A guide to applying for a school place in Cardiff

Starting primary school or moving from primary school to secondary school is an exciting time for children and parents.


It can also be a stressful time as decisions are made on the schools to apply for, and parents and children then wait to see if their application has been successful.




But there are a few key things that can be done which will help to make the process as smooth as possible:


  • Visiting schools before applying to get as much information as possible - a full list of schools in Cardiff can be found online

  • Submitting applications by the relevant closing dates given below

  • Applying for five schools for transfer to secondary school, or three schools for admission to primary school


This year, the school admissions arrangements in Cardiff are slightly different to other local authorities, as it is the first in Wales to pilot a co-ordinated system. This means that some of the faith and foundation secondary schools can be included on the one form. In the past, those applications had to be made separately, direct to the schools.


More information on the application process for the different types of schools (community schools, faith schools and foundation schools) is available online


Timeline and tips for making an application



  • Ask for information about schools of interest and go to open days - some schools don't have open days, but you might be able to ring and make an appointment to visit

  • Decide on the schools you are going to apply for and put them in your order of preference

  • 2nd October 2017 - the date online applications for secondary schools open in Cardiff (



  • 13th November 2017 - date online applications for primary schools open



  • 4th December 2017 - closing date for secondary schools applications



  • 8th January 2018 - closing date for primary schools applications 


Some important things to bear in mind when applying


  • A school place won't be offered if you don't make an application

  • Listing the same school more than once doesn't give you a better chance of getting a place there

  • A place at your catchment school isn't guaranteed, but it is best to include it in yourlist of preferences, evenif you put it lower down

  • Accepting an offer of a place at a lower preference school doesn't jeopardise your chances of getting an offer for your higher preference - you can still accept an offer from your preferred school if a place becomes available at a later date

  • A sibling already in a school doesn't guarantee a place there, but make sure you include their details on your application

  • Going to the nursery attached to your preferred school doesn't mean an automatic reception class place - a new application needs to be made


A late application can seriously affect the chances of getting a place, so make a note of the closing dates, here's a reminder:


  • Secondary Schools: Monday 4th December 2017

  • Primary Schools: Monday 8th January 2018


To find out more about the school admissions process in Cardiff, and to apply online,