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Step 1 - decide on a primary school

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Types of primary school

​​​​​​​​There are 4 different types of primary schools and we're only responsible for the admission criteria and procedures in community and voluntary controlled schools. ​The 4 types of school are:

  • ​Community and voluntary controlled. These are set-up and maintained by us. Religious education covers all religions and follows a syllabus agreed by us. We employ the staff and allocate​ school places.
  • Voluntary aided. We maintain the schools, the governing board employs the staff, controls religious education and has different financial responsibilities. The governing board allocates school ​places.
  • Foundation. The governors are responsible for running the school within the local authority framework, the governors allocate school places.
  • Academy. The governing board or trust is responsible for running the academy. The academy is funded directly by the Department for Education. The governing board or trust​ allocates school places​​​.

For voluntary aided, foundation or academy schools, it's essential you check directly with the primary school ​​​as their admission policy might be different.

​Researching your primary school​​​​​​​​​​​​​

You'l​l probably already have an idea of some of the things about a primary school which are important to you and your child, so try to gather as much information on the primary schools you're interested in. ​You should also:​

  • Read the admission criteria. This will give you an indication of how successful your child might be in gaining a place at your preferred school. Parents are often disappointed because they select popular schools too far from their home address, or don't fulfil the faith requirements. View admissions criteria
  • Read the September 2020 primary admission statistics (145kb pdf). This will give you the number of places available (the published admission number), and the number of preferences received and offered.
  • ​​​Go to open days during the Autumn term. ​​Try to speak to the school staff, as well as the headteacher. If you're unable to attend an open day or evening you can contact the school directly and see if it's possible to arrange an appointment to visit the school on another date. Attendance at open evenings or visits doesn't give your child priority for a place at the school. Please note, the headteacher​ or staff cannot offer you a place at a school or give you an indication of your chance of​ getting a place. You cannot claim a prior relationship as an expectation of admission because your child may have attended an open day.
    ​​Find primary and nursery schools in the Rochdale ​borough.​​
  • ​​Read the school prospectus. This will contain basic information about the school and the way it provides for the pupils at the school. They're available from schools directly and are usually published on the school’s website.
  • Read the school ​Ofsted inspection report​s​​​. Ofsted gives schools a score based on the quality of education observed during their inspections. In September 2019, Ofsted decided to make changes to their inspections. See how Ofsted is changing how it inspects schools

Other things you might want to consider​ are:​​

  • The size of the school and how many pupils are admitted each year.
  • Whether the distance to the school will affect your chances of being allocated a place.
  • Whether the distance to the school will ​be a problem if your child takes part in after school activities.
  • How ​your child will travel to primary ​school.

Looking for a primary school with another local authority

If you want to apply for a primary school in another local authority​, check with them or the primary school directly as their admission policy might be different. You may also need to complete additional forms to support your application.

​​Step 2 - what you need to know before applying for a primary school place​


0300 303 0340

Phone: Monday-Friday 9am-4.45pm.

Early Help and Schools​
Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU