Placing Requests - How Decisions Are Made

The responsibility for decisions on placing requests rests with The Director and Heads of Service for Education Services.

However, where there are more requests than places available for a particular school or a particular stage in a school, all requests will be considered by a local attendance council who will then make recommendations to the responsible member.
You will be given the opportunity of presenting your case to the local attendance council. Should this situation arise, you will be advised in good time of the date and location of the appropriate meeting and you will be asked at that time if you wish to attend. You may be accompanied at this meeting by a friend.

Guidelines and Criteria

The local attendance council and members of Community Services work to a set of guidelines in reaching decisions on placing requests. These guidelines set out the council’s priorities for admission and can be summarised as follows:


Where there are places available in primary school, priority will be given to:

  •  those children who live in it's catchment area but have been unable, for whatever reason, to be taken into the associated school to date;
  • thereafter, to early entry children who live in the school’s catchment area and who are considered suitable for primary education.


Where there are places available in a secondary school, priority will be given in the granting of placing requests to:

  • those children who live in it's catchment area, where applicable, but have been unable, for whatever reason, to be taken into the associated school to date;
  • those children who live in the catchment area of an associated primary school but who have been unable to be taken into the area’s secondary school to date.


Thereafter, where there are more placing requests for primary or secondary than there are places available, priority will be given to:

  • those cases which include medical grounds supported by the family doctor and the community medicine specialist;
  • (in the case of secondary schools with a catchment area)
    those children who do not live in the catchment area, but who attend primary schools within it.
  • the presence of older siblings in the school.

Additional factors

Other factors which the local attendance council and the Head of Service may wish to take account of are:

  • single parent families, where, for example, proximity of school to the parent's place of work would be advantageous for the care and well being of the child,
  • distance between home and school and
  • the suitability of particular teaching methods to the child's needs or the availability of subjects which the child was previously studying.

Why your request may be refused

Amongst the circumstances in which a placing request may be refused by the council as set out in the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 are:-

  If placing your child in the specified school would

  •  make it necessary for the council to take an additional teacher into employment; 
  •  give rise to significant expenditure or otherwise altering the accommodation at or facilities provided in connection with the school;
  •  be seriously detrimental to the continuity of your child's education; or
  • be likely to be seriously detrimental to order and discipline in the school or the educational well being of the pupils there;
  •  If the education normally provided at the specified school is not suited to the age, ability or aptitude of your child
  • If the Council has already discontinued your child's attendance at the specified school;
  • If, where the specified school is a special school, your child does not have special educational needs requiring the education or special facilities           normally provided at that school;
  •  If the specified school is a single sex school (within the meaning given to that expression by Section 26 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975) and your child is not of the sex admitted or taken (under that Section) to be admitted to the school.

You are able to refer a decision refusing your request to an appeal committee set up by the Authority.  Should you decide to do so, further information will be available on request.

Please note that in terms of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 you may only make one such appeal in any period of 12 months in respect of any one child.

The education authority must provide you with their decision on your original request by 30 April if the placing request was for entry to a school at the start of the new school year, provided your request was received before 15 March.  In other cases, the authority has a period of 2 months from receipt of your request to reach their decision.  In all cases where a request is refused, the reasons will be given. 
If the authority for some reason has not sent to you their decision in writing within these time limits, the request will be deemed to have been refused.  Every effort will be made to ensure this situation does not occur. However, in such cases you have the right of appeal to an appeal committee.

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