Parents and carers with children entering primary or secondary school for the first time next year are being advised by Swindon Borough Council that they now need to apply for school places for them.

This year, the Council was able to give 95 per cent of applicants their first preference for primary schools, and 91 per cent for secondary schools.

However, parents are encouraged to put down a second and third choice of school when they apply, in case their first choice school is oversubscribed.

Children born between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2009 who are entering secondary school next year will have until 31 October 2019 to submit their top three school preferences.

Parents of children born between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2016 who are entering primary school will have until 15 January 2020 to submit their preferences. Both closing dates follow national guidelines.

The offer of a preferred school place depends upon the number of applications received and the number of places available. Priority for places will be determined by the individual school’s admission criteria.

Applications submitted after the deadline has passed will be considered as a low priority and the child concerned will be allocated a school place after all other applications have been considered.

Late applicants are unlikely to be placed in their preferred school. To avoid this situation parents are urged to get their submissions in with plenty of time to spare.

Applications for both secondary and primary school spaces should be made online on the Council’s website which contains all of the information parents will need to make their application.

Those with children entering secondary school will be informed about the outcome of their application on 2 March 2020 and those with children entering primary school will be told on 16 April 2020.

Councillor Mary Martin, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and School Attainment, said: “It’s hugely important that parents and carers submit their applications for school places before the national deadlines so they have a much better chance of getting a school place at one of their three preferred schools.

“Our School Admissions team works extremely hard, and with great success, to match children to one of their preferences but I would urge parents not to delay in getting their applications in to help us with that process.”