Starting primary or secondary school in September 2023

Important information for Parents and Carers

The closing date for applications for both primary & secondary school places has now passed. The Citizen Portal is closed to new applications for these age groups. Please read the section Primary & Secondary school - late applications and changes for more information.

Starting Primary or Secondary School in September 2023

National Offer Day information for primary school places 2023 

Monday 17 April 2023 is National Offer Day for primary school places, for pupils starting in Reception from September 2023.

If you applied online (via the Citizen Portal) for a primary school place you can log into your account on the Citizen Portal from 17 April to view the school offer information. You will also receive email confirmation of the school offer on 17 April 2023 (if you requested to be notified by email). PLEASE NOTE: emails are automatically generated and will NOT be received by all applicants at the same time. Please be patient and use your portal account to view the school offer in the first instance.

If you did not apply via the Citizen Portal, an offer letter will be posted out via first class mail on 17 April 2023. Ordinarily you should expect to receive the letter within 2 working days, subject to any delays with postal services.

Please read the email/letter carefully this contains all the information you may need about what happens next. You can also view answers to 'frequently asked questions' at the bottom of this page.

Applying for a primary or secondary school place - 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 (entering Reception class) and when moving onto secondary school (entering Year 7).  Please read the information below carefully as it will help you when submitting an application for your child’s school place.

Sefton Council has prepared two guides which provides parents/carers with lots of helpful and important information to guide you through the school admissions process. It is very important that you read both guides before you submit an application.

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 Sefton Schools Admissions Information Guide to find schools in your area
    • 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 enquire about open evenings/days or personal visits 
    • Look at other sources of information such as school website and Ofsted reports
    • If applying to a faith school complete the supplementary information forms (which you should request directly from the school) if you want to be considered under a faith criterion. You will see if this is required for your preferred schools by reading the Schools Information Guide.
    • 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.

The Guide for Parents 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 
    • How and when you will receive your offer of a school place around national offer days.
Parents Guide Applying For A School Place 2023 24 (pdf 585KB)

Once you have read the Parents Guide you can then view the Sefton Schools Admissions Information Guide.

Sefton Primary & Secondary Schools - Admissions Information Guide

Once you have read the Parents Guide you should view the Sefton Primary and Secondary Schools Admissions Information Guide. This includes information on:

  • Types of schools within Sefton, including the area in which they are located
  • Colour coded area maps of all Primary & Secondary schools within Sefton
  • The contact details for all Sefton schools
  • The Published Admission Number for 2023 entry for all Sefton schools
  • The admissions criteria for all Sefton schools for 2023 entry
  • Catchment area maps are included for the small number of schools that have catchment areas as part of their admissions criteria
  • Previous admissions patterns for each school over the last 3 years
Sefton Schools Admissions Information Guide 2023 24 (pdf 9.55MB)

If you have read both information booklets and are ready to apply for your child’s school place you can apply online via the Citizen Portal using the 'Do it Online' link on this page.

Important Dates for September 2023 Admissions 

Citizen Portal online applications for 2023 entry into Reception and Year 7 opened on 1st September 2022 and have now closed. If you do not live in Sefton you must apply to your home Local Authority even if the school you wish to apply for is within Sefton. Please submit your application as soon as possible but no later than the closing dates below.

You MUST your submit your application online via the Citizen Portal by the national closing dates which are:

  • Closing date for applications to start Secondary School is 31 October 2022

  • Closing date for applications to start Primary School is 15 January 2023

It will NOT be possible for you to apply via the Citizen Portal after these closing dates. Please submit your application as early as possible.


Primary & Secondary school - late applications and changes 

Both national closing dates (shown above) have now passed. You can no longer use the Citizen Portal to apply or to make changes.

However, you can still submit a late application or make a change to an existing application if you live in the Sefton Council area and in these circumstances:
1) After the national closing date has passed and the Citizen Portal is now closed for online applications.*
2) After submitting an application, you wish to make changes including changing your school preference(s) before National Offer Day.*
3) After National Offer Day either a) this is your first application for a school place or b) you wish to apply for an alternative school instead of the school that has been offered.
*IMPORTANT - Please note that in both these circumstances a cut-off date applies for these applications to be considered BEFORE National Offer Day. Please read the Parents Guide above for the relevant dates and further information about the processing of late applications or changes.

To submit a late application or make changes to an application already submitted please select the appropriate form using the 'Do it online' link on this page.

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. The forgotten password email can take up to 10 minutes to arrive, do check your junk email folder for the email as well.

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 2023 for Secondary School places and 17 April 2023 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 applied via the Citizen Portal you will be able to log into your account and view the school offer information online from the national offer date (shown above). If you opted to be sent the school offer via email we will also send an email on the national offer date. The email will confirm the name of the school at which your child has been offered a place. 
  • If you have not been offered your highest preferred school further details about submitting an appeal are available on the School Admissions Appeals page.
  • If you did not apply via the Citizen Portal, a letter will be sent to your home address via 1st class mail 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 at a Sefton* school. Sefton will automatically consider the place as being accepted. You should only decline 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. Further information will be included within the decision notification. You should NOT decline the place offered if you are going to appeal for a place at another school. If you have secured a place for your child at another school or opted for alternative education provision, please inform the Admissions Team as soon as possible after the national offer date. This will enable the place allocated to your child to be offered to another child.

*If you have been offered a place at a school outside of Sefton you MUST check if you need to accept the place with the relevant Local Authority where that school is located.

For current vacancy information, please contact the Admissions Team using the 'Contacts' email link on this page 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 on 0151 934 3590 however please note that the phone lines will be extremely busy on and around the national offer dates. We would prefer contact via email please use the 'Contacts' email link on this page.

If you wish to request an alternative school for your child you MUST complete a Late Application/Change form - see next section for more information. You can also access the relevant form under the 'Do it online' link on this page (this facility is only available after the national closing dates have passed).

Yes, you must complete a late application/change form which is available under the 'Do it online' section on this page. Choose the Primary form to request a place or change for a Reception age child, OR the Secondary form to request a place or change for a child transferring from Year 6 to Year 7 in September.

Your child will automatically be added to the waiting list for any Sefton school you have been refused a place at (providing it was a higher preference than the school you were offered). If you have been refused a place at a school in other Local Authority areas you must check the procedure for being included on a waiting list with the Admission Authority for that particular school(s).

For further information on the operation of waiting lists for Sefton schools please refer to the Guide for Parents.

Full details are available on our School Admissions Appeals page.

Last Updated on Wednesday, May 10, 2023

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