School admissions overview

As the local authority, we co-ordinate school admissions for most state schools in Cheshire East. This includes handling applications and sending out offers. 

We also handle applications from families in Cheshire East applying for places in schools outside Cheshire East for September start at the beginning of primary school or secondary school.

Types of applications we do not handle

We do not handle the following types of application:

  • admissions for sixth forms - contact the sixth form direct
  • admissions for Cheshire Studio School (Knutsford) and Crewe Engineering and Design UTC - contact the school
  • applications for children who live in other English local authorities for September start at the beginning of primary school (reception) and secondary school (year 7) - check with your home local authority
  • applications for children who live in Cheshire East and want a place in a school outside Cheshire East at any time other than the September start at the beginning of primary school or secondary school - check with the school
  • admissions for fee-paying schools - contact the school  

Eligibility for a school place and who should make the application

Any child who is resident in England can go to a state-funded school. Children who are moving here from overseas can apply before they move.

You can apply for a place for a child if the law counts you as a parent of the child. This includes foster parents and people with parental responsibility. See GOV.UK - who is a parent

Parents with shared responsibility

We can only process one application and make one offer for each child. If you share responsibility with another parent you should agree between you who will apply. 

If a school has more applications than places, then where a child lives (residency) usually counts towards whether they get a place. 

Each school's own admission policy says how the school uses residency-related criteria when allocating places. Some schools use catchment areas

Residency is normally where the child lives on the date of application. 

We may check addresses against other council records such as Council Tax. We may also ask you to give proof of where the child lives. 

Residency when a child spends time at two addresses

Where a child spends time at two addresses, the place of residency is where the child wakes up most often between Monday and Friday. You must give full details when you apply.

If the situation is not clear or the child spends time equally with both parents, we will normally use the address at which Child Benefit is claimed. Where neither parent claims Child Benefit, we will use the address at which the child is registered with a GP. 

Residency for children of service personnel and crown servants

For service personnel with a confirmed posting to Cheshire East and crown servants returning from abroad, we can take the new address as the child's residency in advance of the move. 

Email us with official written confirmation of the new address and the date of the move. We will accept a unit postal or quartering area address if you do not yet have a permanent address.  

Children who go to a nursery or pre-school based at a school do not get a guaranteed place at the school. You must still make a reception application.

We educate most children in their local mainstream school.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) that names a school for them, the school must give them a place. You do not need to apply.  

If your child does not have an EHCP, you will need to apply in the normal way.

Find out more about education for children with special educational needs and disability in Cheshire East 

Get advice from Cheshire East Information Advice and Support 

School starting age and school year groups 

Children reach compulsory school age at the start of the term after their 5th birthday. Most children start school in the September after they are 4.

If your child was born between the start of April and the end of August,  you can ask to delay starting school until the September after they are 5. You should contact us or your home local authority for advice.

If a school agrees to take your child late, this does not guarantee you a place. You will still need to make a reception application the following year.

Before you decide to delay school start for your child, it is a good idea to think about how the delay may affect the child later - for example, they will move up to secondary school later than other children of the same age.

If your child was born before April but you do not think they will be ready for school by the September after they are 5, you should discuss options with your preferred school(s).

Schools in Cheshire East normally teach children in the year group for their age range.

Date of birth and school year - primary schools

Date of birth and primary school year 1 September 2020 - 31 July 2021
Born betweenSchool year group
1 Sep 2015 and 31 Aug 2016 Reception
1 Sep 2014 and 31 Aug 2015 1
1 Sep 2013 and 31 Aug 2014 2
1 Sep 2012 and 31 Aug 2013 3
1 Sep 2011 and 31 Aug 2012 4
1 Sep 2010 and 31 Aug 2011 5
1 Sep 2009 and 31 Aug 2010 6
Date of birth and primary school year 1 September 2021 - 31 July 2022
Born betweenSchool year group
1 Sep 2016 and 31 Aug 2017 Reception
1 Sep 2015 and 31 Aug 2016 1
1 Sep 2014 and 31 Aug 2015 2
1 Sep 2013 and 31 Aug 2014 3
1 Sep 2012 and 31 Aug 2013 4
1 Sep 2011 and 31 Aug 2012 5
1 Sep 2010 and 31 Aug 2011 6

Date of birth and school year -  secondary schools

Date of birth and secondary school year 1 September 2020 - 31 July 2021
Born betweenSchool year group
1 Sep 2008 and 31 Aug 2009 7
1 Sep 2007 and 31 Aug 2008 8
1 Sep 2006 and 31 Aug 2007 9
1 Sep 2005 and 31 Aug 2006 10
1 Sep 2004 and 31 Aug 2005 11
1 Sep 2003 and 31 Aug 2004 12
1 Sep 2002 and 31 Aug 2003 13
Date of birth and secondary school year 1 September 2021 - 31 July 2022
Born betweenSchool year group
1 Sep 2009 and 31 Aug 2010 7
1 Sep 2008 and 31 Aug 2009 8
1 Sep 2007 and 31 Aug 2008 9
1 Sep 2006 and 31 Aug 2007 10
1 Sep 2005 and 31 Aug 2006 11
1 Sep 2004 and 31 Aug 2005 12
1 Sep 2003 and 31 Aug 2004 13

In exceptional circumstances, you can ask for your child to be taught in a different year group. 

Occasionally, schools may decide that a child should move up to secondary school early or stay at primary school longer. You should discuss these arrangements with the schools concerned.  

How to apply for a school place

The application process depends on whether your child is:

False information

We may withdraw the offer of a place if you give misleading or incorrect information on your application.

Department for Education School Admissions Code

Our admissions policies follow the national Department for Education School Admissions Code.