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Placing request

You have the right to ask for your child to go to a school other than your catchment school, this is called making a placing request.

Placing requests are best made prior to a child starting school or a particular stage of school but can be made at any time during the school session. You can only apply for one school at a time. 

If a child is due to start school in the forthcoming August, he or she should be registered in your catchment primary school during registration week. This usually takes place in January. 

Find school catchment area

Use YourLocation to find your catchment schools by entering your postcode.

How to submit a placing request

You can Submit a placing request online or complete and return a placing request form (PDF, 227kb).

If you apply before the 15 March for a P1 or S1 place the following school session, we will write to you by 30 April with a decision. Mid session applications will be decided within two months of receipt.

Placing request by young person over 16 years of age

Young people who have reached the age of 16 years are entitled to make their own placing request application.

Applications from parents of young people aged 16 or over will not be processed unless:

  • the young person has given their consent to the application being made on their behalf
  • the parent has been appointed Welfare Guardian on their behalf (if the young person lacks capacity) 

You should complete and return a Young Person placing request application form (PDF, 370kb)


Where there are more placing requests for a school than places available, priority will be given to: 

  • Children who in the opinion of a family doctor and community medicine specialist could only be educated with difficulty in another school. 
  • Children who have older sibling(s) continuing their attendance in the requested school.

Why we may refuse placing requests

The authority may refuse your placing request where granting it would, amongst other reasons result in the following:

Reasons why your placing requests may be refused
  • make it necessary for the council to employ additional teaching staff or create an additional or composite class
  • prevent the council from retaining reserved places for pupils likely to move into the catchment area with the consequence that the capacity of the school would exceed pupil numbers.
  • result in significant expenditure in extending or altering the school’s accommodation or facilities
  • be likely to be seriously detrimental to order and discipline within the school or the educational wellbeing of the pupils
  • if the education normally provided at the school is not suited to the age, ability or aptitude of the child
  • be seriously detrimental to the continuity of the child’s education
  • would mean significant costs in changing the accommodation
  • If the specified school is a special school and the child does not require the additional support or special facilities provided at the school or the the education authority would be in breach of its duty to provide mainstream education by placing your child there

What happens if my request is unsuccessful?

You can appeal in writing to Committee Services within 28 days of receiving your letter of refusal.  An appeal committee will be set up to consider your request. 

If your child has Additional Support Needs you should appeal in writing to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal.

More information is available in our Appeal Guidance for Parents (PDF, 92kb).

Transfer to Secondary School

Your local primary school will be able to tell you which secondary school your child will transfer to after Primary 7.

Pupils who attend a primary school by placing request may be required to submit another placing request form (PDF, 116kb) if they wish to attend their cluster secondary school.

The denominational secondary school serving North Ayrshire is St Matthew's Academy. Children attending a denominational primary school in North Ayrshire will automatically transfer to St Matthew’s Academy. Children attending a non-denominational primary school must make a placing request if they want to attend St Matthew's Academy.