Supporting Families
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In Year Admissions

Last Updated  February 2021
Update: Coronavirus temporary arrangements for In Year admission to grammar schools for Kent and Medway 2020-21, below. 
Note: Any expatriate families may find helpful an article I wrote for the British Council Families Association newsletter, Jan 2015: Finding a school on returning home.

 There are various reasons parents want their children to change schools outside the normal transfer frameworks, both in the primary and secondary school sectors. The enormous scale of in-year admissions can be seen from KCC figures for applications between 1st September 2012 - 11 June 2013, when there were 9902 applications for primary aged children and 3020 for those of secondary age (these figures are not available for subsequent years as schools now handle their own in-year admissions - see below). 

The most common is moving house: expatriates moving back from foreign countries; children of UK service personnel or crown servants returning home; those moving into Kent or Medway from another county, or those moving within the area.

There are also parents unhappy with their child’s current school or those seeking a grammar school place post the 11 plus or currently attending a non-selective school, or those simply looking for what they perceive as a ‘better’ school.

Some parents are unhappy with the primary or secondary school allocated during the normal school admissions process and wish to apply for fresh schools additional to those on their application form. 

Finally (I think) those whose children have been home-schooled or attending a private school and, for a variety of reasons wish them to take up a place in a state school.

Moving House
        ·       Proof of residence is often the key sticking point for those moving house.

·       However, if the school of your choice has vacancies, then the place of residence is immaterial provided it is in the United Kingdom  (but if the school is selective your child will still need to take and pass an admission test first).
·       Otherwise, with few exceptions (some church schools & the super-selective grammar schools), you are unlikely to be seriously considered for a place at the school (at appeal, see below) until you have committed yourself to purchase (contract signed) or rented (often 12 month rental agreement) a property in the neighbourhood.  
·       Many parents want a school place before they move home. Apart from the exceptions above, you won’t get one unless there are vacancies, certainly not if you are moving from another country. However, there is nothing to stop you making enquiries of the school directly – each will have its own policy for dealing with such enquiries. These range from 'no assistance' (most common with heavily oversubscribed schools and some primary schools with limited facilities to deal with a large number of enquiries), through to those schools who will offer a visit to look round and a discussion. Do not assume that the latter are short of applicants. Some believe it is a common courtesy for potential parents.
·       Almost by definition, the most popular schools are oversubscribed (full), and so you will be looking at an application followed by an appeal that may of course not be successful. As a result, many children spend a period of time out of school, which can be as much as three months (even I have a grandchild who spent this amount of time without a school!).     
·      There are special arrangements for children of UK service personnel or crown servants returning home (School Admissions Code, para 2.18). However, the application of these Codes does not provide much advantage in gaining a place at a specific oversubscribed school for In Year applications. 
·      In any case, the Local Authority will offer your child in a school with vacancies. 
·      I used to work with expatriates relocating back to Kent to try and secure places for their children in Year 7 of new secondary schools each September. Their problems appear particularly acute as KCC is not allowed to begin the process until they are domiciled in the UK, and therefore it is wise to move before the admission process begins.
Grammar Schools (see below for important variation in the school Year 2020-2021).
You will find considerably more information on the pages dealing specifically with appeals to Kent and Medway grammar schools, the former including a section on 2021 appeals.   
·     Almost without exception, entrance to grammar school is via an admission test, which will usually be set in-house for entry from December in Year 7 and above, and varies in content from school to school. Success in one grammar school’s entrance test is rarely transferable to a second school. For entry up until this point, Kent children will take the Kent Test which is transferable between schools. Medway Council does not offer a testing facility for late applicants and in this case, the application will be turned down, but parents will have the right to appeal against the decision, putting forward what evidence they are able, to try and convince the Panel the child is of grammar school ability. This is unlikely to succeed except at Chatham Grammar. For Chatham and Holcombe grammar schools there is an alternative route. Apply to a Kent grammar school, take the Kent Test, and you then have the right to use the result as a qualification for entry (or if unsuccessful appeal) to these two schools. 
·      Most grammar schools are full in each Year Group (but feel free to check) and so there can be several stages to securing a place. Where the school is full in the relevant Year Group,  they will determine after you apply, whether to test before making a decision. If the child is successful you will be offered an oversubscription appeal to try and win a place, or a place directly if there are vacancies. If unsuccessful in the test, you still have the right to appeal, whether or not the school is full, but will have to show alternative evidence that your child is of grammar school ability. Sometimes the child will be turned down without testing on the grounds that the school is full. In this case, if you go ahead with an appeal, the child will be tested before the hearing so that appropriate evidence is forthcoming.

      Chances of success if the school is full will vary enormously, depending on the pressure on places.


 Medway Council staff have a habit of offering different advice to different enquirers. 
2020-21: Coronavirus
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there is no late Testing in Kent or Medway. Late applications for Year 7 in Kent and In Year applications for later Year Groups will be rejected, with parents offered the opportunity to go to appeal. At appeal they will be required to demonstrate their child is of grammar school ability, although there will be limited evidence available. This will tend to favour children at private schools. There is a news article in progress and I will provide a link when this is available. Strangely (?), the government has made an exception in the case of private schools.  where testing can take place. 
Challenging Behaviour & Exclusion
Special rules apply where the child has a history of challenging behaviour (who defines this?) or has been permanently excluded from at least two other schools  but only for In Year applications. (School Admissions Code Para 3.8) – However, the Local Authority still has to find a place locally for such a child.


The procedure is very simple. If you are looking for a place in a different one to the school you have been offered in Year Seven, you can apply for any school in the county after a set date (Wednesday 21st April in 2021). There is nothing to stop you from submitting the form a little earlier.  You simply need an In-Year Casual Application Form and send it to the schools you are interested in. The same form is used for all schools for Years 7-11.  There is no centralised process, so you can send as many applications in as you wish. If turned down, you have the right to appeal.
Important update, February 2021, see below
The Council has at last delegated late applications to all schools after December in Year Seven, following many years of confusion, and quite simply If a parent/carer wishes to apply for a school as an in-year admission you must apply directly to the relevant school. The arrangements set out here require you to complete a Casual Admission Form for each school you wish to apply to. These also state: 'If the school has a vacant place and your child has the highest eligibility against the oversubscription criteria then the school must offer it to you'. This is a nonsense. It should read: If the school has a vacant place in the appropriate year group then the school must offer it to you, with the exception of grammar schools if the child is not grammar qualified'. The note at the bottom makes clear that Medway Council still monitors applications closely.  
Medway Council may still follow its illegal practice of contacting the previous school to find details of academic progress for most schools. Medway may try and insist on your being locally resident, but cannot deny your right to apply using your current address provided it is in this country.
Up until December of Year Seven, the Council retains control of applications. Up until 31st March, parents should fill in a Waiting List Request Form, although this is not mentioned in the Late Application Section here.   After that period, as long as you submitted a common application form, you are able to submit a fresh waiting list form including or exclusively of new schools at any time up until 31st December. This information is not published on the Medway website or elsewhere and does not apply to grammar schools if the child has not taken and passed the Medway Test. 
A Medway Aside
The section of the Medway Council website dedicated to schools offers a different experience,  with an interesting Roundabout provided for those who wish to use it to find related information (see below).
The Medway Late Application Procedure Roundabout for Year Seven Places according to the website
From The Medway Council website, starting at Apply to Move School.

The following are not in-year admissions and will require you to apply through the normal processes:

If you follow the link to 'transfer to Year 7', it takes you back to  Apply for a secondary school place, at the foot of which you will find:

If you apply for a school place after the closing date, your application will only be considered if you can provide a good reason, for example:

  • serious illness
  • bereavement
  • late move to the Medway area

If you miss the closing date you can still submit an application up to 5pm on 4 December 2020 with a letter explaining why you missed the closing date. We'll decide if late applications received by 4 December 2020 can be accepted. Any applications not accepted as on-time or received after 4 December 2020 will be held pending until we process late applications from 19 April 2021.

If you follow the link provided, it takes you to a fairly random page including a section on 

In-Year Admissions
Applications to the current Year R-Year 11 are classed as in-year admissions. In-year admissions applications cannot be submitted using this website. If you wish to apply for in-year admission, please read the information and guidance about the in-year admission process.
And you are back at the start, via the misinformation in the previous paragraph. 
You may have thought that the legal document 'Medway Council Co-ordinated Scheme for Secondary Admissions Academic Year 2021/22 Incorporating admission to Year 7 (secondary schools and academies) and Secondary In-Year Admissions' would supply the answer to the conundrum, but it chooses to ignore it: 
Section 29: The decision on whether a reason for late application is acceptable will be at the discretion of the School Admissions and Transport Management Team. For situations where it is decided that the reason for late submission is not exceptional and for ALL applications received after this date (December 4th 2020), the application will be held pending until after allocation on the stated offer date and will be processed as part of the ongoing reallocation of vacant places as defined above. 
Unfortunately, 'above' can only apply to the two preceding sections where 'reallocation' is briefly mentioned, but no reference whatever is made about late applications, or how they are made. The powers accruing to the School Admissions and Transport Management have gone beyond what is reasonable and probably lawful for many years.
In short, I was unable to advise on the way forward, to lodge a late application for Year Seven after March 31st, until I was offered an individual explanation by Medway Council officers, who appear much more helpful than in previous years. It may be that with a change of personnel at the top of the relevant department there is a postive change in attitude. You may find the parental comment here, written before this, a salutary warning!
Good luck!



Last modified on Wednesday, 24 February 2021 05:22