Application process for starting school in September 

Apply for a September primary school reception place or a secondary school year 7 place through us if you:

  • live in Cheshire East (even if you are applying for a school outside Cheshire East)
  • live in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or outside the UK

If you live in a different English local authority area but want a place in Cheshire East, apply through your home local authority.

For deadlines and other important dates, see school applications timetable.

The school application process

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Apply online through our Parent Portal - see Apply for a September 2024 school place. If you are unable to complete your application online and need someone to help you, phone us using the contact details below.

Your application will be shared with each of the schools you have listed. We send out offers on behalf of the schools.

Where a school has space, they must normally offer a place to every child who has put the school as one of their preferences.

Schools with more applications than places use their admissions policy to decide which children get a place.

If more than one school offers your child a place, we will only send you the offer from the highest-ranked of your preferences that has made an offer. 

We send offers by email on the published offer day. You will also be able to log in to your parent account to see details of the offer from that day. If you have not given an email address, we will send a letter by second class post. Allow time for the letter to arrive - we cannot confirm offers on the phone.

See the School applications timetable for offer dates.

You are less likely to get the place you want if you apply after the closing date for applications. This is because we only look at late applications after we have allocated places to everyone who applied on time.

Find out more about late school place applications

If you change your mind about your preferences and let us know before the published closing date for applications, we will change your application and process it according to your new preferences. 

You can tell us about your new preferences and make some ammendments through your parent account if we have not yet uploaded your application and closed access to the account. Or you can email the school admissions team.

You can only change your preferences after the closing date for applications if there is a good reason for doing so. You must give us full details of the reason by the closing date for supporting documentation.

If you change your preferences after the closing date without good reason, we will contact you explaining that we will be treating your application as a late application. This means your application will be considered only after on-time applications and you will have less chance of getting a place at a preferred school.

Almost every Cheshire East resident gets a place at one of their preferred schools. But if you are a Cheshire East resident and do not get an offer from a preferred school, we will offer you a place at the nearest school with space. You can ask to go on a waiting list at a different school if you are not happy with the offer. 

To work out which is the nearest school, we use the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG). This measures the distance in a straight line using map coordinates. The coordinate point the Gazetteer uses for a school or house may be anywhere on the property.

If you are not a Cheshire East resident and you do not get a place at a preferred school, your home local authority must find a school for your child.

You must accept or decline the offer we make by the published deadline unless you applied late and got your offer after the usual offer date. Then you must accept or decline the offer within 10 working days of the date of the offer. 

If you applied online, you should use your online parent portal account to tell us what you have decided. Otherwise, you should email us or use the return form in the letter we sent you.

We will send you a reminder email (or letter if you have not given an email address) if we do not hear from you by the published deadline for accepting or turning down offers. We may then withdraw the offer if we do not hear back from you by the date we give for a response. 

We recommend that you accept the offer we give because it means you can be sure your child has a place for September. You can still ask to go on a waiting list at another school, make an appeal, or both.

We will not keep a place open for you if you turn it down - we will offer the place to the next child on the school's waiting list. 

If you turn down the offer, you must tell us what arrangements you are making for your child's education. We can give you advice about vacancies at other schools - call us on 0300 123 5012.

Moving house

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If you are moving house and would like to apply for a school place near your new address you can add this school as a preference on your form. But we must use your current address for school allocation purposes until you have moved.

If you move house after you apply you must tell us your new address straightaway, even if you gave the details of the move on your application form.

We will be able to use your new address for your application if you provide the evidence we need by the deadline for supporting information for applications - see applications timetable.

Otherwise, we will process the application based on your previous address (using your new address as a contact address). You can then choose to either accept or decline the offer you get, and ask to go on the waiting list for a school or schools nearer to your new address. 

We can withdraw an offer of a place if you do not tell us you have moved and we offer a place based on a previous address.

What evidence to provide 

You will need to give us one of the following as proof of your new address:

  • a completion statement for a house purchase (or a solicitor's letter confirming the date you completed) 
  • a signed rental agreement showing a tenancy start date no later than the date published for receiving supporting information

We check address information against Council Tax records. We may also ask for other evidence such as a recent utility bill or proof that you have sold your previous property. Email the school admissions team a copy of the documents before the closing date for supporting information.  


Help and advice

For help and advice about the admissions process you can:

For general updates and useful information for families, follow the Cheshire East Family Information Service on social media.

Cheshire East Family Information Service - Facebook 

Cheshire East Family Information Service - Twitter


Page last reviewed: 12 February 2024