Transfer to secondary school - application guidance notes 2021

If you live in Trafford and your child is due to start secondary school in September 2021, you must apply to Trafford for all your preferred schools, even schools outside Trafford.  All local authorities exchange information to ensure that children are only offered one school, so it is important to list schools carefully in preference order. Some schools may ask you to complete a supplementary form, but you must still include that school in your application to Trafford.

The closing date for all applications is 31 October 2020

How to make your application

To start your application, go to the School Admissions page. You will need your Online Record Number, which is included on the front page of your letter. You must complete a short registration process and will be sent a link to verify your email. Follow the link to complete your registration.

If you do not have access to the internet please contact Trafford’s School Admissions Team on 0161 912 5007.

This year, as part of national measures to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department for Education (DfE) issued special guidance for grammar schools and local authorities which strongly advised that tests should be moved back into late October. Tests in Trafford grammar schools will now take place on the following dates:

10 October 2020

  • Altrincham Grammar School for Boys

16 October 2020

  • Loreto Grammar School
  • St. Ambrose Catholic College

19 October 2020:      

  • Altrincham Grammar School for Girls
  • Sale Grammar School
  • Stretford Grammar School
  • Urmston Grammar School

This means that parents may have to submit their application before the result of any test is known. Therefore, the DfE has asked local authorities to give parents the option to submit additional preferences and to advise parents to use those preferences to apply for non-selective schools. Trafford’s Application Portal allows parents to submit up to five preferences. Although the system cannot be adjusted, this year Trafford will allow three additional preferences to be submitted. This will allow parents to apply for up to five relevant grammar schools. For example:

  1. Altrincham Grammar School for Girls
  2. Loreto Grammar School
  3. Sale Grammar School
  4. Stretford Grammar School
  5. Urmston Grammar School

and then to submit three additional preferences which should include your catchment area non-selective schools. For example:

  1. Altrincham College
  2. North Cestrian School
  3. Wellington School

Select your preferred schools from the drop-down list. Please note that you will only be considered for admission to the schools included in your list.  Trafford schools are listed first, followed by schools in other local authorities in alphabetical order. If the school you want is not on the list, you should contact the School Admissions Team with the details.

You should select the school you really want first. You can express a preference for any school, in any order, regardless of where you live.  However, you must remember that applicants living within a catchment area will usually be given a higher priority than you. 

You should always include your catchment area schools in your list of preferences.  If you live in the catchment area for more than one school you are advised to include all of them. This will not stop you being offered a school that you have listed higher, but will give you a better chance of being offered a place in a local school.

You can select your reasons for each school from a list of relevant criteria. However, admission authorities can only consider reasons relevant to their over-subscription criteria. 

Once you have completed your application, including up to five schools, you must confirm and submit the application. You will then receive an email confirming that your application has been received.

If you wish to submit additional preferences, you should reply to the confirmation email listing up to three additional schools in order of preference.

If you do not receive an email, this means your application has not been successfully submitted and you must contact the School Admissions Team on 0161 912 5007.

Any application submitted, or alteration made, after 31 October 2020 is late and will only be considered after all the applications received on time have been processed.

What happens next?

All Local Authorities must use an equal preference or 'blind preference' system. This means that schools do not know whether you have put them first, second, third or even last. This means that you can apply for the schools you really want without worrying that it will affect your child’s chance of achieving a place at any other school.

Each application is forwarded to the relevant school to be ranked according to their oversubscription criteria and then returned to Trafford. Trafford looks at all the ranked lists to see which of your chosen schools can offer you a place.  It may be the case that every school on your list can allocate a place.  If so you will be offered a place at your first preferred school.  If your child does not qualify for any of the grammar schools you may have listed, then these schools will be discarded and your remaining preferences will be considered.

Trafford will allocate a place at the highest available preference school. If none of your chosen schools can offer a place, Trafford will allocate a place at the nearest Trafford school with a vacancy.

If you need further help or advice you can contact the School Admissions Team on 0161 912 5007 or 0161 912 5080. You can also email  The Team will provide realistic, confidential advice which is appropriate to your individual needs and circumstances.