Frequently asked questions

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

The council publishes a timetable for all school admission applications and you should look out for the application timetable in the summer of the year before your child is due to start nursery or school.

For example, if your child is due to start nursery or school in September 2021, you should look out for the application timetable in summer 2020 to confirm the date by which you will need to submit your application.

It is vital that you submit your application by the deadline – if you submit your application late it will be less likely that your child will be able to gain a place at the nursery or school of your choice.

 Read about admission to nursery 

 Read about admission to primary school

 Read about admission to secondary school

The admissions timetable is displayed in Newport 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. 

Parents are responsible for looking out for these notices and making an application at the appropriate time.

2. Who can make an application for school admission or transfer?

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. Evidence may be requested to support this.

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

If parents cannot agree and neither has obtained a relevant court order, 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 vital that you submit your application by the deadline – if you submit your application late it will be less likely that your child will be able to gain a place at the nursery or school of your choice.

For advice please email [email protected]

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. This does not apply for children placed in a dedicated special educational needs setting.

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.

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, you do not have to be a Welsh-speaker to send your child to a Welsh-medium school.

Read the school admissions policy (pdf) which lists all schools in Newport. 

Find out which is your catchment school. This is not necessarily the closest school to your home address and will affect how your application is assessed against the over subscription criteria.

Think about how your child will travel to school as they will not necessarily be eligible for school transport.

Find out how 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 headteacher.  

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

Welsh medium education is available for everyone – a high proportion of parents of children in Newport’s Welsh -medium schools do not speak Welsh and this is not a barrier.

In Newport there are 4 Welsh-medium primary schools, all with a nursery attached and 1 Welsh-medium secondary school. Welsh is the official language of these schools in all activities, both formal and informal. Pupils in Welsh-medium schools in Newport study both English and Welsh to very high standards. All teaching and assessment, except for English as a subject, is through the medium of Welsh at all key stages.

If your child attends an English-medium school and you are considering a transfer to Welsh-medium education, note that there is an immersion process that can support your child’s transition. There's more information on our learning Welsh in Newport page.

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?

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.

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

If you decide not to 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.

You can ask to be allocated an alternative place at your nearest available school if you are unsuccessful with your school preferences.

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.  

Find details of the evidence you will need to provide in the school admissions policy (pdf).  

Applications submitted without the relevant evidence will not qualify for priority under the oversubscription criteria and this could mean that your child is not offered a school place.

In submitting evidence, you must supply only copies of documents. The Council cannot take responsibility for the return of any original documents provided.

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)/Individual Development Plan (IDP): 

Children holding a statement of SEN/IDP 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 [email protected]

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.

Priority is only given to previously Looked After Children where places are available.

c) Children living within the school catchment area:

When making an application 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.

Catchment priority can only be awarded where the requested evidence of the home address has been provided.

d) Children with medical circumstances:

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

Priority is only given if places are available and  where it can be evidenced that the preferred school is the only viable option when compared with other schools that the Council may be able to offer.

e)  Children with siblings:

Children with relevant 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 of the school 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 preferred 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 only 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 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 - submitting an appeal is the correct way to challenge the Council’s decision to refuse your child a place and there is no other way to do this.

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 law and regulation section 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 and invited to attend.

Because of COVID – 19, appeal hearings are being held through Microsoft Teams video conference calls, you will be given three options for the hearing: 

  • attend via Microsoft Teams using your own facilities
  • attend via Microsoft Teams using the council’s facilities - you will be invited to the Civic Centre and taken to an isolated room. A computer will be set up for you and you will be given guidance and assistance throughout the hearing
  • the appeal can be heard in your absence, using any written information you wish to provide.

The council’s case for refusal will be presented to an independent panel of two or three people not connected to the school concerned or the council. You (and the panel) will then have an opportunity to ask any questions and present your own reasons for appealing.

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.

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.

Members of the Council, LA officers, Assembly Members or local politicians cannot accompany you to your appeal hearing, as this may lead to a conflict of interest, unfairness to other appellants and place undue pressure on the panel.

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

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.

Note that accepting an alternative school does not affect your right to appeal.

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 about in-year 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.