Apply for a school place

Every household in the Scottish Borders is within a school catchment area. Normally you will be given a priority place in the primary or secondary school within your catchment area. However it is also possible to apply for a place in a school that is not in your catchment area.

Please note that your nearest school may not be your catchment school.

Enrolment week

Enrolment for children due to start school from August 2021 was held between 18-22 January 2021. Parents of any child who is five years of age before the end of February 2022 were asked to enrol their child for primary school.

Applications will be accepted after 22 January but may be subject to the availability of places.

Enrolment also applies to any child born between 1 March 2017 and 28 February 2019 who is eligible to enrol for three and four year old early learning and childcare. See our early learning and childcare pages for more information.

How to apply for a school place

Due to the current pandemic we are moving to an online applications process using an online form. This replaces the separate processes which have previously been used for early learning and childcare, primary and secondary enrolments and aims to make them more streamlined and straightforward. 

  • Parents are required to complete the online form and then make contact with their relevant primary school. They will also need to have electronic copies of their child’s birth certificate and proof of address such as a council tax letter or child benefit notice available to upload along with their application.
  • Please note - parents and carers are required to have a MyScotBorders account if they do not have one already. Registering for an account is quick and easy, all you need is an email address and to provide some basic personal details. You are also advised to be logged into your MyScotBorders account before starting to complete the online form.
  • This form should be used for all enrolments, including all placement requests outside of enrolment week.

Parents should note that the team has been extremely busy throughout enrolment week and your patience is appreciated should you experience any delays with the process or in getting through to speak to someone. We are also aware that there have been some problems with the form but these are being addressed and will not affect your child's application. 

What happens after you apply

In most cases, a place will be available and the headteacher will give you details of start dates, uniforms and a copy of the school handbook.

In the unlikely event that the school is full you may be directed to the nearest alternative school with places.

Deferred primary school entry

Deferred entry is where a parents would like their child to have another year in nursery rather than starting school. Legislation confirms that children do not have to start primary one until the August after their fifth birthday.

This is available to children who will turn five years of age between 18 August 2021 and 28 February 2022.

August 2021

In previous years children whose fifth birthday fell during January or February 2022 would have be entitled to a deferred entry place and guaranteed an additional funded year of Early Learning and Childcare.

Parents of children whose fifth birthday falls between the school commencement date, 18 August and the 31 December 2021, had the legal right to defer their child’s entry to Primary school, however funding for an additional year of Early Learning and Childcare was at the discretion of the Local Authority. Applications for children born before 1 January were considered by an enrolment panel who, in all cases, sought to promote the best interests of the child. The views of parents, carers and if appropriate support staff from other agencies contributed to the decision.

From August 2021 we will be piloting the phased implementation of legislation that will come into force in 2023, where we guarantee a funded place for children born between 18 August 2016 and 28 February 2017, where their parents want to defer the child's entry to primary one.

Applying to your preferred school (making a placing request)

You should apply directly though our online school enrolment form. The placment request section is included in the application. All pupils applying to a school other than their catchment should complete this.

NB: current P7’s wishing to apply for a secondary school place other than their catchment school must also complete this form.

Once a young person reaches school leaving age, they are entitled to make their own placing request.

For entry to primary one or secondary one, requests will not be considered until the demand is assessed against the number of places available. You will be advised of the outcome of your request by the end of April, provided you make your request on time (February).

Whenever possible we will agree to placing requests. However, in some circumstances this may not be possible and the placing request will be refused.

If your child attends a school outwith your catchment area, it is your responsibility to arrange transport. School transport will not be provided.

Further information

For more information on school applications:

Download school enrolment guidance View our education privacy notice