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School admissions: phase transfers

The school admissions process starts almost two years before children join a school.

Find out more on How admissions arrangements are set | East Sussex County Council.

Phase transfers: What to do and when

Schools should assist parents with applying online or printing information or forms.

Most parents will apply online.  

Schools can view applications on the Schools Access Module (SAM)

See the guide for school actions for:

Paper applications

Apply for a school place 2024 - 2025| East Sussex County Council includes a copy of the application form.

If you or the applicant need help, or for us to post a form, email admissions@eastsussex.gov.uk.

If you receive a paper application, stamp this with the arrival date, scan it and email it to us.

The closing dates for applications for 2024 to 2025 are:

  • 31 October 2023 - Secondary

Parent leaflet for the secondary school application deadline [1.1 MB] [pdf]

  • 15 January 2024 - Primary and Junior

Parent leaflet for the primary school application deadline [1.4 MB] [pdf]

Parent leaflet for the junior school application deadline [1.0 MB] [pdf]

You can also use our Template Admissions Form [146.5 KB] [docx]. You will need to include a link or details of your school's privacy policy on the form. If you have questions on this  or want to make any changes to make this specific to your school please talk your relevant Data Protection Officer.

Read East Sussex County Council's guidance on: Educating children out of year group [62.5 KB] [docx]

All schools - siblings and children of staff

Check sibling claims in SAM and verify applications under the ‘children of staff’ category. Indicate whether they qualify by:

  • 8 January 2024 - Secondary 
  • 15 March 2024 - Primary and junior

For more information about who qualifies, read Final arrangements for 2024-25 | East Sussex County Council 

Primary schools

Ensure that applications for the children in your Year 6 age group have been submitted. If not, you will need to remind parents to apply before the closing date. You may wish to send a reminder by newsletter, SMS or an e-leaflet.

Late applications will be accepted, but only considered after all applications which arrived on time.

If you believe there are exceptional reasons why an application was late, please inform us as soon as possible. We will not be able to do anything about this after allocation.

Children with an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP)

These children will receive details direct from the local authority. If you are proposing to refer other children for assessment, please let us know.

Offer of places

Emails and letters are sent to parents and carers on the national offer days.

Schools can view their pupil’s allocations on SAM and mark if a place has been accepted or refused.

Please send admission forms to your allocated pupils within 10 school days.

All offers must come from the local authority until the end of coordination on 1 September. 

If you are consulted to take additional children with an EHCP after allocation day, let us know straight away. 

Please do not support appeals for your own or other schools.

Key dates for admissions 2024 to 2025

Secondary schools

12 September 2023

Applications open

31 October 2023

Applications close

8 January 2024

Deadline for checking sibling claims and children of staff

1 March 2024

National offer day

Primary and junior schools

12 September 2023

Applications open

15 January 2024

Applications close

15 March 2024

Deadline for checking sibling claims and children of staff

16 April 2024

National offer day

Admissions guidance

Find out more about the coordinated admission schemes:

Contact the Admissions Team

If you have any queries:

Email: admissions@eastsussex.gov.uk 

Phone: 0300 330 9472 between 10am and 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Email Fair Access Protocol queries to Fair.AccessProtocol@eastsussex.gov.uk 

An in-year admission takes place outside the normal entry times. We recommend parents and carers apply online.

What to do and when

Schools should check Schools Access Module (SAM) regularly for applications (at least twice weekly during term time).

Inform the Admissions team:

  • as soon as vacancies arise and
  • if places have not been accepted within 10 school days

Community and voluntary controlled schools

Staff working in community and voluntary controlled schools should not offer places to applicants. All offers should come from the Admissions team:

  • If there is a vacancy, we will offer the place by email and advise the parent to contact the school to arrange a start date.
  • If there's competition for a place, we will offer the place to the child with highest priority.
  • If there are no places available, we will resolve the application. Families will then have the right to appeal and go on the waiting list.   

Waiting list offers will also come from the Admissions team.

Community and voluntary controlled schools are legally required to comply with admission decisions made by East Sussex County Council.

Own admission authority schools

Schools must notify the council of the outcome of applications within 5 school days of receiving (not downloading) them. This ensures that we meet statutory deadlines around offering a school place and referring to the Fair Access Protocol.

For the steps to take and when, see: Guide for own admission schools - In-year admissions process and timeline [1.4 MB] [pdf]

Own admission authority schools are legally obliged to:

  • Make admissions decisions in accordance with the requirements of the School Admissions Code 2021, whether they opt into the scheme or not. 
  • Comply with the locally agreed Fair Access Protocol

Services to schools

We can provide services to assist own authority schools with the admissions process. Find out more on Admissions | Services 2 Schools

In-year admissions guidance

East Sussex County Council in-year admission arrangements 2023-24 [276.7 KB] [pdf]

East Sussex County Council coordinated scheme for in-year admissions 2023-24 [279.9 KB] [pdf]

School admissions code | GOV.UK

East Sussex Fair Access Protocol 2021 

Challenging behaviour refusal form

A form is available for schools to use if they wish to refuse to admit a student in years 8 to 11 whose behaviour can be challenging, even if you have space available.

Download the Challenging behaviour refusal form [147.2 KB] [docx]

Email the form to inclusionpartnerships@eastsussex.gov.uk within 5 school days of receiving the application.

Contact the Admissions Team

If you have any queries:

Email: admissions@eastsussex.gov.uk 

Phone: 0300 330 9472 (10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday)

Email Fair Access Protocol queries to Fair.AccessProtocol@eastsussex.gov.uk 

Families will often ask for advice on admission to your school or to the child’s next school. 

We know you are keen to help parents.

Help them understand the process

Explain that you are not involved in the decision making. The local authority or an own admissions authority makes the decision by ranking children against the admission criteria. 

Advise parents to read the relevant admissions criteria. Explain that this may change annually. 

Do not offer an opinion on the application outcome. 

Direct them to the Admissions team with any queries.

The arrangements for all schools are detailed on Apply for a school place | East Sussex County Council.

Avoid common misunderstandings

The move between schools or phase transfer for children aged 4,7 and 11 doesn’t happen automatically - all parents must apply.

First preferences do not receive any advantage, all preferences are treated equally.

Medical or social reasons and current attendance play no part in the admission criteria for community or controlled schools.

Siblings living outside the community area served by the school do not have priority over children living in the area. 

Delayed entry for summer-born children

Parents of summer-born children have the right to delay their child’s entry until the following September, but they would normally go into Year 1.

If they want to start in Reception the following the year, they need to apply and complete a form. For more information, visit How do I request delayed admission? | East Sussex County Council.

The school’s admission authority will decide whether to agree this.

All parents can choose to delay their child’s start until the term after their 5th birthday. But if they don’t start by the first day of summer term, they will lose their place.

See Educating out of year group – a guide for East Sussex schools [62.5 KB] [docx].

Changes to applications

After National Offer Day, we cannot amend any applications (unless there was an error) until the deadline for waiting lists and appeals has passed.

Offer of places

We allocate available places as soon as possible, but this does take time. Please be patient. Do not offer places during coordination.

We know that schools are keen to get all children onto 'taster days'. Sometimes it is not possible to resolve applications before these take place.

Please do not let children attend taster days if they have not been offered a place. This leads to confusion for both the child and parents and may lead to issues at school appeal hearings.


See advice for schools when parents ask for support with Appeals.

Parents of children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

Separate arrangements apply to students with an Education, Health and Care Plan. Parents can find advice on Finding and applying for schools | East Sussex Local Offer.

Guidance for parents

Detailed guidance about applying for a school place is on our website:

A new version is published each September.

Leaflets for parents

Parent leaflet for the secondary school application deadline [1.1 MB] [pdf]

Parent leaflet for the junior school application deadline [1.0 MB] [pdf]

Requests for support

Sometimes, parents ask headteachers or school staff to write supporting letters for an appeal hearing. This might be for a place at another school or your own.

Legally, you cannot support an appeal for your own school.

Supporting an appeal for another school is against the policy of:

  • East Sussex County Council
  • the body responsible for admissions at the school

All places will have been filled so you are endorsing bigger classes. This is not in the best interests of children or staff. 

All parents have a legal right of appeal if they did not get their preference. For more information, visit School appeals guide | East Sussex County Council

Please see the appeal advice document [28.5 KB] [docx].

Vulnerable parent or child

On the family’s behalf, you may wish to share with the panel that the parent or child is vulnerable. You can write a letter for the parents detailing the support your school has offered the family.

Be clear that you are supplying information rather than advocating on the parents’ behalf.

Your letter should not:

  • name the school the parent has appealed for
  • give an opinion on the allocated school. All schools should meet the needs of the children in their care.

Out-of-county grammar school appeals

The school admissions appeals code allows you to confirm that a child is of grammar school standard, despite their score in the 11+ exam being lower than expected.

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