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Choosing a School and Applying for Admission

When can my child start school?

How do I obtain a school place for my 3 year old child?

How do I choose a school for my child?

How do I apply for a place for my child?

When should I apply for a place at my preferred school?

Will my child be eligible for school transport?

Do schools have a limit upon the number of pupils that can be admitted?

How are school places allocated?

How will I be informed of my application for a school place?

If I miss the published admission deadline, how will my application be dealt with?

Can I apply for a school outside Pembrokeshire?

What are clusters of schools?

What if I want a Church influenced education for my children?

How do I determine the language category of a school?  

i)  When can my child start school?   

In Pembrokeshire, children are eligible to attend school on a part-time basis from the first term after their third birthday and full-time basis from the first term after their fourth birthday. Please note that compulsory education commences from the term following their fifth birthday. The date of your child's birthday determines when he or she can start school, regardless of the date when the term starts and the table below shows when your child may be admitted to school.  Parents can opt to defer their child's start date anytime up until the child is of compulsory school age

Child's birthday

Admission Term

1 April - 31 August


1 September - 31 December


1 January - 31 March


Most areas of Pembrokeshire are served by primary schools catering for pupils from 3+ to 11 years and children may attend full time at the age of four, or part time at the age of three, at those schools able to admit three year olds. Where arrangements exist between schools and private early years providers, pupils may commence at the school setting at the beginning of the second or third term following a child's third birthday. You should contact the Admissions Officer to check on the specific arrangements for individual schools.

The law does not require a child to start full time education until the beginning of the school term following the child's fifth birthday. However, pupils are provided with a full time place the term after the age of four years and are strongly encouraged to attend full time in order to receive the full benefits of Foundation Phase education and experiences. The age range of each school is shown in the List of Schools.

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ii)  How do I obtain a school place for my three year old child?

Every three year old child in Wales is entitled to a free part time educational place for a minimum of ten hours per week.  This will normally be available in your catchment area school, whilst living in a school's catchment area does not guarantee admission to the school it is an important factor as it will give the application a higher priority than those who live outside the catchment area.  If your local school does not admit three year old children you can access a free part time place in an Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership approved setting in the non maintained sector e.g. a playgroup/private day nursery.  There is only one place available per child.  You will be asked to supply a copy of your child's full birth certificate (and change of name deed if appropriate) this will be checked for the legal name of child, date of birth and parental responsibility, the admissions office will note on the records that the certificate has been seen and any copies destroyed. 

Further information about early years' places in the non-maintained sector may be obtained from:

Pembrokeshire Family Information Service (FIS)
Turret 0G
County Hall
Sa61 1TP

Tel:          01437 770014

The Family Information Service (FIS) is a free, impartial service giving detailed information on registered childcare provision in Pembrokeshire as well as general information on a wide range of services for children aged 0 - 19 years and their families in the County.

The Flying Start programme offers enhanced services to families who live in the specified areas who have a child between the ages of 0-4 years. 

There are four core elements:
• Free quality Child Care for up to 2.5 hours a day, for eligible children between the ages of 2-3 years, at a registered Flying Start playgroup
• An enhanced Health Visiting Service • Parenting skills
• Early language development

Childcare: From the term after their second birthday each child will be offered a place at a registered Flying Start playgroup for 12.5hrs a week over five days for up to 39 weeks a year.

Health: Your child's wellbeing comes first, the health team will offer extra support and advice throughout pregnancy and the first four years of your child's life.

Parenting: Flying Start offers a variety of parenting support services where parents pick up advice and skills, swap ideas and share common experiences through our structured groups and informal groups such as Parent & Toddler's and Baby Massage.

Early Language Development: Early Language Development is supported through a range of activities including play, crafts, songs and stories in a group setting or in your home.

Please contact the Flying Start Information Officer to see if you are eligible for the Flying Start Project on 01437 770004.

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iii)  How do I choose a school for my child?

Each school in Pembrokeshire serves a defined area, known as its catchment area. The exception to this is Ysgol y Preseli. As it is the county's designated bilingual secondary school, Ysgol y Preseli effectively serves all pupils accessing Welsh medium education in Pembrokeshire primary schools. Details of the area served by each school are available at the school, or can be viewed within each school's entry in the List of Schools.  You can also check which catchment area serves your postal address by using Services in your area.  Most pupils attend the catchment school serving their area, but you may express a preference for a different school.  Before doing so, you should read the information on Clusters of Schools (section xii below) and Schools Transport, which consider the educational and transport implications of your child's attendance at your preferred school.

The List of Schools shows the shows the following information (for the previous school year):

  • The age range of each school
  • The number of pupils on roll
  • The capacity of the school and resulting admission number
  • The number of written applications for places at the school
  • The number of appeals made, and the number that were successful
  • The school's language category

If you are considering moving into the north east of Pembrokeshire, you need to be aware that Welsh is the main medium of life and work in schools in that area.

You are advised to contact the school you are considering in order to obtain a copy of its prospectus and arrange with the headteacher to visit the school before making your decision.

In addition you may obtain independent information on a school's performance by visiting the ESTYN website in order to view the findings of its most recent inspection report.  ESTYN is the office of Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales -

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iv)  How do I apply for a place for my child?

Whether you want your child to attend your catchment area school or a different school, you must apply to the Admissions Officer, you may indicate your preferred choice of 1, 2 or 3 schools. You may apply by using the admission application form NP1 which is available from a range of County Council buildings, including your preferred school; alternatively it can be downloaded from Admissions & Transport Application Forms.  

Applications for places in community or voluntary controlled schools must be returned to the Admissions Officer by the deadline shown in section v below.

Applications for admission to voluntary aided Church in Wales or Catholic schools should be returned to the headteacher of the relevant school by the deadline shown in their admissions information (see Admissions to Voluntary Aided Schools).  

By law, all applications for admission must be made by means of a completed application form (online or hardcopy). Please note that telling the headteacher of your preferred school is insufficient to secure a place and that whilst the application form can be returned to the preferred school, the Headteacher is unable to make a decision on the place offered.  

You may be asked to provide proof of your address, e.g. in the form of recent utility bills, when applying for a school place.  In addition, if you are making your first application for a place in a Pembrokeshire maintained school, you MUST provide a copy of the child's birth certificate, if not already supplied at the nursery application stage. 

You may express preference for more than one school. All applicants will be admitted to a school unless the Admission Number for that school is exceeded. The County Council will then allocate places according to the oversubscription criteria shown in section viii below.  You may express a preference for Welsh Medium education or for a Church school.

If your child is admitted to nursery education at a school, you must re-apply for a Reception place.  The Reception year Class starts the Autumn Term of the academic year in which a child attains the age of 5.   If there are more applications than Reception places available, the oversubscription criteria explained in section viii will be applied. 

Once a School place has been agreed and you wish to defer entry to school, this must be made in writing to the Admissions Office and can only be deferred within the academic year, otherwise a new application must be made. If the pupils have not started at the school within four weeks of the agreed start date the place may be withdrawn.

A school place may be withdrawn if a parent gives incorrect or fraudulent information when applying for admission.  You may be required to provide proof of your address in connection with your application for a school place.   

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v)  When should I apply for a place at my preferred school?

Admissions Application Timetable Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools:


Provision Children Born Between School Start Date Information Out to Parents  Application Deadline Date Notification Date Appeals Closing Date
Nursery Place (NP1 Form) 1 Sept 2014 to
31 Aug 2015
January, April or
September 2018
28th April 2017 By end of
July 2017
No right of appeal for
Nursery admission
Reception Place (RE1 Form) 1 Sept 2012 to
31 Aug 2013
Autumn Term
Sept 2017
Autumn Term Sept 2016 31 January 2017 16 April 2017 Within 10 working days of notification
Infant to Junior Transfer (IJT1 Form) (as applicable)  1 Sept 2009 to 
31 Aug 2010
 Autumn Term
Sept 2017
 Autumn Term Sept 2016  16 December 2016 1 March 2017  Within 10 working days of notification
Secondary Education Transfer (SST1 Form)  1 Sept 2005 to 
31 Aug 2006
Autumn Term 
Sept 2017  
 Autumn Term Sept 2016    16 December 2016 1 March 2017  Within 10 working days of notification 


Applications for nursery places can be made at any time. Reception place applications should be made according to the timetable; all applications received by the deadline date are considered together, therefore, no preferential treatment is given to early applications. Applications received after the closing date will be processed as late applications and will not be considered until those received before the deadline have been allocated and may reduce your chance of getting a place in your preferred school. To avoid disappointment and maximise the chance of obtaining a place at your preferred school please ensure you submit your application by the specified deadline date.

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vi)  Will my child be eligible for school transport?

Not necessarily.  The admission of a child to a school does not mean that free transport is provided.  The provision of transport is a separate issue.  The County Council does not provide transport for pupils to schools other than to their catchment school or the nearest school, and then only to eligible pupils.  You must bear in mind that you will be responsible for transport arrangements and costs if your child is admitted to a school that is not the catchment school or the nearest school.  Our Transport Policy is fully explained in Schools Transport.  

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vii)  Do schools have a limit upon the number of pupils that can be admitted?

Yes.  All schools have a capacity from which an Admission Number is calculated.  All schools must admit pupils up to their admission number.

The Admission Number will reflect the capacity of the school for each year group and your child will be allocated a place at a school unless it is full. If the number of applications to a school is the same as or less than the Admission Number, all applicants will be admitted. If the number of applications exceeds the Admission Number, all applications will be assessed against the over-subscription criteria and places awarded accordingly.

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viii)  How are school places allocated?

Pembrokeshire County Council is the Admission Authority for all community and voluntary controlled schools in Pembrokeshire.  The Council's admissions policy and the oversubscription criteria shown below apply to all community and voluntary controlled schools in Pembrokeshire.

Children will be admitted to the preferred school when provision and accommodation allows.  If there are more applications for admission to community and voluntary controlled schools than there are places available, the County Council will use the following oversubscription criteria (applied in order) to prioritise applications from parents expressing a preference for the school:

Oversubscription Criteria for Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools in Priority Order

  1. Current and former Looked After pupils of authorities in Wales and England in accordance with S.22 of the Children Act 1989
  2. Pupils resident within the catchment area which the school is intended to serve
  3. Pupils attending feeder schools (i.e. infant schools feeding junior schools or primary schools in the same "cluster" as a secondary school - see section xii below and the List of Schools)
  4. Siblings (pupils with full, half or step-brothers or sisters or adoptive or foster children)attending the preferred school and living in the same household at the time of admission
  5. Pupils for whom there is exceptional medical or social evidence which clearly justifies admission to a particular school (e.g. letter from a health professional).

In the case of a tie, places will be offered to pupils living nearest to the school, measured by the shortest walking distance from the nearest available school gate to the point where the pupil's private dwelling meets the public highway. 

Where preferences exceed places available, priority will be given under each oversubscription category to multiple birth siblings (e.g. twins or triplets). If the last child to be admitted up to the Admission Number is one of a multiple birth, then the Authority will also admit the other sibling(s).

The Authority utilises a Geographical Information System (GIS) to calculate home to school distances in miles.  The shortest route is calculated using Ordnance Survey (OS) data from where the applicant's home meets the public highway to the point where the nearest school entrance meets the public highway.  The co-ordinates of an applicant's home address are determined using OS data and a Property Gazetteer.  In the event of any disputed distances, an officer measures the distance using a vehicle with a calibrated odometer.

It is important that all applications are received by the set dates so they can be considered together and the oversubscription criteria applied fairly and equitably in each case.  This will also enable any appeals to be dealt with promptly and allow the decision to be made in good time before the child is due to start school.  Early applications are not given priority - all applications received by the published closing date are considered together.

For admissions to schools and for school transport purposes, pupils will be deemed to live at the address of the parent they have lived with in the previous year.  If the pupil has lived with more than one parent /person with parental responsibility, and has not moved permanently to one of the two addresses, then the address where the pupil has lived for the greatest number of school days will be considered as the home address.

Should the Authority be unable to offer a place to a child at their preferred school during the normal admission round due to oversubscription, his/her name will be placed on a waiting list until 30 September in the school year for which they have applied. Thereafter the parents should be expected to make a fresh application for admission. The priority for any places which become available will be given according to the above oversubscription criteria and not according to the date on which the application for a place was originally submitted.

See Admissions to Voluntary Aided Schools for the oversubscription criteria for voluntary aided schools.

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ix)  How will I be told the outcome of my application for a school place?

You will receive a letter from the County Council's Admissions Officer, on the common offer date (see above table), which will give the outcome of any admission application. Where an application is accepted, we will assume you will be taking up the place offered unless you contact us, in writing, to the contrary. In the event of your application being rejected, the letter you receive will outline the reasons for such a decision, information that your child's name has been added to the waiting list, a proforma to return to the admissions office and information regarding your right of appeal against the decision. Please note that there is no right of appeal for nursery applications (ie non compulsory school age children).

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x)  If I miss the published admission deadline, how will my application be dealt with?

Late applications for places, i.e. applications received after the closing date, will be considered after all applications received on time (unless there are exceptional reasons why the application is late, which must be explained at the time of application).  Applications will be considered on the basis of the oversubscription criteria, having regard to current / prospective pupil numbers at the time the application is made.  This means that if your preferred school is oversubscribed, even if you are making an application for your child to attend the catchment school, you may be less likely to be allocated a place if your application is late.

If you change your mind about your preferred school after submitting your original application you must inform the Admissions Officer in writing.  If this decision is made after the published closing date, your application for the new preference will then be treated as a late application even if your original application was received on time.

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xi) Can I apply for a school outside Pembrokeshire?

Yes, but in this case, you should apply to the Local Authority maintaining the school of your choice.  All Local Authorities produce an information booklet for parents and include application criteria and guidelines.

If you wish to apply for a school place in one of our neighbouring Local Authority areas, applications should be made as follows:

Carmarthenshire Ceredigion
Director of Education & Children's Services
Carmarthenshire County Council
The Department for Education and Children,
Building 2,
Parc Dewi Sant,
Jobswell Road,
SA31 3HB
Director of Education & Community Services
Ceredigion County Council
Department of Education & Community Services,
Canolfan Rheidol,
Rhodfa Padarn,
Llanbadarn Fawr,
SY23 3UE
Tel: 01267 246 500 Tel: 01970 617 911

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xii)  What are Clusters of Schools?

Schools in Pembrokeshire work on a ‘Cluster of Schools' basis and there is close co-operation between them. Each cluster is made up of a secondary school and the partner or feeder primary schools. The aim of the Cluster of Schools model is to strengthen links between schools in a way that ensures progression, continuity and support for pupils as they move through the different stages of their education. Children normally transfer to the link school within the Cluster of Schools, but pupils who do not attend their catchment area primary school will be offered a place at the designated secondary school serving their home address.

Some primary schools ‘feed' more than one secondary school because their catchment areas overlap.

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xiii)  What if I want a Church influenced education for my children?

General information about voluntary aided (Church in Wales and Catholic) schools can be obtained from the appropriate Diocesan Director of Education.  Addresses and contact details are as follows:

Church in Wales Catholic Church
Rev Bryan Witt
Diocesan Director of Education,
The Vicarage,
Bridge Street,
St Clears,
SA33 4EE 
Mr Patrick Mansfield
Diocesan Director of Education,
Curial Office,
27 Convent Street,
Tel: 01994 230 266 Tel: 01792 652 757
Fax: 01792 458 641

Admission to voluntary aided Church schools is dealt with by the governing body of the appropriate school.  Applications for places at any of these schools should be made directly to the school.  These schools have their own oversubscription criteria, details of which are given in Admissions to Voluntary Aided Schools.

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xiv)  How do I determine the language category of a school?

The Authority asserts its belief in the educational value of acquiring two languages.  The aim of this bilingual policy is to educate pupils so that they are thoroughly bilingual in the use of both Welsh and English on leaving the primary school so that they can participate fully in the bilingual community of which they are a part.

Welsh Medium education is available within Pembrokeshire, either in community schools in the traditionally Welsh speaking areas in North Pembrokeshire, or in the designated Welsh medium school or units in the Mid and South of the County.  Each school is given a language category which defines the extent of the teaching of Welsh and English in Pembrokeshire Schools.

For a full explanation of Language Category please see The Teaching of Welsh and English

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ID: 20305 Revised: 1/2/2017