Admissions to schools policy

First published

10 Feb 2022

Last updated

28 Sep 2022


Stirling Council Schools, Learning and Education is committed to ensuring that all pupils have the best possible start in our schools. This policy has been developed to support smooth admission to schools and to ensure that our admissions procedures are clear, efficient and fair.

This policy relates to the admission of children and young people to schools. Guidance on children starting in early years establishments can be found in the Nursery Admissions Policy.

Catchment areas

Each school serves an area which is known as the school catchment. Each address in the Stirling Council area is allocated a primary and secondary denominational and non-denominational school. Maps identifying primary and secondary school catchment areas can be found on the Stirling Council website page for each school.

St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School in Dunblane does not have a catchment area. Further information is available in the Provision of Denominational Education section of this policy.

Most children attend their local catchment school, however, there can be times when parents/carers wish their child to go to a different school. Parents/carers may request enrolment in another school by submitting a placing request.

Admission to Primary School for Primary 1 (August start)

As stated in the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, it is usual for children in Scotland to start primary school in the August term when they are aged between 4½ and 5 years old:

• Children who are 5 years old before the start of the school session in August must start school at the beginning of that August session.

• Children who are 5 years old between the start of the school session and the end of February of the next year may start their primary education at the start of the school session in August.

The main enrolment for Primary 1 is in January each year to allow time for school and local authority planning and effective transition. Schools will communicate enrolment information and dates within the local community including associated early years establishments.

The Schools, Learning and Education Business Team distribute information to all nurseries and primary schools detailing the procedure to enrol a child for the session due to start the following August. They will also publicise school enrolment dates for each primary school on the Council website.

Children must be enrolled in the non-denominational or denominational school for the catchment area in which they live. Parents/carers should attend an enrolment session at their catchment area school, where they will be asked to complete an enrolment form. The enrolment form can be completed electronically via the Council website prior to attending the enrolment session, but the parent/carer must also attend an enrolment session in person. Proof of residency is required and this is done through completing a Residency Form and providing documentary evidence.

Parents/carers will normally be asked to provide the following original documents as proof of pupil identification and place of residence:

• Child’s birth certificate.

and two of the following to verify residence:

• Current Council Tax bill.

• Child Benefit entitlement letter.

• Original notification letter from the Department for Work and Pensions confirming the right to benefits or state pension or original notification letter from HM Revenue and Customs confirming the award of Tax Credits for the current tax year.

• Tenancy agreement (if the residence is rented).

• Two household utility bills (no more than 3 months old).

• Bank/building society or credit card statement (no more than 3 months old and showing current address).

If the number of enrolments exceeds the space available in the school, places will be allocated in accordance with the date applications and supporting documentation were received. No other criteria is used to prioritise catchment pupil intake.
Once places have been allocated parents/carers will be advised of transition arrangements for their child by the school.

Delaying Entry to Primary School

Parents of children whose 5th birthday falls on or after the first day of the school term in August and up until the last day of February can choose to defer entry to primary school. Children who are resident within the Stirling Council area who have birthdates within this period are eligible for an additional funded year of early learning and childcare. Children resident outwith Stirling Council may be eligible.

There should be a discussion between parents/carers and the head of the establishment their child currently attends about the intention to defer and a deferred entry form must be completed and submitted by 31 January. More information is available in Schools, Learning and Education’s Nursery Admissions and Charging Policy. A copy of the deferred entry form along with a copy of the Parent/Carer Frequently Asked Questions Guide to Deferred Entry can be found on the Stirling Council website.

Parents/carers who choose to defer their child’s entry to school should also enrol their child in their catchment primary school by 31 January. They will be able to indicate on the enrolment form that they have requested a deferred entry.

Early Entry

Parents/carers have a right to apply for their child’s early entry to school. The application for early entry applies to those parents/carers of children under normal school age who are asking Schools, Learning and Education for admission to school. Schools, Learning and Education has to be satisfied that such a decision is in the child’s best interests and will enable them to flourish personally, socially and academically.

Parents/carers considering making an application for early entry to school should speak to the head of establishment their child currently attends.
Further information, including an Early Entry request form can be found in the Early Entry Policy.

Admission to Secondary School for S1 (August start)

Standard enrolments for transfer from primary to secondary are organised annually between the secondary school and its associated primary schools. This is based on the catchment area in which the pupil lives. Parents will receive a letter via their current primary school which will outline the arrangements.

If parents wish for a child to attend a different secondary school, a placing request form must be completed. If a child is attending a primary school as a result of a successful placing request, parents will be required to make a further placing request to attend the non-catchment secondary school.

Admission to School (General Admissions)

Parents/carers wishing to enrol their child in a new school during the school session should contact schools directly to make arrangements. This is most likely to happen when families move home during the school session.

The child must be resident within the catchment area to enrol in the school. Proof of residency is required and this is done through completing a Residency Form and providing documentary evidence of address.

Placement of children in year groups is by date of birth. Circumstances including previous deferral or early entry may also be taken into account.

If parents/carers wish their child to go to a different school to their catchment area school they must submit a placing request.

Placing Requests

If a parent/carer wishes to enrol their child in a school other than their catchment school, they may make a placing request. Schools, Learning and Education will accommodate catchment area pupils and reserved places in school prior to considering the allocation of remaining spaces in line with the Council’s criteria. There is no guarantee of a placing request being accepted.

Placing requests can be filled out and submitted online.

If the placing request is granted, the child’s enrolment at their catchment school will automatically be withdrawn by Schools, Learning and Education. Parents/carers should be aware that Schools, Learning and Education does not provide transport to school for children who are subject to a placing request.

Further guidance on placing requests can be found in the Placing Request Policy.

Provision of Denominational Education

Within Stirling Council there are three Roman Catholic primary schools and one Roman Catholic secondary school. Children baptised Roman Catholic who reside within the Stirling Council area may enrol at any Roman Catholic primary school. A copy of their child’s baptismal certificate, or equivalent formal evidence of baptism, will be required as part of the enrolment process. Stirling Council will only provide transport for pupils to the Roman Catholic establishment closest to the child’s residence.

Children not baptised Roman Catholic, or living outwith the Stirling Council area whose parents/carers wish them to attend Roman Catholic primary school will require to submit a placing request.

Parents/carers of children attending a Roman Catholic primary school in Stirling who are not baptised, or who are unable to provide formal evidence of baptism, will be required to submit a placing request to attend St Modan’s High School.

St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School in Dunblane is also a denominational school. It does not have a catchment area and placement is not prioritised on the basis of religious affiliation. Any parent/carer who wishes their child to attend St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School is required to submit a placing request. Places are prioritised in line with criteria detailed in the Placing Request Policy.

In recognition of the wide catchment area associated with St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School, there is no eligibility for home to school transport for children attending the school.

Parents of children starting Primary 1 who are submitting a placing request for St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School are advised to enrol their child at their local catchment primary school in case their application to St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School is unsuccessful. This will ensure that an alternative Primary 1 place is available for their child.

Provision of Gaelic Medium Education

Local authorities in Scotland have a duty to promote and support Gaelic education, under the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 – Section 15(6). In Stirling, Gaelic Medium Primary Education is available at Riverside Primary School, where children are taught solely through the medium of Gaelic. Gaelic Medium provision is continued at Wallace High School where young people have the opportunity to progress their learning of Gaelic as a subject from S1-S3. This can lead to gaining SQA awards in Gaelic in the Senior Phase.

Intake to Gaelic Medium Education is only at the beginning of Primary 1 unless transferring from Gaelic Medium provision in another authority. Parents interested in accessing Gaelic Medium provision should contact the school for further information. Transport to Gaelic Medium Education schools is allocated in accordance with Stirling Council School Transport Policy, which is in line with statutory guidance.

Provision of Education in Additional Support Needs Establishments

Most children and young people with additional support needs attend their local school or nursery and follow a curriculum that is adapted to their needs. Specialist provision is designed to meet the needs of those few children and young people who require a specialised environment in order to achieve their potential. In line with Section 15 of the Standards in Scotland’s Schools Etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, placement within a specialist setting would only be agreed under specific circumstances.

Placement in special schools (Castleview Primary) or specialist provisions (Ochil House, St Modan’s ASD, Callander Primary ASD, Riverside Primary ASD or Bannockburn Primary ASD) is normally accessed following agreement from the Team around the Child that a supported mainstream placement cannot meet the child’s needs. However, a placing request can also be made by parents/carers. All requests are considered by Stirling Council’s GIRFEC Resource Group (GRG). This is a multi-agency group that reviews all applications for specialist placement and provides advice to the Council’s Chief Education Officer, who makes the final decision.

Specific Circumstances

Moving into Catchment

Parents/carers who are in the process of moving and wish to enrol their child in school in the new catchment area will need to satisfy the education authority that the child will be resident in that area by the start of the school session. It is at the sole discretion of the authority whether to allocate a catchment place before a child is actually resident within a catchment area.

Temporary Places

Under the Education Act (1980), the Council has primary responsibility for pupils belonging to its area. Children are entitled to attend a school in an area where they are ordinarily resident. This means the place where the child is habitually and normally resident, apart from temporary or occasional absences of long or short duration.

Children and young people who are involved with court proceedings and whose ordinary residence is therefore uncertain can be offered a temporary place until such times as a legal decision is made.

Parents requesting a temporary place for their child will require documentary evidence of their home address together with evidence of the length of time they have been resident at this address (although a place will not be refused purely on the basis that the parent has only recently moved to the area).
Documentary evidence of parental rights and responsibilities relating specifically to residence is also required.

International Students

Arrangements have been made with Stirling University so that international students who are not able to provide the evidence of residence normally required to enrol their children in school will be provided with a letter from their landlord (most family accommodation is on campus) and a copy of their registration documentation from the university bearing their term-time address.

Children from Outwith the EU

A residency form must be completed for all pupils at enrolment.
In addition to standard documentation, children being enrolled from outwith the EU must have:

•Passports (of the child and their parents/the adults enrolling them).

•Relevant visas.

Any queries relating to enrolment should be directed to the Forward Planning Officer.