Admissions / Pupil Place Planning

Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide an admissions service for the coordination of reception, junior and year 7 places. Families must apply through the local authority they are living in, even if they are applying for schools outside of the borough. Applications for nursery places, are managed by the provider. In year admissions are managed by the admissions service for most school. However, some schools manage their own admissions (Chingford Foundation, Eden Girls School, Highams Park, Lime Academy Larkswood, St Mary's CE Primary, St Mary’s RC Primary and St Saviour's CE Primary Schools). Please visit the school websites for more information.  

Admission Authorities 

The admission authority sets the overall policy, procedures and admission criteria for all admissions and must meet the standards set in the DfE's School Admissions Code.

The local authority is the admission authority for all maintained primary and secondary schools (except academy, trust and voluntary aided schools who are their own admissions authority). The authority has delegated the day-to-day administration and operation of the admissions policy - otherwise known as the School Determined Admission Arrangements - to individual governing bodies. The School Determined Admissions Arrangement (policy) is updated on an annual basis and agreed by cabinet by 28 February. Maintained schools can access Waltham Forest's School Determined Admission Arrangement after the 15 March each year via the LBWF website. There must be no change to the admission policy without the approval of the admission authority.

Schools which are their own admissions authority  must determine their admissions arrangements on an annual basis. These must be published on their websites by 15 March for the following year ahead (18 months in advance). 

Published Admission Number

Admissions authorities are required to set an admissions number for the years that children are normally admitted to the school (eg reception and year 7) for each of the schools they oversee. These must be published annually along with the admissions criteria. Schools cannot refuse admission if the admission limit has not been reached.

Falling Rolls

Where schools have falling rolls they can discuss with their admissions authority the possibility of temporarily reducing their PAN. The admissions authority must follow the School Admissions Code requirement to undertake a consultation to change the PAN for the years that children are normally admitted to the school (eg reception and year 7).

Governing Boards are able to amend their admissions numbers for the years outside of these key admission years (eg Years 1 to 6 and 8 to11) but must ensure that this is done in agreement with their admissions authority and must let the Admissions team know to ensure the booklets that are published for prospective parents are updated. 

Consultations must occur between 1 October and 31 January for a minimum of six weeks. Decisions regarding the change in pupil numbers must be made by the January prior to the school entry date, for example the decision must be agreed by January 2023 for changes to be implemented by September 2024.   

Maintained schools wishing to discuss this should contact the local authority's Admissions Team

Admissions criteria

Admissions criteria are set out to schools within the primary and secondary admissions booklets prepared by the Admissions Service. 

Deferred entry and part-time reception places

A child reaches compulsory school age the term after their 5th birthday. Some parents will feel their child is simply not ready to start school in the September following their fourth birthday and there is flexibility in the admissions code to allow for this.

Parents can request that:

  1. Their child attends part-time until they reach compulsory school age. This must be requested directly with the school once a school place has been offered.
  2. The date their child is admitted is deferred until later in the school year but not beyond the point at which they reach compulsory school age and not beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year for which it was made.
  3. For summer born children, their child is admitted outside of their normal age group.

For more details of the process and for guidance on Summer born children please contact the school admissions team 

In-year applications 

A parent can apply for a school place for their child at any school, at any time.  We urge parents to think carefully before making applications transfers between schools.  Unnecessary transfers between schools are discouraged and families are encouraged to discuss their reasons for looking to move their children with their current school before applying. 

Continuity of education is extremely important and so once a place offered and accepted, schools are encouraged to ensure that children are added to roll and the earliest possible start date provided. 

Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)

School admissions for children with Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans are managed by the borough's Special Educational Needs and Disability team (SEND). Parents must submit their SEND Primary/ Secondary transfer form by the beginning of October and are able to name two schools (either primary or secondary) as their preferences.

Parents may have already named their school preferences in their annual review meeting but may wish to confirm their final choices after attending school open days. 

Places at special schools or special resources provisions within mainstream schools are authorised by the SEND Phase Transfer Panel.      

Parents who wish to request an in-year transfer for a child who has an EHC Plan must contact the DES on 020 8496 6503 or 6505.


There is no formal appeal for refusal to offer a part-time place in a nursery class. A parental request for a review of a decision not to offer a nursery place should be managed as a complaint, the response should be according to the school’s published complaints procedure. 

Parental Appeals

If a child is not offered a place at your community school and the family wish to appeal please direct them to the process outlined on the Schools Admissions Appeals page.

For academies and free schools, appeal forms and information should be available on your website.  

Last update: Thursday 29th of February 2024 11:25:15 AM