Changing schools and in-year applications

Read advice about changing schools and how to make an in-year application for a school place outside the normal dates.

Applying for an in-year place

Sometimes children need to change school at a time other than starting in reception, transferring to a junior school or transferring to secondary school for the very first time, (classed as the normal year of entry). Some changes may be unavoidable, for example, when you move into North Yorkshire or move house, or sometimes they occur because of difficulties at your child's current school. We will do our best to place your child at a school as soon as possible.

An in-year application can be made at any time of the year. You can only apply up to a term in advance of the date you want the school place. The online form will only allow you to apply for the year group your child should be in according to your child's date of birth.

We will start working on applications around six weeks prior to your requested start date and our is aim to process applications within 20 school days after that. However, if you apply very early, this may not apply as we can only start processing applications towards the end of term, as follows:

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

You can use the normal school application form for in-year applications.

Apply for a school place

Is changing schools the right decision for your child? 

Changing schools is a big event for any child. If your decision is based on an issue other than moving house, you might want to think about some of these questions. 

Is there a best time for my child to change school?

Generally it is better for a change of school to take place at the end of a term or at the end of a school year so as to minimise the disruption to the pupil's education.

We advise parents to avoid changing secondary schools after year 10. This is because a new school may not be able to offer the same examination options that your child has started studying.

Wherever possible, your child should continue to attend their current school until a place has been allocated at a new school and an admission date agreed.

What will be the effect on my child's education and friendships?

It is vital that parents consider the effect on their child if they are considering changing school within the same vicinity.

Moving your child from one local school to another school mid-year can have a negative effect on a child's progress. While schools will try to help children settle into a new school environment quickly, it does take time for children to adjust and some loss in performance can be expected.

All schools teach the core national curriculum subjects. However, changing schools may mean that some topics or areas of work are repeated and some missed because subjects are taught at different times, in different ways in different schools.

Friendships formed in or out of school can be very important to children. Changing school because a child's friend changes school may be unwise, as each child has their own needs.

What if there are issues with my child's current school?

Sometimes a change of school can enable children, who are suffering from an unwanted reputation or a clash of personalities in their local school or community, to start again. However, this does not always happen - especially if old habits or ways of behaving or dealing with problems do not change.

Sometimes the difficulties can transfer too, particularly if the previous school has not been given time to resolve the situation.

Sometimes a change is considered because there has been a disagreement between the parents or child and the school. There are very few differences that cannot be resolved if an issue is discussed openly and reasonably between a school and parent.

Parents are encouraged to settle any differences with schools and only move their children to another school as a last resort.

If your child has special educational needs, we have information here about informal and formal routes you could think about if you have a disagreement or complaint with the school

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 these pages before filling in your form. You can find general information about filling in the form and making your list of preferences here.
  3. We receive your in-year application form requesting that your child transfer schools. Your application will be processed no more than half a term (six weeks) in advance of when a place is required.
  4. We will contact your first preference school to determine if there are places available in the appropriate year group.
  5. If there are no places available at your first preference school, we will approach each school on your list in turn, in order of preference, to identify whether a place is available there. If there is not a place available at that school, we will look at your next highest preference and continue down the list until we can offer your child a place.
  6. Once we have allocated your child a place, we will confirm the allocation with you in writing or via email. Both the school your child was attending and the newly allocated school will be notified. 
  7. The school your child is leaving must complete a key information form and forward it to the new school before the admission arrangements can be finalised and a start date agreed. The purpose of this form is to ensure that the new school has all of the relevant information required to ensure your child's smooth transition into school.
  8. Once they have received the key information form, your child's new school will contact you to finalise the admission arrangements and discuss any issues regarding your child's education. In the meantime your child must continue to attend their current school.
  9. If we have been unable to offer you your first preference, you have the right to an admissions appeal. You can find out more about appeals here.

Please note your child will only be admitted to their new school at the beginning of each half-term.

Where a family moves into North Yorkshire or you move address within the area and it is not practical for your child to remain at their current school, then an alternative start date may be agreed.

In-year fair access

All North Yorkshire schools operate collaborative arrangements for the admission of pupils under an in-year fair access protocol, as required in the admissions code.

In-year fair access makes sure that unplaced children, especially the most vulnerable, are offered a place at a suitable school as quickly as possible. This includes admitting children to schools that are already oversubscribed. All schools contribute to this arrangement and will both lose and gain pupils under the protocol. Further details of the protocol can be viewed here.