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How do I choose my preferred schools?

The common application form enables you to express a preference for up to three schools and to list them in preference order. You are advised to list all three preferences. There is no advantage in naming just one preference or naming one preference three times. Similarly, you should not write down schools if you really do not want a place there.

Understand the admissions criteria

Think very carefully about the schools for which you express a preference and make sure you read and understand the relevant admission criteria for the school concerned. This will help you to consider whether or not you are likely to be successful in gaining a place at your preferred school(s). The admission criteria for all community and voluntary controlled schools are provided in the How are places allocated section. The admission criteria for all voluntary aided schools and academies in South Gloucestershire are set out in the Admission to voluntary aided primary schools and academies section.

It is important to remember that it may not always be possible to offer your child a place at one of your preferred schools.

Research your preferred schools

You may also like to do some research into your local schools before you complete your application. The sorts of things you could consider are as follows:

  • schools hold open days or evenings or offer opportunities to visit the schools. We recommend parents/carers take the opportunity to visit the schools and talk to members of staff. Dates can be obtained by contacting the school direct
  • each school publishes a prospectus (obtainable from the school) which gives information about the school, including results. Many schools also have websites and the results of school inspections can be found on the Ofsted website at
  • talk to parents/carers who already have children at your local schools and talk to staff at your child’s nursery/pre-school
  • consider the distance from home to school and how you will get your child to school. Think about the route to school and mode of travel. If you are walking, remember you will need to do the journey twice a day. Please remember that it is your responsibility to get your child to and from school. Free transport provision is offered only in certain circumstances. Eligibility criteria for the provision of home to school transport are available in the Travel assistance to school section
  • find out what other activities and extended provision the school offers, i.e. breakfast clubs/after school clubs/sporting activities

A list of schools is provided in the Infant, junior and primary schools section. Maps indicating the location of each school are also provided.

If you are considering applying for a school outside South Gloucestershire you should still complete the common application form. South Gloucestershire Council will pass the details of applications received on to other local authorities for processing as appropriate.

Should any parent/carer include on their application form a preference for an independent school, the independent school preference will not be considered as part of this process. Parents/carers are advised to contact individual independent schools for details of their admissions application process.