Types of schools

Understand the difference between junior, primary, community or faith schools, academies, voluntary aided, grammar schools and more.

We make the decisions about admissions to North Yorkshire community and voluntary-controlled schools. This is based on the over-subscription criteria. Admissions to voluntary-aided, foundation, trust schools and academies, however, are controlled by their governing bodies and they use their own criteria. You can view policies for these schools along with our other policies here or directly from the school. We do, however, coordinate admissions on their behalf, so you should use the common application form and we will make the offer of a place.

Supplementary information forms

Some schools, such as faith schools, require extra information from you. You may need to fill in a supplementary information form, or SIF, as well as the common application form. If you do not fill in a SIF for a school which requires one, this will mean that your application will be considered after all other applications which included a completed SIF.

Many faith schools also have specific catchment areas, for instance, those relating to a diocese, which do not appear on our catchment area map. It is your responsibility to contact your preferred faith school to find out their specific policies about catchment areas and application forms. This information may also be published on their website or prospectus.

Please note that a school may fall under several categories, for instance, a primary school may be a voluntary aided school, or a selective grammar school may also be an academy.

Please read the information here to find out what you should do when, and to check deadlines.

Type of school Information Should I use the normal common application form? 
Nursery school or class Nursery schools are for children aged 3 and 4. They have their own head teacher and staff. Some are state-funded, and others are privately run (though your child might be eligible for a free part-time place). Attendance at nursery school does not guarantee your child a place at the attached or nearby primary or infant school.


You apply directly to the nursery. You can find more information here

Infant school An infant school is for the education of children between the ages of five and seven years. It includes the school years of reception, year 1 and year 2 and is usually a small school serving a particular area and is usually located near to a junior school. Yes
Junior school Most junior schools cater for pupils moving from infant schools, from the September following their seventh birthday until the start of secondary school, covering the school years 3 to 6 inclusive. Yes
Primary school Primary schools admit children from the ages of 5 through to 11 and encompasses the school years 1 to 6 as well as reception.


However, if you are moving into a primary school at year 3, having previously been at infant school, it counts as an in-year application.

Secondary school Secondary schools admit children from the school year 7 onwards. They may continue until year 11 or go straight through to year 13 if they include a sixth form. Yes
Academy schools Academies are directly funded by central government and are independent of the local authority. Academies manage their own assets, employ their own staff and determine their own admission arrangements. The school may be part of a multi-school academy trust which shares policies through all schools in the trust. Yes, but the school may also require its own supplementary form or SIF
Community schools The school governors are responsible for the strategic management of the school, including appointing staff and managing the school budget. The local authority and the governors share responsibility for maintaining the school buildings. The local authority determines the admission arrangements for community schools. Yes
Faith schools Faith schools can be various types of schools e.g. academies, free schools, voluntary-aided schools etc. but are associated with a particular religion. Faith schools are free to restrict religious studies to their own particular religion. Anyone may apply for a place at a faith school however the admissions criteria may include certain faith based requirements.  Yes, but the school may also require its own supplementary form or SIF
Voluntary schools These schools are funded by voluntary organisations including religious institutions and educational trusts or foundations. All have foundation governors appointed to protect and develop the religious or educational character of the school. There are two types of voluntary schools, voluntary controlled and voluntary aided. Yes
Voluntary controlled schools Although funded by voluntary organisations, the local authority fully maintains these schools. School assemblies are in line with the trust deed however, religious education is in line with the locally agreed syllabus. In most matters the board of governors has the same duties and powers as those of community schools but the local authority determines the admission arrangements. Yes
Voluntary aided schools

Both religious education and assemblies are in line with the trust deed. The board of governors determines the school's admission arrangements, term dates and appoints staff however, it shares responsibility with the local authority in respect of maintaining the school buildings.

Voluntary aided schools may set their own catchment areas.

Yes, but the school may require its own supplementary form or SIF
Foundation schools Some foundation schools were previously known as 'grant-maintained' schools. The schools governors are responsible for the strategic management of the school, including appointing staff and determining the school's admission arrangements. Yes, but the school may also require its own supplementary form or SIF
Free schools Free schools are funded by central government and are independent of local authorities. They are 'all-ability' schools and may not use academic selection as part of their admissions process. Free schools are run on a 'not-for-profit' basis and may be set up by groups such as parents, teachers, businesses, or charities.  Yes, but the school may also require its own supplementary form or SIF
Independent schools

Independent schools are privately run, and charge fees to attend instead of being funded by central government.

These schools determine their own admission arrangements and should be contacted directly for further details. We do not handle their admissions process or offer places to them

It is helpful if you can let the admissions team know if you are only applying to independent schools for your child.

No, but it is a good idea to submit preferences for other schools to us just in case.

If you do not get a place at your preferred independent school and have not applied to us, and then submit a late application, it will be prioritised below applications that we received before the deadline.

Grammar schools The term 'grammar' historically used to refer to selective schools. Now, the term sometimes means selective school, as in Ripon and Skipton. However, other schools may still use the term 'grammar' but without being selective, such as Harrogate Grammar School and Tadcaster Grammar School. Yes
Selective grammar schools

Within North Yorkshire there are three selective grammar schools:

  • Ripon Grammar School
  • Ermysted's Grammar School for Boys (Skipton)
  • Skipton Girls' High School (an academy)

Admission into Ripon Grammar School and Ermysted's Grammar School for Boys is based on a child's performance in a series of tests designed to identify academic potential. Further information about Ripon Grammar School, Ermysted's Grammar School for Boys and the selection test procedure can be found here.


Please note that Skipton Girls' High School is an academy so runs its own selection tests and has its own admissions criteria.

Enhanced mainstream school (EMS) This is a mainstream school which provides support and outreach to other schools and settings in their area and, in most cases, has a number of places reserved for pupils with an EHCP and specific types of special educational needs.
North Yorkshire local authority has a network of 27 EMSs for special educational needs (SEN) and social, emotional and behavioural needs (SEBN).


If your child has an EHCP you may request the EMS to be the named school. Alternatively the EMS may be able to support your child at another preferred local school on an outreach basis.

Special schools

To attend a 'special school' your child will need to have a final statement of special educational needs or education health and care plan. These schools may specialise in one of the four areas of special educational needs:

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, emotional and mental health 
  • sensory and physical needs

You can find more information about special schools here.

No. You can not use the standard application form to preference a special school.

You will need to approach your child's SENDIASS coordinator to start a consultation process.

Find information here

Trust schools A trust school is a state-funded foundation school supported by a charitable trust, made up of the school and partners working together for the benefit of the school. It manages its own assets, employs its own staff and sets its own admission arrangements.  Yes, but the school may also require its own supplementary form or SIF
University technical colleges A university technical college is a government funded school open to young people aged 14 to 18. A university technical college is designed to integrate technical, practical and academic learning and is supported by industry and a local university to deliver its curriculum. You can find more information on university technical colleges here. No. Each UTC handles its own applications.
Targeted Mainstream Provision (TMP) This is a mainstream school which provides additional support for a small number of pupils with special educational needs or disabilities, to allow them to access a mainstream curriculum with additional specialist staffing and resources.  The Targeted Mainstream Provisions are in both primary and secondary schools to support children and young people with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) and communication and interaction (C&I) needs.  Yes