Schools, education and childcare Changes to how we decide who gets a school place

Early in 2015 we consulted on changes that we needed to make to the admission arrangements of some of Manchester's primary schools, high schools and academies. The consultation closed on Monday 2 March and results will be published here soon. These were the proposals...

If too many people apply for a school place, the school uses its admission rules to decide which children it takes.

Some schools use the Council’s rules - all places at these schools are decided in the same way. Other schools use their own rules.

We are planning to change the admission rules for 80 of the city's primary schools, and for nine of the city's secondary schools. Two other secondary schools are making similar changes to their own rules.

These changes come into effect for the school year September 2016 to July 2017.

We asked for comments on the changes.

See which schools are affected

The changes

There are three changes affecting:  

  • the criteria we use if too many people apply for a school place
  • the distance a child has to travel to school
  • Abraham Moss 'Through' School

The criteria we use if too many people apply for a school place

At the moment, if there are too many people applying for a school place, we’ll decide who gets offered a place based on five ‘categories’.

Places go to any ‘category 1’ applicants first, then to category 2 applicants, then category 3 and so on until there are no places left.

If there are more applications than places at a school, we use the distance from the school in each category to decide.

The categories are:

  • Category 1
    Children who are, or who have been looked after by a local authority.
  • Category 2
    Children with exceptional medical or social needs.
  • Category 3
    Children with a brother or sister at the school.
  • Category 4
    Children who go to a state run primary school or academy school in Manchester.
  • Category 5
    All other children, prioritised on distance from school.

A recent ruling means that Category 4 doesn’t comply with the national school admissions Code of Practice, and we have to change it. We’re planning to remove this criteria, so there'll be only four categories.

This change only affects children moving up from primary school to secondary school. It doesn't affect children who change from one primary to another, or from one secondary to another.

The distance a child has to travel to school

Our current rules say that we will offer a child a place in a school that's no more than a 'reasonable distance' from their home. We define that distance as two miles for primary school children and three miles for secondary school children.

But because the city's population is growing, it has become more difficult to find a place for every child within these distances. So we propose to change the rules so that we can, if necessary, place a child in a school that is further away. But:

  • this will be unlikely in the vast majority of cases
  • we will provide free travel to school if a child is placed further away than the current reasonable distances.
This change applies to all year-groups.

Abraham Moss Through School

Abraham Moss is now a ‘through’ school for 4 to 16 year olds. Their admissions rules needs to change to reflect this. We’re proposing that if the child is in the final year (year 6) of the primary part of the school, they will automatically be offered a place in the first year (year 7) of the secondary part - without having to apply.

But if you want your Abraham Moss child to have place in a different secondary school, you need to apply in the normal way. 

Full proposals and consultation

Read these proposals in more details in the full consultation document

We will publish the results shortly. Find out more at

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