Primary schools admissions

How do I apply for an infant, junior or primary school place?

Our admissions service is responsible for coordinating all applications from parents for school places in our catchment area.

If you want to apply for an infant, junior or primary school place in Derby, you need to make an application to us. If you are unsure whether your school is in Derby, you can check by using Directgov's local authority listings. You need to apply to your local council even if the school is in another council's area.

As a parent you have a legal right to express a preference for a school that you want your child to attend. If your preferred school has a place, then a place should be offered to your child.

Applying for a reception, junior or primary school for September 2019

If you want to apply for the intake year of an infant, junior or primary school starting in September 2019, you can make your application from 6 November 2018 onwards. You need to apply by the national closing date of 15 January 2019. Any applications made after 15 January 2019 will be classed as 'late' and considered after all 'on time' applications have been dealt with. To make an application you can:

  • apply online - it's quick and easy and lets you track the progress of your application
  • apply by telephone on 01332 642730 - this takes around five minutes and you will need to know the name of the school you are applying to
  • apply using a paper form - telephone 01332 642730 to ask us to send you one.

If you make your application online, you will be able to access your decision on 16 April 2019 - National Offer Day. If you apply by phone or on a paper form your offer letter will be posted on 16 April 2019, second class. No decision will be given over the telephone.

Please note, the admission process for children and young people with a Statement or Education, Health and Care Plan is different. More information can be found on our website

Making an in-year application

If you want to make an application for a school in Derby City Council's area, you need to complete a primary school in-year admission form. As the Council's Admissions service, we are responsible for co-ordinating all applications made for secondary school places.

Alternatively, you can complete the online form - it's quick and easy. If you want to apply using a paper form, you can telephone 01332 642725 or 642728 to ask us to send you one.

How we process your application

When you complete your application form you will have the opportunity to express preferences in rank order for up to three schools both in and outside of Derby city. You will also be able state your reasons for your preferences.

We will then process your application form according to how you have ranked your schools and you should receive a written decision from us within 15 working days.

Letting you know our decision

We will send you our decision which will be one of these three outcomes:

  1. school place is offered where your child meets the criteria for a place at the first preferred school.
  2. school place is offered where your child meets the criteria for a place at the second or subsequent highest ranked preferred school.
  3. where it is not possible to offer you the highest ranked school, your child will be added to that school's waiting list and you are informed of how to appeal to the independent appeal panel if you wish.

You can also track your application process online.

How do I appeal against your decision?

The independent appeal panel is completely independent of the schools and the Council. They are able to take your family's personal circumstances into account and balance these against the school's admission criteria. The panel's decision to allow or refuse an appeal is final.

Reasons we refuse admission to a school

All maintained schools and academies that have enough available places must offer a place to every child that has applied for one. However, this rule does not apply if one of the statutory reasons for refusal can be applied.

The statutory reasons for refusal of admission are:

  • children who have been permanently excluded from school twice - the obligation to comply with a parent's preference is removed for a period of two years from the date on which the latest exclusion took place.
  • children with challenging behaviour where a school has protection on admissions - schools can refuse to admit a child if the child has challenging behaviour or has been previously excluded from school, or if their attendance is below a certain percentage.

Determined admission arrangements

These are the 'set' and 'agreed' arrangements for admissions into schools following the outcome of a consultation.

The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 require admission authorities (for example, schools and councils) to consult other local admission authorities and determine their Determined admission arrangements 2019-2020 by 15 March 2019. 

The local authority is required to publish its determined admission arrangements together with those of other admission authorities within Derby city.

Once all arrangements have been determined, arrangements can be objected to and referred to the Schools' Adjudicator by 15th May 2019. Any decision of the adjudicator must be acted on by the admission authority and admission arrangements amended accordingly. The Schools' Adjudicator can be contacted at

Section 88P of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 requires local authorities to submit an annual report to the adjudicator.

The School Admissions Code (external website: PDF, 797kB) at paragraph 6 sets out the requirements for reports by local authorities. Paragraph 3.23 specifies what must be included in the report to the adjudicator and makes provision for the local authority to include any other local issues.

Download our Adjudicator report.

Changing my child's school

Moving to a new school is a very serious step to take. It can affect your child in many ways. If you are not moving address and are considering changing your child's school, it is important to consider whether a transfer is the best option.

Before deciding to move your child to another school, please consider the following carefully:

  • moving to a new school may not mean that a problem is solved - it can happen again and could be worse because your child will not know who their new teachers and other pupils are
  • your child's needs may not be known to staff at the new school
  • how will your child cope with learning new rules and having to do things differently?
  • there is the possibility of missing important work
  • if your child has brothers or sisters at the same school, transferring one child may affect the others
  • will it be difficult for you to have children attending different schools?

Many things that worry parents and pupils can be sorted out without the need to move schools. We advise that you sit down with your child and ask them why they want to move to a different school. If they mention that they are being bullied or not getting on with other pupils, you should speak to your child's teacher to try and resolve the situation. All schools in Derby have an 'Anti-bullying Policy' that must be followed.

If, after speaking with the class teacher, you still are unhappy about the way the school is dealing with your concerns, you should make an appointment to speak to the headteacher as soon as possible. You may also write to the chair of the school's governing body.

If you live in our catchment area, and want to apply to change schools, you need to complete an In Year Primary School Admissions Form.

Community school admissions

If you have applied to a community school, we will decide whether your child can be offered a place at that school taking into account the school's admission criteria.

Academy, foundation, or voluntary-aided schools

If you have applied for any academy, foundation, or voluntary-aided school places, the governing body of the school will decide whether your child can be offered a place. The application is sent to the school for consideration. Some schools require a Primary School Admissions Form - Church of England Supplementary Form or a Primary School Admissions Form - Roman Catholic to be completed.

Schools outside Derby

If you have applied to any schools outside Derby we will provide details of your application to the relevant council who will decide whether a place can be offered to your child. Their decision must be communicated back to the Admissions team within 15 school days.