Apply for a secondary 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 and research schools

You should visit schools to get an idea of what they offer. Every school has an open event. Headteachers are more than happy for parents to visit their schools and ask questions. If you cannot visit, you can get more information from the school websites which are listed in our schools directory.

You can also view the latest Ofsted reports and performance results for each individual school. 

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 – It is important to do your research and make up your own mind about the schools you apply to.

Avoid common assumptions

Don't make assumptions about how your child will be considered for a school place.

Are your preferences realistic?

It is important that you consider how likely it is that your child will be offered a place at your preferred schools before you apply. You can do this by:

  • Reading the admissions arrangements for each of your preferred schools to find out which criteria apply to your child
  • Reading the additional information about common priority criteria
  • Checking the distance from your home to each of your preferred schools
  • Using the information about how places have been offered in previous years, including the distances of the last child admitted

The schools directory includes the 2024/25 admission arrangements for most Hackney schools. You can also find them on school websites, including for schools outside Hackney.

Decide the order of your school preferences

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 or listing just one school does not increase your chance of being offered a place.

Each school you list is given equal consideration regardless of where you rank it in your preferences. This means that your child may qualify for a place at more than one school, but your preference order will be used to offer the school you want most. For example, if your child qualifies for a place at your first and second preference school, you will be offered a place at the first preference school.

How will your child travel to school?

Hackney has a great network of buses and rail links making it easy to get to any of our local schools. Children of secondary school age are generally expected to travel to school independently using public transport. However, a long journey to school on public transport may not be best for your child.

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

Schools outside Hackney

Sometimes your nearest school may be in a neighbouring borough. You can apply for a place at secondary 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
This page was last modified on: 18 Jul 2024