Starting school for the first time
Apply for a reception place
The closing date for on-time applications for children starting school for the first time in September 2019 was the 15 January 2019, outcomes for any application submitted by this date will be made available from 16 April 2019.
Any application made after the 15 January but before the 15 April will be classed as late and will not be considered until after the on-time allocations have been made. Outcomes for late applications will be made available from 17 May.
Before you apply:
- if you live in Dorset (not Bournemouth or Poole), and pay your Council Tax to any Dorset council, apply to us for a Dorset school reception place. You can check your local council area
- if you live in Dorset and pay your Council Tax to any Dorset council and you want to apply for a school place in another local authority area, you still need to apply to us
- read our parents' guide for information about the different types of schools and how to apply
- find schools in your catchment area - you'll need your postcode
- read the admissions policies for schools you're interested in; you can find these on a school's website
- check Dorset's Local Offer for information on support for children with special educational needs and disabilities
You may have to complete an additional form if you want to apply to religious schools. This is an extra form which should be sent to the schools themselves, unless stated differently, and is not instead of an application form.
For other year groups you should make an in year application.
Apply for a school place
List up to 3 schools in order of preference. One of these schools should be your catchment school, if there is one. You'll receive a confirmation email once you've submitted your application.
Make sure you've sent any required medical evidence to our school’s admissions team. We can only consider your application based on the evidence you've submitted by the relevant closing date.
If you can't apply online
If you can't apply online, fill in and return a paper application form, this should be posted by the closing date, make sure you include proof of posting:
Christchurch residents and Local Government Reorganisation
Christchurch residents should apply for school places through us. The applications for children starting school will be managed by Dorset County Council.
The information you provided on your application will be used by us for the purposes of allocating you a school place. In order to ensure that all children are provided with a school place in time for September 2019, the information you provide will also be used by Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council after 1 April 2019 for this purpose.
How we tell you about an offer of a school place
We send out offers for all on-time applications for children starting school for the first time by email if you have applied online or by first class post on 16 April.
- tell you about your transport entitlement by letter or email only, not over the phone
- get the information to you by email if you applied online
- only discuss the information with the people listed on the application
- let you know your outcome, unless your application is late
- send late application offers by email or first class post on 17 May
We can't discuss available places at school as the number changes frequently.
What to do when you have a school place offer
We automatically assume acceptance, but we do ask parents and carers to respond to the school place offer by the 30 April for on time applications and 31 May for late applications. We only ask you to respond if you wish to either:
- decline the place offered, you must give us the reason why
- ask for your child to go on a waiting list
You can only request for your child to be added to a particular school's waiting list if you've already applied for this school and been refused a place at it.
Find out more about school waiting lists.
Make changes to your submitted application
If you want to make changes to your submitted application, you need to complete a change of preference form:
We process applications based on the information you give in your application. This means if you change your address after 15 January, we'll process your application using the address you were living at on the closing date.