School Admissions - Information and Advice

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The entry of children into schools is controlled and administered by an ‘Admissions Authority’. In the case of community schools , the ‘Admissions Authority’ is Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council.

 In the case of voluntary-aided (church) schools , the ‘Admissions Authority’ is the governing body of the individual school.

Contact details for all schools in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area are available using our Find a School search on the web. Simply log onto: http://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/schoolfinder |

Within Rhondda Cynon Taf each school has an area that it traditionally serves, known as the catchment area.    You can check your catchment school using our  Online Catchment Search Facility. |   Most parents/carers apply to send their child(ren) to the catchment school, however, they have the right to express a preference for their child(ren) to attend any school.

Pupils who live in the catchment area of a school no longer have an automatic right to attend that school. An application must be submitted and all applications will be considered in line with the Authority’s criteria for entry to school which are detailed in the Starting School Booklet |  and summarised below |

Applying for a place

There are two main categories of school admissions

  1. Annual Admission Round
  2. Mid Term / In Year Transfers

Annual Admission Round

This covers all pupils who are due to change schools in September of each year and includes:

  • admission to nursery class
  • admission to the reception class of a school
  • transfer from infant to junior school
  • admission to secondary school

In all cases parents/carers of pupils who are due to change schools at any of the stages detailed above will need to complete an application identifying their preferred school(s). 

If you are applying for a place at a voluntary-aided (church) school , applications should be made direct to the school. Please refer to the Starting School Booklet | .

If you wish to apply for a place at a community school you must complete an application form which can be obtained :-

Please ensure that you complete the form relevant to the year group your child will be entering in September 2014 .

Please also refer to the ‘Notes for guidance - admission forms’ | .

Completed forms, with appropriate evidence of your home address, should be returned to your first preference school by the relevant deadline detailed on the application form and in our school admissions timetable | .  Please note that late applications will be processed but you may find your preferred school is full and we may not be able to offer you a place at this particular school.

There is no requirement for the Authority to meet the school preference expressed on the application form.  Whether there is an offer of a place at the preferred school will depend on the outcome of the application of the Authority’s admissions policy which is detailed in the Starting School Booklet | and summarised below |

The information given on the application form must be accurate. Parents/carers are required to evidence the information given on the form and other Council databases may be used to check information provided.

Mid Term / In-year transfers

This applies to any requests made by parents/carers to transfer their child from one school to another outside the annual admission round (i.e. changing schools part way through an academic year; or changing schools part way through their primary school or secondary school education phase).

‘In-year transfer’ forms are available from all schools, or from Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC. All ‘in year transfer’ applications must be submitted to the Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC, School Admissions, Ty Trevithick, Abercynon, Mountain Ash, RCT, CF45 4UQ. If you would like to transfer schools please contact the School Admissions Team on 01443 744232 to discuss your options and the process you will need to follow.

Please note: Changing schools can be a serious step for your child to take, at any age. This is especially so in the Secondary sector, in particular when they reach Year 10 or 11 and have already chosen and are studying their selected exam options. Their choice of options, or exam boards may be completely different in a new school, even if this school is still within Rhondda Cynon Taf and moving schools at this time could seriously affect their performance in vital examinations they will take in Year 11, such as GCSE’s, BTEC etc.  Careful consideration should therefore always be given before making any decision to change schools.

School Admissions Oversubscription Criteria

Every school in Rhondda Cynon Taf has an admission number which is calculated taking into account the school’s physical capacity to accommodate pupils. The following information relates to admission arrangements for community schools . Admission arrangements for voluntary-aided (church) schools can be found in the Starting School Booklet | or directly from the schools themselves.

A child will normally be offered admission to a community school of the parents'/carers' preference, unless the admission number has been reached. Where applications exceed places available the local authority will admit children in the following order of priority:-

  1. ‘Looked After’ children (children in public care) and previously ‘Looked After’ children.
  2. Children whose home is inside the school’s catchment area who have an older sibling attending the school from the same address, at the date of the application, who will continue to attend that school in the September of the year of admission.
  3. Children whose home is inside the school’s catchment area who do not have an older sibling attending the school.
  4. Children whose home is outside the school’s catchment area who have an older sibling attending from the same address, at the date of the application, who will continue to attend that school in the September of the year of admission.
  5. Children whose home is outside the school’s catchment area who do not have an older sibling attending the school.

If within any one of the priority orders listed above, all applicants cannot be offered a place, preference will go to children living nearest to the school. Distance will be measured by the Authority using the shortest, safe walking route between the home address and the nearest open school gate. 

For the avoidance of all doubt the references to ‘home’ refers to the actual location of the residential dwelling in which the child lives.

For full details, please refer to the Starting School Booklet |

The home address in instances where parents have shared responsibility for children will be the address to which Child Benefit is paid.  The distance will be measured by using the Mapinfo System only, in order to ensure equality of opportunity to all applications. Measurements calculated by any other system will not be considered.

Admission Appeals

In the majority of cases children are offered places at their parents/carers first choice of school. However, if a child is unable to gain admission to a preferred school, parents/carers may appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel.

For further advice/information on admission appeals please refer to the Starting School Booklet | or contact the School Admissions Team (see below).

Pupils who hold passports issued outside the UK

If a parent/carer is seeking admission to school for a child who holds a passport that was issued outside of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland they must make their application for their child(ren)’s admission to school directly to the School Admissions Team in Ty Trevithick.  Please contact the School Admissions Team (see below) for further assistance, as we will require sight of, and must check the original passport / visa documentation before admission to any school can be granted, due to the legal obligation that we have under Section 28 of the Children’s Act 2004 to make arrangements to safeguard and  promote the welfare of children.

Admission to school will be dependent on the details recorded on the passport / visa meeting the regulations as given in the Welsh Government’s School Admissions Code.

Birth Certificates

Prior to your child starting at new school, you must provide an original copy of your child’s birth certificate to that school, to verify your child’s date of birth.

Further Information

For full details on school admissions please refer to the Starting Schools Booklet | . General summary information is also available in our Starting School Summary .

Summary information for parents/carers of newborn babies is contained within our Quick Guide for Parents of Newborn Babies | .

To view information about a school in your local area including addresses, telephone numbers and Headteacher details, please use our School Finder Service | . |

You can check your catchment school using our Online Catchment Search Facility. |

Contact us 

For further information and advice, contact the School Admissions Team:-

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
Education and Lifelong Learning
School Admissions
Ty Trevithick
Abercynon
Mountain Ash
CF45 4UQ

Telephone:  01443 744232
E-mail : schooladmissions@rctcbc.gov.uk |