School Admissions

Policies and Law affecting Admissions

At what age does my child legally have to attend school?

Can my child be educated in a different year group?

How does the County Council meet my parental preference?

Are there class size limits in schools?

Why do you need to know about parental responsibility for my child?

Legal/known name/s of child

What provision do you make for UK Service personnel?

What provision do you make for Gypsy & Traveller families?

What are the rights of children from overseas?

What are my rights of appeal?  

Will school meals be available to my child?

How can I find out about Free School Meals entitlement?  

Will my child wear school uniform?

What financial assistance might I be eligible for?

What charges might I have to pay?

What public examinations will my child take?

What child protection arrangements are in place?

What if my child has Additional Learning Needs?

1)  At what age does my child legally have to attend school?

Parents of children between the ages of 5 and 16 must ensure that their children receive suitable full time education. A child reaches statutory school age at the beginning of the term following his or her fifth birthday. Conversely, all young people are required to remain in education until they cease to be of compulsory school age; the school leaving date is the last Friday in June in the school year in which a child reaches the age of 16.

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2)  Can my child be educated in a different year group?

The Local Authority has a Guide to Good Practice on Educating Young People Out of Their Chronological Year Group. This document outlines the procedures that have to be followed when consideration needs to be given to advancing or holding back a young person in education. Parents need to approach their school setting for discussions around this subject.

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3)  How does the County Council meet my parental preference?

The County Council is required by law to make arrangements for parents to express their preference for the school where they wish their child to be educated, and provide an opportunity to give reasons for their preference before any places are offered.  The Admissions Authority must meet your preference if it can, but certain factors may prevent this.  These include:

  • the efficient use of resources and accommodation
  • the efficient provision of education
  • statutory class size limits

All schools have an admission number, which is used as a guide in deciding whether any year group within a school is full or has places available.  If there are more applications than places available then the oversubscription criteria are applied. The Admission Number for each school is shown in the list of schools.

Parents may express a preference for their child's education at:

Age 3 - early years classes/units attached to infant or primary schools (where these are available).  Three year olds attend part time only

Age 4-5 - infants schools or infant departments of primary schools

Age 7 - junior schools

Age 11 - secondary education

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4)  Are there class size limits in schools?

Yes.  The law says that, apart from some very limited exceptions, no infant class may contain more than 30 pupils being taught by one teacher.  The Welsh Assembly Government has also set a target that no junior class should exceed 30 pupils. 

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5)  Why do you need to know about parental responsibility for my child?

The Authority needs to know who has 'parental responsibility' for each child and the person making an application needs to confirm their status accordingly. This is to ensure that proper authority is given when the school needs parental permission. It will also make sure that people with parental responsibility who do not live with a child can be provided with school reports and given an opportunity to take part in the child’s education, as they are entitled to receive this information unless there is a specific court order preventing this.

Where more than one person has parental responsibility for a child, the person completing the application for a school place must take all reasonable steps to discuss and agree the application with others with parental responsibility, where their whereabouts are known. If the whereabouts of others with parental responsibility are unknown, this should be stated in writing. The place may be lawfully withdrawn if the information given is fraudlent or misleading, including parental responsibility disputes.

Who has parental responsibility for the child?

  • Mothers always have parental responsibility (unless a court order is in place that states she will no longer have the responsibility eg in adoption cases).

  • Fathers who were married to the mother prior to 2003 have parental responsibility.

  • Fathers also have parental responsibility for a child if the child was born after 2003 and their name is on the child’s birth certificate.

  • Unmarried fathers, step-parents, relatives and other person can obtain parental responsibility but they do not have it automatically.

Parents are asked to co-operate with the Admissions Officer by providing details of those people with parental responsibility for a pupil. Your child's school should be informed of any changes in the arrangements for parental responsibility or in the day to day care of your child. Any reference to parents within this booklet includes anyone having legal parental responsibility.

The County Council may request proof of parental responsibility and/or the child's birth certificate, if it considers it necessary to do so.

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6)  Legal/known name/s of child

The legal name of your child is that which is shown on his/her birth certificate.  Please ensure that this is given on all admission and transfer application forms.  Should your child be known by another name, then this should also be included on the relevant forms.  There are specific procedures to be followed for changing a child's legal name, and this can be undertaken by Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration.  Please take legal advice before considering this and ensure that your child's school is made aware of any subsequent changes to the child's legal name by providing a copy of the relevant documentation.

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7)  What provision do you make for UK Service personnel?

Families of UK Service personnel and other Crown Servants are subject to frequent movement within the UK and from abroad, often at relatively short notice. As a result, applications for school places for the approaching school year will be considered if accompanied by an official Ministry of Defence or Foreign and Commonwealth Office letter declaringa return date. School places will then be allocated in advance if the applicant would meet the criteria when they move to their destination. Unit postal addresses for applications from service personnel will also be accepted, in the absence of a new home postal address.

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8)  What provision do you make for Gypsy & Traveller families?

Admission applications made in respect of Gypsy and Traveller children to a Pembrokeshire school, whether residing permanently or temporarily in the area, will be dealt with as quickly as possible, to allocate the nearest available and appropriate school.

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9)  What are the rights of children from overseas?

Children from overseas, whether they are accompanied or unaccompanied by parents, have the same rights to education as British Citizen children. As a result, the County Council will treat such applications for admission to schools in the same way. The Local Authority should ensure that there are no unreasonable delays in securing the admission of asylum seeking and refugee pupils and admission practice must be commensurate with that applied to all other pupils.

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10)  What are my rights of appeal?

Appeals can be submitted for applications for a Reception place and above and must be made in writing, setting out the grounds on which it is made, and sent to the Director for Children and Schools within 14 days (10 working days) of notification of your application for a school place being unsuccessful. Appeals will be heard and considered by the Independent Appeals Panel within 30 school days of the specified closing date for the receipt of appeals, or within 30 school days of the appeal being received in writing if the appeal is made outside the timetabled admissions process. Appeals received during the summer holidays will be heard within 30 working days. You will have the right to present your case to the Panel in person. The Panel may allow you to be accompanied by a friend or to be represented; in addition, children are permitted to give evidence where they wish to do so. The decision of the Appeals Panel is binding on the County Council and on schools’ governing bodies. However, there is no right of appeal for nursery admissions.

If you are refused a place at a voluntary aided school, the school concerned will advise you of its appeals procedure.

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11)   Will school meals be available to my child?

Yes. School meals are provided by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Catering Team. 

There are three menus per year which are displayed in the Lennie the Leek signs at the school. All children are given menu leaflets to take home and discuss with parents. Menus are also available to view on our website  School Menus

The catering service currently offer two school meals discount schemes:  For more information, application form and full terms and conditions visit School Meals section.

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12)  How can I find out about Free School Meals entitlement?

As a parent or legal guardian, your child could be eligible for free school meals if you receive:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance - Income based only
  • The Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credits, with an Annual Household income of under £16,190 p.a. (please note that Working Tax Credit does not qualify even if received in addition to these benefits)
  • Income related Employment Support Allowance Only  Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Further information on the Catering Service in general can be found in School Meals section and in the annual menu booklet which is distributed to each pupil.

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13)   Will my child wear school uniform?

Many primary school pupils and all secondary school pupils in Pembrokeshire wear a school uniform. Your child’s school will provide you with details as part of its prospectus.

A Welsh Assembly School Clothing Grant may be available towards the cost of secondary school clothing and uniform for pupils commencing Year 7 whose parents qualify for free school meals. Pupils entering Year 7 who do not qualify for Free School Meals and pupils between Years 8-11 may qualify for a Discretionary School Clothing Grant if they meet certain criteria. School uniform is not compulsory in primary school, and no clothing grants are available for pupils of primary school age.

Further information on the above grants and application forms are available by contacting 01437 764551, or by writing to Revenue Services, County Hall, Haverfordwest SA61 1TP.

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14)   What financial assistance might I be eligible for?

If your child stays on at school after statutory school leaving age, he or she may be eligible for a Welsh Government Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). The allowance is means tested and you will need to provide details of your income. Application forms are available from the secondary school your child attends or from the EMA Wales website at

Information on accessing financial assistance for secondary school clothing and school meals can be found in section 13 and 12

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15)   What charges might I have to pay?

During your child’s time at school, the majority of the activities offered by schools are free of charge. However, there are occasions when you will be asked to make a contribution towards costs. Information regarding a school's policy for charges and remissions for school activities can be obtained from the Headteacher of the school concerned.

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16)   What public examinations will my child take?

All public examinations arranged for your child comply with legal requirements and are approved by the Qualifications in Wales, the regulator of non-degree qualifications and the qualifications system in Wales. Approved qualifications are posted on the Qualifications in Wales website (

The decision to enter your child for public examinations is taken by the school. There is a fee to be paid for each examination and the school meets the cost of this fee when your child is entered for the first time. If your child misses an examination without a valid medical reason then you will be liable for the fee. Similarly, you may be liable for the payment of fees for examination re-sits. However, the school will be able to provide you with further details on these matters.

All schools will provide you with details of their public examination results if you ask them.

In addition to the above, and as part of the Wales Government’s drive to improve standards of literacy and numeracy, all learners in years 2 to 9 (7-14 year olds) will be required to be assessed annually using national reading and numeracy tests.

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17)   What child protection arrangements are in place?

The care and wellbeing of pupils is a principal concern of all schools. All school staff adhere to the All Wales Child Protection Procedures in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Every school has a child protection policy and will have a named designated senior person who is responsible for child protection matters and for dealing with individual allegations of abuse. 

The school has a statutory duty to act in the best interests of the child and therefore has a duty to make a referral if there are concerns about a child’s welfare or if there is an allegation of abuse. In order to proctect and safeguard a child it will sometimes be necessary to contact the Child Care Assessment Team (CCAT) within the Social Services Department without informating the partents. This is a sensitive area of work and the support of parents is important when schools implement safeguarding protocols. Please be assured that school staff are working with the wellbeing of your child firmly in mind.

Pembrokeshire schools operate a Preventing Extremism and Radicalisation Policy, which is intended to provide a framework for dealing with issues relating to vulnerability, radicalisation and exposure to extreme views.

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18)   What if my child has Additional Learning Needs?

For further information about the services provided see Inclusion and SEN section.

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ID: 529, revised 07/02/2018