from your home. 
  • The oversubscription admission criteria at faith schools may give priority to applicants on faith grounds of church attendance or commitment.

It is important that you think about the likelihood of schools being oversubscribed. We would also suggest that you read and consider each school’s oversubscription admission criteria before applying.

Linked areas

If you live in an area that has a linked school, think about including that school as one of your preferences. View the schools directory to check what the linked areas are for each school.

Many schools give priority to children living in the linked area. Remember, if you live in a school’s linked area and want to be considered for a place at that school, you must include it as one of your preferences. If you do not include your linked school in your preferences and it is oversubscribed, your child may be allocated a place at another school, which may be quite far from your home.

​No. Places are allocated using the oversubscription criteria for the school when more applications than the number of places available are received. Priority is not automatically given to those in a nursery class at the school as nursery and school allocations are separate processes.

​Our multiple birth policy does not entitle applicants with twins or multiple births to gain their first preference school but does, where possible, entitle them to be kept together if they so wish. However, this may not be their first preference and may even be at a different school altogether.

​Applications for primary school are coordinated nationally. This means all parents must apply to their home authority but can name schools in any county. 

If one or more of your preferences is for a state-funded school in another county you can select these when you apply online or include these on your paper preference form.

Some schools require additional forms to be completed in support of your application. You will need to find out from the school itself if any additional forms are needed and these forms must be returned directly to the school.

If you live in Northamptonshire, you should not send an additional preference form to the authority in which the school is situated; you should include your preference for that school on your Northamptonshire form. We will liaise with the neighbouring authorities to ensure that your application is considered according to the published oversubscription admission criteria.

​If you do not live in Northamptonshire (even if your child attends a Northamptonshire primary school) you will need to apply to the local authority in which you live.

We allocate school places using the address your child is living at on the closing date for applications (5pm on 15 January 2021).

Change of address before the closing date 

Online applications

If you move before the closing date for applications, you will be able to change your address and your preferences (if necessary) on your online application up to the closing date.

Paper applications

You will be able to provide your new address and / or change your preferences if you advise us by email or letter. We must receive any new information about your address or preferences by 5pm on 15 January 2021 for the application to be considered as 'on time'.

Please note that we will need to receive documentary evidence of your new address by 15 January 2021 for the application to be considered 'on time'.

Change of address after the closing date

​Please inform us of your new address, by email or letter, so that we can communicate with you.

If you move address after the closing date and wish to change your address and / or preferences, you should complete a late application form. The application must be accompanied by documentary evidence of your new address. Late applications are dealt with during our further rounds of allocation which start in May 2021. We will be able to use your new address for correspondence purposes only before this date.

However, your on time application will be processed and a school place will be allocated according to the address we hold on the closing date (i.e. where you lived on 15 January 2021). If appropriate, we will then process any late applications you make in the next round of allocations using your new address.  

Examples of evidence for your new address:

  • a copy of a signed lease or rental agreement (6 months minimum)
  • a copy of a solicitor's letter confirming the exchange of contracts or completion date

We will not process an application for a child until they are residing in the UK. The only exception is the children of UK Armed Service Personnel and other Crown Servants. For families of service personnel with confirmed posting to their area, or crown servants returning from overseas to live in that area, admission authorities must allocate a place in advance of the family arriving in the area, provided the application is accompanied by an official letter declaring a relocation date and a Unit postal address or quartering area address.

You can amend your online application as many times as required prior to the closing date by selecting 'Change my application'.  You must remember to resubmit the application each time (you will receive an e mail confirming the changes when you resubmit). 

If you submit more than one paper application (and they are received before the closing date), the latest dated application will be processed.

You cannot amend your application once the deadline has passed.  To change your preferences after the closing date you need to submit a late application which would be processed in our additional rounds of allocation which start in May.

​If all your preferred schools are oversubscribed (i.e. they receive more applications than places available) and we cannot offer you a place at any of them, we will offer your child a place at the closest school to your home address that still has places available at the end of the process. Please note this may not be your closest school.

​If you tell us fraudulent or misleading information in your preference form (for example, a false claim to be living at a certain address or a false claim to have a sibling link) which stopped us from giving a place to a child with a stronger claim, we will withdraw your offer of a place. We will make checks if there is any doubt about your address.

In previous years we have withdrawn places where we have found that a given address was false.

If your child is already at primary school and wishes to move to a different school, you will need to make an in-year application.

​You can request that entry to the school where your child has been offered a place is deferred until later in the same school year.

If you request this the school must hold the place for the child; it cannot be offered to another child.

The place cannot be kept open beyond the academic year for which the original application was accepted.

Any parent who is considering deferring their child's admission to school is recommended to discuss this with the headteacher of the school where their child has been offered a place.

​When we talk about a child’s home address, we mean the permanent residence of the child. The address must be the child’s only or main residence that is either:

  • Owned by the child’s parent, parents or carer/guardian.
  • Leased to or rented by the child’s parent, parents or guardian under a lease or written rental agreement of not less than six months duration. The property leased should be that in which the family lives.

We may require written proof of ownership or a rental agreement and proof of actual permanent residence at the property. We cannot allocate places on the basis of intended future changes of address unless house moves have been confirmed through the exchange of contracts with a completion date, or the signing of a formal lease agreement.

We do not usually accept an address if:

  • It is the address of your second home. If you have two homes, we will check which one is your main home. We may refuse to allocate a school place at an address which we consider to be a temporary or business address.
  • Only part of a family moves, unless this was as a result of a divorce or permanent separation arrangement. We will ask for proof of this.

We reserve the right to seek further written proof to support your claim to residence, and that your child is living there.

Each year, the School Admissions Team will check a sample number of addresses at random by asking the parent/carer to prove the address they have stated on their application.

​If a child lives with their separated parents for different parts of the week, we will consider the home address to be where the child sleeps for most of the school week (Sunday night to Thursday night). If the child spends equal amounts of time at the two addresses, the parents must agree which address they wish to be the child’s main address.

We will only respond to the parent/carer who has completed the preference form (‘the applicant’). Where parents are separated, and have not shared information about the preference process, we will use the following procedure if we receive a request for information from one of the parents:

  1. We will write to both parents to establish their right to view the data.
  2. Once parental responsibility has been confirmed, we will send the information they are entitled to.

There may be a charge for this service.

What happens if both parents make an application?

We can only process one application because we can only allocate one place. If we receive more than one application for the same child, made by separated parents, where the home address and/or the preferences do not match, neither application will be processed until such a time that the parents can agree on both address and preferences. If no agreement can be made, parents are recommended to seek legal advice. If agreement cannot be reached before the closing date, this may affect the chances of your child being allocated a place at your preferred school(s).