Offer of a primary school place

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions about the offer of a primary school place - September 2023 intake

We understand that making arrangements to start primary school is an important time for parents/carers as well as for children and many families will have lots of questions. Below is a list of frequently asked questions that we have put together related to starting primary school which we hope you find helpful.

I have been trying to contact the school admissions team by telephone to discuss the contents of my offer email but it has been constantly engaged. What shall I do?

Many families across London will be receiving their child’s primary offer at the same time as you. This is also a very busy time for Southwark Council’s school admissions team, with a large number of people trying to contact us regarding their child’s primary offer.

Before you contact us you may find the answer to your question by reading your offer email or the Starting primary school in Southwark 2023/24 brochure (PDF, 2.8mb).

If you feel that you still need assistance then you can contact Southwark Council’s school admissions team by emailing in the first instance. If you're unable to send your query by email you can contact our call centre on 020 7525 5337 where trained staff will be available to help Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. The telephone lines may still be busy at certain peak times of the day so please remain patient and someone should be able to assist you. We advise you to try and avoid calling at midday and if your query is not urgent, then please allow a few days to pass before contacting us.

Please note that the school admissions team aims to respond to all telephone and email enquiries within 10 working days.

My child has not been offered any of his/her preferences. What happens now?

Southwark Council’s school admissions team will try to ensure that all children residing in the borough are offered a primary school place on 17 April 2023. If we are unable to offer your child a school that you listed as a preference on your child’s application, we will offer an alternative place at a school with capacity. This is likely to be the nearest school to your child’s home which has a vacancy.

Your child’s name will also automatically be added to the waiting lists of those Southwark schools that were listed as a higher preference on the application but could not be offered.  You can contact the school admissions team by email for up to date vacancy information about Southwark primary places after 17 April 2023. 

I do not want to accept the offer that has been made to my child. What do I do?

Southwark Council’s school admissions team will only make one offer of a primary school to your child on 17 April 2023. It is important that you accept this offer for now. If it is possible for us to offer your child a place on a waiting list at one of your higher preference schools, we will contact you immediately.

Alternatively, if you have accepted a place at an independent fee-paying school please let the school admissions team know so that we can update our records and offer this declined primary school place to the next child on the waiting list.

It is important to remember that the primary transfer process does not end after 17 April 2023 but continues right up until 31 August 2023.

Will my child remain on the waiting lists for the Southwark school/s they were not offered?

Yes, your child will automatically be placed on the school waiting lists for those Southwark schools that were listed as a higher preference on your child’s application form but could not be offered. The school admissions team will hold waiting lists for all Southwark academies, voluntary aided, community and free schools until 10 July 2023.

If you wish to know your child’s position on the waiting list at a primary school in Southwark, you can email the school admissions team at from 17 April 2023. Please note that enquiries relating to waiting list positions must be made by emailing, and for the purposes of data protection please provide your unique application reference number in any correspondence that you send to us.

Please view the primary admissions waiting list page for further information. 

I would like to appeal against the decision not to offer my child a place at the school/s of my preference. How do I do this?

In accordance with the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA), you have the right to appeal against the decision not to offer your child a place at a preferred school. 

Please view the primary admission appeals page for further information. 

Page last updated: 24 August 2023


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