Completing the SCAF

Information to help fill in the SCAF

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Completing the SCAF

Since 2005, a London – wide admissions system has been implemented. To apply to most state secondary schools you need complete only the ‘Secondary Common Application Form’ (SCAF), even if you are applying for schools across borough boundaries or in nearby authorities (Dartford, for example). Some state schools, typically selective and voluntary – aided schools, also require the ‘Supplementary Information Form’ (SIF) to be submitted. SIF forms are available from the school or from the LEA within which the school is located. The SIF must be returned to the school or its LEA as appropriate.

A school can ask parents who wish to name it, or have named it, on their SCAF, to provide additional information  on a SIF only where the additional information is required for the governing body to apply its oversubscription criteria to the application. Where a SIF is required it must be requested from the school or the LEA and returned to the school. All schools that use SIFs must include the proposed form in their consultation document and in their published administration arrangements.

The golden rule for completing the SCAF is that you should always put the schools in your real order of preference.

However, there are certain other crucial points to remember when completing the SCAF:

  1. All your preferences must be firmly rooted in reality. If you are desperate for your child to attend a grammar school 20 miles away, but the school has never allocated a place to a child living further than 6 miles away, there is no point in listing it on your SCAF.
  2. If you live 8 or 9 miles away from that same school, you can take a risk.
  3. If your child is taking the 11 plus, you must list all your preferred grammar schools above any other type of school. If your child fails to qualify, those schools will simply be “erased” and the first non-grammar school you have listed will become your new “first preference”.
  4. The further down your SCAF preferences you need to go, the more realistic you need to be about the chances of getting a place. Your last preference should always be a school that will be acceptable to you and your child and one at which your child is certain to get a place – the ultimate fallback if all else fails.
  5. If you do not obtain a place at any of your listed preferences, your home local authority will allocate you a place at one of their schools that is not yet full. The rules for doing this vary between local authorities, but should be published on their admissions website.

Refer to the application procedures for your chosen schools to make sure you comply. The closing date for SCAF and SIF applications is usually during the October of the year before planned entry to secondary school – i.e. October 2018 for September 2019.

Different application processes apply depending on your child's circumstances.

Parents / carers can apply to up to six state schools on the SCAF. If there are vacancies in one of your preferred state schools, you will usually be offered a place at one of them. This will be from the highest placed state school on your list, which has vacancies. Parents must apply directly to Independent Schools. These are not covered by the SCAF. Details of each school’s application procedure can be obtained from the school office, or its website.