Apply for a primary school place

Schools and academies in Hackney are very popular and not all applicants can be offered a place. You can list up to six schools. Follow the advice below and think carefully about which schools to list on your application.

Visit schools

You should visit schools to get an idea of what they offer. Headteachers are more than happy for parents to visit their schools. If you cannot visit schools you can get more information from their websites which are listed in our schools directory

Avoid common assumptions

Don't make assumptions about how school admissions work.

Are your preferences realistic?

Consider how likely it is that your child will be offered a place at your preferred schools. Read the admissions arrangements for each of your preferred schools to find out which criteria apply to your child.

The schools directory includes the admission criteria for all Hackney schools. For schools outside Hackney you should visit their website.

If you are unsure whether you will qualify for a place you can call the admissions team for impartial advice on 020 8820 7000 (option 3).

Decide the order of your school preferences

Each school you list is given equal consideration regardless of where you rank it in your preferences. Therefore you should list the school you want the most as your first preference. Your second preference should be the school you prefer if you don’t get your first preference, and so on down your list of schools.

Schools cannot give priority to families who list them as first preference because they are not told what preference you list them. Listing a school as your first preference does not increase your chance of being offered a place.

This means that you can list schools you prefer higher in your preferences (even if your chance of getting a place is small) and still have an equal chance at getting a place at lower preference schools where you are more likely to qualify for a place.

If you are unsure how you should list your preferences contact the admissions team for advice.

Do you live close enough?

Many schools use home-to-school distance as part of their admission criteria.

How will your child travel to school?

It is very important that your child arrives on time to school each day. A long journey at peak times could make it difficult and may not be the best choice for your child. Hackney has a great network of buses and rail links making it easy to get to any of our local schools.

Travel is free on Transport for London (TfL) buses. Parents accompanying children must pay the normal fare. Some children may be eligible for help with the cost of tube and/or train journeys.

Research school performance and inspection outcomes

All schools in Hackney are inspected regularly by Ofsted. The latest Ofsted reports are included in the schools directory. Headteachers are happy to talk about any part of the Ofsted report. Information about an individual school’s performance results can be viewed on the Department for Education (DfE) website

Get advice

Seek advice from teachers, other parents and the school admissions team. The right school for your friend’s child may not be right for your child.

Don’t judge a school solely on what others say – visit the school and make up your own mind.

Schools outside Hackney

Sometimes your nearest school may be in a neighbouring borough. You can apply for a place at primary schools anywhere in England by listing them as preferences on the online application form. You should contact the relevant school admissions team in the area where the school is located.

Details for neighbouring London boroughs:


Admissions and Pupil Benefits Team

020 8820 7000

Our office at Reading Lane (including the 2nd Floor Reception) is currently closed

This page was last modified on: 27 Apr 2022