Apply for a year 7 secondary school place

Step 1 – decide on a secondary school

Before deciding on your choice of secondary 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 secondary school

There are 5 different types of secondary schools in the borough of Rochdale. We're only responsible for the admission criteria and procedures in community and voluntary controlled schools.

The 5 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 body employs the staff, controls religious education and has different financial responsibilities. The governing body 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 body or trust is responsible for running the academy. The academy is funded directly by the Department for Education. The governing body or trust allocates school places.
  • Free school. Free schools are funded by the government but are not run by us. They have more control over how they do things. They set their own pay and conditions for staff and admission criteria and they do not have to follow the national curriculum.

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


You'll probably already have an idea of some of the things about a secondary school which are important to you and your child, so try to gather as much information on the secondary 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.
  • Go to open days during the autumn term. 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 secondary 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 secondary school.

Schools in another local authority

If you want to apply for a secondary school in another local authority, check with them or the secondary 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