The council's admissions priorities

Please read the following information carefully.  It will help you to decide whether your child has a good chance of being offered a place at your preferred school.  Please be aware that we cannot guarantee your child a place at one of your preferred schools.

Where there are more applications received for a community school, BACA or PACA than there are places available we will use the following five admission priorities to decide who will be given a place.

Children with Statements of Special Educational Needs or Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) will be entitled to a place at the school named in the Statement or EHCP.  If the child for whom you are responsible has a Statement or EHCP, please ensure that you tick the box on the form to indicate that this is the case.

Please note: we do not take into account your child’s current school place, your childminding arrangements or workplace address. All allocations are based on the five priorities listed below:

Admission priorities

  1. Children in the care of a local authority (looked after children) and previously looked after children
  2. Compelling medical or other exceptional reasons to attend the school
  3. Sibling link
  4. Catchment area
  5. Other children

Tie break: If a school is oversubscribed with children in any of the above priorities, the council will use an electronic random allocation system to decide which of the children within that priority should be offered the available places.

Children in the care of a local authority (looked after children) and previously looked after children

Previously looked after children are children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order).​ In order to offer a place under this priority you will need to supply proof of the child’s status.  This could be a copy of the order or adoption certificate.  If you are not sure what to provide, please contact the School Admissions team at or on 01273 293653.

Compelling medical or other exceptional reasons to attend the school

The purpose of this priority is to give priority to pupils with a specific need that can only be met by one school rather than another. If there are medical reasons that make it essential for your child to attend a particular school, you must provide supporting information from a doctor together with any other relevant information when you hand in your preference form.  This must make a compelling case as to why your child’s needs can only be met at the preferred school, as a medical condition in itself will not automatically result in a place being offered.  It is not essential for the doctor to name the school in question, but the evidence should explain exactly what the child’s needs are, and what specialist support and/or facilities your child requires. We will seek advice from the Consultant Community Paediatrician, who in most cases will only agree medical need for a school place if a child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) as a result of their medical situation. 

If you want a place at a specific school for other exceptional reasons, you must provide independent evidence from a professional who is supporting your family.  This should demonstrate that it is essential for your child to attend the preferred school and no other.  Advice will be sought from relevant professionals to determine whether or not the evidence you have provided is sufficiently compelling to qualify under this category.

The supporting evidence you send needs to set out the particular reasons why the school in question is the most suitable and the difficulties that would be caused if the child had to attend another school.  It is not essential for the professional supporting your family to have in depth knowledge of your preferred school but the evidence should explain exactly what your child needs, and what specialist support and/or facilities your child requires.

It is vital that you supply any supporting evidence for compelling medical or other exceptional reasons for admission by the closing date.  It is up to you to provide this evidence. The Admissions team will not seek information about your child or telephone people on your behalf, the decision will be based solely on the information you send in.  Online applicants should send supporting documents by post to the School Admissions team or send scanned copies to with a covering email giving your application reference.

If we do not receive this information by the closing date, we will not be able to consider your child under this priority, unless it relates to a change of circumstances (such as a new diagnosis) which has occurred since the closing date.

If the evidence you supply is not considered compelling enough to be included in this priority, your application will be considered under priority 3, 4 or 5 as appropriate.

All correspondence will be treated as private and confidential

If you do not want your preferred school to see your supporting medical or other evidence, or if you are applying online please send it separately to the School Admissions Team, King’s House, Grand Avenue, Hove, BN3 2LS.  All information supplied in support of an application will be dealt with in the strictest confidence by senior officers.

Please note: none of the maintained schools in Brighton & Hove select children on ability. A child’s aptitude or ability in a particular subject will not be considered as an exceptional reason for admission.

Sibling link

This will apply where a sibling living in the same household will be attending the school when your child is due to start, providing your home is in the catchment area for the school in question. 

If you live in the part of Brighton which was previously in the catchment area for Blatchington Mill and Hove Park but is now in the catchment area for Dorothy Stringer and Varndean, or in the part of Portslade which was previously in the catchment area for Blatchington Mill and Hove Park but is now in the catchment area for Portslade Aldridge Community Academy, your child will continue to have a sibling link to the Hove Schools for September 2016. 

A sibling link is only taken into account if children live at the same address and the sibling has already been allocated a place at the school.  Twins or multiple births do not qualify for the sibling link unless one child has already been offered a place.

Where a sibling attends a nursery class or a sixth form on the same school site, it will not be counted as a link for admissions purposes.

You may be asked to supply proof that your child has a sibling at the same address who attends the school.  This will normally be a copy of both children’s medical cards, showing the same address, or a copy of your Child Benefit letter showing both children’s names. 

Please note: as mentioned above the sibling link has been removed for children who do not live in the catchment area.  If this applies to your child, he or she will be placed in priority 5.

Catchment area

This will apply if your child’s home address is within the catchment area for the school in question. You will only be regarded as living in a catchment area if your main residence is in the area.  Ownership of a property in the catchment area is not sufficient.  In order to qualify under this priority, the address at which your child is normally resident must be within the catchment area.

If you are in any doubt as to the catchment area in which you live or whether your child qualifies for the sibling link, please email or telephone the School Admissions team on 01273 293653.

Other children

If none of the above priorities applies to your child, he/she will be placed in this category.

Other information

These admission priorities do not apply to Cardinal Newman Catholic School or King’s School, which have their own admission priorities.  Nor do they apply to schools in other Local Authority Areas.

The council uses an ‘Equal Preference System’ which means that all the preferences for each school are considered at the same time.  If you put a school down as a third preference, you are just as likely to be allocated a place there as someone who has put it as a first preference, assuming both of you fall into the same admissions priority for that school.  However you do need to list your preferred schools in order of preference as we will only offer you a place at one school.  If we are able to offer you a place at more than one school, we will choose the one that is highest on your list of preferences.

Checks are made on information provided by parents/carers. If a parent/carer is found to have supplied false or misleading information to gain a place at a particular school, the council reserves the right to withdraw the place, even if the child has started at the school. An example of false information would be the use of an address that is not the child’s normal residence. 

Please note: it is an offence to give false information to obtain a place at a school. The council will investigate allegations about false information, and will consider further action in any such case.