How Bexley decide primary school places

Here’s what happens when we get your application

  1. We treat every school you list as a separate application

    If you’ve applied to a school we run, we look at it. If it’s to another kind of school, like an academy or faith school, their governing body looks at it. At that point, no-one knows which order you’ve put them in on your form.

    If there’s more than one place available, we’ll offer you the one that’s your highest preference.
  2. We use admissions priorities to decide places where there are more children applying than places available.

How we decide priority for primary school places

Priority 1 – Looked after children

We’ll give priority to children in public care, or who were in public care just before being adopted or made subject to a Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order. A child qualifies if they’re defined as ‘looked after’ in section 22 (1) of the Children Act 1989.

Priority 2 – Medical reasons

Sometimes there are medical reasons why a child should go to a specific school. At other times, it might be because of their parent or sibling’s medical needs. 

You should let us know if that’s the case when you apply, with supporting evidence (unless the medical need isn’t obvious until after you’ve applied, in which case get in touch as soon as possible). We have a medical adviser we sometimes ask to review these applications. We’ll usually only give priority if the school you apply to is your nearest school – unless the medical adviser agrees there’s a specific reason why it should be a different one. 

Priority 3 – Siblings at school

If your child’s full, step, half or adopted sibling or siblings already go to a primary school, we’ll consider this a priority as long as they all live at the same address (and the sibling isn’t about to transfer to secondary school). This still counts if they’re in a junior school, and your child is applying for the linked infant school. 

If your child is one of a set of multiples - twins, triplets or more - we treat that as the same priority as already having a sibling in school (even if they don’t).

Priority 4 – Children of school staff

If a parent has been working at a school we run for more than two years before applying for a place, we’ll consider their child a priority for that school. If it’s been less than two years but the parent filled a post due to a provable skill shortage, we’ll also consider that a priority.

Priority 5 - Distance

There is no such thing as a catchment area in Bexley. We fill places with those children living closest to each school, but there is no set distance to qualify. Being close to a school might increase your chances but does not guarantee a place.

We measure distance as a straight line from your home address to the school. Your home address is wherever your child lives with the parent or registered guardian who is their main carer (and eligible for Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit), at the time you applied. 

If two families live at the exact same distance and there are no other priorities to consider, we’ll draw lots for the place.

If your child doesn’t get an offer from any of your preferred schools, we’ll offer you a place at the nearest school to you that has one.

All other kinds of schools decide their own, and you can find them by contacting that school or reading our Admission to Primary Schools 2024 to 2025 pages.

If your child has a statement of educational needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan naming a specific school, they’ll be given priority for a place. 

It’s worth noting that, although distance is something we look at, there’s no such thing as a catchment area in Bexley, and being nearby doesn’t guarantee you a place.

After your child is offered a primary school place

If you applied online, you’ll hear by email, or, if you’ve used it, on the ParentComm app. If you applied using a paper form, we’ll post you a letter on the day results are released. 

What to do when you get your offer

If you got your first preference school, you don’t have to do anything. We’ll assume you’re accepting it unless you tell us otherwise.

If you got an offer for any other school, let us know right away whether you’re accepting it. You can do it online if you applied that way, or using the form in your letter. If we don’t hear by [date], we can withdraw the offer.

What to do if you didn’t get your first choice

We strongly recommend accepting the place, even if you’re making an appeal or your child is on a waiting list. It doesn’t affect your appeal or list position, and you won’t risk your child missing out on a place altogether.

If you got an offer for a school on your list, but not your first choice, we’ll let you know how to put your child on a waiting list if you want to.

If we’ve had to offer you a place at a school not on your list, you have the right to appeal, and we’ll send you information about that. You should note that appeals are rarely successful.

If you choose to reject a place, you must tell us where your child will be going to school from September 2020. Your child must be in full-time education once they reach compulsory school age.

Any questions?

Common questions about starting primary school in Bexley

Can I choose my child’s primary school?

When you apply, you can put up to six preferences on the form. We’ll treat each one as a separate application and then offer you the place that’s highest on your list. If there aren’t any places at any of the schools you’ve listed, we’ll offer a place at the nearest school that has one.

You don’t have to fill in all six, but putting down one doesn’t give you a better chance of getting in. 

How do you decide which child to give a place to?

We’ll always do our best to offer your child a place at a high preference school. If there aren’t enough places to do that, we have a list of things we (or the school) look at, in priority order.

We don’t have catchment areas in Bexley, and there’s no advantage to going to a particular school’s nursery.

Why do some primary schools have different admissions arrangements?

We have a few different types of primary school in Bexley. Some are run entirely by us, some aren’t. We set the priorities for all our schools, but the rest can make different arrangements.

Find out more about Bexley primary schools.

What happens if my child has a place at an infant school?

They’ll have a place until the end of year 2. You’ll need to apply again for them to transfer to a junior (or full primary) school for year 3 onwards.

Can I get help with uniform costs and free meals?

All children up to year 2 get free school meals. You can apply for free school meals from year 3 if you get certain benefits. 

Read the form and apply for free school meals.

We don’t offer the £150 school uniform grant, but you can ask your child’s school directly if they’re able to help with costs.

You haven’t answered my question

We go into more detail about all these things and more in our Admission to Primary Schools 2024 to 2025 pages. Or you can contact us on