Starting Primary or Secondary School in September 2021

Applying for a Primary or Secondary School Place – A Guide for Parents/ Carers

It is an important decision for many families when considering which schools to name on their application for starting school for the first time and when moving onto secondary school. 

Sefton Council has prepared two booklets which provides parents/carers with all the relevant information required in order to submit an application for your child’s school place, whether they are starting school for the first time (entering Reception class), or transferring from Primary to Secondary School (entering Year 7).

It is very important that you read both booklets before you submit an application, and refer to the checklist for parents/carers contained within the Guide for Parents booklet. The booklet includes information on:  

  • How applications should be submitted
  • The closing dates and deadlines for applications
  • How the Local Authority processes both primary and secondary applications.
  • What happens if your application is late
  • What to do if you move house during the application period 
  • When and how offers of places for both starting school and moving on to secondary school are made


Parents Guide Applying For A School Place 2021 22 (pdf 698KB)


Once you have read the above Guide for Parents you can then refer to the Schools Admissions Booklet

Sefton Primary and Secondary Schools - Admissions Information Booklet

To help decide which schools you would like to apply for you should:

  • Read the Parents Guide - Applying for a Primary or Secondary School place
  • Refer to the Primary and Secondary Schools – Admissions Information Booklet to find the schools in your area and look at the admissions criteria for the schools you are considering
  • Think about which criterion your application would be considered under and review the numbers of successful applications in each criterion for previous years. This should help inform your choices and chances of a successful application.
  • Contact the school to see if visits are possible, in the current circumstances or if there are any alternative arrangemens in place
  • Look at other sources of information such as school prospectus, Ofsted reports
  • Complete the supplementary information forms (which you should request from the school) if you want to be considered under the faith criterion for admission to a faith school you name on your application. You will see if this is required for your preferred schools from the schools Information Booklet.
  • Look at whether you child would qualify for home to school transport for the schools you are considering - Section C of the Guide for Parents/Carers
Sefton Schools Admissions Information Guide 2021 22 (pdf 6.57MB)

Submit your application online by the following closing dates:

  • Closing Date for applications to start Secondary School is 31st October 2020

  • Closing Date for applications to start Primary School is 15th January 2021


Frequently asked questions for primary and secondary allocation of school places

If you have already registered on the Citizen Portal and you have forgotten your password, use the citizen portal link, enter your username (which is your email address) and click on the link for ‘forgotten password’. You will receive an email with further instructions and a link to reset your password.

If, after following the above process, you are still having difficulty accessing the online system, please contact the School Admissions Team for further advice.

The national offer dates are 1 March 2021 for Secondary School places and 16 April 2021 for Primary School places. 

  • If your child can be offered a place at more than one of your preferred schools we will offer you the place at your highest preferred school listed on your application form that we can.
  • If your child cannot be offered a place at any of the schools listed as preferences on your application form we will offer your child a place at the nearest qualifying school to your home address with an available place.
  • If you apply online and tick the box requesting your offer to be sent online we will send an email on the national offer date (shown above). The email will confirm the name of the school at which your child has been offered a place. You will also be able to access the offer information online on the allocation days.
  • If you have not been offered your highest preferred school you will also receive a letter within 48 hrs informing you about the appeals process.
  • If you do not have access to the internet and apply via a paper application form, a letter will be posted to your home address on the national offer date. The letter will confirm the name of the school at which your child has been offered a place. In normal circumstances the letter should be received within 48 hrs.

Please note we will not disclose any offer information over the telephone (or in response to email enquiries) and you will have to wait for the letter to arrive at your home address.

You do not have to accept the place offered. It is allocated automatically and you should only return the slip declining the place offered if you have secured a place at another school, or no longer require a school place for your child in the Sefton area. Full details will be enclosed with the email and letter.  You should NOT decline the place offered if you are going to appeal for a place at another school, until that appeal has been heard.

For current vacancy information, please contact the Admissions Team preferably via email and provide your child's full name and date of birth and the name(s) of the schools that you are interested in.

Alternatively you can telephone the School Admissions Team, however please note that the phone lines will be extremely busy on and around the national offer dates.

If you wish to  proceed with requesting a change to your child's allocated school place, you MUST complete a Change of Preference form.

You must complete a late application/change of preference form which will be available to download on the relevant national offer day dates.

Secondary School (Sept 2020) - Late Application or Change of Preference Form here

Primary School (Sept 2020) - Late Application or Change of Preference Form here


Your child will automatically be added to the waiting list for a school you have been refused (providing it was a higher preference than the school you were offered). For further information on the operation of waiting lists please refer to the process shown in the Guide for Parents Information Booklet.

Full details will be contained in the letter posted to you on the national offer date. Further details are available on our School Admissions Appeals page.


Last Updated on 27 October 2020

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