Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
If your question is not answered in this section, please contact email@example.com for more information. Additionally, if your home address is another local authority, you should contact them for further advice.
I will be moving into a temporary address in Sutton, whilst looking for a permanent place to live. Can I apply for Sutton schools?
If you have moved to Sutton temporarily, we will not be able to process your school application until you can advise us of a more permanent address. If your new address is in a different local authority you can still apply for Sutton schools.
How should I use my preferences? Do I put the schools that have vacancies at the top of my list?
You should name your preference schools in the order in which you prefer them. If your favourite school/s is not showing as having a vacancy on the vacancy checker you should still put them in the highest positions on your list. Then, if you are offered a lower preference school, you can stay on the waiting list of the higher preference schools until the end of the academic year
e.g. School preferences
1 Manor Park Primary - automatically stays on waiting list (until the end of the academic year)
2 Robin Hood Infants - automatically stays on waiting list (until the end of the academic year)
3 Cheam Common Infants -automatically stays on waiting list (until the end of the academic year)
4 Dorchester Primary – offered a place and accepts
If I arrive in July/August, will my child have a place to start school at the start of term in September?
As schools do not process applications over the summer holidays, we cannot guarantee this will happen. Much will depend on the school, when you apply and if they have vacancies. Schools will be keen for children to start as soon as possible in September. They will try not to delay start dates, but may first want to see how many children have left over the summer and then may need some time to check who should have those places from their waiting list.
Can I be offered a school I didn’t ask for?
If your preferred schools are unable to offer a place, we have a duty to find an alternative for Sutton residents. If your home address is in another Local Authority, you should contact them for further advice. How this works will depend on your child’s age and year group:
For primary aged children (Reception to Year 6), we will tell you where there may be vacancies and ask you which schools you may prefer.
For secondary aged children (Year 7 to Year 10) we will arrange a school place for you. This may be at one of your preferences, but this cannot be guaranteed.
If your child is Year 11 age, we will ask a local provider to arrange tuition.
Can I provide home learning for my child whilst waiting for a school place to be offered?
Yes, please see the link below
If you decide to educate your child at home on a permanent basis rather than short term, whilst waiting for the application process to be completed, you will need to contact the Elective Home Education Team
What Childcare/Education is available for my child who is under school age?
The Family Information Service team will be able to help you with your enquires:
I am living (or going to be living) in Sutton - can I apply for schools in other local authorities?
Yes, you can make more than one school application at a time. If your preferred school is in another local authority, please look at their website for more information. Please click on the local authority name below which will take you to their website.
I can see from the vacancy checker that there are no school vacancies in years 8-11, what will happen to my child’s education?
The London Borough of Sutton has an obligation to provide education to every child living in their Borough. You should still complete the In Year school application in full which will be referred on to each school named, who will provide you with an outcome direct. If at the time of application all schools are full, the Sutton School Admissions team will then look to provide alternative education arrangements. This may mean there is a delay in your child being offered a school place.
You can apply to other local authorities as mentioned in the question above.
If I am offered an alternative school, how far will my child have to travel?
With primary schools, there are sufficient places across different parts of the borough to ensure families do not have to travel far, though we recognise this isn’t ideal, particularly if you don’t drive or have multiple children to take to school.
For secondary schools, we try and ensure a school offered is local, but may not be the nearest one.
There is free bus travel for children in London, and Sutton has good transport links which we take into account if we have to offer an alternative school.
There are lots of families arriving from overseas – are there enough places for everyone?
At present there are sufficient places for every child that needs one – either with vacancies, or with a commitment from schools to ensure additional places can be provided. We monitor the numbers of arrivals, leavers and vacancies so that any potential issue can be planned for with the council officers responsible for place planning.
I have twins will they get a place in the same school?
Whilst twins can usually be placed together, it is not always possible for twins and or siblings to be placed in the same school. It depends on the vacancies that schools have and if they can offer an additional place if they only have one vacancy. Therefore, it is possible that you may receive different school offers for your children. If that happens you can contact us firstname.lastname@example.org to see which schools may have more than 1 vacancy in a particular year group. Where you have siblings in different year groups please use the vacancy checker to help you complete your application form.
Can I apply for independent / private schools?
Yes, but you do this directly to those schools and not through the School Admissions Team.
I do not think my child will be able to manage in the correct class age group, can I apply for the year group below?
My child is educationally gifted can they be placed in the year group above their age?
Schools in Sutton are used to educating children from all over the world and from different educational and language backgrounds. Whilst you can request this, the schools (as the educational experts) would consider your request and they would usually prefer to educate each child in the English year group system according to their date of birth. If once your child starts school, they believe that they will need additional help or need to be placed in a different year group (higher or lower) they will discuss this with you.
If you would like to request an out of year group place, you must provide your educational reasons for doing so and provide supporting information to support this where possible, and we encourage you to discuss your reasons with the schools before making an application. Covid 19 has affected the education of children in various countries and Sutton schools will have plans in place to support all affected children, therefore this would not be seen as an acceptable reason to start in a lower year group.
My child needs support with English language – how is this provided?
Schools are funded to provide language support where needed. This may be different school to school, and you should discuss this with them when you are offered a place.
My child has special educational needs (SEN) – do I apply for a school place in the same way?
Yes, we would recommend you do this, but provide any information and reports relating to your child’s SEN and we can discuss your application with our specialist staff. The school will need to know what support your child may need in school and they will discuss this with you.
If you would like any advice, support, and guidance with SEN, please contact the Sutton Information, Advice and Support Service (SIASS). Their website and contact information can be found here
My favourite school/s have a vacancy in the year below my child’s age, can I apply for that school place?
No. As mentioned above schools prefer to educate children in the correct year group according to their age and would only look to educate children out of their year group if this was an education need and in their best interests educationally.
The following information was provided as guidance from the government regarding educating children out of their age (chronological) year group
Moving back to the normal age group
Once a child has been admitted to a school, it is for the head teacher to decide how best to educate them. This may, on occasion, include deciding that a child should be moved to higher or lower age group, including moving a child who has been admitted out of their normal age group, into their normal age group. This decision should only be made where there are sound educational reasons to do so and in consultation with the child’s parents.
Transfer to other schools
As children whose school start has been delayed move through the system, they will reach transition points. For children who have attended an infant school, this will be when they move up to junior school. In some areas of the country, this could be when the child moves to middle school. For other children, this will be when they reach secondary age. The decision by one admissions authority does not bind other admissions authorities. If you wish your child to remain outside of their age group when they transfer to a new school, you will need to apply once again for an outside normal year group place. It is possible that a new admissions authority will decide that it is in your child’s best interests to return to their normal year group and so your child would miss a school year.
Most Sutton schools do not operate catchment areas as such for their schools. In general, if a school has a space, they must offer it regardless of how far away from the school you live. Conversely, if the school is full – even if you live next door to it – they will not normally be able to offer a place.
When you apply in advance for normal points of entry to a school, such as to the Reception class or to Year 7, the distances they will offer to can change each year. In our guidance booklets we indicate how places were offered the previous year as a guide.
If you are making an in-year application, you will find grammar schools are generally full and you may get added to a waiting list. If or when a vacancy arises the school may organise a test to determine who on their waiting list should be offered a place. You can stay on a waiting list while taking a place at an alternative school.
Year 11 Arrival
If you arrive into the borough and your child is in Year 11, and you are not successful in gaining a school place, we will arrange education with an alternative provider. We ask The Limes College to arrange this, and they will get in touch to find out what subjects your child is studying and will aim to organise this with a local provider
You can lodge appeals for your preferred schools, and each school you have applied for will provide you with information on how to do this.