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General information

The information on the page is applicable to both reception and secondary school admissions.

It is advised that parents and carers arrange to visit the preferred schools prior to making an application, as once the place is offered, it may not be possible to accommodate a change of preference later in the process.

Before expressing a preference for a school place, it is important to make a realistic assessment of your child’s chance of gaining a place at your preferred school(s).

Making an informed decision 

Does the law say I can choose the school my child attends?

The law does not give you the right to choose a school for your child. However, it does allow you to make a preference as to which school you would like you child to attend and we must try to meet that preference.

Preferences will be met unless more applications are received than there are places available. Where that is the case, the relevant oversubscription criteria will be applied to all preferences. Places are then allocated in strict criteria order, in accordance with the relevant Admission Arrangements. Section 3 outlines the Admission Arrangements - including oversubscription criteria - for all Cheshire West and Chester schools.

Please note: not all oversubscription criteria are the same so it’s important to read the criteria for each school you are considering making a preference for.

Equal preferences

All preferences will be considered on an “equal preference” basis. This means that all your preferences will initially be considered without reference to your preference ranking. If you could potentially be offered a place at more than one of your preferences (i.e. because a preferred school is undersubscribed or because you meet a high enough criteria for for an oversubscribed school) the school place you will be offered will be the school which you ranked the highest on your application form.

Published Admission Numbers

Admission Authorities (for community and voluntary controlled schools we alongside the governing bodies / trust of voluntary aided schools, free schools and academies) have to determine Published Admission Numbers (PANs) the PAN is used to calculate whether any year group within the school is full or has places available. The PAN is the maximum number of places that will be allocated to the reception class for September. However, The Schools Admissions Code, September 2021, allows Admission Authorities to admit above PAN where it will not adversely affect the school now or in the future or breach infant class size legislation. The Admission Authority must provide sufficient notice to us of any decision to admit above PAN, This is so that we can deliver our co- ordination responsibilities effectively and ensure that, as far as it is practical, every parent living in the borough who has applied for a school place receives a single offer on the same day. Admitting over PAN does not mean there will be permanent increase to the PAN.

What happens if there are more applications for a school than there are places available?

The published oversubscription criteria for the school will be applied to each applicant to determine who will be offered the places. If we can offer you a place at more than one of your preferred schools, we will make you a single offer which will be for the school that you ranked the highest. If you are a resident in the borough and we are unable to offer you any of your preferences, we will allocate you a place at the nearest Cheshire West and Chester school which has places available. This will not affect your right of appeal. If you are not a resident then we will not allocate you a place and you should discuss this with your own council.

I have only one school that I want to name as my preference. Is my first preference more likely to be met if I do not give a second and third preference?

No and you are potentially disadvantaging yourself from receiving a school offer close to your home. We strongly advise that you use all three preferences in priority order for the schools you wish your child to attend. If you only state one school preference and we are unable to offer you a place at that school, we will then have to offer you a place at the nearest school with a place available (residents in the borough only). If you state more preferences and your highest (first) preference is unsuccessful you may then be offered a place at your second or third preference. If you do not use all your preferences and your local schools are filled by those who have expressed a preference then you may be allocated a place at a school some distance away.

Please Note: If you name the same school more than once on the application form this will not increase your chances of being successful. This is the same as only making one preference. 

Other information to consider