Secondary School Admissions

Secondary School Admissions September 2021

If you applied online, you will receive an email (and be able to access the above link) on Monday 1 March to see the outcome of your application.

We will only post a formal offer letter to applicants who made a paper application. This is posted second class to the home address given on the application.

The email and letter both include information on how to accept or decline the place offered.

This page has information for what to do following receipt of your offer – see underneath this timetable.

Timetable for applications

31 October 2020 Closing date for applications
1 March 2021 National Offer Day for on-time applications
14 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 end

Applying for a school place in Reading

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).

Which school has my child been offered?

If you applied online, you will receive details of your school allocation by email. It will contain information on accepting (or declining) the place offered.

I would like to accept the place offered to my child

The deadline for accepting your child’s school place via the Citizen Portal is 14 March 2021. You will not be able to use the portal for accepting after this date.

If you applied using a paper application form, you will not be able to accept your child’s offer via the portal. You must wait for your offer letter (with your child’s student ID number) and accept using our online acceptance form.

If you are unable to accept your offer online, please call the school admissions team on 0118 937 37 77 to request a paper acceptance form be sent to you. We cannot process acceptances by phone.

If you have not responded by 14 March 2021, we will write to you again. Following this, if you do not respond within seven days, the offer of a place may be withdrawn.

My child hasn’t been offered one of my preferred schools

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to offer a child their first preference or, in some cases, any of their preferred schools. Where schools are oversubscribed, pupils are ranked (and places offered) according to the oversubscription criteria of the school(s).  See our Secondary School Admissions Guide 2021-22 V1.0 for further details.

See how places in Reading schools were offered this year here in this, Secondary School Places 2021 Table.

Reading School Admissions Team has a duty to offer a school place to any Reading child requiring one. Where we have been unable to offer a place at one of your preferred schools, a place will be offered at either your catchment school or the closest co-educational school to your home address with available space. We encourage you to accept the place offered, even if it is not your preferred school, as accepting the place will not affect your child’s waiting list position(s) or the likelihood of your winning an appeal (see below). Should you decline the offered place, we will only withdraw the offer where you can show there is alternative provision in place for their education. This is because we have a duty to ensure all Reading children have the offer of a school place.

If you wish to change your list of preferred schools, please complete a late application form, in addition to accepting the place you have been offered. On the late application form, please list all the school waiting lists to which you would like your child’s name added (including any from your original application). This will enable the school admissions team to clearly see your order of preference. Please not, a late application completely replaces any prior application. Any school listed on your original application that is not listed on the late application will be marked “no longer required” and your child will no longer be considered for that school.

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.

Waiting lists

When you accept the school place offered, your child’s name is automatically added to the waiting list of any higher preference school(s), unless you tell us otherwise. Waiting lists are always ranked according to the published oversubscription criteria. Time spent on a waiting list is not a factor in the offer process. Your child’s position on a waiting list may change as applications are added or places are offered. Schools must hold waiting lists until the end of December 2021.

Your child’s position on a waiting list is not affected by your accepting another school place offered to you. On the acceptance form, you are asked whether you wish to stay on the waiting list for your higher preference schools. If you applied via the Citizen Portal, you may opt to be removed from the waiting list of any higher preference school(s).


You have the right to appeal the decision not to offer your child a place at a higher preference school. If you wish to lodge an appeal, you should do so by 29 March 2021. In the meantime, we advise you accept the place offered. Your acceptance will not affect the outcome of your appeal.  Find out more about the appeals process.

If you wish to appeal for a place at a preferred school located outside the Reading Borough Council area, you must contact the local authority in which the school is located.

My child doesn’t need the place offered to them

If you no longer need your offered place (perhaps you are moving out of the borough or your child will be attending an independent school) we request you decline the offer at your earliest convenience, in order that the place may be offered to another child.

Please note that we will only withdraw your offer where you advise us a place has been secured elsewhere (and have confirmed this on the form).

How have places been allocated this year?

This document, Secondary School Places 2021, shows how places have been allocated this year.

This has been published according to the admission policy of the Admission Authority as detailed in the  Secondary Admissions Guide

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.

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.

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