Changing schools

Advice about changing schools and how to make an in-year application for a school transfer.

Sometimes children need to change school at a time other than their normal year of entry which is starting in reception, transferring to a junior school or transferring to secondary school for the very first time. Some changes may be unavoidable, for example, when you move into a new Local Authority area or move house, or sometimes they occur because of difficulties at your child's current school. This is called an in-year transfer.

Moving schools can be a difficult experience for a child. If you are unhappy with your current school, you should always speak to them before applying to change schools, to see what support they can offer or whether any difficulties can be resolved.

An in-year application can be made at any time of the year however, this should only be a maximum of a term in advance of the date you want the school place. We start to process applications a maximum of six weeks (30 school days) in advance of your requested start date.

Applications received more than a term in advance will be withdrawn and you will be asked to re-apply.

Date child will join the school Earliest application should be submitted
January to March  1 September onwards
April to July  1 January onwards
September to December  1 June onwards

The online form will only allow you to apply for the year group your child should be in according to their date of birth. If you are unable to complete the online form, please contact us.

Please consider the availability and cost of school transport if you preference a school outside your catchment area. You should visit our school transport for reception to year 11 children page for details of the school transport policy.

Apply online

You can:

  • create an account if you do not have one
  • make a new application
  • continue with an application you have saved
  • view your submitted application

Apply online or log in to your account

It is recommended that you keep the acknowledgement email you will receive once you have submitted your application as proof that you have applied for a school place.

How does the in-year admissions process work?

  1. Before completing an in-year application form you should discuss the reasons for the change of school with your child's current head teacher. The head teacher will be required to provide key information to the new school.
  2. It is your responsibility to read all the guidance on the school admissions pages before completing an application. 
  3. You can find general information about filling in the form on our guidance page.
  4. Your application will be processed no more than half a term (six weeks/30 school days) in advance of when the place is required.
  5. Only one application per child can be processed at a given time. If you wish to change or withdraw your application, please let us know. 
  6. We may seek clarification of details on your application, or request further information, including proof of address.
  7. We will contact all your chosen schools to determine if there are places available in the appropriate year group.
  8. We aim to notify you of the outcome of your application within 15 school days.
  9. We will advise you via email (or via post if no email address has been provided) which preference can be offered and, where any higher preferences cannot be met, we will provide the reason for refusal and information on your right to an admission appeal.
  10. Once you have received your offer it is important that you contact the school to finalise the admission, arrange a mutual start date and to discuss any issues regarding your child’s education. The date of admission to school is not set by the school admissions team, it is an agreement between the new school and parents. Wherever possible, your child should continue to attend their current school until an admission date is agreed.
  11. If you do not wish to accept the offered place, you must notify us in writing within two weeks of the offer being made.
  12. If we are unable to offer your child a place, we will confirm this via email, or via post if no email address has been provided. Our policy for in-year admissions is to only consider schools you have listed as a preference on your application. The outcome letter will contain information on next steps, including your right to an admission appeal.

Generally, it is better for a change of school to take place at the end of a half-term, term, or school year, to minimise the disruption to your child's education. However, where it is not practical for your child to remain at their current school, an alternative start date may be agreed.

Fair access protocol

The school admissions code states that each local authority must have a fair access protocol - FAP - that is agreed by the majority of schools in the area. The fair access protocol is to ensure that unplaced and vulnerable children and those who are having difficulty in securing a school place in-year, are allocated a school place as quickly as possible.

There is no duty for local authorities or admission authorities to comply with parental preference when allocating places through the fair access protocol, but parents’ views should be taken into account.

Your application may be considered under the in-year fair access protocol in the event that we are not able to offer your child a place through the in-year admissions process. We will notify you if this applies to your application.

Frequently asked questions

I live outside North Yorkshire, can I apply?

Yes. You can apply for your child to move to a school in North Yorkshire, from any address. For more information on which address to use, see our which address to use when applying for a school place page.

What happens after age 16?

We do not process applications for sixth forms or colleges. Please apply directly to the school or college you are interested in for post 16 education.

Can I contact schools directly to find out if they have places available?

Yes. Schools should be able to advise on their class numbers and availability of places. 

School has told me there are no places, what should I do?

You should still submit an application, as class numbers are subject to change and if we are unable to offer a place, you would be offered the right of appeal.

What happens if my child does not have a place for after the school holidays?

Wherever possible, your child should continue to attend their current school until a new place has been offered. If this is not possible, you will need to wait for the outcome of your application. Although we aim to process applications within 15 school days, you should be aware that this timeframe does not include school holidays.

Can I apply during the school holidays?

Yes. You can apply at any time, however we cannot guarantee an outcome until the schools re-open.