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.