7.6% of Primary School Applications Were Submitted Late Last Year

Primary School Application Deadline is Approaching

It’s that time of year again! Parents whose children are due to enter reception class in the coming September will be all too aware that the deadline for school applications is 15th January 2019 in England (with various dates throughout January depending upon council in Wales).


Submit late, and you risk your application only being considered once those submitted on time are allocated. This could leave you less likely to get your preferred choice.

But how many parents DO submit late?


Late Primary School Applications Statistics


We submitted a Freedom of Information request to over 200 councils at the beginning of December 2018 to find out:


  • How many primary school applications they received in total last year (for children due to enter reception class in September 2018)
  • How many were submitted late (after the official deadline had passed)

They didn’t all get back to us. We’re yet to hear from some, one council refused our request and several others told us they do not hold the information about the number submitted late.


But we did successfully hear back from 107 councils at the time of writing (outlined in more detail below).


From the 103 councils who completed our request for information, last year:


  • They received a combined total of 417,248 applications
  • 31,266 of those were received late


Percentage of primary school applications received late

That means nationally (based on our sample of 107 councils) 7.6% of applications for primary school are received late.


The Best and Worst Areas for Late Applications


But it’s not consistent across the country. Some councils have hardly any or no late applications, while others have over a quarter of parents submitting late.


The worst offenders from the 107 councils who responded to our request:



  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough – 28% of applications received late last year
  • Gwynedd County Council – 23% of applications received late last year
  • Denbighshire County Council – 22% of all applications received late last year
  • Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council – 21.04% of all applications received latelast year
  • Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council – 16% of all applications received late last year


At the other end of the scale:

  • London City Council: 0% of its applications were received late last year (though the council only processed 34 in total)
  • Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council: 0.2% of its applications were received late last year
  • Middlesbrough Borough Council: 0.3% of its applications were received late last year
  • Wokingham Borough Council: 0.4% of its applications were received late last year
  • London Borough of Islington: 0.4% of its applications were received late last year



How your council performed


Want to know how your council area performed? All the data we received before publication on 9th January is summarised below and you can download a raw data spreadsheet with information about responses statuses of all councils from here.


If your council was one of the 107 who responded, you’ll find their late primary school application statistics in the table below:



CouncilSeptember 2018 Start Date Total ApplicationsSeptember 2018 Start Date Applications Received LatePercentage of Applications Received Late
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council63417527.60
Gwynedd County Council117627123.04
Denbighshire County Council90319621.71
Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council379879921.04
Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council304849716.31
Swansea City and Borough Council259741315.90
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council243936014.76
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council305044314.52
Vale of Glamorgan Council130718514.15
Liverpool City Council558979014.13
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council135518713.80
Northhamptonshire County Council10193139513.69
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council224929813.25
London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham204326212.82
North East Lincolnshire Council192824312.60
London Borough of Hillingdon497262612.59
London Borough of Redbridge422452612.45
Somerset County Council594272812.25
Newport City Council179320511.43
Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council858496611.25
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council275930911.20
Milton Keynes335037411.16
Wolverhampton City Council353238310.84
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council275829910.84
Suffolk County Council857488910.37
London Borough of Ealing443245510.27
Isle of Wight Council133913710.23
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council281728710.19
Hull City Council34693469.97
Luton Borough Council31433119.90
London Borough of Lambeth30533029.89
London Borough of Waltham Forest42014159.88
London Borough of Brent41694059.71
Leicester City Council44864299.56
Devon County Council77177349.51
Plymouth City Council32763099.43
London Borough of Hounslow37063479.36
London Borough of Hackney26872429.01
Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council41733678.79
Essex County Council1613714178.78
London Borough of Bexley28922518.68
Warwickshire County Council73796218.42
Portsmouth City Council25022108.39
Fareham Borough Council651548.29
Isle of Angelsey651548.29
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council39113178.11
London Borough of Barnet42123418.10
Hampshire County Council1465611858.09
Stoke-on-Trent City Council36342887.93
Southampton City Council30802417.82
Leicestershire County Council83326407.68
Sheffield City Council60904627.59
Herefordshire Council18971397.33
London Borough of Tower Hamlets37722767.32
Cumbria County Council48643557.30
Staffordshire County Council93526817.28
Torbay Council14311047.27
Lincolnshire County Council82745977.22
Reading Borough Council23351657.07
London Borough of Croydon50453466.86
Royal Borough of Greenwich35722386.66
Bournemouth Borough Council19501226.26
Brighton and Hove City Council26161596.08
Nottinghamshire County Council101495985.89
Bedford Borough Council22871305.68
Cornwall Council (Unitary)57163135.48
City of York Council19331055.43
London Borough of Camden1687885.22
Telford & Wrekin Council20551014.91
Monmouthshire County Council850414.82
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council46352224.79
Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council24441174.79
Warrington Borough Council25401184.65
Rutland County Council346154.34
Sunderland City Council29471244.21
Bracknell Forest Council1416594.17
West Berkshire Council1792734.07
Derby City Council30161224.05
Durham County Council51312074.03
Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council38921564.01
West Sussex County Council93123663.93
East Riding of Yorkshire Council30361183.89
Surrey County Council135165213.85
Bristol City Council55351963.54
London Borough of Sutton2660943.53
St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council2061693.35
Conwy County Borough Council911283.07
Bradford Metropolitan District Council72912172.98
Manchester City Council67631882.78
Darlington Borough Council1117292.60
South Tyneside Council1576392.47
Glouscstershire County Council68931512.19
East Sussex County Council51721062.05
Wakefield Metropolitan District Council4059832.04
Merton Council2508491.95
Shropshire Council – Unitary2830531.87
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames2174281.29
Hartlepool Borough Council1081111.02
Cheshire East Council (Unitary)4139421.01
Caerphilly County Borough Council2040200.98
Flintshire County Council1534120.78
Leeds City Council9580630.66
London Borough of Islington195280.41
Wokingham Borough Council197180.41
Middlesbrough Borough Council193460.31
Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council203340.20
City of London3400.00


Why are there so many late applications in some councils?


It’s impossible to say why so many parents in some council areas submit their applications late. Though one theory we’d suggest is s lack of advice in terms of how to go about it.


Stacey MacNaught’s son is due to start school in Oldham in September 2019. Last year, her council saw 16% of its applications received late.


We asked why she feels this might be the case and she comments:


“We are obviously acutely aware of the fact our son is due to go into Primary School this September. My husband and I have been talking about schools since before he was born and we looked up all the information about the application process ourselves.


We’ve received nothing at all from the council – nothing to say our son is in this year’s cohort, nothing to say the application should be direct to the council rather than the schools and nothing advising us about how to go about visiting prospective schools. And, crucially, nothing telling us when applications open and close. We’ve had absolutely no word from the council at all. And I’ve got friends in the area in a similar situation, so I don’t think we are the only people experiencing that.


It’s perfectly feasible that some parents aren’t even aware their child starts this September. After all, we talk about compulsory education from 5, but children just starting reception are actually 4. So I imagine it’s absolutely realistic for some parents to just assume it must be the September after.


And for others, the fact the process is all online and all direct to the council might be overwhelming.”

Should I Be Applying?


If your child was born between 1st September 2014 and 31st August 2015, you should be applying for a Primary School place.



Late Primary School Application Statistics – Does it Matter?


It could matter, yes. In many cases, those who submit their application after the deadline will not be considered until those who have submitted on time have been allocated a place.


This ultimately leaves you less likely in most parts of the country to get your first choice of school.