Deciding which school to apply for

What kind of schools can I apply for?

We have 20 secondary schools which are a mix of academy, free, voluntary aided and community schools.The academy, free and voluntary aided schools have their own individual admission policies determined by their governing bodies and published on the school website. All applications received for those schools will be ranked by the individual schools according to their admission policy. The places are allocated by the local authority on national offer day.

Deciding which school to apply for

Details for all secondary schools in Bolton can be found on the Schools Directory.

Alternatively you can view schools in your area using My Maps.

Each year the Department for Education (DfE) publishes performance tables for secondary schools. This can be found at along with advice on expressing school preferences.

The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) is a registered charity offering information about state education in England and Wales.

The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) is an external and independent body. Reports on individual schools can be downloaded from

Information about individual schools can also be found on their websites. Some schools also hold open days or evenings, for further information about times and dates contact your preferred schools

How many schools should I apply for?

You can apply for up to three schools. You should read the admission policy for your preferred schools to determine the likelihood of being allocated a school place. Distance from your home to school can be an important factor. The last distance for each school in the 2023 admission process can be found on the Schools Directory.  Once you have submitted your application you should make sure that any additional information required by the school(s) e.g. supplementary faith form, medical information, baptism certificates etc are sent to the school or local authority before the closing date for applications – 31 October.

How are places decided

Each school preference on your application will be ranked according to the published admission policy for the individual school. The local authority will rank the applications received for the community and voluntary controlled schools whilst the voluntary aided, academy and free schools will rank their own applications according to their published policies. Once this information has been collated the local authority can then begin the process of allocating  school places.

Information on how places were allocated in previous years is available in the Schools Directory under each school.