When to apply

The closing date for applications is 15 January 2024.

We will let you know your outcome:

  • on 16 April 2024 if you applied on time (by 15 January 2024) 
  • on 13 May 2024 if you apply late (between 16 January 2024 and 15 April 2024) 
  • from June onwards if you apply after 15 April 2024

Before you apply

Read our parents' guide

Read our parents' guide for information about the different types of schools, the evidence we require and information you need to know before applying.

You must be a Dorset resident to complete this application form.

If you do not have a confirmed Dorset address but wish to apply for a Dorset school, please apply through the local authority admissions team in the area where you currently live. This includes if you live within Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP).

Read the admissions policies

Read the admissions policies for schools you're interested in.

For children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

You have to apply for a school place in a different way. Find out what to do if your child has an educational, health and care (EHC) plan.

Catchment area schools

View schools in your catchment area or view all schools by catchment area.

Summer born children

Children usually start school in the September after they turn 4, but if your child was born between 1 April and 31 August, also known as summer-born children, you can ask to delay entry to reception for a year. You'll need to discuss this with any schools you are interested in and fill out the required forms, find out more about the backward or forward yearing policy.

Apply for a school place

List up to 3 schools in order of preference. One of these schools should be your catchment school, if there is one. You'll receive a confirmation email once you've submitted your application.

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Religious school requirements

You may have to complete an additional form if you want to apply to religious schools. This is an extra form which should be sent to the schools themselves, unless stated differently, you must still complete an application form.

If you can't apply online

If you can't apply online, you can fill in and return a paper application from the 1 September, this should be posted by the closing date, make sure you include proof of posting

Once you've applied

Make changes to your submitted application

If you want to make changes to your submitted application, you need to complete a change of preference form:

You must not make any changes via your online account. We process all applications based on the information as of the closing date, this means if you change your address after 15 January 2024, we'll process your application using the address you were living at on the closing date.

How we tell you about an offer of a reception school place

If you applied by the closing date you will be told of your outcome on the 16 April 2024. Find details of how places have been allocated on our school allocations page.

What to do when you have a school place offer

We automatically assume you want to accept your school place. If you want to decline a school place offered, you must provide us with the reason as to why, or want your child to go on a waiting list, you can only request to go on the waiting list if you have been refused, you must respond by 2 May 2024 for on time applications and 26 May 2024 for late applications.