In the UK primary school admission process, does an applicant who applies outside of their borough, to a neighboring borough, have a lower likelihood of admission than a resident of the borough the school resides in? Is this true even if the child lives closer to the school as the crow flies than other children in the same borough do?

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    @user2451016 I've substantially reworded your question for clarity. Please feel free to make any additional edits you need in the case that I did not capture your entire question correctly, or to adjust for regional differences in wording that you would prefer to feel more British.
    – Joe
    Sep 17 '19 at 14:25

According to the british government, there is no fixed criteria and you should ask your local council for the specific rules.

I know this is not much of an answer, but it will depend on your specific location within the UK.


The straightforward answer here is yes - priority is always given to the local district. It's not a distance thing, per se, but all to do with catchment area. Each school has a catchment area that they expect children to attend from.

There are high scoring schools that are a cause of parents moving homes just to be within the correct catchment.

And there are exceptions - many fee-paying schools accept people from anywhere, or have a specific set of entry criteria.

  • Thanks for your response. One query- what about public schools near border of borough. Does child living on other side of borough get preference because of close proximity (by Crow-flying distance) or a child living in the borough will have 1st priority in allocation of the such school place? Sep 17 '19 at 18:51
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    As I mentioned in my answer it is catchment, not distance. Catchment area does not necessarily align with borough/district.
    – Rory Alsop
    Sep 17 '19 at 19:26
  • In London area/London boroughs problem is different. LA do not publish catchment areas & schools point to LAs. And based on description available on LA Primary admission websites, you get an impression that- LA stack applications from Resident in that borough & then any applications from other boroughs. But the big problem is they NEVER give clear indication on how allocation happens for schools near boundaries. Sep 18 '19 at 10:58

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