Frequently asked questions

1. When should I apply for a nursery or school place for my child?

Children can be allocated a nursery place in the September of the academic year in which they become four years old.

This place can be in a school, playgroup or a private day nursery.

Once allocated a September nursery place, children born between 1 September and 31 March may be offered an early start in the term following their third birthday, if places are available - this is commonly referred to as a Rising 3 place.

Children born between 1 April and 31 August are not eligible for a Rising 3 place.

Admission to community nursery schools and classes is offered for a half-day session, either morning or afternoon, five days a week and the allocation of sessions is the responsibility of the headteacher.

Read more on the nursery admission page

Children start school in the reception class in the September following their fourth birthday.

You need to apply for their school place in the previous autumn term.  

You may delay the admission of your child until the term following their fifth birthday, and the place in reception can be held for your child.

However you cannot defer entry beyond the beginning of the term after your child’s fifth birthday, nor beyond the school year for which the application was made.

Attending a nursery class does not guarantee a reception place as a separate application is required and children attending the nursery will not be given any priority.

Children transfer to secondary school in the September of the year in which they will reach their twelfth birthday.

You will need to apply for this transfer in the previous autumn term.

Attending a particular primary school does not give your child priority for a secondary school place.

Notices about the admissions timetable are displayed in Newport’s schools, libraries, community and leisure centres and in Newport Matters, the council’s newsletter, which is delivered to every household in Newport.

Deadlines are also flagged on the council's social media accounts and you can sign up to receive the residents' e-bulletin

It is your responsibility as the parent to look out for these notices and make an application at the appropriate time.

Children transferring from primary to secondary school will receive a letter via the school outlining the admissions process.  

2. Who can apply for a child to be admitted to school or transfer between schools?

Applications must be made by an adult with parental responsibility for the child who must confirm that they have this responsibility as part of the application. 

It is expected that parents will agree on school preferences for a child before an application is made.

If parents cannot agree, the council will accept an application from the parent that is in receipt of the child benefit.

The council is not in a position to intervene in disputes between parents over school applications and will request that these are resolved privately.  

3. Can I register my child’s name at a particular school to get priority?

No. All applications received by the relevant closing date are considered together and priority is not given on a first come, first served basis.  

Headteachers take no part in the decision-making process, have no influence over the outcome of an application and are actively discouraged from allowing parents to ‘put their name down’ for a place. 

4. How do I apply for a school place in Newport?

Apply for a school place online as set out in the admissions timetable.

It is important to submit your application before the closing date as a late application will increase the possibility of not getting a place at your preferred school.

For advice on completing your application email school.admissions@newport.gov.uk

5. Do I need to apply even if I live in the catchment area or have an older child at the school?

Yes, all children requiring a mainstream school place must make an application.

There is no guarantee of a place for your child at any particular school, even if it is your catchment school or your other children attend that school, although they will be given a higher priority.

The order of priority is detailed in the School Admissions Policy (pdf).

Read about and find your catchment school. 

6. How do I apply for a place in the sixth form?

Contact the school directly to make an application for sixth form. 

7. How do I decide which school to apply for?

Consider whether you want your child to have Welsh-medium, English-medium or a faith-based education.

Read the School Admissions Policy (pdf) which lists all schools in Newport and find out what your catchment school is.

You will also need to consider how your child will travel to school as they will not necessarily be eligible for school transport.

Find out how the schools are performing on the Estyn site 

8. What is my catchment school?

'Catchment area' is the term used to describe the geographical area from which children will be given priority for admission to a particular school, although this does not guarantee a place.

Although each school has a designated catchment area, parents can express a preference for any school they want their child to attend.

Every address in Newport will fall within the catchment area of both an English-medium and a Welsh-medium school.

Find out the catchment school for your address. 

9. What if I would like my child to receive a faith-based education?

In Newport faith-based education is provided through Church in Wales and Roman Catholic schools.

Applications for admission to Malpas Church in Wales Primary School are dealt with by the council, applications for admission to all other faith schools are the responsibility of the relevant governing body and should be directed to the hadteacher.  

10. What if I would like my child to be educated in a Welsh-medium school?

There are three Welsh-medium primary schools in Newport, all with nursery classes, and one secondary school.

Welsh is the official language of these schools in all activities, formal and informal.

All teaching and assessment, with the exception of English as a subject, are through the medium of Welsh at all key stages.

Pupils or parents who would like Welsh-medium education do not have to be fluent Welsh speakers to be accepted into Welsh-medium schools. 

11. Am I guaranteed a place at the school that I choose?

No, there is no guarantee of a place at any particular school, even if it is your catchment school.

In many areas of Newport demand for school places is particularly high and we receive more applications than there are places available - this means that some applications will be refused.

It is important that you do not encourage your child to believe that a place will be available to them at any particular school before you have received your decision. 

12. Should I apply for more than one school?

Yes. Your child cannot be considered for a school unless you have applied for it so you should consider choosing at least three different schools to increase your chances of getting a place that you are happy with.

You can ask to be allocated an alternative place at your nearest available school.

Expressing a preference for a school will give your child priority over children whose parents have not.

If you decide not list your catchment school as one of your preferences but are unsuccessful with all of your choices, your child will only be considered for an alternative place at the catchment school if places are available.

If your catchment school is full your child could initially be left without a school place.

All children living in Newport will eventually be allocated a school place but this may be at a school which is a considerable distance from your home.  

13. What evidence do I need to provide in support of my application?

Proof of your home address is required for all applications.

Proof of the child’s date of birth is required in all cases, except where a child is transferring from one Newport school to another.  

Applications submitted without the relevant evidence cannot be processed and this may delay your decision.

Find details of the evidence you will need to provide in the School Admissions Policy (pdf).  

14. My child lives at a different address during the week, which address should I put on the application form?

The council considers your child’s home address to be the place where they permanently live for the majority of the school week, at the relevant closing date.

This would normally be at the same address as the person who has parental responsibility for the child and is the main carer and does not mean the address at which your child is cared for by relatives or others.

Where the child spends equal time with both parents at separate addresses, or the home address is in dispute, the place of residence of the person who receives Child Benefit will be considered the child’s home.  

15. What if I move house during the application process?

It is your responsibility to advise us of any changes in circumstances - including a change of address - following submission of your application.

This will make sure that any correspondence is sent to the correct address only and will not affect the outcome of your application if this is after the closing date.

A new address can only be taken into consideration when determining the outcome of your application if you live there on the closing date and provide evidence of this.

If you are moving into or within Newport you should not assume that your child will be allocated a place at the local school.

There is no guarantee of a place at any school, even if it is the catchment school, and if the school is already full in the relevant year group your application will be refused.  

16. What happens when I submit my application?

If you make an online application you will receive automatic email confirmation as soon as the application is submitted.

If you do not receive this confirmation you will need to email the school admissions team as soon as possible to check whether your application has been successfully submitted.

The council cannot accept responsibility for any applications or evidence that is not submitted correctly via the online system or is lost in the post. 

Once received, your application will be assessed with all others that are submitted by the closing date.  

17. How long will it take to get a decision?

We will tell you the result of your application for a school place on the relevant offer date.

Decision letters will be issued by second class post no less than three working days (including Saturdays) before the offer date.

Applicants who choose to make an online application are guaranteed to receive an email confirming their decision on the offer date.  

18. How will the decision be made?

We will consider how many places are available in each school and how many pupils have applied to attend that school.

Where the number of applications is equal to or less than the number of places available, all pupils will be admitted.

Where the number of applications is more than the number of places available, we will apply a set of criteria to identify which pupils should be prioritised for a place, known as oversubscription criteria and found in the School Admissions Policy (pdf).  

19. Which pupils are given priority?

a) Children with a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN): 

Children holding a statement of SEN whose statement specifies a named school will automatically be admitted to that school.

If no school is named in a statement it is considered that the needs of the child can be accommodated in any mainstream school, no specific priority is afforded and the application will be assessed in accordance with the agreed oversubscription criteria.

For further information email inclusion.enquiries@newport.gov.uk

b) Looked after and previously looked after children:

Applications for Looked After Children (children in public care) are given priority if they are supported by a statement from the child’s social worker outlining the benefits of the school placement.

This priority can also be given to previously Looked After Children although the person making the application must provide evidence to confirm the previous care status, such as an adoption certificate.

c) Children living within the school catchment area:

Children confirmed as living within the school catchment area are given a higher priority than those living outside the catchment area when places are available.

d) Children with medical circumstances or those placed on the child protection register:

Applications on medical grounds are prioritised if they are supported by a medical consultant's report, obtained by parents specifying the medical advantage of the child attending the preferred school.

Priority is only given if places are available.

Reports from family doctors or other health professionals are not accepted for this purpose.

Children on the Child Protection Register who are recommended for a place by social services will be given priority if places are available.

e)  Children with siblings:

Children with siblings who will be at the school when they join will be given higher priority than those without.

This does not apply to nursery applications. 

20. Are school places held back for children moving into the area?

No, we have to admit pupils up to the admission number and are not permitted to reserve or hold back places in case families move in to the area or for any particular group of people.

It is not possible to remove children from a school if a child with higher priority under the oversubscription criteria subsequently requires a place.

If you are moving into or within Newport please do not assume that your child will be allocated a place at the local school.

There is no guarantee of a place at any school, even it is your catchment, and if the school is already full in your child’s year group your application will be refused.  

21. What happens if I’m refused a place at my preference school(s)?

Where we are unable to offer a place at your preferred school(s) as a result of applying the published over-subscription criteria, and you live in Newport, you will be offered an alternative place at your catchment school if places are available.

If your catchment school is unavailable we will tell you about the schools that do have places available and ask you to give additional preferences for consideration.

If your application is unsuccessful applicants and you do not live in Newport, you are advised to contact your home local authority for an alternative school or submit additional preferences for other schools in Newport.

Where a school preference has been unsuccessful you will be offered the right of appeal against this decision - there is no right of appeal for nursery admission.

Your child’s name will be added to the waiting list for any school preference that is refused.

If places become available, all children on the waiting list will be considered together for the place and prioritised as detailed in the school admissions policy.

Waiting lists do not give priority to children based on the date the application was added to the list and inclusion on a waiting list does not guarantee that a place will eventually become available.

The length of time your child will remain on this waiting list is confirmed in your decision letter. 

22. Can I find out where my child is on the waiting list?

As we don't rank or order the waiting list until a place becomes available in the relevant year group, your child’s position on the list will be provided as an indication only upon request.  

23. How does the appeals process operate?

Where your school preference has been unsuccessful you will be offered the right of appeal against this decision (there is no right of appeal for nursery admission).

An appeal proforma will be enclosed with your decision letter and you should return this to the council's head of law and regulation by the date given in order to lodge your intention to appeal.

You will then be advised of the date and time of your appeal hearing, which is normally held at the Civic Centre.

You will be invited to attend to hear the council’s case for refusal which will be presented to an independent panel of three people not connected to the school concerned or the council.

The appeal hearing will be as informal as possible but if you feel you need some advice on how to present your case you should seek this independently.

This is purely a matter for each individual but many parents do not consider this necessary.

Officers cannot discuss the merit of a parent’s case, as this is a matter entirely for the panel.

In submitting an appeal you are making a case for your child to attend a specific school and the case should be based upon why your child should attend that school.

If you wish to choose an alternative preference school to the one which has been allocated to your child please contact the school admissions team.

In all school admission appeals, the decision of the panel is final and binding on all parties.

The Public Services Ombudsman can investigate written complaints about maladministration on the part of an admission appeal panel.

Maladministration covers issues such as a failure to act independently and fairly, rather than complaints where a person simply feels that the decision taken is wrong.

An appeal panel’s decision can only be overturned by the courts where the appellants or admission authority are successful in applying for Judicial Review of that decision.  

24. What should I do if I want to transfer my child to an alternative school? 

Changing schools is an issue that needs to be given serious consideration as it is not always the answer and can have a detrimental effect on your child’s education.

If you are thinking of applying to transfer your child to another school, you should discuss your options with your child’s current school in the first instance.

There may be strong educational reasons why a transfer should not take place, which you will need to consider.

Before deciding to apply for a place at another school, you will need to consider carefully how your child will travel to the school, as you will not necessarily be eligible for transport assistance, even if you have previously qualified.

Where possible, you should not remove your child from their current school until a suitable alternative place can be found.

Non-attendance will be recorded as unauthorised absence and could be reported to the education welfare officer.

A school transfer will not disrupt any action already being pursued by the education welfare service.

The council actively discourages requests for transfer in either Year 10 or Year 11 as it may not be possible to accommodate your child’s GCSE subject options in the school to which you are applying and this is likely to have a detrimental effect on their learning.

If you wish to change schools because you are moving into or within Newport please do not assume that your child will be allocated a place at the local school.

There is no guarantee of a place at any school, even it is your catchment, and if the school is already full in your child’s year group your application will be refused.

Read more and request a school transfer

25. If I want to go on an extended holiday for more than four weeks will my child’s place in school be withdrawn?

You need to speak to your child’s headteacher if you are planning a holiday during term-time as each governing body has an agreed protocol on this.

If an extended holiday absence is approved and your child does not return to school by the agreed date they will be at risk of losing their school place.

Failure to return on the date agreed will prompt welfare concerns - a child or young person who goes missing from education may be considered to be at risk of significant harm.

Any such concerns will immediately be referred to the statutory authorities for consideration.  

26. Can my child be moved up or down a year?

We expect children to be taught in their year group, unless there are special circumstances, such as children with additional learning needs or those who have experienced problems or missed part of a year, often due to ill health.

Where there are exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to a parent’s request for admission outside the normal age group.

However, there is no right of appeal if a place is offered but not in the desired year group.

Your child will not be admitted to any year group outside of their chronological age simply because their correct year group is full. 

27. Can I educate my child at home?

This is usually referred to as elective home education and parents have a right to educate their children at home providing that they fulfil the requirements of section 7 of the Education Act 1996.

This places a duty on the parents of every child of compulsory age to ensure the child receives efficient full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs that they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

If your child currently attends school and you decide to electively home educate them, you should write to the school requesting that your child be removed from the school roll.

Note that parents will not receive resources or guidance on teaching and curriculum from the council once the decision to withdraw from school has been made.  

28. Who is eligible for home to school transport?

Free home to school transport is provided to primary aged pupils who live two miles or more from their catchment school or nearest available school and to secondary aged pupils who live three miles or more from their catchment school or nearest available school - this includes Welsh-medium and faith schools.

In addition the Learner Travel (Wales) Measure states that a child is eligible for free home to school transport to an alternative school if this is nearer than the catchment school and provided that the qualifying distance is met.

Each school has a designated catchment area but parents can express a preference for any school they want their child to attend.

If you choose to send your child to a school that is not your catchment or nearest school you will be responsible for all transport costs and arrangements.

If an application to your preference school is unsuccessful, you will only be eligible for transport assistance if your child attends either the catchment school as an alternative or the next nearest available school, as determined by school admissions, and if the distance criterion is met.