Apply for a reception place at a primary school

Step 1 – decide on a primary school

Before deciding on your choice of primary school, find out about the different types of schools and do some research.

This will help you make the right choice for your child.

Types of primary school

There are 4 different types of primary schools and we're only responsible for the admission criteria and procedures in community and voluntary controlled schools.

The 4 types of school are:

  • Community and voluntary controlled. These are set up and maintained by us. Religious education covers all religions and follows a syllabus agreed by us. We employ the staff and allocate school places.
  • Voluntary aided. We maintain the schools, the governing board employs the staff, controls religious education and has different financial responsibilities. The governing board allocates school places.
  • Foundation. The governors are responsible for running the school within the local authority framework, the governors allocate school places.
  • Academy. The governing board or trust is responsible for running the academy. The academy is funded directly by the Department for Education. The governing board or trust allocates school places.

For voluntary aided, foundation or academy schools, it's essential you check directly with the primary school as their admission policy might be different.


You'll probably already have an idea of some of the things about a primary school which are important to you and your child, so try to gather as much information on the primary schools you're interested in.

You should also:

  • Read the admission criteria. This will give you an indication of how successful your child might be in gaining a place at your preferred school. Parents are often disappointed because they select popular schools too far from their home address, or don't fulfil the faith requirements. View admissions criteria
  • Visit the school. Arrange to visit the school at an open day. Try to speak to the school staff, as well as the headteacher. If you're unable to attend an open day or evening you can contact the school directly and see if it's possible to arrange an appointment to visit the school on another date. Attendance at open evenings or visits doesn't give your child priority for a place at the school. Please note, the headteacher​ or staff cannot offer you a place at a school or give you an indication of your chance of getting a place. You cannot claim a prior relationship as an expectation of admission because your child may have attended an open day.
    Find primary and nursery schools in the Rochdale borough.
  • Read the school prospectus. This will contain basic information about the school and the way it provides for the pupils at the school. They're available from schools directly and are usually published on the school’s website.
  • Read the school Ofsted inspection reports. Ofsted gives schools a score based on the quality of education observed during their inspections. In September 2019, Ofsted decided to make changes to its inspections. See how Ofsted is changing how it inspects schools.

Things to consider

Other things you might want to consider are:

  • The size of the school and how many pupils are admitted each year.
  • Whether the distance to the school will affect your chances of being allocated a place.
  • Whether the distance to the school will be a problem if your child takes part in after school activities.
  • How your child will travel to primary school.

Schools in another local authority

If you want to apply for a primary school in another local authority, check with them or the primary school directly as their admission policy might be different.

You may also need to complete additional forms to support your application.

Council School admission contacts
Bury Council 0161 253 6474
Calderdale Council 01422 392617
Lancashire County Council 01254 220707
Manchester City Council 0161 245 7166
Oldham Council 0161 770 4213