The secondary Co-ordinated Scheme has been written in accordance with the requirements of the Admissions Code and applies to all schools in Portsmouth, including voluntary aided schools and academies.

This Scheme sets out the key actions and general principles. The detail will be provided in the Local Authority’s (LA’s) booklet ‘Information for Parents 2022-23 Admission to Primary and Secondary Schools’.

Application forms and Information for Parents

1. An application letter (personalised for each child) will be provided to each year 6 pupil (known to the LA) resident within the Portsmouth boundary at least six weeks before the advertised closing date of application, advising them about the application process, how to apply and the closing date.

2. Information regarding pupils who reside within the Portsmouth boundary but attend schools maintained by other Local Authorities (LAs) and pupils resident outside of the Portsmouth boundary but attending schools maintained by Portsmouth LA will be exchanged between the relevant LAs in the summer term preceding the year of application to enable application letters and information to be sent to the home address.

3. The Portsmouth Admission Common Application Form for Portsmouth residents will give parent/carers* the opportunity to apply for any school in or outside of the Portsmouth area. Parents will be given the opportunity to apply for up to six preferences. Supplementary forms may be provided in order to gain specific information for the Voluntary Aided schools and Academies in accordance with their admissions policies. Applications may be made online or by submitting a paper application.

4. Portsmouth residents whose Year 6 child attends a Portsmouth junior/primary school
Parents should apply online or return the Portsmouth admission application form to the Admissions Team by midnight 31 October 2021.

5. Primary/junior schools should log and forward any paper application forms received to the Portsmouth Admissions Team as soon as they are received.

6. Portsmouth parents whose Year 6 child attends a school outside of Portsmouth
Parents should apply on a Portsmouth application form online or return their paper form to Portsmouth Admissions Team (details provided on the application form) by 31 October 2021.

7. Portsmouth will exchange preference data with neighbouring Local Authorities from November onwards as appropriate.

8. Applications from parents who live outside of the Portsmouth area applying for schools in the Portsmouth area
Applications must be made online or on the relevant Admissions application form issued by the home authority. Parent/carers should return their application to their home authority Admissions Team by 31 October 2021 who will then exchange data with the Portsmouth Admissions Team.

9. The Admissions Team will carry out checks to verify the child’s permanent address using Council tax and other LA records. Proof of address may be requested by the Admissions Team after the application has been received.

Allocation process

10. Portsmouth will be operating an equal preference Scheme.

Parents can express up to 6 preferences on their application form.

Each preference expressed by a parent is considered equally against each school taking no account of the ranked order. If the school is oversubscribed in relation to the total number of applications, the criteria in the school’s admission policy will be used to allocate places. If the school is under subscribed places are allocated to all applicants.

If the process results in more than one preference being allocated to a pupil, the LA will then use the parent’s ranked order to make the highest possible offer of a place.

Example of an allocation in an Equal Preference Scheme

Step 1. All preferences are put in to each school’s pot

Step 2. All preferences are ranked against the criteria of the admissions policies of each preferred school Your preference order is not used at this stage.

The admissions policies with the criteria are on pages 22-62, as well as information regarding the pattern of applications the previous year on pages 71-77.

Step 3. Once ranked against the criteria in the admission policies, provisional offers are made for each school up to the number of school places available (PAN). Again your preference order is not used at this stage.

For example: you may be a regular worshipping Catholic applying for a Catholic school and be offered that school, you may also have applied for your catchment school and be offered that school, you may have applied for an undersubscribed school where you have no criteria and be offered, ending up with three potential offers at this stage.

Step 4. At this stage, some applicants may end up with more than one school provisionally offered. Now your preference order is used. By law we must offer your highest possible preference. Any school places no longer needed (the lower preference schools) are returned to the school’s not to be further allocated to other applicants.

Example A: You have not been offered preference 1 but have been provisionally offered preference 2 and preference 3. The LA must discard preference 3, offer (allocate) preference 2 and invite you to join the waiting list for preference 1 for which you have been unsuccessful.

Example B: You have been provisionally offered all three preferences. The LA must discard preferences 2 and 3 and offer (allocate) preference 1.

Allocation address

11. The address used will normally be the child’s permanent residence on the application closing date. Any changes of address after the closing date and before the allocation date will be used to update the application as long as evidence of the change is received no later than Friday 7 January 2022. Any address changes confirmed by council tax records will also be updated prior to allocation and applicants will be advised. In the case of split families the child’s permanent residence will be based on the address agreed by parents but in the event of a dispute it will be based on the address at which child benefit is paid. In the absence of child benefit being paid other evidence supplied will be used to determine the child’s allocation address. The LA will have the final decision.

Parental Agreement on applications

12. Where both parents/carers have parental responsibility for a child (regardless of with whom the child is residing), before submitting an application form, parents will need to discuss and agree which preference schools they wish to put on the application form and in which order. The parent/carer completing the application form on behalf of the child, must have parental responsibility for the child in question and ensure that all those with parental responsibility are in agreement with the submission. The applicant will be required to tick a box on the online application form to this effect, or to sign a declaration on the paper application form.

Portsmouth City Council is unable to resolve or take sides in disputes between parents/carers who both have parental responsibility. If the Admissions Team receive 2 different applications and/or are aware of a parental dispute, the application(s) will not be able to be processed until agreement is reached between the parents/carers. If parents/carers are unable to resolve this, they will need to seek a resolution through the courts.

Allocation Date

13. Notification of allocation will be sent by email on Tuesday 1 March 2022 to those applicants who applied online or by a letter posted on Tuesday 1 March 2022 to those who submitted a paper application. Under no circumstances may governors, school staff or LA staff offer places or give an indication of offers before the official offer date. Offers will not be advised over the telephone.

Late Applications

14. All applications received by the closing date will be considered first. Late applications will only be considered after all those applications received on-time have been considered and allocated places.

Up until Friday 7 January 2022, late applications may be considered along with on-time applications if significant and exceptional circumstances apply at parent’s request. Applications from service families being posted into area will also be accepted as on time up until this date.

Changes of preferences will not be accepted after closing date although may be considered if significant and exceptional circumstances apply at parents request by Friday 7 January 2022.

Late applications will continue to be administered as part of the transfer group up to 31 August 2022.


15. If a parent is unsuccessful with any of their preferences they will have the right of appeal to an independent appeal panel and will be provided with the relevant documentation and advice by the Admissions Team or by the school if the appeal is in relation to a Voluntary Aided, or Academy school unless they have delegated this responsibility to the LA.

Waiting lists

16. Waiting lists for all types of schools and academies are the responsibility of the Admission Authority which must maintain them if oversubscribed for at least the first term of the academic year. Portsmouth LA intends to maintain waiting lists for the whole academic year for Portsmouth community and voluntary controlled schools.

All parents who have been refused a place at a preferred school will have the option to indicate their wish to remain on the waiting list – via a tick box on the allocation response form online or on a paper reply slip.

Portsmouth LA will maintain waiting lists strictly in accordance with the Schools Admission Code. Children will be held on the waiting list by order of the criteria in the Admissions Policy. No account can be taken of the length of time a pupil is on the list. A pupil’s position can change on the list as new applicants join or other applicants come off the waiting list.

Children will remain on a waiting list only until the end of the academic year August 2023, if parents/carers want their children to be on the waiting list for the following academic year 2023/24 they must reapply.

Voluntary Aided and Academies will operate their own waiting lists unless they delegate this function to the LA.

Withdrawing offers of places

17. If it is reasonably established that false or misleading information has been used in order to gain a place at a school, the Local Authority reserves the right to withdraw any school place offered, even if the child has started at the school. The Admissions Code also permits a place to be withdrawn if it was offered in error or a parent has not responded in a reasonable time to the offer which is specified in the offer letter/email.

Pupils with a statutory education, health and care plan (EHCP)

18. Admission of pupils who have been issued with a statutory education, health and care plan through a different process and via the SEN team. Pupils with a statutory plan naming a particular school are taken account of and given priority in the allocation process.

Fair Access Protocol

19. The Local Authority operates a Fair Access Protocol which prioritises admissions for certain categories of secondary school age children. This protocol relates to admission applications throughout the year (but not the transfer of Year 6 pupils from primary/junior to secondary schools). The protocol takes priority above the school’s admission policy for those on a waiting list and the LA may require schools to admit above their published admission limit.

Home to School Transport

20. Information on the Home to School Transport Policy will be published on the council’s website

Admission out of chronological year group

21. Children will usually be admitted into their chronological year group except in significant exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of the school/Local Authority. Where children may have missed school, been educated in another country or have been out of education, these problems can usually be addressed by additional support in the child’s chronological year group. For gifted and talented pupils, parents can discuss directly with a school the way provision is made for these pupils.

Parent is defined by S 576 of Education Act 1996 and includes a carer (a person looking after a child living with them).