Guidance notes for Altrincham residents

If you live in Trafford and your child is due to start secondary school in September 2023, 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 1 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 2022.

Important Information

It is important to note that high schools in Altrincham are significantly oversubscribed and it is frequently the case that some catchment area children do not achieve places in their preferred schools. For the 2022 transfer, parents were advised that in the 2021 transfer process 71 children, resident in the Altrincham area (all WA14 or WA15 postcodes in Trafford), could not be allocated places at any of their preferred high schools.

Despite this, many parents did not follow the advice to list all their local schools as preferences. This resulted in 67 children resident in Altrincham area not being allocated a place at any of their preferred high schools in the 2022 transfer process. In cases like this, children are usually allocated places at the nearest school with a vacancy. These places will usually be in another area of Trafford. You are free to list any schools in any order you want, but given the levels of oversubscription you must also consider what will happen if you cannot achieve a place at your preferred school or schools.

There are 4 high schools in Altrincham.

Altrincham College, North Cestrian School and Wellington School give priority to children that live in the Altrincham area, closest to each school in straight line distance. If you are applying for high school places, you are advised to include all 3 of these schools somewhere in your list of 5 preferences.

Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College (BTHCC) gives priority to baptised Catholic children that attend a Catholic primary school in Trafford and then to other baptised Catholic children. In the 2022 transfer process all baptised Catholic children, regardless of the primary school they attended, were allocated a place at BTHCC where the parent had listed the school as a preference. Therefore, parents of baptised Catholic children are advised to include BTHCC as one of their 5 preferences. If you wish your child to be considered as a baptised Catholic you must provide a copy of the child’s baptismal certificate direct to the school.

Sale High School also includes Altrincham postcodes in its catchment area.

To maximise the likelihood of achieving a place at a local school, you are advised to list all your local schools as preferences. We accommodate parental preference wherever possible but there is no guarantee of a place at any of your preferred schools.

Grammar Schools

Altrincham Grammar School for Boys and Altrincham Grammar School for Girls are not oversubscribed from local children. This means that all boys and girls in the Altrincham area (all WA14 and WA15 postcodes) that pass the entrance examination and apply on time, have achieved places at the school on national offer day in all recent years.

How to make your application

Firstly, you are advised to read the Transferring to Secondary Schools - September 2023 information published online. The information gives details of all the different secondary schools in Trafford and how the places will be allocated.

To start your application, go to the School Admissions page of Trafford’s website. You must complete a short registration process and will be sent a code to verify your email. Enter the code to complete your registration.

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

To select your preferred Trafford schools start to type the school name in the box provided. To select schools outside Trafford use the link "Search for school outside Local Authority". You will only be considered for admission to the schools included in your list.

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 oversubscription criteria.

Once you have completed your application, including up to 5 schools, you must confirm and submit the application. You will then receive an email confirming that your application has been received.

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 2022 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. You can also email The Team will provide realistic, confidential advice which is appropriate to your individual needs and circumstances.