Admissions - the basics

1. Some admissions "need to know"

The school admissions process starts almost two years before children are admitted. Find out more on the admissions timeline at our 'How admissions work' page.

2. Phase transfers

The Admissions Team co-ordinates school places for East Sussex children and will notify parents of the outcome.

Own admission authority schools have a role to play by ranking applications against their own admissions criteria.

Look out for VSB articles containing specific information about the annual transfer exercises.

Admissions for 2021-22

Key dates for primary/junior admissions
opening date for applications – 12 September 2020
closing date for applications – 15 January 2021
National allocation date – 16 April 2021

Key dates for secondary admissions
opening date for applications – 12 September 2020
closing date for applications – 31 October 2020
National allocation date – 2 March 2021

Read more in the Co-ordinated admissions schemes

3. In-year admissions

An in-year admission is the admission of a pupil to a school which takes place outside of the normal entry times. Parents should apply online and schools should check SAM regularly for applications (at least weekly during term time).

How decisions are made

If there is a vacancy, schools can offer places and arrange a start date with the parent.

If there's competition for a place, the school must apply their admission criteria when deciding who is offered the vacancy. Schools cannot make a decision on any other basis.

If there are no places available, the Admissions team will resolve the application. 

Please refer to the page on the Schools Access Module (SAM) for advice on what action schools need to take to notify the Admissions Team of decisions on in-year applications.

4. What should I say to parents? advice for schools

What should I say to parents?
School staff are often asked for advice on school admission matter whether it is for admission to your school or for admission to the child’s next school. 

The first point to make is that you, personally, will not be involved in the decision making process in determining the outcome of parents’ preferences. You need to explain that the decision will be made either by the local authority or by an own admissions authority by ranking children against the admission criteria. 

You should advise parents to read and understand the relevant admissions criteria and make them aware that these could change annually. Do not offer an opinion as to the application outcome. 

The arrangements for all schools are on our website

While we know you are keen to help parents, to avoid mixed messages or confusion, you should direct them to the Admissions team with any queries. 

If you are a community or controlled school, please note that medical or social reasons are no longer part of the criteria and current attendance plays no part in the admission criteria.

All parents must apply when wishing to move their children between schools or phase transfer aged 4,7 and 11 - this will not happen automatically.

Please be clear to parents that all preferences are treated equally, and that first preferences do not receive any advantage.

Parents of summer-born children have the right to defer 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 request a deferral. It is the decision of the school’s admission authority whether or not to agree this. All parents can choose to delay their child’s start until the term after their 5th birthday, however if they don’t start by the first day of summer term they will lose their place.

After National Offer Day we are unable to amend any applications (unless an error has been made) until the deadline for waiting lists and appeals has passed. After that point we will try and allocate places where available as soon as possible but this does take time so please be patient. Do not offer places when under co-ordination.

We appreciate schools are keen to get all children onto 'Taster Days' but sometimes it is not possible to resolve applications before these take place. Please do not allow children to attend Taster Days who have not been offered a place as this will lead to confusion on the part of the child and parents and may lead to issues at School Appeal hearings.

Sometimes parents ask head teachers or school staff to write supporting letters for an appeal hearing. All places will have been filled so you are essentially endorsing bigger classes. I’m sure you’ll agree this isn’t in the best interests of children or staff. You cannot support an appeal for your own school.

5. Children with an EHC Plan

Separate arrangements apply to students with an EHCP. Read more in the section on Inclusion and SEND.

6. Appeals

All parents have a legal right of appeal if their preference has been declined. Read the appeals section on the ESCC website. 

7. Services to schools

Own authority schools may find it helpful to know that we can provide a number of services to assist them with the admissions process.

See what we can offer on the Services 2 Schools Webshop