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School admissions frequently asked questions

Welcome to our frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for school admissions. We provide answers surrounding admissions for both primary and secondary schools.

Most of our schools use a catchment area within their over-subscription criteria. A catchment is a defined geographical area surrounding a school, where most pupils will live and from which a school will usually take most of its pupils.

You can use our interactive map to view the catchment areas for Cambridgeshire schools.

A school admissions application can only be considered from your child’s home address. This is the address where your child will be living when they are allocated a place and where your child will be mainly living when they start their school place.

If your child lives at more than one address:

  • their main residence will be where they spend the majority of their school nights (Sunday to Thursday)
  • if they divide their time equally between two addresses further evidence will be required to identify the child's home address.

  • Catchment areas affect eligibility for school transport travel assistance.
  • Occasionally, a child's home address may be in the catchment area for a school in a neighbouring Local Authority. If you are a Cambridgeshire resident you will still make your application through the Cambridgeshire School Admissions team.
  • Some schools have extended catchments for school admissions purposes beyond the areas recognised for home to school travel assistance. Some church schools also admit children from a wider area than their defined catchment area on religious grounds. Please refer to the school’s directory listing for more information.
  • Living within the catchment area of a school does not guarantee your child a place if the school is over-subscribed. The School Admissions Code ensures places are allocated in a fair and transparent way.

For school place allocations, distances are calculated by measuring a straight line. When assessing eligibility for home to school travel assistance, distances are measured by the shortest available walking route.

All measurements are calculated digitally, from the reference point of the home address (as determined by ‘OS AddressBase Premium’) to the reference point of the primary school or the nearest school gate of the secondary school. For families who live outside of Cambridgeshire, distances are determined using a combination of local maps and on-line resources.

It is very important that the address you give on your child’s application will be your child’s permanent or main residence at the time school places are allocated. This should also be the address where your child will be living when they start school in September.

We will automatically verify your child’s home address against the information held by your child’s current (Cambridgeshire maintained) school. We recommend you contact your school before making your application, to check they have the right address. If the information they hold is out of date your application may be considered from the wrong address. This could stop you being offered a place at your preferred school.

Where we cannot automatically verify your address, or your child's address is not clear

For example:

  • your child is not attending a Cambridgeshire maintained school
  • you are applying based on a future house move
  • your child lives at multiple households

You must provide supporting evidence and indicate this on your application form. For more information on the above situations, see the information on our Apply for a school place pages.

This is explained in more detail on the apply for a school place pages. These three elements have a role in how we allocate places in relation to your three preferred schools. 

Some schools require the completion of a Supplementary Information Form (SIF). This is used to help the Governing Body / Trust to consider your application fully, in accordance with the school’s oversubscription criteria.

In Cambridgeshire, St Bede’s Inter Church School is currently the only secondary school that requires a SIF. If you wish your child to be considered under the school’s religious criteria, you must complete a St Bede's SIF, and return it to the school.

If you wish to apply for a school place that is not the schools year of entry within the school year (September 2023 to July 2024), please complete an in-year admission application

Do you share parental responsibility of your child with another adult who lives at a different address? If so you should discuss and agree on school preferences, before making a single joint application application.

If more than one applications is received, or we are made aware of a dispute between parents, all applications will be placed on hold. We will not continue processing the application until:

  • one joint application is made, signed by all parties; or
  • written agreement is provided from both parents; or
  • a court order is confirms which parent's application carries precedence.

If your child lives at more than one address:

  • their main residence will be where they spend the majority of their school nights (Sunday to Thursday)
  • if they divide their time equally between two addresses, further evidence will be required to identify the child's home

Further information can be found - SEND Information Hub (Local Offer) (

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan, you should not make your application using the process on this page.

Your child's SEN Casework Officer will explain the application process to you.
If you have any queries, please contact the Statutory Assessment Team.

You must make a separate application for each child. Please refer to all children on all application forms so we can try to ensure that these children are offered places together.

When applying you will need to indicate which of the options below apply to you. You will also need to attach the required evidence to the application form.

Foster carers (children in Local Authority care)

Discuss your application with the child’s assigned social worker before applying.

Applications made on behalf of children in public care will not be processed until a social worker’s signature is received.

Children who were previously in care

These children will be given higher priority within every Cambridgeshire school’s over-subscription criteria. Ideally you should provide the contact details of the social worker who was assigned to your child’s case.

You must also provide evidence to support this request. We will accept any of the following:

  • adoption certificates / orders that reference section 12 of the Adoption Act;
  • adoption certificates / orders that reference Section 46 of the Children’s Act;
  • any Child Arrangement Order;
  • a Special Guardianship Order that mentions Section 14A;
  • any residence order issued prior to 22 April 2014;
  • written confirmation from an involved council employee (ideally the assigned Social Worker).

This includes:

  • families of service personnel with a confirmed posting to Cambridgeshire
  • crown servants returning from overseas to live in Cambridgeshire

Please indicate on your application that you are serving personnel.

We can allocate a place before you move to Cambridgeshire. Your application must include an official MOD letter or Posting/Assignment Order confirming a relocation date, and a unit postal address or quartering area address. This meets the provisions of paragraph 2.18 of the School Admissions Code.

If you do not have evidence of a residential address before the closing date we will use the 'base' address. If you receive notification of your residential address please forward this to us at

If you are a Cambridgeshire resident you will make your application through Cambridgeshire County Council, even if you want to apply for a school outside of Cambridgeshire. Check you are applying to the correct council.

Other local authorities may have different closing dates, supplementary forms or ID requirements. If you want to apply for a school outside of Cambridgeshire, it is essential that you view the school website to check the correct admission processes.

If your child's home address is outside Cambridgeshire, please check with the Local Authority where they live for details of how to apply. Check you are applying to the correct council.

  1. If you move address during the admissions process, it is your responsibility to tell us immediately. You must tell us in writing and provide proof of your new address. Failure to do this may invalidate your current application.
  2. If you want a school offer to be based on a future house move you must submit your application form, indicating the move on your form, and provide proof of the new address before applications are processed.
  3. If you are moving from overseas and will be resident in Cambridgeshire for 6 teaching weeks or longer your child may be eligible for a secondary school place. Department for Education - guidance for schools on school admission and overseas students.

Acceptable proof of address

Proof of address provided must be in the name of the adult making the application. It should ideally be submitted with your application.

Evidence includes one or more of the following documents dated within three calendar months of your application:

  • a copy of a rental agreement for a minimum of six school weeks signed and dated by both the tenant and the landlord
  • a letter from your solicitor confirming exchange of contracts on your new property you are purchasing stating a full postal address. Preferably with a completion date
  • if you are moving in with a friend or relative we will need a letter from the friend/relative confirming that you are coming to stay with them (mentioning you all by full name) and we will also need to see a recent utility bill for the friend/relative dated within the last three months
  • a copy of the notice to quit (if returning to a property you own, that is currently tenanted).
  • Current Gas or Electricity Bill
  • Tied/Work Accommodation with letter from employer


  • a copy of your Council tax bill for the current year

Unable to provide proof of your new address before the application is processed?

  • If your child currently attends a Cambridgeshire academy, foundation or voluntary aided school, your child's school place will be allocated based on the address held on record by the school.
  • If your child does not currently attend a Cambridgeshire academy, foundation or voluntary aided school, your application will not be processed.
  • If you are moving from overseas, your application will not be processed until satisfactory proof is received.

I cannot supply proof of address before the national closing date for admissions

Ideally your evidence should be submitted when you make your application. However it can be supplied after you have submitted your application. If we do not receive proof of your address before the deadlines below, your application will not be processed and no school offer will be made in the first round of allocations.

  • If you are including a school outside of Cambridgeshire as one of your preferences, the latest you can supply your evidence is 22 November.
  • For other applications the deadline is 1 December