Waiting Lists and Oversubscription

Waiting lists

If a school reaches its published admission number either for intake in Reception year or Year 7, parent/carers can ask us to add their child's name to a waiting list for a school that they had applied for but had not been offered a place at.

A child's position on a waiting list(s) will be determined by the oversubscription criteria.  If you want your child's name to be added to a waiting list for a school for which you were refused a place for, then you must complete the 'options' form which is attached to the refusal/offer letter issued in March/April.

We hold waiting lists only for schools within Darlington Borough and names can be added to a waiting list at any time.  When pupil numbers fall below the published admission number, children will be admitted from the waiting list according to the priorities of the relevant over-subscription criteria. We do not take into account the length of time on the waiting list. After the initial offers have been made, further offers will be made every 3 weeks.

Vacancies often arise at short notice and those on the waiting list should be prepared to take up a place as soon as it occurs. Places will not be held for later consideration. We will maintain waiting lists for Reception/Year 7 year pupils until December (the end of the first academic term of admission). Afterwards, normal transfer/in-year admission arrangements will operate.

In-year waiting lists

Schools operate waiting lists for all other year groups as well as the normal point of entry but parents must indicate whether they wish to remain on a list after the end of an academic year and a new application must be made.


Where the number of applications for admission is greater than the published admission number (PAN) for a school, we must apply their oversubscription criteria to every application made for the school. Places will be offered in order of the criteria after the admission of pupils with a statement of special educational need (SEN) where a specific school is named on the statement. There is a legal requirement for all schools to admit children with a statement of SEN.

The highest priority in any schools oversubscription criteria must be given to looked after children and previously looked after children.  For in-depth definitions see Section 22(1), Section 8, Section 14A of the Children's Act 1989 and Section 46 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 [external link].

It is important when applying that you understand the application process and the criteria that will be applied to your application when a school is oversubscribed.