Offer of a secondary school place

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions about the offer of a secondary school place - September 2024 intake

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

Q. 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?

A. Many families across London will be receiving their child’s secondary 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 secondary offer.

Before you contact us, you may find the answer to your question by reading your offer email or the Starting secondary school in Southwark 2024/25 brochure (PDF, 1.7mb).

If you feel that you still need assistance, email Southwark Council’s school admissions team.

If you cannot send your query by email, 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. If your query is not urgent, 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.

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

A. Southwark Council’s school admissions team will try to ensure that all children residing in the borough are offered a secondary school place on 1 March 2024. If we're unable to offer your child a school that you listed as a preference on your child’s application, we'll 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 for up to date vacancy information about Southwark secondary places after 15 March 2024 on 020 7525 5337. 

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

A. Southwark Council’s school admissions team will only make one offer of a secondary school to your child on 1 March 2024. It's important that you accept this offer for now. If we can offer your child a place from a waiting list at one of your higher preference schools, we'll contact you immediately.

Alternatively, if you've 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 secondary school place to the next child on the waiting list.

It's important to remember that the secondary transfer process does not end after 1 March 2024 but continues right up until 31 August 2024.

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

A. Yes, your child will automatically be placed on the school waiting lists for those Southwark schools 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 and free schools until 10 July 2024.

If you wish to check your child’s position on a waiting list for any Southwark school contact the school admissions team by email after 1 March 2024. Waiting lists will be handed over to schools to manage from 11 July 2024 and applicants should direct any queries relating to their child’s position to the individual school from this date. As we do not hold waiting list information for schools located outside of Southwark, you should contact the local authority that the school is situated in who will be able to advise you further.  

Please view the secondary admissions waiting lists page for further information. 

Q. 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?

A. 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. View the secondary admission appeals page for further information. 

Page last updated: 27 February 2024


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