Unsure what next on National Offer Day?

3 mins read

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Tags: education, secondary school offer, secondary school

This news story is for parents in England and Wales only. See our education advice if you live in Northern Ireland or Scotland.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care plan in England, there is a different admissions process that applies to your child.

Today is the National Offer Day for secondary school applications in England and Wales.

Hopefully, you’ll be celebrating that your child got a place in one of the schools you applied for.

But if you’re not – don’t panic. There are a number of things you can do.

What happens on National Offer Day?

Parents whose child is leaving primary school will have made their applications for a secondary school place last October.

The schools you listed in your application will have each decided whether they can offer your child a place. The local authority will have considered these offers against your preferences, along with everyone else’s.

And today on National Offer Day, you’ll have received a single offer of a school.

Your offer will be the highest preference school on your list that can give your child a place. If none of your preferences can offer your child a place – because too many other children are higher up on the oversubscription criteria – you’ll be offered another school.

This is likely to be the nearest school with places still available. Usually there will be a form to fill in to confirm that you accept the school offered. 

What if I’m not happy with the school offered?

In the first instance, we advise you to:

  • Keep your child on the waiting list for any schools you originally applied for; sometimes there is quite a bit of movement before September.
  • Put in a new application for other schools not on your original list.
  • Appeal for any school where you applied and were turned down.

We advise that you accept the school place offered if you can, even if you aren’t happy with it. This will ensure that your child at least has a guaranteed school place if other options fail.

You have the right to appeal the local authority’s decision to an independent appeals panel.

Where can I find out more about this?

If you live in England, visit our page on applying for a school place, where we go into more detail about your options if you’re not happy with the offer. You can find out what support you can expect for your child on our page Extra support in school.

If you live in Wales, visit gov.wales for frequently asked questions about the school application process.