Reception Admissions

Admissions (Reception)

  • Date of Admission : September after child’s fourth birthday
  • Planned Admission Number : 30
  • Admissions Authority : Manchester City Council (see below)
  • Main Admissions Contact : Manchester City Council
  • Deadline for Applicants : Mid-January prior to September admission
  • Notification Date : Mid-April

The school is able to offer 30 full-time places (our Planned Admissions Number or PAN) each September to children for our reception class. Children join the reception class (and have a secure place for the rest of the school) in the September following their fourth birthday.  Children do not have to attend school until the term after their fifth birthday (statutory school age). However, the vast majority of parents choose to send their child to school from September.

Applying for a place in our Reception Class

Parents of all children have to apply for a place for their child to join a reception class in a school. Even if your child is already in a nursery class in a primary school (including this school), you must still apply for a place in that school’s reception class or the reception class of another school. Please do not assume that your child will automatically be offered a place in the reception class simply because they are in the nursery. All applications for reception places are managed by Manchester City Council or the local authority in which you live.  You will need to complete an application form (which can be completed online) by mid-January in readiness for the following September. If your child attends our nursery class, your child’s name will be sent to Manchester City Council and you will automatically be sent an application pack for your child. If your child does not attend our nursery class, you can register your child’s name with Manchester City Council (details below).

Reception Admissions Criteria

In deciding who gets a reception place and who does not, the City Council use the following rules or admissions criteria. Priority is given to children in the following categories:

  • Category 1
    Children who are, or who have been, looked after by a council.
  • Category 2
    Children with exceptional medical or social needs, or a disabled parent. See more about Category 2
  • Category 3
    Children with a brother or sister at the school. See more about Category 3
  • Category 4
    All other children, with those living closest getting priority. 

Note that there is no priority given to children simply because they already attend our nursery class.

Allocation of Places

Once places have been given to children with specific needs (Categories 1 and 2) or those with brothers or sisters already in school (Category 3), all other applicants (Category 4) are then ranked according to an accurate straight-line distance between school and the home address.  Those living closest to the school will be given the remaining places.  Once 30 places are allocated, no further places are allocated.  Children who cannot be offered a place at this school may be offered a place at another school. Only when a child can be offered a place at two or more schools (given they meet the criteria and are ranked within the Planned Admissions Number for the school), is the parents’ preference taken into account.

Parent Preference

When you apply for a reception place, you can select a number of schools and state an order of preference for each school (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.).  However, please note that this does not mean that you will be offered a place at your preferred school above all others.  The preference is only taken into account if your child can be offered a place at more than one school.  For example, if you apply for a place at three schools, School A (1st choice), School B (2nd choice) and School C (3rd choice), you may meet the criteria for one, two, three or NONE of the schools.  If you can be offered a place at more than one school (because  your child is listed within the planned admissions number for more than one school), you will be offered the school for which you stated the highest preference.  Parents need to appreciate that it is the school’s admissions (over-subscription) criteria that determine whether or not a child will be offered a place, not the fact that parents have named a school as their first choice.

Application Form

When you apply for a reception place, you do so via the local authority in which you live. If you are a Manchester resident you will apply to Manchester City Council. If you live in Stockport or Trafford, you will apply to Stockport MBC or Trafford MBC, even if you want your child to attend a Manchester school or they attend a Manchester nursery.  You can apply online for a reception place anytime between September and the application deadline which is usually in January.

Offer of a Place

All local authorities offer places for reception classes on the same day. This is usually in mid-April. You will receive a letter from your local authority letting you know which school you have been offered. If you have applied online, you can also access this information via your online account.  If you wish to accept the place offered to you, you will need to do so within a short timescale.  If you wish to reject the place offered to you, you may be not be offered another place at a school of your choice.


If your child is not offered a place at this school, you have the right to submit an appeal. In doing so, you must present a very strong case as to why your child should attend this school rather than the one which has been allocated for them. Once you have submitted your appeal application, you will be invited to attend an Appeals Hearing and present your case to an independent appeals panel.  It is the Panel’s role to listen to your case and to decide whether or not it is strong enough for your appeal to be upheld (usually on the basis that the offer they have made is unreasonable) and the Local Authority obliged to offer you a place at the school.

Please note that the school cannot get involved in supporting parents’ appeals for places.  Parents cannot, therefore, expect the school to support an appeal or provide an argument that a child should attend this school rather than another school.  The fact that a child has attended our nursery (and has, we appreciate, established friendships and routines) is not usually a strong enough argument to uphold an appeal for a place in nursery.  In the interest of all pupils, the school is committed to maintaining class sizes at the planned admission number.  It strongly argues against admitting additional children beyond that number.  The school is asked to provide to the Appeals Panel a general statement with reasons why the school cannot accept admissions beyond the planned admissions number.  We believe that admitting any additional pupils would be detrimental to the quality of education we aim to provide at Northenden and may lead to over-crowding in our very small school.  Schools are invited to attend the Appeals Hearings as observers and to answer any questions the Panel may have for the school.

Infant Class Size Regulations

Infant Class Size Regulations 2012 limit infant aged classes (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) to 30 pupils per qualified class teacher. The majority of primary schools in Manchester have admission limits (Published Admissions Numbers) that are compatible with this law i.e multiples of 30 per qualified class teacher.  Should you be refused a school place and choose to appeal the decision, you should be aware that the threshold the law sets for infant classes is extremely high meaning very few appeals are successful.

Local Authority Admissions Teams

Manchester City Council (Manchester residents)

Integrated Admissions
Children’s Services
Town Hall PO Box 532
Manchester M60 2LA
Tel : 0161 245 7166

Trafford MBC (Trafford residents)

School Admissions
Children’s and Young People’s Service
4th Floor, Waterside House
Sale M33 7ZF
Tel : 0161 912 5007

Stockport MBC (Stockport residents) admissions

Admissions Team
Services to People
3rd Floor Stopford House

Stockport SK1 3XE
Tel : 0161 217 6028

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