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Secondary school admissions overview

Here is an overview of key times in the secondary school admissions process.

For more information on how to apply and the exact dates, see moving up to secondary school.

Registration for Secondary Transfer Tests

Children attending Buckinghamshire local authority primary schools will automatically be registered.

The Secondary Transfer Tests assess a child’s suitability for grammar school. The tests are held later in the year. You can choose not to have your child sit the test by telling your school nearer the time.

If your child doesn’t attend a Buckinghamshire local authority primary school, this is the time you’ll need to register for the Secondary Transfer Tests. Registration opens for the Secondary Transfer Tests from around May and closes in June.

Open days

School start to publish their open day information from May onwards. Open days are often held around September to October.

Secondary schools will run open days either in person or virtually. This is your time to research schools you want to apply for a place at. Check school websites for more information.

Applications open

Applications for secondary school places open around September. This is the time you can start your application, provide any evidence required and submit it.

You can include both grammar and upper/all ability schools in your preferences. Your child will only be considered for a grammar school place if they qualify after sitting the Secondary Transfer Tests.

Deciding what schools to apply to (Admissions rules)

When schools are in high demand there are ‘admission rules’ which help to prioritise places to pupils. Important factors can vary for each school but often include:

  • catchment (do you live in the school’s nearby area)
  • if a potential pupil already has a sibling at the school
  • religion if the school is a faith school

Use the find my child a school place tool to decide which schools you want to apply to. This tool will tell you if you’re in the catchment area and tell you more about how many students got a place there.

Secondary Transfer Tests are held

Unless you’ve chosen not to have your child take the Secondary Transfer Tests, testing will happen around September.

Secondary Transfer Test results

You’ll receive your child’s results for the Secondary Transfer Tests in the middle of October.

Applications close

Applications for secondary school places close on 31 October at midnight. You’ll need to complete your application and submit it.

Find out which schools have offered your child a place

You’ll be able to see your offers on 1 March and you’ll get an email. The day this happens is called National Offer Day.

Offer letters are posted days later if you applied by post.

Children visit their new schools

Around July, children might visit their new school. These are called School Transition Days. The school your child got a place at will contact you about their Transition Day.

Children start at their new school

The autumn term begins in September. Your child will start at their new secondary school.