Secondary School Admissions

Secondary School Admissions September 2021

How to apply (after 31 October 2020)

All children born between 1 September 2009 and 31 August 2010, or those currently educated in Year 6, should start secondary school in September 2021.

If you live within the borough of Reading, you must apply to Reading for any state secondary school, even if your preferred school is in another council area.

The deadline for on-time secondary school applications was 31 October 2020.

Applications received after this date are marked ‘late’ and not considered until all on-time applications have been processed (i.e. after 16 March 2021).

Late applications

If your child lives in Reading and you have not yet applied for their secondary school, please complete this late application form. 

Paper copies of the late application form are available from your child’s primary school (if your child attends a state primary school within Reading Borough) or via the school admissions team on 0118 937 3777 or You may post your completed form to the school admissions team or return it to your child’s current school (if in Reading).

Where there is good reason for a late application, it may be considered as on-time up to 31 December 2020.  Examples of a good reason might include: illness preventing a single parent/carer from returning the form, or a family moving into Reading after the closing date. Such cases must be supported with appropriate evidence. Where no evidence is provided, an application will be considered “late” and not processed until after 16 March 2021.

Applications received after 1 January 2021 are considered ‘late’, regardless of whether supporting evidence is provided.

Where a late application is made to change a child’s preferred schools, it will replace any previous on-time application (i.e. the new application will be marked “late”). Please carefully consider the use of this option before National Offer Day.

Before applying, please make sure you have read our Secondary School Admissions Guide 2021-22. If you would like a paper copy of this document, please contact the school admissions team on 0118 937 3777.

Please note that some schools use a supplementary form as part of their admissions process. These should be completed in addition to your Reading application form. Please see below for more information on these schools.

The Admissions Team aims to acknowledge all late 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.

Timetable for applications

31 October 2020 Closing date for applications
1 March 2021 National Offer Day for on-time applications
15 March 2021 Deadline to accept offered place
16 March 2021 Late applications processed
29 March 2021 Deadline for appeals to be lodged
May-June 2021 Appeals to be heard if submitted by the deadline
31 August 2021 Admissions round ends

How places are allocated

All schools have an admissions policy and, where there are more applications than places, places are allocated according to the published oversubscription criteria of the school. These are listed in the Secondary School Admissions Guide 2021-22

Open Days

We recommend that you visit schools prior to submitting your application. Details of school open days can be obtained from each school.

Supplementary Forms and Registration for Tests

Some schools have their own form which you may wish to complete in addition to the local authority secondary school application form. Please refer to the school admissions policies for more information. These supplementary forms are not essential but will assist the school in ranking your child accordingly. You should post these forms directly to the schools

Introduced in 2011, the pupil premium is a sum of money given to schools each year, by the Government, to improve the attainment of disadvantaged children. It is awarded to schools for children who:

  • are looked after by the Local Authority
  • have previously been looked after by the Local Authority
  • are eligible for free school meals
  • were eligible for free school meals in the last 6 years

If you are unsure whether your child is eligible for priority admission to a school based on these criteria, please ask your child’s current school. For more information please see our pupil premium page.

Schools in other authorities may also have a supplementary form, for example Piggott School in Wokingham. If you are considering applying for one of these schools, please go to the website of the school’s local authority for relevant information.

Reading has two selective state grammar schools which use entrance tests as a basis for selecting pupils:

  • Reading School (boys)
  • Kendrick School (girls)

Registration for the tests was required before September 2020. Due to COVID-19 results will not be known before the application round closes. You will therefore need to make your application choices very carefully to decide whether to include a grammar school as a preference on your application form. You should list the schools on your application in your preferred order. You will only be able to list 4 preferences.

Please see the appropriate school website for more details before submitting your application.

Extension for period of expressing parental preference for grammar school places for September 2021

Grammar schools have decided to postpone their admissions tests from September to October this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, parents/carers will not know the results of these tests until after the normal deadline for submitting secondary school applications on 31 October.

Normally, we would only allow changes to applications after this date in very specific circumstances. However, in view of current events, and in line with neighbouring authorities, we are making an exception this year.

Consequently, if a child has taken the entrance test for a grammar school but not achieved the pass mark for consideration, parents/carers may be able to amend their admissions application up to 10 December 2020.

Amendments will only be accepted in cases where all the following conditions are met:

  • The parent/carer has submitted a valid application for a grammar school (i.e. applied to the school and sat the test).
  • The grammar school is listed on the child’s “on time” application to Brighter Futures for Children school admissions team.
  • The parent/carer has listed four preferences on their “on time” application.

For every grammar school preference removed, a new preference may be added which will be added to the bottom of the list, ie the last preference, and any remaining preferences will move up to replace the grammar school(s).

Where more than one grammar school preference is removed, the parent/carer may indicate the order in which the replacement preferences are to be added. Again, the new preferences will be added beneath any remaining preferences listed

The following example shows an application before and after amending:

Original “on time” application:

Preference 1: Grammar School

Preference 2: School A

Preference 3: School B

Preference 4: School C

Amended application:

Original Preference 1: Grammar School – Deleted

Preference 1: School A

Preference 2: School B

Preference 3: School C

New Preference 4: School D – Added

As Reading’s admissions portal will be closed by this time, all requests must be made in writing to The request must clearly state (a) the grammar school preference(s) to be removed and (b) the name of the school(s) to be added. We will only accept one new preference for every preference removed from the “on time” application. We will not accept any changes to applications that list grammar schools after the 10 December 2020.

We would generally recommend that parents/carers use all four of their preference options and list at least one local non-selective school below any grammar schools they have chosen. This will improve the chances of their child being allocated a preferred school if they are not successful in the entry exams for the grammar schools.

Catchment Area Schools

Your catchment area school or schools (also known as designated area schools) are the schools for which your address has priority. You should always consider including your catchment area school(s) on your application, however, doing so will not guarantee your child a place there. The Secondary School Admissions Guide 2021-22 gives more details.

The MyReading website includes a school search which shows your catchment area school based on your address. However, it does not include schools in neighbouring council areas for which you may be in catchment. For more details, see the Secondary School Admissions Guide 2021-22 V1.1

Please note that not all addresses have a catchment area school.

Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

If your child has special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) 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 needs, you must apply through the SEND team. In addition, we would advise you to discuss your child’s secondary school transfer with their case officer as the application will be considered differently. You may wish to speak to your SEND case officer for more information.

School Offers

Monday 1 March 2021 is National Offer Day for secondary 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 the 1 March, 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 1 March 2021. If you wish to know the place offered to your child on National Offer Day, you should apply online.

We will only discuss the application with the person named on the application. If you wish for any other person to be authorised to discuss the application, you will need to provide the admissions team with a letter of written authority naming the additional person to whom information regarding the application may be given.

UTC Reading and other schools with atypical routine admissions rounds

If your child will be in Year 10 in September 2021, you may wish to apply for a place at a University Technical College (UTC) or Studio School. A list of the UTC’s and Studio Schools in Reading or bordering authorities can be found in the Secondary School Admissions Guide 2021-22

To apply for a place at UTC Reading, please apply directly to the school.

Applications to Other Year Groups

Information on applications to other year groups that are not part of the routine admissions round can be found on our in-year admissions page.

Sixth Form

For a place in a school sixth form, please apply directly to the school. Our Secondary School Admissions Guide 2021-22 contains a list of schools with 6th forms

School Transport

Information regarding home-to-school transport can be found on our school transport page.

Neighbouring Local Authorities

Bracknell Forest Borough Council 01344 354 023 or 01344 354 144
Buckinghamshire County Council 01296 395 000
Hampshire County Council 0300 555 1377
Oxfordshire County Council 01865 815 175
Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council 01628 683870
Slough Borough Council 01753 875728
West Berkshire Council 01635 519780
Wokingham Borough Council  0118 974 6000