Guide to moving up to secondary school

Last updated: 7 August 2023

Waiting lists

Your child will automatically be added to the waiting list for the schools in your application that could not be offered, as long as they are higher preferences than the school that was offered.

There are two exceptions. We cannot add:

  • unqualified children to the waiting list for any grammar school
  • children to the waiting list of The Highcrest Academy if they have not taken the school’s banding test

If you and your child live in Buckinghamshire and their application included a school in another area, we will ask the relevant Local Authority to add your child’s name to that school’s waiting list.

Contact us if you do not want your child included on a school’s waiting list.

How do waiting lists work?

If a place becomes available at a school, we will fill that place by offering it to the child at the top of the waiting list in a later allocation round.

We will email you if we can offer a place to your child.

Before making allocations, each school’s waiting list is sorted into admission rules order. The child at the top of the waiting list will always be the child who best fits the admission rules.

It does not matter when a child’s name was added to the waiting list or when their application was received, waiting lists are always ordered according to the school’s admission rules.

Removing your child from a waiting list

It is important you contact us as soon as you decide you want to remove your child from a waiting list.

If you are happy with the school your child has been offered, but you do not tell us to remove them from a waiting list, you risk losing your child’s original offer. This is because we assume any child on a waiting list would prefer that school above any other and we take the place as we make the higher preference offer.

The school place we remove from your child will then be offered to another child from the waiting list, so we will not be able to offer it back to your child. We will not give you a choice between 2 schools.

Finding out your child’s waiting list position

If your child is on a Buckinghamshire school’s waiting list, you will be notified of their waiting list position on 16 May and 26 June. During this time their name will stay on the waiting list unless you ask us to remove it.

After 3 July (Transition Day) we will ask you if you still want your child’s name to remain on a waiting list and if you confirm your wish to stay on the list then your child’s name will stay on the waiting list. Waiting lists are held until at least 31 December of Year 7. Waiting lists for schools that manage their own in year admissions will be handed to them in mid-September and the school will manage the list from that point.

If your child is on the waiting list for a school outside Buckinghamshire, you need to contact that Local Authority directly to find out your child’s waiting list position.

Grammar school waiting lists

Children who are ‘qualified’ are eligible to be placed on Buckinghamshire grammar school waiting lists.

A child can be qualified either by scoring 121 or higher in the Secondary Transfer Test, or by having a successful Selection Review.

A child may also be added to a grammar school’s waiting list if they are qualified at appeal by the Independent Appeal Panel, but the appeal for a place was not successful. Where this is the case, the child would only be eligible to be placed on the waiting list of that particular grammar school.

See the appeals guide for more information.

How long your child can stay on a school’s waiting list

If your child is still on the waiting list after the Transition Days, we will ask you to tell us if you want your child to stay on the waiting list. At this point in the year, we will ask you before offering a different school.

Waiting Lists for admission to Year 7 in Buckinghamshire secondary schools will be maintained until at least 31 December 2023. In the autumn term of 2023 we will contact all those on the waiting list for a Buckinghamshire school to advise how waiting lists will be managed for the remainder of the 23/24 academic year.

Bear in mind that – for some Buckinghamshire grammar schools – your child’s qualification may lapse. This means if you are still interested in a place your child would need to be tested again for entry into Year 8 (or Year 9).