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Starting primary education

Co-ordinated admission arrangements

All local authorities are required by regulations as described in the School Admissions Regulations 2012 to have co-ordinated admissions for all schools within its area for each academic year. 

Co-ordination establishes a mechanism that ensures that, as far as practical, every child living in a local authority area who has applied in the normal admissions round receives one and only one offer of a school place on the same day.

The Local Authority co-ordinates the admission arrangements for all schools within its area in the normal admissions round.

This includes receiving all application forms for all community, voluntary aided and academy schools, then writing to parents/carers informing them which school place has been allocated.

Applications for reception places 2025/26

Children born between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021 are eligible to start school in Reception in September 2025.

Parents/carers have a right to express a preference for a primary school(s) they prefer but there is no guarantee that a place can be allocated at one of them.

Do you live in the Borough of Darlington?

YES - Then you must apply on the Darlington Primary Application Form (PSA). No matter which primary schools you are interested in, whether located in the Borough of Darlington or in another local authority area.

NO - If you don't live in Darlington then you must apply on the application form supplied by the local authority area that you live in.

How to apply 

Primary Guide for Parents 2024-25 [pdf document]

The online portal opens on 12 September 2024

The easiest way to apply is completing the online application form.

If you do not have access to the internet, then an application form can be obtained from the School Admissions Team.

Paper forms should be returned to the School Admissions Team no later than 15 January 2025.

Applications received after this date (late applications) will only be considered in exceptional circumstances (for example: families who have moved into the area after the closing date). These applications will be considered up to and including 17 January 2025.

Where a family intends to move into the Borough, a request for a school place based on the new address cannot be considered until a letter is provided from a licensed conveyancer or solicitor confirming exchange of contracts.

All other applications will only be considered once the process for allocating places has been applied to those applications received by the deadline.

The PSA should also be completed even if your child is currently undergoing a Statutory Assessment.

If applying for a faith place at St John's Primary in Darlington please complete the attached form. St John's supplementary form [pdf document]

You can also view the interactive associated areas map and associated list [pdf document]. Tables in the guide provide information on previous years intakes.

You may also wish to obtain a copy of the schools prospectus from the Head Teacher(s) of the school(s) you are considering.

You can also find reports about schools [external link] on the website of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) and annual school performance tables [external link].

Each local authority co-ordinates the admission arrangements for children starting education for schools within their area.

Darlington local authority will make a single offer of a school place for the academic year 2025/26 to parents/carers resident in Darlington.

It is important that you read this guide in conjunction with your application

The guide will be uploaded here shortly

Expressing your preference of school

Parents/carers are entitled to apply for any school in any local authority but must do so on the application form for their local 'home' authority.

All local authorities talk with each other for applications received for schools in their authority area.

Although all applications for Darlington schools will be considered on an equal weighting basis, should a child be eligible for a place at more than one school parents/carers are requested to rank their order of preference on the PSA in order that only one offer will be made.

The relevant admissions criteria will be applied to all schools that are oversubscribed either by the Local Authority or by the Governing Body of the school(s) requested. 

Most children attend the nearest appropriate school from their home address. However, some parents/carers may wish their children to attend a different school.

The Local Authority will comply with parental requests where a place is available in the requested school. It is however a good idea to list more than one school, it is also recommended that you list your closest school because if this school is oversubscribed you will not be offered it as an alternative should you be unsuccessful in being offered a preferred school.

If you only give one preference and we cannot offer your child a place at that school, there may be few schools left with places available, should you choose to go through the appeals process and are not successful. 

Offer date

The national offer date is 16 April each year or the next working day if it falls on a weekend or bank holiday. Darlington Borough Council will issue decision letters by 16 April 2025.

Parents will have an initial 14 working days to respond to the offer letter to accept/decline the school place offered. You are required to reply to the offer by 5 May 2025.

If you do not respond you will receive a reminder letter and after 21 working days from the offer being made, the LA will then look to withdraw the offer.

The Head Teacher cannot offer your child a place or guarantee that a place will be available.

Any enquiries regarding the process contact the School Admissions Team on 01325 406333 or email [email protected].

Applications from overseas children

In most cases children arriving from overseas have the right to attend schools in England.

Nationals entering the UK who wish to apply for a state-funded school place should check that they have a right of abode or the conditions of their visa otherwise permit them to access a state-funded school.

For further information/guidance please visit the DfE website at[external link] or use the following .gov link Schools admissions: applications for overseas children [external link].


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