Admission to schools in Pembrokeshire - Information for Parents
Part 1 - Choose and apply
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. A timetable of deadlines and notifications can be found in Part 1v. Parents can opt to defer their child’s start date anytime up until the child is of compulsory school age; for more information please contact the Admissions Officer.
Child's birthday falls between
Nursery admission term
|1 April - 31 August||Autumn|
|1 September - 31 December||Spring|
|1 January - 31 March||Summer|
The majority of Pembrokeshire schools cater for pupils from 3+ and children may attend full time the term following their fourth birthday, or part time the term following their third birthday. Please refer to the schools list for further information. 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 schools for which the above applies are as follows:
- 2nd term only – Broad Haven, Spittal
- 3rd term only – Maenclochog, Narberth, Roch, Tavernspite, Templeton, Ysgol Bro Preseli
- Full time nursery only – Clydau, Eglwyswrw, Puncheston, Holy Name
Where schools do not accept part time pupils in the term following their third birthday, the applications will still be processed in the same cohort of children according to their date of birth and the Admissions authority will inform parents of the relevant start date for the particular school.
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 on the School List - Pembrokeshire 2022
ii) How do I apply for a part-time education place for my 3 year old child?
All children in Wales are entitled to a free, part time Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) education place in an approved early years setting from the term following their third birthday and prior to gaining full time entry into school.
Pembrokeshire County Council agrees to provide the funding received from Welsh Government to offer all eligible children a minimum of 10 hours funded part-time education in an approved setting during the school term. Parents can choose to take up the child’s entitlement either in a maintained or a non-maintained setting:
A maintained setting – a nursery class in a school offering 10 hours or more a week of funded Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN). For further information on how to apply for a part-time education place in a maintained setting, visit the Pembrokeshire school admissions webpage
A non-maintained setting – which could be a private day nursery, a playgroup or a Cylch Meithrin that has approved status offering 10 hours a week of funded Foundation Phase Nursery (FPN) over a minimum of 3 days. This can be accessed over 2 settings. For further information on how to apply for a part-time education place in a non-maintained setting, visit the ‘10 hours of Foundation Phase Nursery Grant (FPN)’ webpage
The Childcare Offer for Wales: The Childcare Offer for Wales provides 30 hours a week of government-funded early education (FPN) and childcare for eligible working parents of 3 to 4 year olds, for up to 48 weeks of the year. For further information visit: Childcare Offer Wales
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:
- Funded 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
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.
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.
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.
iii) How do I choose a school for my child?
Each school in Pembrokeshire serves a defined area, known as its catchment area. To find out the name and location of your local school enter your home postcode into the “Services in your Area” search facility on the Pembrokeshire County Council website. Upon choosing the actual address on the subsequent screen, a list of “Nearby Services” is displayed; pressing the “Schools” button will display a list of all catchment schools for the address in question. There is no guarantee for admission to the chosen school, even if you are living in the catchment area.
Details of the area served by each school are available at the school, or on the County Council’s website. 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 Clusters of Schools Part 1xii and School Transport information, which consider the educational and transport implications of your child’s attendance at your preferred school.
A list of schools is available on the County Council’s website.
This shows the following information (for the previous school year):
- The school’s language category
- The age range of each school
- The capacity of the school and resulting admission number
- The number of pupils on roll
- The number of written applications received for places at the school
- The number of successful appeals
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 their prospectus and arrange with the relevant headteacher to visit the school before making your decision. Please note – a visit does not guarantee a place at the school. 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 – You may also visit the My Local School website, which provides access to school data for anyone with an interest in their local school.
iv) How do I apply for a Nursery and/or Primary place for my child?
Applications for places in all Pembrokeshire schools should be made online via the Council's website by the deadlines shown in Part 1v. If you do not have access to a computer/laptop/tablet/smart phone please visit your local library or Customer Service Centre to use their facilities. Schools can also assist you in completing the online form. In exceptional circumstances, for example, where parents do not have an e-mail address, hard copy forms are available from the Admissions Team.
By law, all applications for admission must be made by means of a completed application form (online). Please note that telling the headteacher of your preferred school is insufficient to secure a place and that they are also unable to make a decision on offering a place. In the case of voluntary aided schools, the admission officer will share details of VA school applications with the relevant headteacher in order for a decision to be made by the admissions committee of the governing body of the school on whether or not a place can be offered.
Offers to any school operating on more than one site will be to the school and not a particular site. The site that children attend is a matter for the internal organisation of the school. Appeals cannot be made against the site allocated.
You may be asked to provide proof of your address, e.g. in the form of a signed tenancy or purchase agreement, recent utility bills, child benefit letter or bank statement (dated within the last three months), when applying for a school place.
You may express a preference for more than one school and it would be advisable for parents to apply for more than one school in case the first preference cannot be met. 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 Part 1viii.
If your child is admitted to Nursery education at a school, this does not guarantee your child a Primary School place (Reception class). You must re-apply for a Primary School 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 Primary places available, the oversubscription criteria explained in Part 1viii 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 Officer and can only be deferred within the academic year (unless for Reception – see below), otherwise a new application must be made. If the child has not started at the school within four weeks of the agreed start date the place may be withdrawn.
Parents applying for a Primary School Place (Reception year group) for their child (during or after the normal admission round for these places) may request that entry is deferred until their child is of compulsory school age (term after 5th birthday). If your child was born in the summer term then your child would go straight into year 1. The admissions authority will, in these circumstances, hold the agreed place for the child so that the place is not available for another child.
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.
v) When should I apply for a place at my preferred school?
Admissions Application Timetable Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools
Children Born Between
School Start Date
Information Out to Parents
Application Deadline Date
Appeals Closing Date
1 Sept 2020 to 31 Aug 2021
January, April or September 2024
28 April 2023
By end of July 2023
No right of appeal for Nursery admissions
1 Sept 2018 to 31 Aug 2019
Autumn Term Sept 2023
Autumn Term Sept 2022
31 January 2023
17 April 2023
Within 10 working days of notification
Secondary Education Transfer
1 Sept 2011 to 31 Aug 2012
Autumn Term Sept 2023
Autumn Term Sept 2022
21 December 2022
1 March 2023
Within 10 working days of notification
**Pupils in 3-16 or 3-19 schools will not be required to apply for a transfer to the secondary element of such schools, however, if they would like to apply for a different school these timescales will apply**
Applications for Nursery and Primary School places can be made at any time; all applications received by the deadline date are considered together, 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.
vi) Will my child be eligible for school transport?
You are advised to check if you are eligible for free transport before you decide which school to send your child. You can check if you are eligible for school transport on the school transport website.
All transport enquiries should be made directly to the Transport Department by contacting School transport or phoning 01437 775222.
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 the year group 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.
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 as amended by the Social Service and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2016.
2. Pupils with a statement of Special Educational Needs/IDP that names the School
3. Exceptional medical, psychological or additional learning needs (note a)
4. Pupils living in the catchment area of the school, who will have a sibling of compulsory school age, at the school, at the time of admission (note b)
5. Pupils living in the catchment area of the school, who have attended a feeder school (note c)
6. Pupils living in the catchment area of the school
7. Pupils living outside the catchment area of the school, who will have a sibling of compulsory school age, at the school, at the time of admission (note b)
8. Pupils living outside of the catchment area of the school, who have attended a feeder school (note d)
9. Pupils living outside of the catchment area of the school
N.B. where there is a Statement of Educational Needs/IDP naming a particular school then this must be stated clearly on your application form. Such applications are dealt with separately and prior to the oversubscription criteria being applied.
a) Medical or Psychological Needs can be for either the child or their parents. To be considered under this criterion parents must provide independent supporting evidence at the time of application, which sets out why the preferred school is the most suitable school for the child and the difficulties that would be caused if the child had to attend a different school.
Supporting Evidence which would be considered appropriate would include:
i. Letter or report from one to the following registered health professionals; Specialist Consultant, Community Paediatrician, Psychologist, Educational Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist. The letter or report must be based on the professional’s own knowledge of the child / parent’s condition and circumstances.
ii. Letter or report from a registered Social Work professional, which must be based on their own knowledge of the child / parent’s condition and circumstances.
No priority will be given under this criterion if the required evidence is not produced at the time of application.
Additional Learning Needs must be confirmed by the Local Authority’s Inclusion Service.
b) A sibling is a full, half or step brother or sister, or adopted or foster children, living in the same household at the time of admission.
c) A feeder school is a primary school within the same ‘cluster of schools’ as a secondary school.
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).
For the oversubscription categories that include a sibling criteria (categories 4 & 7), if preferences exceed places available priority will be given to multiple birth siblings and then to those pupils who are closest in age to the sibling already at the school (i.e. pupil with a sibling in year 3 would have a higher priority than a pupil with a sibling in year 6. For a secondary school admission a pupil with a sibling in year 9 would have higher priority that a pupil with a sibling in year 11).
In the case of a 3-16 or 3-19 school, a pupil with a sibling in a separate phase will not meet the criteria in categories 4 and 7 by virtue of the school having separate admission numbers for primary and secondary phases (e.g. a primary aged pupil with a secondary aged sibling in the same school).
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.
The County Council 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.
Where there is a shared parental responsibility for a child, and that child lives with both parents or person with a legal parental responsibility, for part of the week, then the main residence will be determined as the address where the child lives for the majority of the school week (i.e. 3 out of 5 days) or the address where the child benefit is paid.
Should the County Council be unable to offer a place to a child at their preferred school during the normal admission round (Reception and Secondary) due to oversubscription, your child’s name will be added to the waiting list until 30th September in the school year for which they have applied. Thereafter it is the parent’s responsibility to submit a further application. 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 Appendix 4 for the oversubscription criteria for Voluntary Aided schools.
ix) How will I be told the outcome of my application for a school place?
You will receive notification from the County Council’s Admissions Officer, on the common offer date, see Part 1v for Admissions Timetable, which will give the outcome of any admission application. Where a place is offered, parents may accept by responding to the email sent out by the Admissions system.
In the event that you no longer require the school place, please write to the Admissions Officer as soon as possible. In the event of your application being rejected, the email/letter you receive will outline the reasons for such a decision, information that your child’s name has been added to the waiting list and information regarding your right of appeal against the decision, see ‘What are my rights of appeal? Part 2x.
Please note that there is no right of appeal for nursery applications (i.e. non-compulsory school age children).
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, outlined in Part 1v, 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 date received and oversubscription criteria, having regard to current and allocated places and 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 and complete a new online application form. 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.
xi) Can I apply for a school outside Pembrokeshire?
Yes, but in this case, you should apply to the County Council maintaining the school of your choice. All County Councils 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 County
Council areas, applications should be made online to the appropriate authority:
Director of Education & Children’s Services
Carmarthenshire County Council
The Department for Education and Children
Parc Dewi Sant
Jobs Well Road
Tel: 01267 246500
Director of Education & Community Services
Ceredigion County Council
Department of Education & Community Service
Tel: 01970 617911
xii) What are Clusters of Schools?
Schools in Pembrokeshire work on a ‘Cluster of Schools’ basis and there is close co-operation between them. 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. Some primary schools ‘feed’ more than one secondary school because their catchment areas overlap.
xiii) What if I want a Church influenced education for my children?
General information about 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
Revd John Cecil
Diocesan Director of Education
Tel: 01646 692974
Mr Paul White
Diocesan Director of Education
27 Convent Street
Tel: 01792 652757
Applications for places in voluntary aided church schools must be made online using the Council's website. However, decisions in relation to admission are made by the admissions committee of the governing body of the appropriate school. These schools have their own oversubscription criteria, details of which are given in Appendix 3.
xiv) How do I apply for Sixth Form Education?
Admissions to secondary schools’ Sixth Forms sits within the umbrella of the county council by virtue of the fact that it is the Admissions Authority for all community and voluntary controlled schools. However, the day to day arrangements for administering such applications is delegated to the relevant secondary school. Arrangements for admission to Sixth Form Education should be discussed with the individual school. The school will provide you with an application form. Should your application be unsuccessful, details will be provided within the refusal letter on how to appeal.
xv) How do I apply for Portfield Special School and School Based Learning Resource Centres (Attached units)?
Admissions to Portfield Special School and designated Learning Resource Centres attached to mainstream schools are dealt with by the Authority’s Inclusion Service on the basis of pupils’ assessed level of learning difficulties and complex needs. Parents apply online in the usual way and the Admissions Service pass on the details to the Inclusion Service. The above process does not apply to these applications.
xvi) Teaching of Welsh and English in Schools
The County Council 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.
The Council wishes to ensure that all pupils are able to access Welsh medium education of the highest standard and has a clear vision for developing and expanding this provision. This vision is articulated in the Council’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan and is based on the following key principles, i.e.
- To recognise every child’s right to learn Welsh and to promote the benefits of bilingualism;
- To increase the percentage of pupils opting for Welsh medium education and to ensure that it is available to all learners, within a reasonable travelling distance from their homes;
- To build upon past achievements and to promote the highest academic standards possible;
- That learners who have attended a Welsh medium setting in the primary phase will be encouraged and expected to continue with this when transferring to subsequent key stages in the secondary phase.
Welsh medium secondary education is now accessible to children in all areas of Pembrokeshire and the Council’s aspiration is that this is replicated for primary education.
All schools have language categories that define the extent to which they teach Welsh, and Pembrokeshire currently has a mixed economy of Welsh Medium, Dual Stream, Transitional and English Medium schools. Welsh Government’s current language categories are outlined in Appendix 5; however revised categories will be effective from September 2023.
Welsh Language Centres in Secondary Schools
As outlined above, the development and expansion of Welsh medium education remains as our vision and we recognise the importance of creating opportunities for all Pembrokeshire pupils to become bilingual. Pembrokeshire has three Language Centres whose objective is to provide intense Welsh language learning to enable children to gain a level of fluency needed to transfer to education in a Welsh medium school.
These Language Centres operate from Ysgol Bro Preseli, Ysgol Bro Gwaun and Ysgol Caer Elen and the provision is targeted towards pupils in key stage 2. The three centres support latecomers to Welsh with a two year part time course which has a strong focus on developing pupils’ oracy, reading and writing skills with language patterns and vocabulary based on classroom practice, and expressive language in order to support the natural integration of pupils into their schools. Language centre staff communicate regularly with the pupil’s school and parent to discuss pupil progress.