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If you don’t get an offer at your preferred school

An overview of what happens if you don’t get an offer at your preferred school. For more information and exact dates visit:

Waiting lists - Primary School

Waiting lists - Secondary School

If you apply on time, or your application is treated as ‘on time’ you will be able to see your offers on:

  • 1 March for secondary school places
  • 16 April for primary school places

The day offers are given is known as ‘National Offers Day’ or the ‘first allocation round’.

When you get your offers, you’ll need to decide whether to accept or decline them.

If you don’t get an offer at your preferred school, you’ll automatically be added to a waiting list for your higher preference schools.

In the meantime, it’s sensible to accept a place you have offered. Accepting a place will not affect your child’s position on a waiting list or your chances of success at appeal.

Accepting an offer ensures that your child won’t be left without a school place if you don’t receive an offer at a school you’re on a waiting list for.

If you’re happy with the place you’ve been offered, tell the admissions team as soon as you can so they can take you off waiting lists for your other choices.

Later allocation rounds and waiting lists

Later allocation rounds then happen monthly around:

  • April to June for secondary school places
  • June to July for primary school places

From the second allocation onwards, the admissions will only contact you:

  • if they can offer you a place
  • to update you on your waiting list position at key times
  • if you change your preferences - the admissions team will let you if they can or cannot offer you a place at your new preferences.


If your child doesn’t get a place at school you preferred, you can make an admission appeal, however, most appeals fail because schools are already full by this time.

Read more about advice on school admission appeals on the Department for Education website