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Admissions criteria for secondary schools

Here is a description of the admissions criteria for different types of schools.

Community and voluntary controlled schools

Individual pupils who have a Statement of Special Educational Needs and / or Education, Health and Care Plan which names the school will be admitted.

In deciding on admissions to all community and voluntary controlled secondary schools in Derbyshire, the following order of priority will be adopted.

  1. Looked after children and children who were looked after but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order) including those children who appear (to the admission authority) to have been in state care outside of England and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted.

  2. Children living in the normal area served by the school at the time of application and admission who have brothers or sisters attending the school at the time of application and admission. (For a definition of living in the normal area, see note 1 under 'Definitions').

  3. Children living in the normal area served by the school at the time of application and admission.

  4. Children not living in the normal area served by the school but who have brothers or sisters attending the school at the time of application and admission (see note 2under 'Definitions').

  5. In the case of voluntary controlled church schools, children whose parents request a place on religious grounds.

  6. Other children whose parents have requested a place.

Where, in the case of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, choices have to be made between children satisfying the same criteria, those children living nearest to the school (measured by the standard straight line) will be given preference. See note 3 under 'Definitions'.

Please note, attendance at a particular primary school gives no priority for admission to a particular secondary school.


Note 1

'Living in the normal area', is defined as the child having settled residence in a property which is the child's only or main residence. Documentary evidence including proof of actual permanent residency at the property concerned may be required, for example, council tax / utility bills, sale / rental agreements.

We reserve the right to withdraw any offer of a school place which has been obtained as a result of misleading or fraudulent information.

Note 2

The term brother or sister includes:

(a) a half-brother and/or a half-sister
(b) a legally adopted child being regarded as a brother or sister
(c) a step-brother and/or step-sister residing in the same family unit

Note 3

We have a geographic information system (GIS) to measure the straight line route. It is measured by a standard straight line distance calculated to within 2 metres.

This measurement is taken from the postal address file, normally the house front door. For schools the grid reference is taken from the nearest gate or entrance to the school unless stipulated differently in the schools admission arrangements. 

Residence - in all categories

The home address used for school admission purposes is the address where the child is residing at the time of both application and admission. Where an application includes more than one address due to shared parental responsibility, we will use the address where the child resides for the majority of the school week (where they usually or mainly sleep between Monday and Friday.

Parents and carers are required to submit full details with supporting information to enable us to determine which address to use for the purpose of admission.

Where parents provide evidence that the child resides equally at both addresses during the school week, and we are unable to reach a decision based on the information received, parents will be asked to notify us of the mutually agreed address to be used for the purposes of school admissions. Please note the same address will be used in the assessment of eligibility for home to school transport assistance.

Where we have reasonable grounds for believing the home address is not the child's only or main residence we reserve the right to carry out investigations which may include visits to the property.

What to do if both parents cannot agree on the school(s) to be applied for

Parents are expected to consult with each other and agree on the school(s) for which they wish to express a preference. We are unable to investigate whether applications have been agreed, or to resolve disagreements between parents. In the absence of agreement between parents we will process the preference of the parent who has care of the child for the greater part of the school week (see definition of residence). In cases where we are unable to determine the home address (see definition of residence) and / or there is no parental agreement or Court Order, we will be unable to process the application further until the matter has been resolved. Parents are encouraged to resolve disagreements as soon as possible, as delays may affect the availability of places at preferred schools.

Once a school place has been offered, any disagreement on the child’s placement will be a matter for parents to resolve.

Late applications

In situations where late applications are received and the school's admission number has been reached, but subsequently a place becomes available - if choices need to be made between normal area applications, those children living nearest to the school (measured by the nearest available route) will be given preference.

Voluntary aided, academy and foundation schools

The criteria for admissions to aided, academy and foundation schools are decided by each school's governing body. Full details can be obtained directly from the school.

Withdrawing an offer

For admission procedures to be fair it is important that all the information you provide is accurate. If we find that any information provided by parents is misleading, fraudulent or has changed since the application was submitted, we reserve the right to withdraw any offer of a school place.