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How to apply for a school place outside the normal transfer times


From 13 November to 31 December 2023, we are co-ordinating a consultation on admissions arrangements for 2025 intakes.

Have your say in the school admissions consultation

In-year school places for 2023/24

If you are applying for an in-year school place for the 2023-24 academic year, please be aware that there may be a delay with processing your application due to the very high number of applications we have received.

You do not need to contact us again after submitting an application - we will contact you as soon as we have an outcome.

If your child does not have a school place, we may not be able to update you for at least 20 school days after receipt. Please do not email or call us about the status of your application until this time has passed (as this will cause additional delay to the process).

Before you explore changing schools please consider whether this is the best option for your child.

To apply for an in-year transfer

Please read the important information below before completing the application form.

​West Northamptonshire Council co-ordinates all in-year admissions for West Northamptonshire schools, except for the following:

If you wish to apply for a school place at any of the above schools, please contact the school directly

Schools outside of West Northamptonshire

To make an in-year application at a school outside of West Northamptonshire, please contact the local authority in which the school is situated.

Schools in West Northamptonshire

Before you make an application for a West Northamptonshire school (other than those listed above), please note:

  • you must not apply for a school place more than one month before it is required and applications outside of this timescale will not be processed
  • the child must be a resident of the UK (see 'Moving to West Northamptonshire' below)
  • you may state up to 3 preferences on the application form (find your closest schools here by selecting Location and then entering your postcode – please note the measuring system used on this website is different to the mapping system used by WNC when we apply oversubscription criteria so distances may not be the same)
  • you may only apply if you are the person with parental responsibility for the child
  • you must ensure you have read the further information below before applying
  • some schools (e.g. faith schools and some academies) may require you to complete additional forms and return them directly to the school to enable them to apply their criteria – check with the school
  • your child should take up the school place within 10 school days, or by the date shown on the formal letter offering the school place
  • it is expected that your child will continue to attend their current school (where possible) until a school place at an alternative school is offered and a date has been arranged for admission

A reference number will be automatically generated following successful submission of your form.

What happens after applying

Find out how we allocate in-year places.

Fair access - Providing appropriate education for children of statutory school age

All local authorities have in place a Fair Access Protocol (FAP) in order to ensure that ‘unplaced’ children, especially the most vulnerable, are offered a place as quickly as possible.

The operation of FAP is outside the arrangements for coordination and is triggered when an eligible child has not secured a school place under normal in-year admission procedures. The local authority must ensure that no school - including those with available places - is asked to take an unfairly large number of children who have been excluded from other schools or who have challenging behaviour.

There is no duty for local authorities or admission authorities to comply with parental preference when allocating places through the FAP. However, parental preference will be considered.

In order to identify whether a child meets the criteria of the Fair Access Protocol or whether additional support may be required in school for a successful reintegration, parents are encouraged to complete the questions on the in-year application, providing as much information as possible regarding the child’s previous history.

Further information

You should be aware when making an application that:

  • moving into a school’s linked village or area does not necessarily guarantee your child a place at the linked school
  • a high percentage of schools in West Northamptonshire have reached the published admission number (PAN) in most year groups and, therefore, it may not be possible to offer a place at your preferred schools
  • for families with more than one child, it can be extremely difficult to allocate a place for all the children in the same school - the result of an in-year application may be that siblings have to be split across two or more schools and that, in order to keep the children together, we may only be able to allocate a school which is not your preferred school and which may be some distance away from the home address
  • if you are moving to West Northamptonshire, documentary evidence in the form of a solicitor’s letter to confirm exchange of contracts or a copy of your signed tenancy, or rental agreement, will be required to verify your address

Moving from overseas

If you are moving from overseas your child may be entitled to a school place.

You should be aware that:

  • children must be resident within the country before we will process an application - a visitor's visa does not entitle your child to a school place
  • if your application is due to a move into the UK, documentary evidence to verify your address may be required - a copy of either a child benefit letter or Tax Credit letter is normally acceptable, along with a copy of your rental agreement or exchange of contracts letter (the council reserves the right to seek further documentary evidence as necessary)
  • you must not send original documents in support of your application, as they will not be returned

Special conditions apply to UK Armed Service Personnel and other Crown Servants.

For families of service personnel with confirmed posting to their area, or crown servants returning from overseas to live in that area, admission authorities must allocate a place in advance of the family arriving in the area, provided the application is accompanied by an official letter declaring a relocation date and a Unit postal address or quartering area address.

Admission authorities must not refuse a service child a place because the family does not currently live in the area, or reserve blocks of places for these children.

Therefore, where places in the year group are available at the preferred school, it is expected that places will be allocated in advance.

However, this does not necessarily guarantee a place at the preferred school if the year group has reached the published admission number (PAN).

The operation of the waiting list is not on a 'first come, first served' basis. When a place becomes available at a school, if there is only one child on the waiting list, the child will be offered the place. If, however, there are two or more children on the waiting list when a place becomes available, then the children will be ranked according to the school's oversubscription criteria.

A child's position on the waiting list may change if new applicants are added to the list.

Schools who do not keep a waiting list

Some academies in West Northamptonshire do not keep a waiting list. This means that parents who wish to secure a place for their child at one of these schools will have to continue to make additional applications throughout the year.

Normally, we will accept only one application per academic year in respect of the same school for the same academic year. We will, however, accept a second and subsequent application from a parent for those schools which do not continue to hold a waiting list.

If the school has reached the published admission number (PAN), and there has been no significant and material change in circumstances, the application will be refused. Parents or carers will receive a generic email response stating the school is still unable to offer a school place in the relevant year group and a second appeal will not be offered.

Contact details

Email: [email protected]

School Admissions Team
West Northamptonshire Council
Angel Street
Phone: 0300 126 7000

​If your child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan or a statutory statement of special educational needs (SEN), please see the special educational needs (SEND) page for information on how to apply as there is a different process for these applications.

Last updated 16 October 2023