Secondary School Application Time

It’s here, it’s rolled around already. It’s secondary school application time for Boo. 

I vividly remember choosing her primary school, the years have really flown by. 

I remember touring the primary school and just knowing that it was the right one for her. I also remember having that moment of realisation that this was also going to be my decision for Little Man and thinking that I needed to be confident that it was right for him too. 

Fortunately, they have both enjoyed it there so far, so I hope we can be as successful with the secondary school application. 

In this case, I really am just thinking about Boo. When Little Man’s time rolls around, he will be free to choose another school if that’s what he wants to do. 

As luck would have it, we toured our top choice schools last year when we were still able to do so. This year all open evenings are virtual and online, and whilst some have been good, I am so pleased we got to visit them and get a feel for them ourselves.

I shared What To Expect When Visiting Potential Secondary Schools last year, sharing our experiences. 

secondary school work

Boo has preferences, she favours the local grammar school and then she likes the comprehensive school that we are most comfortably in catchment for. Phew.

Where we live, we do fall into a few catchments and are just outside for another couple of schools that we like. The local grammar school has no catchment, though we are quite near to it. She then does fall into catchment for another grammar school, which is actually further away but they use catchment options. 

Given that we need to put six choices down on our application, it is handy that we live near to so many good schools, it gives us lots of options.

I have my preferences, and so does Boo. We do agree on her top three choices, in the same order, so that’s been easy. And to be honest, it is very unlikely that we will even need to get past the first or second choice. 

I prefer one school over another for fourth choice, but I have conceded to Boo’s choice for this spot.

It is her that will have to spend years of her life there, and realistically, we are unlikely to have to get down to our fourth option. So I have then popped another grammar in at fifth and then another comprehensive sixth. I just need to fill those six spots! 


This feels like a bigger deal than the primary school decision, and I’m not sure why. Both are important, with primary school setting her up socially and educationally for her teen years.

Maybe it’s because as Boo is older, she is more involved in the process. Or maybe it’s because I know her qualifications will be coming from this decision.

I think as we do have quite a few options for this one, that also makes this a big decision. Some of my friends are clearly well in catchment for one school, a little way out for others and aren’t interested in any grammar options. More options gives you more decisions!

After the secondary school application has gone in, we will have the wait until March next year to find out which school she has been allocated. 

Time will then tell. And I have to say, I will be happy when it is all sorted.

And then I will do it all again in three years time…! 

How did you get on with making your secondary school application? Did it feel like a big decision?

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4 thoughts on “Secondary School Application Time”

  1. We’re y5 and looking virtually now. He’ll probably go to catchment school but its double the size of all the others and he’s going from a school of under 100. Kids from his school will split with some going private, possible grammar, and to another nice nearby out of county which is much smaller. He likes that one but I won’t be able to get him there without moving work hours or trying to find a car share option. I think we only have 3 choices here. If he wants to try the other school he’ll have to put it top. But then I don’t want to miss our catchment option. We’ve still got another year so I’m just hoping we can visit properly by the summer

    1. I do think it’s a good idea to start looking into it in Y5, especially if you have a few options. Travel time and logistics are such a big part of the decision too, it does need to be practical and you don’t want to be adding hours to their day commuting. I hope you get to visit properly next year and that you are both happy with your top choice.

      1. We have quite a few all within 6-10 miles. None are on my way into work though. I’m just hoping the proposed new secondary the other side of town doesn’t get built in time, otherwise I’m worried that they’ll redraw catchments and we could in theory end up not in the rural village catchment school, but one in the rough end of town which is about 0.5 miles closer. I wouldn’t not want him going there although it does have decent sports facilities. It’s such an important decision to make, and made harder by his school friends likely to all be going in different directions.

        1. Ours are within a couple of miles, which is good. Surely it’s unlikely to get built in time now? You’d be needing to put your application in this time next year, so I’ll keep fingers crossed for you that that doesn’t go through in time. And yes, the kids do all seem to go in different directions, I know what you mean. Quite a lot of my daughter’s class will all go on to the same school, with a handful to grammars and then another school, which is our second choice. Time will tell how it all pans out. I hope you are comfortable with the decision you do make next year.

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