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School Placing Request

Choosing a school is an important decision for every family. Under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 you have the responsibility of consulting your children on matters which affect them and taking account of their views when making a decision. This includes decisions on which school your child will attend. However, the legal right to request a place at a school remains with you as the parent*.

If you wish to apply for a place for your child in a school which is not your zoned school by address, or it is your zoned school but your child has not previously attended an Aberdeen City Authority primary school, you should contact your chosen school in the first instance. They will advise you to complete this form if they anticipate receiving more requests for places than the school has pupil places, or a waiting list already exists for the year group you have requested.

You should fill in a separate application form for each child if you are applying for more than one child.

If you are in any doubt about your zoned school you should ask at the school your child is attending at present or write to the Head of Service for Education, Culture and Sport. If your child does not attend a school in Aberdeen City, you should telephone 01224 522753/522609 and ask for 'placing request information'.

If you have already sent in a letter applying for a place for your child you should still fill in this application form. Your letter will be kept on file and referred to in any decision regarding your application.

Please fill in all sections of the SPR form (and SPR1, SPR2, SPR3 and SPR4 if appropriate) and return to:

  • School Placements
    Education and Children's Services
    Business Hub 13
    Second Floor North
    Marischal College
    Broad Street
    Aberdeen, AB10 1AB
    Email Address:
    Tel (01224) 522753 or 522609
    Fax (01224) 522022

* Where we use the word "Parents" this refers to anyone with parental responsibilities (within the meaning of Section 1 (3) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995) or has care of a child or young person.

Please read the notes for applicants below, before you fill in the form(s). 

School Placing Request Form SPR1

If you are planning to move into the zone of the school for which you are applying, please complete this form and return it along with SPR (white).

School Placing Request Form SPR2 To confirm Priority 2 (Family), ask the school your elder child attends to complete PART B of this form.  Once this has been done, complete the Declaration section and return this form along with SPR (white).
School Placing Request Form SPR3 To confirm Priority 3 (Childcare), ask your childminder to complete PART B of this form.  Once this has been done, complete the Declaration section and return this form with SPR (white).
School Placing Request Form SPR4                                             Should you wish to provide further details in support of your application, please complete this form and return with SPR (white).
School Placing Request Form (WHITE) Please fill in all sections of the SPR (white) form (and SPR1, SPR2, SPR3 and SPR4 if appropriate) and return to the address below.

Making a Schools Placing Request Notes for Applicants - Important

  • Any information you give us will be treated in the strictest confidence and will be used solely for the purpose of making a Schools Placing Request including an appeal in relation to that placing request.
  • Applications which are incomplete cannot be fully processed and will be returned to the applicant for completion. The application will be placed in Priority 4 (Other Reasons) until all the information is provided.
  • All of the information supplied by you will be checked. This may result in the Education Authority changing the priority you have selected. You will, of course, be informed of any such change.
  • The Education Authority will base any decision on your application on the information provided by you at the time of your application and on any additional information it has requested from you.

Placing Request/Out of Zone Admissions

What if I want to place my child in a school outwith the zone in which I live or I move into zone after 15 March?

As mentioned above, each parent has a right (with no obligation to give reasons, although these allow the request to be prioritised) to make a request to the Education Service to have his/her child enrolled in the school of his/her choice. This right can be exercised at any time and not just at the time of admission to school or transfer from one school to another.

The simplest way to deal with such requests is for the parents, in the first instance, to approach the Head Teacher of the school at which they wish their child to be educated.

In many cases, the Head Teacher should be able to indicate immediately that the child will be admitted. In some cases, the Head Teacher will be unable to accept the child and a formal written "placing request" will require to be made. SPR (School Placing Request) Forms can be obtained from any school. The Head of Service for Education, Culture and Sport or a representative, will then deal with each case individually and correspond directly with the parents. In the interests of fairness the information provided in all written placing requests will be thoroughly checked for accuracy and in particular addresses and any other information provided will be checked. In certain instances further checks may require to be made in order to validate the parental address.

Where a school's capacity is likely to be exceeded, the following list of priorities, will be applied in granting applications to fill the number of available places:

1. Residence within Zone

This applies to children who:

  • (i) Where children move into the zone of a school after 15 March. Applications are prioritised according to the date the application was received. Where parents/children are moving in-zone it will be the date they take up residence. (After proof of residency has been received).
  • (ii) Where children are already in the zone but not in a local authority school.

2. Family

Where either an older brother or a sister is already in attendance at the specified school, and will be in continuing education at the school at the time of admission.

3. Childcare

Where parent(s) are working and transport the child outwith the school zone in which they are resident in order that the child can be cared for by a responsible adult other than their parents outwith normal school hours (that is, at the beginning and end of the school day). This must be on the basis that there is existing, ongoing childcare in the zone relating to the school applied for at the time of application and the name and address of the carer can be verified as a bona fide carer or childminder.

4. Others

Where none of the above applies, for example friendship groups, transport arrangements, family employment circumstances.

Precedence is given to pupils within each priority who are ordinarily resident within the zone of a school which lies within the boundaries of Aberdeen City. Ranking within a priority grouping will be on the basis of direct distance between home (ordinary place of residence) and school, except where the parents of a child living within zone have to apply for a place in the school as they fall into the categories indicated in 1 (a) or 1 (b) above. Here, precedence will be determined by the date of the receipt of application after taking up ordinary residence in the zone.

The above guidelines will be applied to all school placing requests. However, placing requests may be granted where exceptional circumstances exist in any particular case.

How will I be informed of a decision on my placing request?

The Education Authority is bound by legislation to inform a parent in writing of its decision on the placing request within statutory timescales. Where it decides to refuse the request, the Education Authority must give written reasons for its decision and inform the parent of his/her right to refer the matter to an appeals committee. If the decision is not made within the statutory timescales it is deemed to have been refused and the parent has the right to refer the deemed refusal to an appeals committee.

Where a place is granted parents will receive a letter directly from the school and should reply accepting or declining the place within two weeks. When no reply is received within 14 days a further letter will be issued with a final 7 days to reply, after which the offer of a place will be withdrawn.

When accepting a place parents should immediately notify their zoned school in writing to inform them that they will not be taking up their place in August of that year.

How soon will I know if my placing request has been granted?

In cases where the application is for entry in August of any one year, the Education Authority is required to give an answer to Placing Requests received by the 15 March in that year by the following 30 April.

In cases where the time of entry requested is other than August, the Education Authority has two months to give a decision from the date of the request.

In each case, if the parent has not received a decision within the timescale above the placing request is deemed to have been refused.

What if I make a placing request after 15 March?

All placing requests made on or after 16 March, for admission in August of that year, will be considered and decided after the requests made before 15 March have been decided and notified.

Why might my placing request be refused?

The legislation states that the Education Authority can refuse a placing request in terms of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 as amended, if placing the child in a requested school would:

  • 1. make it necessary for the Education Authority to take an additional teacher into employment;
  • 2. give rise to significant expenditure on extending, or otherwise altering, the accommodation at, or facilities provided in connection with, the school;
  • 3. be seriously detrimental to the continuity of the child's education;
  • 4. be likely to be seriously detrimental to order and discipline in the school;
  • 5. be likely to be seriously detrimental to the educational well-being of the pupils attending the school.
  • 6. Assuming that pupil numbers remain constant, make it necessary, at the commencement of a future stage of the child's primary education, for the Authority to elect either to create an additional class (or an additional composite class) in the specified school or to take an additional teacher into employment at that school.
  • 7. even if neither of the tests set out in sub-paragraphs 1 and 2 above is satisfied, have the consequence that the capacity of the school would be exceeded in terms of pupil numbers.

The Education Authority may also refuse a placing request if:

  • the education normally provided at the specified school is not suited to the age, ability or aptitude
    of the child;
  • the Education Authority has already required the child to discontinue his/her attendance at the
    specified school;
  • the specified school is a special school, the child does not have special educational needs
    requiring the special educational facilities normally provided at the school.

These grounds are likely to be extended as a result of expected legislative change.

Education (Scotland) Act 1980 as amended allows Education Authorities to reserve places in certain schools
if it anticipates that places will be required for families moving into an area. At the time of publication this
applies only to specified secondary and primary schools. Head of Service for Education, Culture and Sport
for up to date information.

Can I appeal against the decision if my request is refused?

Parents have the right of appeal against refusals and deemed refusals of placing requests. Appeals should be
lodged within 28 days of receipt of letter of refusal or the timescale for making a decision has expired.

Parents should bear in mind that they:

  • cannot appeal against the refusal of a place in a nursery school or nursery class;
  • can appeal only once a year for each of your children;
  • should lodge the appeal no later than 28 days after you receive the Education Authority's letter of refusal or the timescale for making a decision has expired;
  • can appeal only against refusal or deemed refusal of a place in your first choice school, that is when you have submitted a Placing Request in relation to more than one school.

How do I lodge an appeal?

You should send a letter of appeal to the Director of Corporate Governance, (Placing Request Appeal),
Town House, Broad Street, Aberdeen AB10 1AQ giving the child's full name, the school you wish him/her to
attend and your reasons for appealing against the decision.

How is an appeal against a placing request refusal considered?

Appeals against placing refusals are heard by an Appeals Committee which comprises members of the Council and
external members with experience of education in the city.

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