Applying for a secondary school place

The application process for secondary school applications for September 2024 has now closed. 

If you still need to apply for a year 7 place for your child for September 2024 it will now be classed as a late application and will only be processed after all the on time applications have been allocated so you may not receive a decision until after 1 March 2024.

You will now need to complete a paper application form so please email for a form or alternatively you can complete and submit the form at your local Gateway or the Broughton Hub.

On 1 March 2024 all on time applicants who applied online will be able to view their child’s offer of a school place by logging into the Family Portal those who applied using a paper form will receive a decision letter in the post on or just after 1 March. 

Before you complete your application form, you should read the information on this page in full to ensure you understand the admissions procedure.

Pupils transfer from primary to secondary school in the September following their 11th birthday.

All schools provide a full curriculum up to the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) level at 16 years of age.

Frequently asked questions

Is my child due to transfer to a secondary school in September 2024?

The date of birth or your child determines when your child will commence school. The year group table helps to identify the year group your child will be in or when your child will be due to start school.

You will need to apply for a place at your preferred high school(s). If you currently live in Salford you need to apply for a school place through Salford Local Authority (LA). If you are applying for a place in a school in another LA, you will need to apply for that place through Salford LA who will send your application to the LA concerned. The other LA will tell Salford LA if your child can be offered a school place in their area or not.

How can I find out what secondary schools are in my area?

Visit our handy online search facility where you can see what schools are in your area.

How can I find more out about a particular school?

All schools have open evenings and welcome visits to the school. Please check with individual schools for their arrangements.

Schools will have a prospectus which details the school's ethos, policy and achievements. These are available direct from the school concerned and on their website.

Copies of the school performance tables are available to help parents decide on a suitable school for their child.

Copies of reports on recent school inspections published by Ofsted may also be helpful to parents in helping them assess the suitability of a school for their child.

How will I know when to apply?

All children who are resident in Salford will be prompted to apply for a school place. The closing date for applications is 31 October 2023.

The special educational needs team will contact parents/carers of children who have an education, health and care plan or attend special schools in the early part of the autumn term.

If your child has an education, health and care plan you do not need to fill in the usual school application form. Your child’s placement will be secured through their plan.

How do I apply for a secondary school place?

As a Salford resident you will be given information on how to apply during September 2023. You will be asked to state:

  • Which school you would like your child to attend
  • The reasons (see admissions policy) why your child should attend in the event that the school has more requests for places than places available

Some voluntary aided schools may require parents to provide additional information. Supplementary forms are available online. Please contact the school concerned for more details.

Please note: it is the parent's responsibility to ensure that any additional information is submitted by the deadline date.

What proof of address do I need to provide?

Because of problems in the past, the school admission team may ask you to provide proof of your address. When your child is offered a school place you may be asked to provide proof of address to the school, along with your acceptance of the place. If you are asked for this information, you will be issued with a list of acceptable forms of proof which may include such things as:

  • Council tax bill
  • Rental/tenancy agreement
  • Recent child benefit papers
  • Copy of completion papers in the case of a recent house purchase

The evidence you provide should be dated in the last three months.

Your address is considered to be where your child is normally and regularly living at the time of deciding places. If your child is living with friends or relatives for reasons other than guardianship, then we cannot use that address at the time of allocating places.

The local authority may consider a child's temporary address within the UK (where, for example, they may be living in temporary accommodation due to their parents' working commitments whilst they are seeking a permanent address in the same area) at its discretion.

If your main address has changed temporarily within the UK (for example, if you live with extended family during illness or you take up temporary accommodation because of building work) than your address counts as the one you were at before moving to the temporary residence.

You must notify us as soon as possible if there is any permanent change in address.

Please note: strong action will be taken if a false address or misleading information is given and the school place your child is offered may be withdrawn.

How many schools should I apply for?

When filling in the form please list three or more school choices for your child. If the first school on your list is full, your next choice of school will be looked at. If you do not list more than one choice and a place cannot be offered at that school, your child may be offered a place at a school which has places available. This may be some distance from your home.

There are many myths surrounding the allocation of school places and we would like to clarify the following:

There are always parents that are worried about whether their child will or will not be successful in gaining a place at their preferred school and that, if they choose a particular school as first choice and are not successful in their application, they will damage their chances of being accepted at any of their other preferred schools.

This is absolutely not the case. Admissions are strictly controlled by the local authority and success depends entirely on how far a child meets the over-subscription criteria for each school. The local authority must not consider whether a parent has placed the school first, second or third choice. The consistent and fair approach is that all applications are dealt with on an equal preference basis and following a set application period places are offered in accordance with the schools published oversubscription criteria.  

For example, if you put three schools down on your child’s application and your child is eligible for a place at all three of the schools you will be offered a place at your first preference school. However, if we are unable to offer your child a place at your first preference, but they are then eligible for a place at your second and third preferences then your child will be offered a place at your second preference school as this is the highest preference we are able to offer. Your child will automatically be placed on the waiting list for the any higher preference schools in Salford and the lower preference schools (those listed below your offered school) will be marked as ‘no longer required’.

Example one

Preference Local authority decision Decision communicated to parent
1. Buile Hill High School Able to offer Place offered
2. Ellesmere Park High School Able to offer No longer required
3. Moorside High School Able to offer No longer required

Example two 

Preference Local authority decision Decision communicated to parent
1. Buile Hill High School Unable to offer Waiting list
2. Ellesmere Park High School Able to offer Place offered
3. Moorside High School Able to offer  No longer required 

Our advice is that if you want your child to attend a particular school you should put this school as your first choice. The local authority will try to place children in their first choice school if possible and if your application is unsuccessful, you will not be disadvantaged at your second or third choice schools. 

However, we must make you aware that if we are unable to offer your child a place at any of your preferred schools, they will be offered a place at the nearest school that has places available, and this is called an 'alternative offer'.

How are the places decided?

Places are allocated using the oversubscription criteria in the school’s admission policy. Please read the criteria carefully as you will need to decide which one of these categories your child will be considered under at the time the decision is made on his/her school place.

Voluntary aided and academy secondary schools may have different oversubscription criteria so please check their admissions policy carefully. 

You may find it useful to look at how school places were allocated in the previous year. This information may help you decide on the likelihood of your child being offered a place at your preferred school.

How will I know if I have been offered a secondary school place for my child?

School offers will be published on 1 March 2024.

If you applied online you will be able to view your offer of a school place in the Family Portal.

If you applied using a paper application form you will be sent a letter on 1 March 2024 with the outcome of your application.

You will normally be given at least ten working days to let the local authority know whether you want to accept the offer. If you do not respond within the timescale the place may be given to another child.

What can I do if my child is not offered a secondary place at the school of my choice? Can I appeal?

If you are not offered a secondary school place for your child at the school(s) of your choice you can:

  • Leave your child's name on the waiting list at your choice of school(s) in case a place becomes available
  • Choose another school with places available. If you do this your child's name can remain on the waiting list at your preferred choice of school(s)

You also have a right to appeal if you do not get a place for your child at the school of your choice.

For further details, please contact the school admissions team.

What happens if I apply for a secondary school place after the places have been offered?

If you want a secondary school place after the allocation date of 1 March 2024, you need to fill in an application form as soon as possible.

If your choice of school does not have any places left you can either:

  • Leave your child's name on the waiting list at that school in case a place becomes available
  • Choose another school with places available. If you do this your child's name can stay on the waiting list at the school of your choice

You also have the right of appeal to an independent appeal panel

How do waiting lists work?

If your application for a secondary place at your choice of school(s) has been refused, you are entitled to place your child's name on a waiting list. Waiting lists must be held until at least 31 December 2024.

As new children are added to the waiting list, the waiting list will be re-ranked according to the published oversubscription criteria. This means children can move both up and down the waiting list.

You will be informed if a place becomes available from the waiting list for your child.

You should check individually with voluntary aided schools to check if their waiting lists will be held beyond 31 December 2024.

Who to contact

Remember you can contact us quicker, easier, better online.

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This page was last updated on 22 May 2024

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