Parents/carers can apply for admission to schools within Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council or neighbouring local authority schools by completing the online application form on the Blackburn with Darwen Council Families Information Service Online. You must not complete the application form of any other Council. Parents and carers are advised to read all the information below and the individual school admission policies before submitting your application form.
- Secondary school applications are open from 1 September 2022 until 31 October 2022.
- Primary school applications are open from 1 September 2022 until 15 January 2023.
In order to process your application you will be asked to provide some personal information such as names and address. The information you provide will be held securely in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. Where required, your data will be forwarded to schools, other local authorities and relevant Council departments to consider and/or verify the information you provide.
Some schools are popular and oversubscribed so it is important that you are fully aware of the admission process. Carefully check the admission policies for your chosen schools or on the individual school’s website.
Ensure your application is completed properly and on-time alongside any additional forms and information.
We will do our best to offer you a place at one of the schools you list on your application form. Ensure you list three different school preferences. Don’t repeat the name of one school or just give a single preferred school - this does not improve your chances of getting a place. What it does mean is that, if you do not obtain a place at the preferred school, the Council and the schools will not know which other schools are of interest to you. You may lose priority for another school where you might otherwise have a good chance of getting a place.
Below you will find information on how the local authority deals with your application for your child to start primary or secondary school, details about schools, advice about how you can get financial help with paying for travel and where to go for more information.
Before you make your decision, it is also a good idea to visit some of the schools (if you are able), look at their websites and read their individual prospectuses.
If you need further information about how to apply for schools, please contact the School Admissions Team who can provide help and advice.
If you would like general information about specific schools, you should contact the schools directly or look at their websites.
Other sources of information
Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) inspection reports are a good way of finding out information about the schools. For the latest copy of a report please contact the school direct or ask at your local library. Inspection reports can also be obtained from the Ofsted website..
Copies of performance tables for all schools in the borough are available from the Government’s website.
Secondary school admissions timetable 2023/24
- 1 September 2022: Round opens for secondary school applications. Parents/carers can apply for a school place
- 31 October 2022: Closing date for secondary school applications. Applications must be submitted to the local authority by this date to be considered as ‘on time’ along with all supporting evidence.
- 27 January 2023: Deadline for notification of exceptional change in circumstances. Any information received by this date will be considered for the initial allocation of school places, for example, change of address, change in circumstances, and reasons for the local authority to consider a late application/change of preference as on time. Any information received after this date cannot be included in the initial allocation of school places, however it will be considered later in the process following the 1 March 2023.
- 1 March 2023: National offer day for secondary school places. Parent/carers who applied online can view their offer on the online parent portal. Letters notifying parent/carers of the school at which a place has been offered will be emailed out to those who applied online or sent by post to parents/carers who applied using the paper application form.
- 15 March 2023: Deadline for parents/carers to accept or decline their offer of a place. Parent/carers who applied online will need to log onto the online parent portal to accept their offer of a school place. Those who applied by post will need to call the School Admissions Team.
- 31 March 2023: Closing date for appeals. Appeals received by this date will take place in May/June 2023.
Primary school admissions timetable 2023-24
- 1 September 2022: Round opens for primary school applications. Parents/carers can apply for a school place
- 15 January 2023: Closing date for primary school applications. Applications must be submitted to the local authority by this date to be considered as ‘on time’ along with all supporting evidence.
- 10 March 2023: Deadline for notification of exceptional change in circumstances. Any information received by this date will be considered for the initial allocation of school places, for example, change of address, change in circumstances, reasons for the local authority to consider a late application/change of preference as on time. Any information received after this date cannot be included in the initial allocation of school places, however it will be considered later in the process following the 17 April 2023.
- 17 April 2023: National offer day for primary school places. Parent/carers who applied online can view their offer on the online parent portal. Letters notifying parent/carers of the school at which a place has been offered will be emailed out to those who applied online or sent by post to parents/carers who applied using the paper application form.
- 28 April 2023: Deadline for parents/carers to accept or decline their offer of a place. Parent/carers who applied online will need to log onto the online parent portal to accept their offer of a school place. Those who applied by post will need to call the School Admissions Team.
- 26 May 2023: Closing date for appeals. Appeals received by this date will take place in June/July 2023
Coordinated admission scheme
Each year the Council, in consultation with all the schools, has to establish a co-ordinated scheme for admission arrangements. The main purpose of the scheme is to ensure that every child living in the borough who has applied for admission to a maintained school receives only one offer of a school place.
The body responsible for deciding on the admission arrangements for a school is known as the admission authority. Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is the admission authority for community and voluntary controlled schools. Governing bodies of voluntary aided, trust, academy and free schools are the admission authorities of those schools.
If the total number of applications for admission to a school, which includes all first, second and third preferences, is more than the published admission number, the admission authority for the school must apply the school’s published admission policy to decide which children should be offered places. The policy describes the categories under which priority is given to children.
To read the full Coordinated admission scheme please go to the Coordinated school admissions arrangements page.
Copies of the school admission policies are available from the individual schools or can be downloaded from the School admissions policies page.
Compulsory school age
The law does not require any child to start school until the start of the term following their fifth birthday. In Blackburn with Darwen however, all children who have their fifth birthday between 1 September 2023 and 31 August 2024 may start primary school in the Autumn Term 2023.
Deferred entry to primary school
Parents/carers can defer the date their child is admitted to primary school until later in the school year but not beyond the term after their fifth birthday and not beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year. Where the parents wish, children may attend part-time until later in the school year but not beyond the point at which they reach compulsory school age. Parents/carers who are considering deferred admission must still apply for a school place by the closing date.
Admission of children outside their normal age group
Parents/carers may seek a place for their child outside of their normal age group, for example, if a child is gifted and talented or has experienced problems such as ill health.
Children who are already of school age in the primary or secondary phase
Parents/carers of children who are already of school age in the primary or secondary phase must submit their written request for admission out of the normal age group to the admissions authority. If their request is agreed and a place is available in the requested year group, the child will be admitted.
Summer born children seeking admission to reception rather than year 1 and children who wish to seek admission to Year 7 outside their normal age group
The following information relates to:
- Parents/carers of a summer born child (born between 1 April and 31 August) who may choose not to send that child to primary school until the September following their fifth birthday and may request that they are admitted out of their normal age group - to reception rather than year 1.
- Children who wish to seek admission to Year 7 outside their normal age group (who are currently in a year group in their primary school above or below their chronological age group).
Parents/carers will need to submit a normal application form to the Local Authority (online or in writing) for admission into their child’s normal age group. At the same time, they will need to submit a written request to the admissions authority for their child to be admitted out of the normal age group. This covers:
It is the responsibility of the parents/carers to provide the admissions authority with all relevant information relating to this request. This could include the parents/carers views; information about the child’s academic, social and emotional development; medical history and views of a medical professional (where relevant); whether the child would naturally have fallen into a lower age group if it were not for being born prematurely; and whether the child has previously been educated out of their normal age group.
The admissions authority is required to take into account the views of the Head Teacher as well as the information from the parents/carers. The admissions authority will make their decision based on the circumstances of each individual case, and in the best interests of the child concerned.
An admission authority will not honour a decision made by another admission authority on admission out of the normal age group. Parents/carers, therefore, should consider whether to request admission out of the normal year group at all their preference schools, rather than just their first preference school.
The admissions authority will then inform the parents/carers of their decision on the year group the child should be admitted to and will provide the reasons for their decision. Where possible, the admissions authority will make a decision on the request before the national offer date.
Decisions for Year 7 places:
- If the request is agreed for a child who is in a year group below his/her chronological age, the parent(s)/carer(s) must make a new application for the next main admission round the following year, and their current application for the normal age group should be withdrawn before a place is offered.
- If the request is agreed for a child who is a year group above his/her chronological age, the parent will continue with their application for admission into Year 7 and, if admitted under the usual admissions procedure, the child will move to that secondary school the following September.
- If the request for admission outside the normal age group is refused, parents/carers must decide whether to:
- accept the offer of a place for the normal age group that they will receive from the Local Authority; or
- to refuse it and make a further in-year application to the Governing Body for their child to be admitted outside their normal age group – either when they leave their current primary school (if the child is in a lower year group), or in the following school year (if the child was in a higher year group).
Decisions for Reception places:
- If the request is agreed, the parents/carers must make a new application for the next main admission round the following year, and their current application for the normal age group should be withdrawn.
- If the request for admission outside the normal age group is refused, parents/carers must decide whether to:
- accept the offer of a place for the normal age group that they will receive from the Local Authority; or
- refuse it and make an in-year application to the Local Authority for admission to year one for the September following their child’s fifth birthday.
Parents/carers have a statutory right to appeal to an independent admission appeal panel against the refusal of a place at a school for which they have applied. As the purpose of the appeals process is to consider whether a child should be admitted to a particular school, the right of appeal does not apply if they are offered a place at the school but it is not in their preferred year group. However, they may make a complaint about an admission authority’s decision not to admit their child outside their normal age group.
For further information please go to the School admissions: summer born children page.
Children attending a nursery class or nursery school
If your child attends a nursery class or nursery school that is linked to a school you MUST still apply for a place in an infant or primary school. This is because children do not have an automatic right to transfer to the school linked to the nursery class or the nursery school.
Admission to junior schools
If your child is seeking admission to a Junior School (i.e. the child is in Year 2 at an Infant School/Primary school and wishes to move to a Junior School which admits pupils in the normal admissions round at the beginning of Year 3), then you MUST still apply for your child to be admitted into Year 3 at that school. Even if there is a linked Infant School children do not have an automatic right to transfer from the Infant School to the Junior School (e.g. Audley Infant School and Audley Junior School).
Admission to schools providing education for students aged 13 to 19
Your child can continue with their educational journey in the secondary school that they are currently attending, or you may want to consider applying for a place for your child at a University Technical College or Studio School.
School applications for foreign national children and children resident outside England
All children living in the UK have a right to access a school in England irrespective of nationality or immigration status. This includes EEA nationals resident in the UK.
Schools must always apply their admission arrangements unless the fair access protocol is being applied (so, refugees from Ukraine, and migrants from Afghanistan and Hong Kong or asylum seekers from other countries receive no higher or lower priority for admission than other people living in the UK).
School admission authorities should not delay admission to await information on a migrant’s immigration status, home address or age. It is the responsibility of:
- parents to ascertain their UK entry terms, and those of their children, will not be breached by them taking up a state-funded school for their child. This is not the responsibility of the school, admission authority or local authority
- local authorities to undertake age assessments where the age of a migrant child is uncertain
State-funded schools must not seek to recruit foreign nationals as pupils from outside the UK (Irish nationals aside).
Guidance for schools, local authorities and parents on the rights of foreign nationals to access schools in England can be found on the GOV.UK website.
It provides advice on:
- eligibility to enter the country to access a school
- requirements for admission authorities in processing applications (i.e. requirements within the School Admissions Code and the law)
- advice on processing applications made from those living outside England but returning to live in England
You must put the correct details on your application form and give the address where your child normally lives, not a childminder’s address or a relative’s address. The Council will consider an alternative address (for places at community and voluntary controlled schools only) if you can provide a letter from your solicitor confirming exchange of contracts for buying a house or a signed long term tenancy agreement.
When a community/voluntary controlled school receives more applications than places available, the Council will check the information provided on the application form. You may be required to provide confirmation of your child benefit and a council tax or utility bill (gas, electricity, water or telephone) to make sure information given on the application form is correct.
The Council reserves the right to share the information you give with others and, if necessary, to visit properties to check who lives there.
Where the admission authority (governing body or the council) discovers that false information has been given and/or that a child has been awarded a place as the result of an intentionally misleading application from a parent/carer (for example, giving a false address in order to gain an advantage, or a false claim of involvement in a place of worship) which effectively denies a place to a child with a stronger claim, then the admission authority may withdrawn the offer of a place. The application will be considered afresh and a right of appeal offered if a place is refused.
If your child has already been admitted to a community or voluntary controlled school (on the basis of false information) and is allowed to continue at that school, their siblings will not be given priority for places at that school in future years on the ground of having a sibling on roll at that school.
Failure to complete an application form
If you fail to apply for your child’s admission to infant, junior, primary or secondary school, either by the closing date or not at all, the local authority may not be able to offer a place at one of your preferred schools. Therefore, the local authority will offer a place at another school with vacancies after all the initial allocations have been processed.
Please be aware that failing to ensure that your child is receiving suitable education may result in prosecution.
Schools in Blackburn with Darwen
There are 8 types of schools in Blackburn with Darwen. It is important to know which type of school you would like your child to go to because different people are responsible for making decisions on which children to admit.
The following descriptions tells you who is making the decision for the particular type of school. Applications for all the types of schools listed below must be made on the Council’s application form. However, for some church schools you will also need to fill in a Supplementary Information Form if you are applying for faith reasons:
- Community infant, junior and primary schools: Admissions to community and voluntary controlled schools are the responsibility of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
- Voluntary controlled primary schools: Admissions to community and voluntary controlled schools are the responsibility of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
- Voluntary-aided schools: Admission to the school is the responsibility of the Governing Body of the school.
- Trust Schools: Trust Schools continue to remain part of the Council but are supported by trust partners. Admissions are the responsibility of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. The trust partners of the East Blackburn Learning Community Trust are Crosshill Special School, Blackburn College, Royal Blackburn Hospital Trust, Blackburn with Darwen Local Authority, the Community Forum, Co-operative College and Training 2000.
- Foundation schools: Admission to a foundation school is the responsibility of the Governing body.
- Academies: These are independent of the local authority and funded by the Department for Education (DfE). The governors are responsible for deciding who is given a place at the school.
- Free schools: These schools are independent of the local authority and funded by the Department for Education. Any suitable sponsor can make an application to establish a Free School, including parents, teachers, charities, community groups or businesses. They are able to set their own curriculum and set their own admission policies. The governors are responsible for deciding who is given a place at the school.
- Atypical schools: These schools take pupils at a different age to typical 11-18 secondary schools.
- University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are set up by universities and businesses and specialise in one or two technical subjects. At GCSE level they offer a similar curriculum to a typical 11-18 secondary school, including the basics of English and Maths, in addition to their specialist subject.
- Studio Schools are similar to UTCs in that they have employer involvement in the curriculum and focus on developing the skills needed for employment, involving personal coaching and work experience, alongside a similar curriculum to a typical 11-18 secondary.
- The governors are responsible for deciding who is given a place at these schools.
Address and contact information of all the maintained schools in Blackburn with Darwen, along with some other key admissions information for each school is available to download below.
- Secondary School Contact and Admissions Information
- Primary School Contact and Admissions Information
Shared parental responsibility
Where parents/carers have shared responsibility for a child, the place of residency - for the purposes of the school admissions process - will be determined as the address where the child resides for the majority of the week. That is where the child wakes up for the majority of Monday to Friday mornings.
Only one application can be considered for each child and we would expect that in most cases parents/carers will take the above residency requirement into account, agree on their preferences and submit one application.
In the event of two applications being received for a child with shared residency we will then only consider the application from the parent/carer with whom the child resides the majority of the time provided that individual has Parental Responsibility for the child. If a Court order is made which contains directions/orders regarding the child's education, a copy of this Order must be provided to the Local Authority who will act in accordance with that order, as far as possible. Any supporting documentation must be provided by the deadline for notification of exceptional change in circumstances (please see the Important Dates section).
If the child resides with two parents/carers equally, both have parental responsibility and both submit applications, then neither application will be considered and the parents/carers will be asked to agree a single application between themselves.
Looked after and previously looked after children.
A "looked after child" is a child who is in the care of the local authority or is being provided with accommodation by the local authority in the exercise of their social services functions. A "Previously looked after child" is one who moved directly from being 'looked after; (as defined above) to being adopted or being made the subject of a child arrangements/special guardianship order.
If your application is for a looked after or previously looked after child, please provide a copy of the adoption certificate/child arrangements order/special guardianship order to the School Admissions Team and the name of the social worker to contact for confirmation of looked after status. Please note that this information will remain confidential.
Children with special educational needs
Some children experience difficulties during their school life. The majority of these difficulties will be met by their school from the funding made available to them. However, children who have significant learning difficulties will have their needs supported by an Education, Health and Care Plan.
The Council has a duty to determine and review the provision for a child with an Education, Health and Care Plan. The preferences you express within the EHCP process will be considered by the Council’s Statutory Assessment Team in line with the law and the guidance issued in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. For children moving from year 6 to year 7, the annual review in year 5/6 will enable you and the Council to discuss your child’s transfer from primary school and decide his/her future placement.
You will be informed of the school to be named in your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan, Statement. If you disagree, you will be informed of your right of appeal to an independent tribunal. If your child has an EHCP naming a school please do not complete the Council's application form to apply for a place as your child will be admitted to school in line with their EHCP.
Further help on Special Educational Needs matters is available by contacting the Council’s statutory assessment team on (01254) 666739.
Medical, social, welfare need criterion
If you feel that there are exceptional medical, social, welfare needs relating to your child which support the need for your child to attend a particular school, and wish your application to be considered under this criterion you must state this on your application form. Please note; not all schools consider applications under the medical, social, welfare need criterion, you will need to check the individual school admission policies.
Appropriate written supporting evidence must be provided from a doctor, consultant, social worker or other professional. This evidence must explain why the preferred school is the most suitable and what difficulties would be caused if the child had to attend another school. This evidence should accompany the application form. If necessary, parents/carers can submit the application form and send the supporting evidence at a later date but the supporting evidence MUST be received by the Local Authority on or before the closing date for applications. It is the parents/carers responsibility to ensure that the Local Authority receives the supporting evidence.
If you do not provide the supporting evidence on or before the closing date (please see important dates), then it will not be possible to consider your application under the medical, social, welfare criterion.
Please bear in mind the following in relation to this criterion:
- Only exceptional reasons associated with the child and directly relevant to the suitability of that specific school (i.e. showing why the child needs to be admitted to that particular school) are normally accepted under this criterion.
- All schools can make provision for special educational needs and can also manage common conditions – e.g. asthma, diabetes, epilepsy.
After the closing date and during the early stages of the allocation process, all applications which have requested consideration on the grounds of medical, social, welfare need are considered separately by a panel from the Admission Authority. This involves considering all statements and evidence provided by parents/carers to support the application. The panel may, at their own discretion, contact parents/carers and third parties (with parental consent) to request further information where this is needed to reach a decision.
The Panel’s focus in assessing each claim for consideration under this criterion will be to assess whether the evidence provided:
- actually confirms that this child has an exceptional medical, social, welfare need; and
- demonstrates a clear and exceptional need for the child to attend a specific school for reasons arising from the exceptional medical/social/welfare need.
When the reasons claimed are not considered exceptional or do not disclose an exceptional need for the child to attend that specific school, then the application will be dealt with under the other admission criteria for the school(s) requested.
Applications for a Church of England, Roman Catholic or Muslim faith school
Parents and carers who wish their application to be considered against the faith criteria for Church of England, Roman Catholic or Muslim faith Schools must also complete the faith questions on the Council’s application. If the school is oversubscribed, a failure to answer these questions will result in your application for a place being considered against lower priority criteria as the Governing Body will have no information upon which to assess the worship attendance/faith criteria.
Where a school policy refers to church attendance in the ‘year of application’, it means ‘the year in which applications for the year group you are applying for can first be made to the school’. For example, for admission into primary or secondary school in September 2023, you must already have attended church for the necessary period before 1st September 2022. If you require any clarification, please contact the relevant admissions authority.
Church of England Schools
To be considered under the Church of England faith criterion, you must provide on your application the place of worship where one of the parents or carers regularly attend, the name of vicar/priest/minister/faith leader/church officer (including contact telephone number) and the church of England parish where your child lives.
Roman Catholic Schools
Baptised Roman Catholic child means one baptised in a Roman Catholic Church (Baptismal Certificate required) or a baptised Christian subsequently received into the Roman Catholic Church as evidenced by a letter confirming the reception from a Roman Catholic Priest.
To be considered under the Roman Catholic faith criterion, you must provide on your application the date of your child’s baptism and name and address of church. A copy of your child’s baptism certificate MUST also be received by the Admissions Authority by the closing date. Failure to submit a baptism certificate will result in your application for a place being considered against lower priority criteria.
Supplementary Information Forms
If you are applying for a place at any aided primary or secondary school in Blackburn, please check directly with that school, as the Admission Authority may require you to submit a completed Supplementary Information form on or before the closing date.
If you are applying for The Olive School Blackburn, Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School or Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School under the Muslim faith and / or mosque membership criteria, you must also complete the schools’ own supplementary information form as well as the Council’s common application form.
If applying for St Wilfrid’s Church of England Academy, you must also complete a separate paper supplementary form which is available from the school or the Council’s school admission team.
Supplementary Information Forms must be completed and received by the relevant Admissions Authority by the closing date. Failure to complete the supplementary information form by the closing date will mean that the Governing Body will not consider the application for admission.
Places at schools in other council areas
If you decide to seek a place for your child at a school outside the area of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, please make sure that this school is expressed as a preference on your Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council application form.
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council will co-operate fully with all other Local Authorities to make sure that no child is offered admission at more than one school.
Before you express a preference for a school in another council area, you are strongly advised to read the school/relevant council’s admission arrangements and to be aware of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s policy about home to school transport.
Don’t express a preference for a school in Wales, Scotland, Ireland or abroad. Please contact the relevant authority in that country directly if you require further information about this.
Pupils who live outside the Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council area
If you wish to apply for admission at a state school in the area of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council you must name the school as a preference on the application you are submitting to your home council.
The Council cannot consider preferences for any independent schools within our area (i.e. schools that are not maintained by a local authority, and are not an academy) so please do not list any independent schools on the Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s application.
If you have completed the Council’s application form expressing preferences for maintained schools and/or academies, but no longer need a place because your child has a place at an independent school, please inform the School Admissions Team on (01254) 666605. This will help other parents/carers who are seeking places at schools maintained by the Council and/or academies.
Home to school transport
Blackburn with Darwen provides bus services to a number of schools in the borough for pupils who reside in Blackburn with Darwen and attend a Blackburn with Darwen school. They are provided primarily for pupils who qualify for statutory home to school transport but are also open to a number of pupils who do not qualify for free transport.
Where school bus services are offered for children who are entitled to free transport, first consideration for boarding is given to entitled bus pass holders and only if spare capacity/seats are then available, will fare paying pupils be allowed to use the service.
Parents have the right to say which school they would prefer their child to go to (under section 86 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998) but the Council only has to provide help with home to school transport in accordance with our legal duties. Your child does not automatically have a right to free transport to the school you want them to attend, and it remains the parent’s responsibility to make sure their child gets to school.
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council will meet the travelling expenses of some pupils whose parents/carers live within the borough and who attend the nearest suitable school (as determined by the Council).
The nearest suitable school is defined as the nearest school to your home with places available that provides education appropriate to the age, ability and aptitude of the child (and any special educational needs the child may have).
Where specific school bus services are offered for children who receive bus passes (i.e. are entitled to free transport), first consideration for boarding is given to the bus pass holders and only if spare capacity/seats are then available, will fare paying pupils be allowed on to the bus.
The grounds upon which travelling expenses may be given are:
- Pupils will qualify for free transport under the 'unsafe route' eligibility if the child cannot reasonably be expected to walk to the nearest suitable school because the nature of the route is deemed unsafe to walk
- Pupils will qualify for free transport under the ‘walking distance’ rules if;
- They are aged 5 - 8 years of age and live more than 2 miles from their nearest suitable school; or
- They are aged 8 - 16 years and live more than 3 miles from their nearest suitable school.
- Pupils will qualify for free transport under the ‘low income’ rules if;
- They are in receipt of free school meals or their family is in receipt of the maximum working tax credit; and
- They are primary pupils who live more than 2 miles away from their nearest suitable school.
- They are secondary pupils who; are attending any one of the three suitable secondary schools closest to their home, and these schools are more than 2 but no more than 6 miles from their home address OR
- They are secondary pupils who; live more than 2 miles but no more than 15 miles from the nearest suitable school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief.
- Applications for a travel pass are sent out automatically to the parents of children who the Local Authority believes will qualify for assistance under the transport policy criteria. If you have not received an application form one month before the travel pass is required and you feel you qualify please contact the School Transport Team on telephone (01254) 585003 or email Transport@blackburn.gov.uk.
School travel plans
Travel plans are completed by each individual school and set out local transport links, travel and road safety issues, proposed initiatives, objectives and targets. Many issues are caused by cars parking illegally and causing problems for pedestrians and putting children’s safety at risk.
Transport Review and Service Rationalisation
The Council has a duty to ensure that qualifying pupils have access to appropriate home to school transport provision. Some schools in the borough choose to support and subsidise bus services for their schools in order to assist pupils who do not qualify for home to school transport to their schools (The schools who subsidise the transport services for their pupils are St Bede’s RC High, St Wilfrid’s CE Academy, Our Lady & St John’s Catholic College and Darwen Aldridge Community Academy). Discussions have taken place between the Council and those schools to jointly arrange transport services which fulfil both the council’s statutory duties and the schools’ objectives, as efficiently as possible. Therefore, as pupil intakes change, the Council in discussions with those schools will take the opportunity to rationalise bus routes so that the most effective use is made of the services provided. Buses will still continue to cover all relevant areas, but pick-up/ drop-off points may change from year to year in order to fit with any amended routes.
The journey to and from school is now an important part of the wider national debate on car dependence and the need to change travel habits.
In 1986 children aged 16 and under made nearly 60% of their journeys to school on foot and only 16% by car. Since then the number of trips on foot has dropped below half and those by car doubled. There has also been a decline in the use of public transport and cycling.
Some of the reasons for the recent trends of more car use and less walking and cycling are:
- Parent(s)/carer(s) fears about their children’s involvement in road traffic accidents if they walk or cycle
- Parent(s)/carer(s) fears about personal safety if they travel to school unaccompanied
- Increase in car ownership and use, particularly more households also having a second car
- Greater parental choice and school closures resulting in longer journeys
- School run is part of an onward journey The consequence of this change includes:
- Huge increase in peak period traffic congestion
- Increase in atmospheric pollution
- Children are given less opportunity to develop road safety and personal safety skills
Over the past twenty years, many projects have been developed to encourage children who are driven to school to use other modes of transport, but it is only recently that such ideas have started to become more widely accepted.
Blackburn with Darwen is committed to a strategy which provides information and supports a healthier choice of transport modes, particularly reducing the amount of car use on the school run. Throughout the borough, school staff, pupils and parent(s)/carer(s) are encouraged to choose an active way to travel to school; information and activities are readily available.
If you expect to move by September but you are still living at your current address when you apply, we can only consider your application from the new address if you provide the following documents:
- a copy of a letter from a solicitor confirming that contracts have been exchanged; or
- a copy of the signed tenancy agreement; and
- a copy of your council tax bill.
If your house purchase or rental has not reached a stage where you can provide these documents by the deadline for notification of exceptional change in circumstances (please see important dates), we will consider your application from your current address. However, it is important that you tell us if you move house at any time, particularly during the application process, as it could affect your child’s allocation. Investigations will be made.
Closing date for applications
- All secondary school applications must be received by the Council by 31 October 2022.
- All primary school applications must be received by the Council by 15 January 2023.
When posting a paper application you will need to allow enough time for the application to reach us by the closing date. Any applications received after this date will be treated as a late application unless the local authority considers that there are good reasons for the application being late. Further information on late applications can be found below.
Change of preferences after the closing date
If you wish to change a preference after the closing date for applications the Council will consider your request but will normally treat it as a “late application” for the new preferred school (see paragraph below). However, if there are exceptional reasons for your change of preference, e.g. if you have changed address, then provided the application/change of preference is received before the exceptional change in circumstances (please see important dates), the new preference may be considered alongside the applications which were submitted on time.
If the admission authority is not satisfied that there were relevant exceptional circumstances for the delay then any application form received after the closing date but before places are allocated, will only be considered after all the on-time applications have been considered and allocated places.
Important: If a late application is received after the deadline for notification of exceptional change in circumstances (please see important dates), it will not be possible for the admission authority to consider it alongside the on-time applications even if there are exceptional reasons for the delay in submitting the application or for the change of preference.
By law, all schools are required to apply an equal preference system for admissions. This means that all schools must consider all preferences expressed for their school, whether listed as first, second or third preference on the application form without taking into consideration the rank order of the preference.
The four examples below are designed to give you an idea of how the mechanism for determining the offer of a school place works.
- Preference 1 – School A
- Preference 2 – School B
- Preference 3 – School C
The allocation process identified that a place could be offered at School A, School B and School C. Therefore, the place offered would be at School A as this is the highest ranked school at which a place could be offered.
- Preference 1 – School A
- Preference 2 – School B
- Preference 3 – School C
The allocation process identified that a place could be offered at School B and School C. Therefore, the place offered would be at School B as this is the highest ranked school at which a place could be offered.
The child’s name would be kept on the waiting list for their first preference school.
- Preference 1 – School A
- Preference 2 – School B
- Preference 3 – School C
The allocation process identified that a place could be offered at School C. The child would therefore be offered a place at School C as this is the highest ranked school at which a place could be offered.
The child’s name would be kept on the waiting list for the first and second preference school.
- Preference 1 – School A
- Preference 2 – School B
- Preference 3 – School C
The allocation process identified that a place could not be offered at any of the preferences. The child would therefore be offered a place at the next nearest school to their home address which had places available.
The child’s name would be kept on the waiting list for the first, second and third preference school.
Notification of the offer of a place
Parents and carers who apply online will receive the decision letter by email and will able to view which school your child has been offered on the online parent portal. Parents and carers who apply using the paper application form will receive the decision letter by post.
- Primary National Offer day is 17 April 2023
- Secondary National Offer day is 1 March 2023
Responding to the place offered
You must respond to the offer of a place. Failure to respond to the offer of a school place may result in your child’s place being withdrawn.
- Primary school deadline to accept or decline their offer of a place is 28 April 2023
- Secondary school deadline to accept or decline their offer of a place is 15 March 2023
Parents who fail to respond to their offer of a school place will be contacted by the admission team either by email or letter. You will be asked to respond and confirm whether you accept or decline the place you have been offered for your child.
If you do not respond to this correspondence by the date stipulated, we will assume that you do not require the place and it will be withdrawn. This will mean that your child will be without a school place. If you then decide you want a place at an academy or a maintained school for your child, you will have to contact the admissions team to discuss an alternative school place for your child.
If you are not happy with the offer that has been made and you wish to explore alternative options please read information about appeals and waiting lists which you will find at: www.blackburn.gov.uk/admissions.
If you have made alternative arrangements for your child's education, for example, at a private or independent school, please email Blackburn with Darwen Admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your child is not offered any of my listed preferences
If a child is not allocated a place at any of the schools listed on the application, the Council will write to the parents and carers offering the child a place at an alternative school.
Change of preference or new applications received after the notification of offer date
If you wish to apply for a change of preference for your child after the notification of offer date, please contact the School Admissions Team.
If you have not previously submitted an application you must still complete the Council’s application form. The Council will forward your form and any relevant documents to the admissions authority of the school(s) preferred for them to consider. The Council will inform you about the outcome of your application. Where a place cannot be offered, the child’s details will be placed on the waiting list and you will be informed of your right of appeal.
All admission authorities must maintain a waiting list until at least 31 December in the academic year of admission for every oversubscribed school. The admission authority must use the existing oversubscription criteria to rank the children.
No distinction is made between applications received on time and late applications, therefore these waiting lists may change at any time.
The waiting lists maintained by the Local Authority will operate until 31 December only. Different arrangements for waiting lists may apply at voluntary aided faith schools, trust schools, free schools and academies. Further information is available from the relevant school.
After this, if you want your child to change to another school, you should contact the headteacher of your child’s existing school or the Council’s Fair Access Team who will explain the procedures for changing schools.
Right of appeal
If your child(ren) has not been successful in gaining admission to their preferred school you will have the right of appeal against the decision. The letter will also indicate the school at which a place has been offered. Information about appeal procedures for the voluntary aided faith schools, free schools and academies is available from the relevant school.
Appeals are considered by an independent appeal panel. The panel is made up of people who have played no part in the original allocation of places and who are independent of the school and the Council. The independent appeal panel’s decision is binding on all parties.
You will normally be given two weeks’ notice of the date, time and venue of the appeal hearing. All relevant papers will be sent to you approximately two weeks before the hearing.
The yearly appeals for the reception and year 7 intakes often involve a large number of appeals for individual schools which can last over several days or weeks but the panel cannot make any decisions until they have heard all the appeals for that school/year group.
Once the panel has made the decisions on all the cases for that school/year group, a decision letter (confirming the outcome and, in the case of unsuccessful appeals, full details of the reasons for the panel’s decision) will be sent to all appellants within 5 working days of the decisions being made.
If you need advice on completing the appeal form please contact the School Admissions Team on (01254) 666605 or an independent advisor.
Oversubscribed year groups
Parents/carers may occasionally go to appeal and notice that some year groups in the school which they prefer are over the published admission number. In most cases this is due to previous successful appeals. In addition, fair access protocols allow certain vulnerable children to access school places outside of the admissions and appeals procedures.
Law on infant class sizes
The law says that infant pupils (aged 4-7 years) must not be taught by one teacher in a class that has more than 30 children. However, that requirement does not apply in any of the following cases:
- The class is taught by more than one teacher
- The class is mostly made up of junior children, even if there are also some infants
- Where a child with an Education, Health and Care Plan or a statement of Special Educational Needs who is normally educated in a special educational needs unit or special school joins an infant class occasionally.
Classes may also be allowed to go over the limit if after an allocation/admissions round:
- A child moves into the area after the normal admission round and there is no other available school within a reasonable distance of their home
- The child receives an Education, Health and Care Plan (ECHP) or an Individual Pupil Resource agreement (IPRA) naming the school; or a child moves into the area with an EHCP or an IPRA naming the school.
- A Looked After Child (or Previously Looked After child) is admitted
- A pupil is initially refused admission to a school but is then offered a place at that school because of an error in applying the admission arrangements or the independent appeal panel allows the appeal
- If one twin/multiple birth child was the last child to be allocated a place, and the other twin/multiple birth siblings would have been refused a place.
Infant class size appeals
The independent appeal panel has limited powers when considering appeals for such infant classes. The independent appeal panel cannot take into account individual circumstances such as family problems, transport and childcare arrangements when considering such appeals. The independent appeal panel will also not take into consideration any new evidence in support of the admission appeal, if it was not made available to the school or the Council when you initially applied for admission.
The law states that in an infant class size appeal a panel can only admit a child if:
- It finds that the admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size limit; OR
- It finds that the admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or were not correctly and impartially applied AND that the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; OR
- It decided that the decision to refuse the admission of your child was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of this case
Unless the independent appeal panel is satisfied that you have proved one of these 3 grounds, they cannot allow your appeal.
Please note; different rules apply where the appeal is not for an infant class already containing 30 children.
You may appeal for more than one school, but are normally only allowed to appeal once for each school in respect of a school year.
Distress caused to a pupil because of not gaining a place at the preferred school will not normally be considered sufficient grounds for granting a re-appeal.
Requests for re-appeals for the voluntary aided faith schools, trust schools, free school and academies are considered by the relevant school and not the Council.
If you need advice on completing an appeal form please contact the School Admissions Team on (01254) 666605 or an independent advisor.
Changing schools during the academic year
Generally a child admitted into a primary school as a reception pupil will remain in that school until age 11. Occasionally, parent(s)/carer(s) may consider a change of school. Before requesting a change of school, please contact the headteacher of your child’s current school. More information about changing schools is listed in the Council’s “In Year Admission Form”.
You can request the form by email from the Fair Access Team email@example.com or telephone (01254) 666605 (option 2).
Free school meals/Education benefits
All children in reception and years 1 & 2 are entitled to a free school meal as part of the governments ‘Universal Infant Free School Meals’ initiative. Talk to your child’s school for further details about how to take up your entitlement.
The school can also benefit from increased funding to support education if your child would be eligible, on income grounds, for a free school meal and you make an application.
Discretionary Leave of Absence
The pupil registration regulations remain explicit that headteachers may no longer grant any pupil leave of absence during term-time (such as for a family holiday) unless there are exceptional circumstances and the parent(s)/carer(s) make a formal application for the leave in advance.
While family holidays are enriching experiences, the school year is designed to give families the opportunity for these breaks without having to disrupt their children’s education. It is for headteachers to consider the specific details and relevant context behind each leave request, as schools know their pupils best and are well placed to make those judgements. The regulations also do not allow schools to give retrospective approval and if parent(s)/carer(s) did not formally apply in advance or a child is subsequently kept away from school for longer than was originally agreed with the headteacher, then the pupil’s absence must be recorded as unauthorised and each individual parent could receive penalty notice sanctions for £60 or £120 if paid after 21 days but within 28 days.
Further advice on attendance is available either from your child’s school or by contacting the Council’s Inclusion Team by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.