Placing requests and admissions to school
There are eight secondary schools, 41 primary schools, and two special schools managed by South Ayrshire Council. To apply for a place it is important that you know your catchment school. View information on other local educational establishments.
We provide free transport for all primary pupils who live more than two miles from their catchment school (by the recognised shortest acceptable walking route) and to secondary pupils who live more than three miles from their catchment school (by the recognised shortest acceptable walking route). We do not provide transport for those pupils who attend a school other than their catchment school as the result of a successful placing request.
The responsibility for decisions on a placing request lies with our Education Services and not with individual schools.
Placing requests can be made to any mainstream school, special school or learning support base managed by us.
Placing requests can only be made to independent special schools by residents of South Ayrshire.
Starting Primary 1
View information on Primary registration week beginning 13 January 2020
Your child will automatically be accepted for primary education in August if their fifth birthday falls between 1 March of the same year and the last day of February the following year. You can, however, make a request for early entry to school for a child whose fifth birthday falls after the above period.
Entry to primary school in South Ayrshire is on a once a year basis at the start of the new session in August. Normally, your child will attend their catchment primary school. If your child is due to start in August, they should be registered in your catchment primary school before the end of the preceding January. Adverts will be placed in local newspapers during December informing parents of the arrangements for registering their child at school. Where there are sufficient places available, and you have not submitted a placing request for another school, your child will normally be enrolled.
In the event that the number of catchment children wishing to attend a particular school is greater than the number of places available we will use the placing request criteria to allocate the available spaces. The placing request criteria are included in the placing request form under the section: How decisions are made for Placing Requests at the start of Primary 1 and S1.
Denominational schools in South Ayrshire Council serve a defined area. You can choose to enrol your child at either the catchment denominational or non-denominational primary school. Once this choice has been made, any future move within the primary sector will require a placing request to be submitted.
Placing requests at the start of primary 1
As a parent/carer, you have the right to make a placing request for your child to attend a school of your choice. If you choose to make a placing request you should remember that your child will no longer automatically be considered for a place at their catchment school.
Starting secondary school
Primary schools are usually associated with a single secondary school. All primary seven pupils will have an automatic right to transfer to their catchment secondary school. Your primary school will be able to tell you the name of your catchment secondary school.
All parents/carers will have a choice at P7/S1 transfer stage of choosing their denominational or non-denominational catchment secondary school. Once this choice has been made, any future move within the secondary sector will require a placing request to be submitted.
In some cases there is a choice of more than two catchment schools. Once the choice has been made to attend a particular school any future changes will require a placing request to be submitted.
In the event that the number of catchment children wishing to attend a particular school is greater than the number of places available we will use the placing request criteria to allocate the available places. The placing request criteria are included in the placing request application form under the section: How decisions are made for Placing Request at the start of Primary 1 and S1.
Placing requests at the start of S1
Your child will normally attend their catchment secondary school. However, as a parent/carer, you have the right to make a placing request for your child to attend a school of your choice. If you choose to make a placing request you should remember that your child will no longer automatically be considered for a place at their catchment school.
If a pupil is attending a primary school as a result of a successful placing request you must make a further placing request for your child to attend the associated secondary school. However, if your child already lives in the catchment area of the secondary school no placing request is required.
How decisions are made for placing requests at the start of Primary 1 and S1
The responsibility for decisions on placing requests lies with our Educational Services. Parents/carers will be informed of the outcome of the placing request by 30 April. Where there are more placing requests for a school than there are spaces available the following criteria will be used in the first instance to allocate places to children or young people who live within the school’s delineated area after which the criteria will be used to allocate places to children or young people who live outwith the school’s delineated area:
- those cases where the medical needs of the child or young person can only be met in the school requested
- those children who do not live in the delineated area of a secondary school but attend an associated primary school
- To denominational children or young people who have a Roman Catholic baptismal certificate and who wish to attend their catchment denominational school
- the presence of older brothers or sisters in the school requested
- allocation by ballot
In relation to (i) to (iv) above, if there are more applications being considered than there are places available as each stage of priority criteria is being applied, a ballot will be held to determine the successful applications.
In applying (v) priority will be given to placing requests for children and young people who live in South Ayrshire, after which any remaining spaces will be allocated by a further ballot.
When a ballot is required it will be carried out by officers within South Ayrshire Council’s People Directorate and independently verified.
Placing requests made other than at the start of primary or secondary school
There are times when parents/carers may wish their child to move schools during their primary or secondary education. There are sound educational reasons for trying to ensure these moves take place at the start of a new school session i.e. August. However, at times parents/carers may wish to submit a mid-session placing request.
If you wish your child to move schools in August you should submit a placing request no later than 10 June, as any applications received after this date may not be considered until schools return at the beginning of the new session. Your child must return to their current school until you receive a decision on your placing request application.
When a placing request is received during a child or young person’s primary or secondary education our Educational Services will contact the requested school and the current school for further information to allow them to consider the impact a move of school will have on the child/young person.
A number of factors will be considered when determining whether to accept or refuse a placing request:
- Does the child/young person have Additional Support Needs and provision is being
made for these in the current school?
- Does the child/young person have poor attendance which is being managed by the
current school using South Ayrshire Council’s guidelines on managing pupil attendance
- Has the child/young person previously attended more than one school as the result
of a successful placing request?
Normally you will be advised of the outcome of your placing request no later than two months after submission. However, placing requests received after the 10 June may not be considered until schools return in August.
If following a successful placing request you wish your child to return to their catchment school you will require to complete a new placing request application form.
Why placing requests are sometimes not granted
There are a number of reasons why our Educational Services may not grant a placing request. These are summarised below, where granting the request would:
- make it necessary for South Ayrshire Council to take additional teaching staff into employment;
- give rise to significant expenditure in extending or altering the school's accommodation or facilities;
- be seriously detrimental to the continuity of the child's education;
- be likely to be seriously detrimental to order and discipline in the school;
- be likely to be seriously detrimental to the educational well being of pupils attending the school;
- require the formation of an additional class or appointment of an additional teacher at a future stage of the child's education at primary school;
- have the consequence that the capacity of the school would be exceeded in terms of pupil numbers;
- mean that the education is not suited to the child;
- mean South Ayrshire Council had already decided that the child should no longer attend the
- in the case of special schools, mean the child does not have additional support needs requiring the education or facilities available;
- prevent South Ayrshire Council from reserving places for pupils moving in to the catchment area;
- in the case of mainstream schools, the education provided would not be suited to the child or would cause unreasonable expenditure.
What to do if your placing request is not granted
You may lodge an appeal and your appeal will be heard by the independent Education Appeal Committee. The Committee will decide whether South Ayrshire Council have applied the priorities for granting placing requests for the particular school correctly. If you are not provided with a decision on your placing request by 30 April, (or no later than two months for requests made at other times of the year), you may also appeal. However if you decide to appeal you will not be able to make another placing request until the appeal is heard or you withdraw your appeal.
Download further information on how to appeal. It will also be contained in your letter informing you of the decision.
Placing request form
Download the placing request form and send the completed form to:
South Ayrshire Council