Local state school

​​​This page outlines what should happen if you choose to send your child to a local state school.

Catchment areas

Local authorities set out catchment areas for each of their primary schools, each of which is associated with a secondary school. Children living within a catchment area are normally provided with a place at the school serving that area.

Enrolling my child

Local authorities usually need you to enrol your child for primary school several months before school starts and some expect you to enrol by a specific date. Information about procedures for enrolling children at their local school and how to submit a placing request for another school is usually made widely available in nursery and primary schools, community centres, libraries and in local newspapers.

You should check with your local authority what they expect you to do.

What happens if a school is full?

Occasionally, there may be too many children for the number of places at a school. When this happens, a local authority will allocate places according to a clear set of rules.

They will often do this by looking at how far a child lives from the school and whether they already have a brother or sister at the school.

Placing requests

As a parent, you have the right to ask for a place at a school other than your local catchment area school. To do this, you need to make a placing request to your local authority.

If there is space at the school, the local authority must agree to your request. However, the authority does not have to expand the school to meet placing requests. The authority can also hold back places for children who may move into the catchment area.

To make a placing request, you should contact your local authority.

How can I appeal?

If there are more placing requests than places available, the education authority will allocate places according to a clear set of rules. If your placing request is turned down, you can refer this decision to an independent appeal committee set up by the authority.

If the appeal committee backs the authority's decision, you can refer the case to the sheriff for your area.

Parent guide to choosing a school

The Scottish Government booklet 'Choosing a school' explains the school admissions, placing request and appeals process in more detail.

General information about schools can be found in the Find a School section.

You can also find information from publicly funded schools in Scotland on the School Information Dashboard​.