School applications for enrolment into primary are usually a relatively simple process.
However, as a parent, it’s a big decision choosing where and when to submit a school application for your child.
Having all the relevant information to hand is essential. Below we’ve outlined the main points for consideration to help guide you through the process.
What do I need to apply?
You will need copies of your child’s full birth certificates and up-to-date proof of residency.
If you are enrolling at a denominational school and your child has been baptised you will also need their baptismal certificate.
School catchment areas can cover wide areas. Use our Schools Checker to find out what catchment area you live in if you are unsure.
Parents and carers have the right to request that their child be placed in a different school, outwith their catchment – this is called a placing request.
Education authorities have a duty to grant placing requests where possible, provided there are places at the chosen school.
However it is not always possible for councils to grant placing requests, as some schools – particularly the most popular choices – have caps on school rolls.
Children in a school’s catchment area are given top priority, followed by placing requests from children who may have a sibling already at a certain school.
Deadlines for school applications
School applications need to be submitted around January – seven months before your child is due to start primary.
Although the exact date will vary from council to council, the deadline for submissions is usually around the last week in January.
Applications submitted after this date will still be considered but they are unlikely to be treated as priority placements.
Ensure you meet your own council’s deadline for the best chance of securing your first choice of school.
Delaying school start
If your child will be aged four on the first day of the term they are due to start school, parents and carers have the right to defer their entry to school.
While this is ultimately the choice of the child’s guardian, discussions with school staff and/or nursery staff are likely to need to take place.
This is to ensure deferral is in the best interest of the child.
Some councils, including Angus and Fife, are currently piloting an automatic acceptance of school deferrals, along with funding for an extra year at nursery or within a private childcare setting.
This policy will be rolled out across the country by the Scottish Government in August 2023.
However it is still a requirement that deferral must be in the best interest of the child and discussions still will be needed.
As a parent, you have the option to provide home education for your child, should you wish to – at any stage in their schooling.
Parents and guardians are within their rights to educate their children at home rather have them taught at a local authority school.
Children who have not previously attended school do not need permission from councils to receive home education, however if a child is to be removed from school then councils must be informed.