School Places - Frequently asked questions

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Please view our frequently asked questions for further information on School Admissions. 

Please be aware that it is no longer the case that you simply put your name down with your local school or the school of your choice and your child starts as soon as they reach the age of three. Neither can you just turn up at a school expecting your child to start. 

School places MUST be applied for by published deadlines, in accordance with the LAW.

Please be aware that Headteachers of schools are no longer able to allocate places in their schools. They cannot reserve places, neither can they make any promises to parents that places will be made available. This is now the full responsibility of the Local Authority by law and no child should therefore start at any school until it has been agreed, in writing, by Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC’s School Admissions Team. 

(The only exception to this is in relation to all voluntary-aided (church) schools – applications for admission in these cases should be made directly to the 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 by the Admissions Authority.

How do I apply for a place at a school?

This is dependent on whether you are applying for a place in a community school or voluntary-aided (church) school.

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 :-

  • from the school
  • by contacting Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC on 01443 744232
  • by e-mailing schooladmissions@rctcbc.gov.uk
  • by downloading an application form from this website (see related documents).
  • By completing an online application at https://schooladmissions.rhondda-cynon-taff.gov.uk/ . This facility is only currently available for applications for pupils due to transfer from primary to secondary school in September 2014. (See ‘Online Applications FAQ’).

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.

What if there are more applications received than places available in any school?

Each school has a limit to the number of children it is able to admit (known as the Admission Number, AN), which is calculated taking into account the school’s physical capacity to accommodate pupils.

If the number of preferences received for a school is below the school’s Admission Number, all applications to the school will be granted.

If the number of preferences received for a school is above the school’s Admission Number, 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.

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

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 betweenthe home address and the nearest open school gate.  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.

How do I request a transfer to another school?

‘In-year transfer’ forms are available from all schools, or from Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC as above. All transfer applications must be submitted to School Admissions, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Education and Lifelong Learning,Ty Trevithick, Abercynon, Mountain Ash, RCT, CF45 4UQ

Transfers will be subject to the same admissions criteria as above|.

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 slected 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.

When do I need to apply?

Parents are strongly advised to register their interest in a place at a particular school as soon as they can. This will enable the Headteacher of the school to send an admission application form to you at the appropriate time.  Please note, however, that registering an interest in a place at a particular school will not guarantee admission to that school, as places are not allocated on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis.

Please be aware that Headteachers of schools are no longer able to allocate places in their schools. They cannot reserve places, neither can they make any promises to parents that places will be made available. This is now the full responsibility of the Local Authority by law and  application processes must be followed.

Applications for admission to schools now need to be made at several stages of your child’s education. Dates that applications for particular stages open and close are all detailed in our school admissions timetable |

Application forms must be completed at each stage. These are:-

  • Pre-Nursery   This refers to children who attain their third birthday during an academic year, i.e. from 1st September on.(such places are discretionary and are strictly subject to availability).

    This provision is currently under review and should any alterations to current procedures be determined prior to September 2014, parents of pupils in this age group will be informed.

  • Nursery   These places are available from the start of the Autumn Term, for children who have attained their third birthday by 31st August of that year.

Please note that:-  children who are admitted to a pre-nursery or nursery class will not have an “automatic” right to continue their education within that school. New applications are required for entry to both Nursery and Reception classes.

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council has no obligation to provide places for nursery and pre-nursery children who do not reside within Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council continuously reviews and reserves the right to amend it’s admission procedures for non-statutory pre-nursery and nursery education.

  • Reception   This is the start of the statutory phase of your child’s education, and these places are available from the start of the Autumn Term following their fourth birthday. Please note that children attending a Nursery class at a particular school are not given priority for Reception places at that school; all applications must be assessed using the criteria listed above.
  • Infant/Junior transfer If your child is attending an Infants school, you will need to complete an admission form when your child starts in Year 2 to transfer to a Junior/Primary school for the following September.
  • Secondary You will need to complete an application form for your child to transfer to a secondary school when your child starts in Year 6 (the final year in primary school). 

What is my local catchment school?

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 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.

What documentation is acceptable as proof of home address ?

The only documentation we will accept as proof of address is one of the following:-

  • A recent utility bill (gas, water or electricity)
  • A Council Tax statement
  • A Child Benefit /Tax Credit confirmation letter

Please enclose original documents with your application form (they can be returned upon request).

Where can I get further information?

For full details on school admissions please refer to the Council’s Starting School 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|.

For further information about making an online application for a school place, please see 'Online Admissions FAQ'|.  (note: this facility is only currently available for applications for pupils due to transfer from primary to secondary school in September 2014).

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|