Apply for a secondary school place

What happens to my application?

Your preferences are considered by each school separately, without regard to the order you ranked them on your application. For each school, your application is prioritised according to their admission criteria and included in a ranked list with every other application for that school.

Places at each school are offered to the highest ranked applicants until the school is full. If your child is ranked high enough to be offered a place at more than one school we offer you only the school ranked highest in your preferences. The place your child could have been offered at lower preference schools is offered to the next child on their ranked list.

Preferences for community schools are ranked by the Local Authority (Hackney Education for schools in Hackney). Preferences for religious schools, academies or free schools are ranked by the admission authority for the school, usually the governing body or academy trust. Preferences for schools outside Hackney are dealt with in the same way via the local authority where the school is located.

Banding and Cognitive Ability Tests

Most Hackney secondary schools use a process of banding to ensure they admit a wide range of children of different abilities. Every child who applies sits a Cognitive Ability Test (CAT) and the results are used to group applications into different ability bands.

CAT tests for Year 6 will be held at Hackney primary schools between Monday 27 September and Friday 15 October 2021. However, if your child attends a school outside Hackney and you apply for a place at a school that uses banding, they will be invited to sit the CAT at a Hackney secondary school on either Saturday 20 November or Saturday 27 November 2021. You will be contacted by email in November 2021 to tell you the date and venue for your child’s test.

The CAT will last about three hours and will determine the band your child is placed into for each secondary school.

Normally, the same number of children are offered a place from each band group. If there are more applications than places available within each band the school will apply their admission criteria to determine who has priority for the places available in that band. Children who are not offered places will be put on the waiting list within their band group.

Who has priority for school places?

Some applicants have higher priority for places according to their family circumstances. Priority is not determined by who applied first, where the school is ranked in your preferences or how long a child has been waiting for a place.

Every school has admissions arrangements that set out the priority criteria the school will use to rank applicants. You should read the admission criteria for each school that you apply for in our school directory

Applicants who do not qualify under any priority criteria are normally ranked according to their home-to-school distance. Applicants living nearest to the school are ranked higher up the list.

In addition to distance, Mossbourne Community Academy and The Petchey Academy also include an element of random allocation (a computerised lottery) to determine who gets a place.


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: 4 Mar 2022