Who should apply?
Children can start full-time at school from the September following their fourth birthday. However, they are not legally required to start full-time until the beginning of the term following their fifth birthday (i.e. statutory school age).
If you do not want your child to start school in September 2021 the following options are available:
- Defer their place up to (but not beyond) the point at which they reach compulsory school age.
- Offset your child to start in Reception in 2022 instead of September 2021 (i.e. outside the year group suggested by their date of birth).
You may also request that your child start school on a part-time basis. However, this cannot continue beyond the point at which your child reaches compulsory school age.
In each of the above cases you must still submit an application as if is they were to start school in September 2021.
Further details on deferring and offsetting can be found in the Defer Offset Leaflet. If you are a Reading resident and wish to request an offset for your summer-born child to September 2022, please read the Educated Outside of Age Group Guidance. You must complete an application form as normal, together with Offset Request Form and return it to the School Admissions Team, who will coordinate the request with your preferred schools.
You must apply for a school place even if your child already attends the nursery of your preferred school.
How to apply
You can apply using our online service from 9am on 12 November 2020 to 11:59pm on 15 January 2021. (the link to the online application will be added on 12 November 2020).
You can apply online using a smart phone, tablet or PC. A guide on how to use the online service will be put here nearer the date.
If you are unable to apply online, our paper form may be obtained from the School Admissions Team. This form should be posted to the School Admissions Team or returned to your child’s current nursery (only where your child attends the nursery class of a state Reading primary school).
Benefits of applying online:
- You will know your child’s offered school on the morning of 16 April 2021. Other applicants must wait for their offer letter (posted second class on 16 April 2021).
- You may amend your preferences (or preference order) up until 11:59pm the 15 January 2021.
- You are sent an email confirming receipt of your application and showing your preferred schools.
The Admissions Team aims to acknowledge all on time paper applications within 15 school days of receipt, however, in busy periods this may not be possible. Please contact the team if your application has not been acknowledged after 20 school days.
You should read our Admissions to Infant, Junior & Primary Schools Guide 2021/22 before starting your application. The guide provides information on how your application is considered for each school and contains details of the admission policies of Reading schools. If you would like a paper copy of the guide, please contact the School Admissions Team on 0118 9373777.
Please note that some schools also have a supplementary information form (SIF) that you may wish to complete in addition to your application form. Please see below for more information.
Supplementary Information Forms (SIFs)
Some schools have their own form which you may wish to complete in addition to the local authority school application form:
The following schools take into account religious affiliation in their oversubscription criteria. Please complete the SIF (if you think it applies to your child) and return it directly to the school in question.
Reading community schools give priority (within oversubscription categories 1 to 6 and 8) to children in receipt of Early Years Pupil Premium or Pupil Premium – see our designated page for pupil premium.
To be considered for the pupil premium priority, you must complete a supplementary information form which should be signed/stamped by the child’s current early years provider or infant school. Please return this form to the School Admissions Team by 1 February 2021. Forms received after this date will only be given priority after 1 May 2021, when most schools will be full.
The School Admissions Team cannot award this priority without completion of the supplementary information form. Please call the team if you would like further information or speak to your child’s nursery setting.
Schools in other authorities may also have a supplementary form. Please see the website of the local authority in which your preferred school is situated for more information.
Catchment Area Schools
Your catchment area school (also known as designated area school) is the one for which your address has priority. You should always consider including your catchment school on your application (although doing so will not guarantee your child a place). Some addresses in Reading may have more than one catchment area school. The admissions guide above gives more details.
Our school search allows you to find your catchment area school but it does not include schools from neighbouring council areas for which you may be ‘in-catchment’. For further details, please see the admissions guide.
NB: Not all addresses have a catchment area school.
Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
If your child has special needs, but does not have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or statement, they will be considered for a place at your preferred school in the same way as any other child.
If your child has an EHCP to support their special needs, you should apply through the SEND team and discuss their primary school transfer with your case officer as your application will be considered differently. You may wish to speak to your SEND case officer for more information.
Applications to Other Year Groups
Information on applications to other year groups not part of routine admissions can be found on our in-year admissions page.
Information regarding open days is posted on school websites.
How places are allocated
All schools have an admission policy and, where there are more applicants than places, allocations are made according to the published oversubscription criteria of the school. These criteria are listed in the guide.
On your application form, you may list up to four preferred schools. All of your preferences are considered equally; no priority is attached to your preference ranking. Listing a school as your first preference will not improve your chances of gaining a place at that school. Equally, listing only one preference will not increase the likelihood of your child being allocated a place at that school. We recommend that you list four schools in order to increase the probability of your being offered a preferred school.
In some cases, we can offer a place at more than one of your preferred schools. In these situations, we refer to your preference order and offer whichever school you listed highest. This process is explained more fully in the guide. If we cannot offer any of your preferred schools, we will allocate your catchment area school (if it has places available). Where this is not possible, we will allocate a place at the closest Reading school to your home address with spaces available.
Please note: while you have a right to list preferred schools, where there are more applicants than spaces available, places are allocated in accordance with a school’s oversubscription criteria. The local authority only has a duty to allocate preferred schools where possible. If we cannot offer a place at your preferred school(s), you will be offered a reasonable alternative school place.
You should think carefully about the likelihood of your child being offered a place at the school(s) you list, bearing in mind oversubscription criteria and allocations in previous years (details of which are available in the admissions guide).
Places are not reserved for students at their catchment area school. If you do not list your catchment area school and it becomes full, you will not receive a place there and may be allocated a school further from your home. The same is true for other schools: if you do not list a school and it is oversubscribed, you will not be considered.
16 April 2021 is National Offer Day for primary and junior schools. If you submitted an online application, you will receive an email and be able to access our portal service to view the outcome of your application on Offer Day morning.
Online applicants will also be able to accept their offered place via the portal.
You may only decline your offered place where you have an alternative school offer for your child (e.g. an independent school). If we have been unable to offer a place at one of your preferred schools, we will send a formal letter offering a place at an alternative school, posted second class on 16 April, to the home address provided in the application.
If you applied using a paper form, we will not be able to give details of your offer by telephone – you must wait until you receive your letter, which is posted second class on 16 April. If you wish to know the place offered to your child on National Offer Day, you should apply online.
We will only discuss an application with the person named on the application. If you wish for any other person to be authorised to discuss the application, you should provide the admissions team with a letter of written authority naming this person.
Information regarding home-to-school transport can be found on our school transport page.