School admissions

FAQs about school admissions.

Your child will usually go to the school in their catchment area.

The parent or carer's address decides the child's catchment school.

Each residential address has a catchment Roman Catholic and non-denominational primary and secondary school.

Search the school catchment boundary map.

Search the property catchment map.

Please note, it's important to search for the property number and street name, and not only the postcode, in order to be provided with the correct school catchments. 

Cluster schools

Each secondary school links with named primary schools. This forms a cluster of schools.

Catchment areas of the cluster primary schools make up the secondary school catchment with the exception of Mearns Primary.

There are 5 non-denominational clusters and 2 Roman Catholic clusters.

Roman Catholic schools

Baptised children who want to go a Roman Catholic school must provide a Roman Catholic baptism certificate when they apply.

Catchment school places

We aim to provide places for all children at the catchment school.

Living in the catchment area does not guarantee a place at the catchment school.

Phase 1 process

This applies to all schools and all applications.

  • we'll process all applications to the preferred catchment school
  • we'll grant places where possible to this school
  • if we get more catchment applications than places we'll grant places using our priority criteria

Priority criteria

Priority Group



Parent or carer (who the child lives with) stays in the school catchment area


Roman Catholic schools - parent or carer of child stays in the school catchment area and child has a

Roman Catholic baptism certificate.


ERC resident where child has a medical condition only the catchment school can support (with evidence from a medical professional).


Secondary schools - children who have been at the named cluster primary school. Children who've been there the longest have higher priority.


Child currently has a sibling attending the school applied for and will continue to attend the school on the day which the applicant would commence school.


ERC residents who are single parents/carers and can show how it'll benefit the child's care to go to the catchment school.


All other ERC residents who don't fall into another priority group.

We'll apply the criteria in the above order.

For each category we have more requests than the number of places we'll move to the next category in order.

We'll do this until we've applied all criteria.

We'll then hold a ballot for any requests left.  A senior education officer will carry out the ballot.

Icon for pdf View our school admissions policy [384.72KB].

Phase 2 process

This only applies to catchment applications where we can't offer a place at the preferred catchment school.

Roman Catholic schools

  • If you apply to a Roman Catholic school and have a Roman Catholic baptism certificate, we'll redirect you to an alternative Roman Catholic school.
  • If you apply to a Roman Catholic school and don't have a baptism certificate, you'll be included in phase 2 for the non-denominational catchment school. This is as long as places are still available at this school. We'll allocate places using our priority criteria.
  • If there isn't a place at the non-denominational catchment school you'll be redirected to a non-denominational school in another catchment area.

Non-denominational schools

  • You'll be redirected to a non-denominational school in another catchment area.

Redirected children

We offer places as they become available at the catchment school. This is in line with the school admissions policy.

Preferred alternative school

You have the choice to choose a preferred alternative school when you apply. If we can't offer you a place at the catchment school, we'll look at your alternative school.

Find out more about redirection and preferred alternative school

How we make decisions

Key decision dates


Decision date

By deadline for P1 and S1

31 March

Preferred alternative school application

30 April

If your application is unsuccessful we'll send you details how to appeal in the letter we send.

You can only make 1 appeal in a year.

It's not always possible to offer parents their first choice catchment school.

If we get more catchment applications than we have places we'll issue places using our priority criteria.

Non-denominational school

If you apply for a non-denominational school we'll redirect your child to another non-denominational school until a place is available.

Denominational (Roman Catholic) school

If you apply for a denominational (Roman Catholic) school and have provided a Roman Catholic baptismal certificate, we'll redirect your child to another Roman Catholic school until a place is available.

If you've not provided a Roman Catholic baptismal certificate we'll allocate your child a place at a non-denominational catchment school. This is permanent so your child won't be on the redirect list for the Roman Catholic catchment school.

If your catchment school is full when you apply for a P1 or S1 place, you've the choice to give a preferred alternative school. Please note, this applies only to applications for the start of the new session in August.

The preferred alternative school is only used when there are not enough places available at the catchment school applied for. If we can't offer a catchment place we'll let you know by 31 March.  

If you choose to give a preferred alternative school we'll treat this as a placing request and use our priority criteria. We'll let you know the outcome of this by 30 April.

If we can't offer a catchment place and you choose not to give a preferred alternative school we'll allocate your child a place depending on whether you're applying for a denominational or a non-denominational place, as detailed above.

You can apply to delay your child from starting school, known as a deferred entry.

If your child's birthday falls in January or February of the year they'd begin their primary education, they'll be entitled to an additional year of funded early learning and childcare.

If a child isn't yet 5 years old when they start primary 1 and their birthday falls between the start of term (August to December), education staff will consider whether an additional free year of early learning and childcare will be given. 

We'll also consider supporting evidence from parents, staff and other professionals working with the child, before we decide whether or not to fund an early learning and childcare place.

If we don't agree your child should stay at nursery, you may wish to delay their entry to school until the following August. In this case, you may apply for a further year of early learning and childcare depending on availability and at your own cost.

If you choose to apply for delayed entry you must also apply for a place at your child's catchment school. Should your child's entry be confirmed, it'll be assumed that you won't need the primary 1 place for that school session.

You'll need to re-apply for a primary 1 place the following January and beginning in the next school session in August.

Please note, the application process for deferral for August 2021 has now closed.

You can apply for primary 1 once a year for the new session starting in August.

A child should start school if they turn 5 between 1 March of that year and the last day of February the following year.

For example, if your child turns 5 between 1 March 2021 and 28 February 2022 they should start in August 2021.

Information about the P1 application process for school catchment places commencing August 2021 will be published shortly.

Early entry to primary school

You can also apply if your child turns 5 after the last day in February.

You need to contact us to discuss this.

You must give us full and correct information when you apply for a school place.

We'll check the information you give us. This may include a visit to your home address to confirm you live there.

We may continue to check a child's entitlement to a place after they start school.

If we suspect fraud we'll check this in many ways. This can include surveillance. We can also ask for evidence to confirm a child's entitlement to a school place.

Moving out of the catchment area

If you move out of the catchment area and want your child to stay in the catchment school you must apply for a Request to Remain place.

If you don't we may withdraw your child's place.

We may also withdraw a school place if we grant it on false information. We can also take legal action.

Contact us 

Phone: 0141 577 3246


Last modified on 4 March 2021

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