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Catchment areas and placing requests

Reserved Places

The local authority can reserve places for pupils moving into a school catchment, in line with legislation. The number of places reserved by the local authority for a school depends on a range of factors including:

  • Number of classes
  • House building in the catchment
  • Catchment migration information
  • History of late enrolments

The number of reserved places is balanced to meet the wishes of as many parents as possible who have submitted placing requests, but high enough to allow the Local Authority to meet its statutory duty of providing appropriate education places for its resident population, preferably in the child's local school, for most children. Failure to implement this strategy could lead to court action against the Local Authority for mismanagement of school places, in the situation where a child cannot be accommodated in their local school. The number of reserved places is reviewed each year .

Reserved places are held in particular year stages. The authority can grant placing requests where the number of available spaces exceeds the number of reserved spaces. Where a school has the same amount or less available spaces than the number of reserved spaces, a placing request cannot be granted. Where a pupil leaves a school and the authority is not retaining the desired number of reserved places, the place will not be allocated to a placing request and will be returned to the pool of reserved places to accommodate a future catchment child.


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