Admissions criteria for a secondary place

Secondary school places are limited by the physical space in each school. If the number of pupils requiring places at a school exceeds their admission number then not everybody will be successful in obtaining a place there. This is what is meant when a school is said to be 'oversubscribed'.

If the school is oversubscribed the places available will be allocated according to set admission criteria. The admission criteria will vary depending on which school your are applying to. Places will first be allocated to children with an education, health and care plan that names the school.

Community secondary schools

The admission criteria for Salford's community schools is set by Salford local authority (LA) and are as follows:

  1. Looked after children and previously looked after children - this includes children who have ceased to be looked after because they have been adopted or became subject to a special residency order or special guardianship order.
  2. Children in need - Children in need as defined by the Children Act (1989). Those who are unlikely to achieve or maintain or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining a reasonable standard of health or development or a child/children whose health or development would be further impaired without the provision of services by the local authority. Applications under this criterion would need to be supported by an appropriate professional stating that attendance at a particular school is essential. Please see below for further information.
  3. Brother or sister in attendance at the school at the date when the pupil is to be admitted. This includes stepchildren and foster children living with the same family at the same address. Other children may be considered under the sibling criterion provided proof is available to demonstrate that the children are permanently resident at the same address and part of the same family unit. The authority accepts that in some family units the children may not be natural brothers and/or sisters.
  4. Children living closest to the school - the distance will be measured in a straight line using Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) information to measure the distance from the address point of the child's home address and the centre of the school in miles. Those children whose home address is closest to the school will be those who get priority for places.

Voluntary aided secondary schools and academies

The admissions criteria and the way places are allocated for both roman catholic schools and academies is decided by the governors of the school. Parents/carers who wish to express a preference for a voluntary aided school or academy are advised to check the ranking policy with the appropriate school.

To check the admissions criteria for each school please refer to the secondary admissions booklet.

Independent schools

Independent schools control their own admissions and you will have to contact them directly to find out what to do next.

Schools in other local authorities (LA)

The admissions criteria for schools controlled by another LA will be set by that LA, so you will need to contact them to find out what their admission criteria are - a good place to start would be their council website.

For further details, please contact either the headteacher of the relevant school or access the school's website. Please be aware that some local authorities limit the number of preferences a parent can express, and if you are applying for a school in another local authority area you will need to be aware of this.

Children in need

In Salford, children who would be eligible for this criterion are those who are at level three and have ongoing social worker involvement, and all children at level four on the ‘Thresholds of needs and response in Salford'. For children resident in other local authorities, contact will be made with the child's social worker to confirm that the child's level of need falls within these boundaries. Salford LA must have confirmation of an applicant's level of need from a social worker before they will be considered under this criterion.


Where there are more children in one particular criterion than the number of places available, places will be allocated to the children whose home address is nearest the school. The distance will be measured in a straight line using the LLPG (Land and Property Gazetteer) information to measure the distance between the address point of the child's home address and the centre of the school in miles. Those children whose home address is closest to the school will be those who get priority for places.

In the event of a tie, where two or more pupils' home address is the same distance from the preferred school and only one place is available, random allocation will be used. This will be carried out by an independent person. Eligible names will be placed in a hat. One name will be drawn from the hat and the remaining place will be offered to that person. This process for random allocation also applies to the waiting list where two or more pupils are eligible for one vacancy because they live the same distance from the preferred school. 

Multiple births

If there is a situation where only one place is available and the next children to be offered are siblings of a multiple birth, all the siblings will be offered places.

The child's home address

The child's home address is considered to be the child's parent/carer(s) place of residence, that is to say, where they are normally and regularly living. If parents are separated and the child spends time at each parents' address, the address which will be used for admission to schools is that of the main carer. The main carer is determined as the parent who is in receipt of child benefit. If a child is resident with friends or relatives for reasons other than guardianship, the friend or relative's address will not be considered.

Temporary addresses

The authority may at its discretion consider as genuine a child's temporary address within the UK where, for example, the child is living with his/her parent/carer(s) in temporary accommodation due, for example, to their parent/carer(s) working commitments, whilst they are seeking a permanent address in the same area.

If the parent/carer(s) main address has changed temporarily, for example where a parent/carer resides with extended family during a period of sickness or takes up temporary accommodation due to building or renovation work, then the parent/carer(s) address remains that at which the parent/carer(s) was resident before the temporary residence began.

Change of address

Any permanent change in address must be notified in writing or by email to the school admissions team as soon as possible.

Where a change of address occurs after the closing date and before 15 March, the local authority will consider a change of preferences to be on-time only where the change of address is over two miles from the previous address (measured from address point to address point in a straight line). Where the change of address is under two miles any changes of preference will be considered as a late application. Any change of preferences resulting from a change of address after 15 March will be considered as a late application.

False information

If you give any fradulent or intentionally misleading information to obtain a school place (for example, if you give the incorrect home address), we may withdraw the offer and your child may lose their place. 

If you suspect that someone has given false information to get a school place please contact the admissions team. 

Please note that the local authority will take strong action and the place offered will be withdrawn, if any false or misleading information is given, including an address which is not the child’s home address as defined above.

Admission of children from overseas

All children of compulsory school age (five to 16 years) in the UK have a right of access to education. However, where a child is in the UK for a short period only, for example less than half a term, it may be reasonable to refuse admission to a school.

Children who hold full British Citizen passports (not British Dependent Territories or British Overseas passports), have a passport endorsed to show a right of abode in the UK or are European Economic Area nationals normally have unrestricted entry to the UK. An application for a school place will be accepted for such children even though they may not be resident in the UK at the time of application. The application may however be processed on the basis of the overseas address.

Other children from overseas do not generally have automatic right of entry to the UK. An application for a school place will not therefore be accepted until they are resident in the UK. Proof of residency such as an endorsed passport or entry visa will be required with the application.

Waiting list policy

Children who are not offered a secondary place for the September intakes at their preferred school will be placed on the school's waiting list. The waiting list will be maintained only for the statutory period (until 31 December). Should any places become available they will be allocated in accordance with Salford local authority's published admission criteria.

As children are added to the waiting list, the list will be re-ranked in accordance with the published admission criteria. This means that children can move both up and down the waiting list.

After 31 December, if a parent wishes their child to continue to be considered for a school place, they will need to reapply for a place using the procedure for in-year admissions.

Looked After Children, previously looked after children and children who come under the Fair Access Protocol will take precedence over those on the waiting list.

There are no waiting lists for in-year admissions.

Downloadable documents

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This page was last updated on 1 September 2017

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