Admissions policy

The Admissions Policy for academic year (2023/24) is shown below. For Admissions Policies for other years, please see About Us/Statutory Information/Policies.

We encourage applicants from non-linked schools and those who live out of our local area to apply; in the last fifteen years all on time applicants who prioritised us have secured a place at The Cowplain School.

As an Academy School we set our own Admissions Policy.  If we are full in any year, we use siblings, our linked schools and distance from the school as our key criteria to determine places.  As we do not have a catchment area it is much easier for families who live in our community to secure a place.

 The guiding principles of the school admissions policy are that each school should serve its local community; that siblings as far as possible can attend school together; and that children can benefit from continuity between schools serving the same community.  The policy aims to be clear, fair and objective and complies with all relevant legislation.

Admission Criteria

The published admissions number for the academic year 2023/2024 is 216. Six of these places are given to Hampshire County Council to place students in our Dyslexia Unit.

 Admission Criteria that all schools use in the event of over-subscription – in priority order:

 The Cowplain School’s admission criteria are:

  1. A 'looked after child' or a child who was previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption, child arrangements, or special guardianship order 90 including those who appear [to the admission authority] to have been in state care outside of England and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted. A looked after child is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in Section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989) (see (i) in Definitions).
  2. Children or families with an exceptional medical and/or social need. Each application must include supporting evidence from an independent professional such as a doctor and/or consultant for medical needs or a social worker, health visitor, housing officer, the police or probation officer for social needs. This evidence must confirm the child or family’s medical or social need and why that need(s) makes it essential that the child attends The Cowplain School rather than any other (see definition ii). Applicants will only be considered under this criterion if on the application form (online or paper) they have ticked the appropriate box explicitly indicating that they wish for their application to be considered under medical / social need and supporting evidence is submitted with the application.
  3. Children of staff who have been employed at the school for two or more years at the time of at which the application for admission to the school is made, or have been recruited to fill a vacant post for which there is a demonstrable skill shortage.
  4. Brothers/sisters of children who are attending the School (including children living as siblings in the same family unit) and will still be on roll at The Cowplain School at the time of the sibling’s admission.
  5. Attendance at one of our linked schools:  Denmead Junior, Hart Plain Junior, Hambledon Primary, Padnell Junior or Woodcroft Primary School. 
  6. Distance from the school based on a straight line from the School Reception front door to the front door of the property.  For students from the villages of Denmead and Hambledon, distance will be measured from the front door of the property to either Doctors Surgery Bus Stop on Hambledon Road, Denmead or West Street Bus Stop, Hambledon, whichever is the nearer. 


(i)Looked after children are defined as those who are (a) in the care of a local authority, (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions or (c) who appear to have been in state care outside of England (see the definition in section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989). Previously looked children are those who were previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption order, child arrangements order or special guardianship order. An adoption order is an order under section 46 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 or section 12 of the Adoption Act 1976. Child arrangements orders are defined in section 8 of the Children Act 1989, as amended by section 12 of the Children and Families Act 2014. Child arrangements orders replace residence orders and any residence order in force prior to 22 April 2014 is deemed to be a child arrangements order. Section 14A of the Children Act 1989 defines a ‘special guardianship order’ as an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s special guardian (or special guardians).

(ii) Medical need’ does not include common medical conditions supported in mainstream schools, such as asthma or allergies. ‘Social need’ does not include a parent’s wish that a child attends the school because of a child’s aptitude or ability or because their friends attend the school or because of routine childminding arrangements. Priority will be given to those children whose evidence establishes that they have a demonstrable and significant need to attend a particular school. Equally this priority will apply to children whose evidence establishes that a family member’s physical or mental health or social needs mean that they have a demonstrable and significant need to attend a particular school. Evidence must confirm the circumstances of the case and must set out why the child should attend a particular school and why no other school could meet the child’s needs. Providing evidence does not guarantee that a child will be given priority at a particular school and in each case a decision will be made based on the merits of the case and whether the evidence demonstrates that a placement should be made at one school above any other."           


If the school is oversubscribed from within any of the above categories, straight line distance will be used to prioritise applications; applicants living nearer the school have priority. Distances to multiple dwellings will give priority to the ground floor over the first floor and so on. On individual floors, distances will be measured to the stairs leading to the communal entrance.  If it still not possible to decide between two applicants who are equidistant than a random allocation will be made to allocate the final place.  An explanation of the method of making random allocations is on the council website. 


If you wish to seek admission for your child at The Cowplain School, would you kindly:

Apply online or using paper form available from the school office, no later than midnight on 31 October 2022.   Applications made after midnight 31 October 2022 will be considered after all on-time applications have been fully processed unless exceptional circumstances merit consideration alongside on-time applications.  Entry decisions will be based on The Cowplain School’s Admission Criteria.  On 1 March 2023. Hampshire Admissions Team will inform parents by email, if application was made online or by letter if a paper application was submitted, of the school place their child has secured.

  1. All preferences will be considered at the time and ranked in accordance with the admission criteria.
  1. Names of late and unsuccessful applicants will be placed on a “Waiting List”, if requested, and parents will be informed if and when a place becomes available. The “Waiting List” will be reviewed and revised:
  • When a child’s changed circumstances will affect their priority
  • Each time a child is added to, or removed from the “Waiting List”
  • In September 2023 parents of children who are on the “Waiting List” will be contacted and asked if they wish to remain on the list for the current academic year

Please note:

  • Parents must note the Aims of the school and the Rewards and Sanctions Policy, as we will assume that application to join the school demonstrates acceptance of these polices.

Additional Information

Pupils with an EHCP

Any child whose Education and Health Care Plan names The Cowplain School will be admitted.  Where possible such children will be admitted within the PAN. 


Parents seeking admission for their children, who do not secure a place, have the right to appeal to an Independent Appeals Panel.  Details of the procedure will be sent on receipt of written request.

Permanent Residence

The child’s permanent residence is where they live, normally including weekends and during school holidays as well as during the week and should be used for the application. The permanent residence of children who spend part of their week with one parent and part with the other, at different addresses, will be the address at which they spend most of their time. Where a child’s time is evenly divided between the parents, parents must agree which address they would like to be considered for the purposes of the application. In the event of a dispute, in the absence of a relevant court order, the admission authority will make a judgement about which address applies, taking into account the address registered with the child’s current school, nursery, preschool or childminder, the address registered for child benefit and the address registered with the child’s GP.

Multiple births

Where a twin or child from a multiple birth is admitted to a school under this policy then any further twin or child of the same multiple birth will be admitted, if the parents so wish, even though this may raise the intake number above the school’s PAN.  No other pupil will be admitted until a place becomes available within the PAN.

In-year fair access placements by the local authority

The local authority must ensure that all pupils are placed in schools as quickly as possible.  It may therefore sometimes be necessary for a pupil to be placed by the local authority, or a local placement panel acting on behalf of the authority, in a particular school even if there is a waiting list for admission.  Such placements will be made in accordance with the provisions of the local authority’s In-Year Access protocol.  The Protocol is based on legislation and government guidance.  If an admission under the Protocol raises the number on roll above the PAN, no further pupil will be admitted until a place becomes available within the PAN.

Waiting lists

Waiting lists will be established for each year group where more applications are received than places available. For main round admissions to Year 7, the waiting list will be maintained centrally by the local authority until 31 August 2022. At all other times, and for other year groups, waiting lists will be operated by schools on behalf of the local authority.

Any places that become available will be offered to the child at the top of the list on the day the place became available. The waiting list is ordered according to the criteria of the admission policy with no account being taken of the length of time on the waiting list or any priority order expressed as part of the main admission round. Fair Access admissions and school closure arrangements will take priority over the waiting list. 

The waiting list will be reviewed and revised –

  • each time a child is added to, or removed from, the waiting list;
  • when a child’s changed circumstances affect their priority;

For entry to Year 7, the waiting list will remain open until 31 August 2024, at which point all names will be removed. For all other year groups, waiting lists will remain open until 31 August of each year. Parents who want their child to be considered for a place at the school in the following school year must submit a new in-year application in the August preceding the new school year. Schools will send a decision letter within the first 10 days of the new term

Other information

The school prospectus giving information about the school and details of Admissions Procedures will be published in September.  Parents are encouraged to visit and view the school with their daughters/sons on the school’s Open Evening or by appointment at other times.

Arrangements for admission are determined by the Governing Body, which is the accredited admission authority for the school.

Admission of children outside their normal age group

Parents may request that their child is admitted outside their normal age group. To do so, parents should include a request with their application, specifying why admission outside the normal age group is being requested and which year group they wish their child to be admitted. Decisions will be made based on the circumstances of the case and in the best interests of the child.


The policy takes account of all Equalities legislation, together with all relevant regulations and the School Admissions Code (published by the DfE 2014).

Linked schools

The following schools are linked:

Denmead Junior School

Hambledon Primary School

Hart Plain Junior School

Padnell Junior School

Woodcroft Primary School