All children aged 5-16 are eligible for a school place in England. Usually, applications for primary schools close in January to be allocated in March/April - this is called 'normal-round' applications.

However, there are a number of reasons why you might apply for school outside of these timings, such as moving house, missing the January deadline or wanting to move school.


How do I apply for primary school outside of the usual deadlines?

Casual, or in-year applications for primary school are treated differently than during normal applications, because places for the next school year have already been allocated. This means there may be limited places in your local schools.

Remember, you can:

  • Apply for a place at a school at any time during the year.
  • Your children's places must be considered straight away (if it's outside of the normal application timings). If your preferred school has a place, you must be offered one. If they can't offer you a place then you have the right to appeal.
  • You can't be refused a place because you're applying outside of normal application deadlines. You also can't be offered a place due to your child not having the same faith as a faith school, or because your child hasn't taken an entry test for a particular school.
  • Once your children are allocated places, they should be able to start school as soon as practically possible during the year they turn five. This might be at the start of the next term to minimise disruption.
  • If places are limited at schools, it's possible that multiples may be offered places at separate schools. You have the right to appeal this decision.


A boy and a girl turn to smile at the camera with their backs to each other


Can I visit the schools before I apply?

Most schools will offer the opportunity to look around, speak to the early years' teachers and get a feel of whether you think it's a good fit for your children. You can email the school office to see if you can book a visit yourself.

You might find it helpful to talk through your options with the staff at the schools, talk through whether your children would be kept together, or would benefit from being in separate classes. Remember, you are the expert on your own children. You can take advice from the staff, but it's ultimately up to you how you want your children educated.


How do I make sure my children get into the same school?

It's not possible to guarantee that your children will be given spaces at the same school, however it's something that local authorities should always take into consideration when allocating places.

To increase your chances of getting the same school, make sure that you note on the application that you are applying for multiples.

Often, the application form will have a question about whether they are a twin, triplet or more. However, if your local authority doesn't provide this information within the application, it's important that you add this as a note or special consideration to their application so that they are considered together, rather than as two individual applicants. It's also recommended that you submit the application electronically, so that they're always kept together, as paperwork can become separated in the process.


How to appeal primary school admissions decisions

If applying for school outside of the normal applications, your preferred school may have limited availability and it's possible you will be disappointed with the allocated primary school place for your children, or they may get allocated to different schools. Depending on these circumstances you may want to appeal this decision.

Appealing applications

Preparing your twins, triplets and more for primary school

Starting school is a huge milestone for any child, so we've created resources, guides and advice to help you navigate this big step. 

Preparing for primary school


Further help and resources from Twins Trust

We understand that there are a lot of questions around your children starting primary school - especially when twins and triplets are more likely to experience developmental delays and prematurity. The below resources can help you feel confident and supported with this next stage of parenting.

Online community

Our online community groups offer a supportive environment for parents or carers of twins, triplets or more.


Our helpline, Twinline, is here to support you, answering questions about feeding, sleeping, starting school, friendships, getting to grips with the teenage years, or anything else multiples related.

Professional Referral Service

We have a team of volunteers - all professional experts in their field - who can help families of multiples with educational and development issues.


Access downloadable content as a Twins Trust registered user
Register as a free user, or if you are already registered sign-in, to access further information, including our individuality factsheet.



Personal stories from parents of multiples
Let it go
Whether you're punching the air or weeping into the sink, Twins Trust’s Co-Head of Family Services, Louise Bowman, offers tips on a good start at school.
Over to you
Together or apart can be a vexed question for parents when multiples start school. But what do the children think?
Second time lucky
Twin mum Verity Snook on her triplet childhood and the lessons learned from some less than sensitive school handling.