The Swan School admission arrangements for 2019-2020

Introductory statement

The Swan School is a new 11-18 Free School opening in September 2019 as part of the River Learning Trust. It will be an inclusive comprehensive school, looking to extend, share and enrich educational capacity and excellence for children in the city of Oxford. The school will open in temporary accommodation in September 2019 before being housed in the permanent site.

The school will only admit pupils into Year 7 in the academic year 2019-20.

Admission number(s).

The Swan School has an admission number of 120 for entry in year 7.

It will accordingly admit this number of pupils each year if there are sufficient applications. Where fewer applicants than the published admission number for the relevant year group are received, the Academy Trust will offer places at The Swan School to all those who have applied.

Application process

The River Learning Trust will process applications for the school outside the normal process of coordination.
This means you will need to complete Oxfordshire County Council common application form for your other choices of school in addition to a separate application for this school*.

Applications for The Swan School can be completed via an online application form which is available here.

Applications can also be made by a hard copy application form which is also available from The Swan School website here -INSERT LINK, and should be sent to The Swan School, c/o River Learning Trust at the following address:
The Swan School
c/o River Learning Trust
Cutteslowe Primary School
Wren Road
Oxford OX2 7EE

The closing date for applications is 31st October 2018. Applications made after this date will be considered to have been made late. Offers will be made on 1st March 2019. If we have not entered into a funding agreement with the Secretary of State opening the school by that date, they will be conditional offers and will be confirmed once we have a signed funding agreement. You will also receive a firm offer of a school place separately from Oxfordshire County Council. * You can find the Oxfordshire County Council application from by clicking here.

Notification will be sent by first-class post on 1st March 2019 for applications received by 31st October 2018. Online applicants will also receive notification by email.

All applications received after 31st October will be considered to be late applications. Late applications will be considered after those received on time. If, following consideration of all applicants the school is oversubscribed, parents may request that their child is placed on the Continued Interest List. For more details about the Continued Interest List, please see below.

Oversubscription criteria

The school has a designated catchment area which can be found on The Swan School website here.

When the school is oversubscribed, after the admission of pupils with an Education, Health and Care plan naming the school, priority for admission will be given to those children who meet the criteria set out below, in priority order:

  1. Looked after children and children who were previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to adoption, a child arrangements order, or special guardianship order.1
  2. Children who live in the school’s designated catchment area and are eligible for the pupil premium, including the service premium.2 *3
  3. Other children who live within the catchment area of the school. A map of the catchment area is provided as part of this policy.
  4. Children who live outside the school’s designated catchment area and are eligible for the pupil premium, including the service premium. See notes 2 and 3. for eligibility details.
  5. Children who live outside the catchment area of the school who have a sibling who is currently on role and will still be attending the Swan School at the time of entry. [will not apply for entry in 2019]
  6. Other children who live outside the catchment area of the school


If in categories 2-7 a tie break is required to determine the final child admitted, priority will be given to children who live closest to the school by the shortest designated public route as defined on the Directorate for Children, Education & Families’ Geographic Information System. See ‘Distance Criterion’ below for more details. If two children are tied for the final place and live equidistant from the school, random allocation undertaken by the local authority (Oxford County Council) will be used as a tie-break to decide who will be admitted.


For admissions purposes, a brother or sister is defined as one of the following:

  • A brother or sister (both parents the same) living at the same home address; or
  • A half- brother or half-sister (one parent the same) living at the same home address; or
  • A step-brother or step-sister (sharing a parent who is married or in a civil partnership) living at the same home address; or
  • An adopted child who, by reason of the adoption, now shares one or more parents with a child living at the same home address.
  • A foster child who, by reason of the fostering, now shares one or more parents with a child living at the same home address. Admission of children outside their normal age group

Admission of children outside their normal age group

Parents may request that their child is admitted to a year group outside their normal age range, for instance where the child is gifted or talented or where a child has suffered from particular social or medical issues impacting his or her schooling. All such requests will be considered on the individual merits of each case and in the best interests of the child and either agreed or refused, on that basis. If a request is refused, the child will still be considered for admission to their normal age group.

The process for requesting such an admission is as follows: With the application, parents should request that the child is admitted to another year group (state which one), and the reasons for that request. Parents will submit any evidence in support of their case with the application, for instance from a medical practitioner, headteacher etc.

Some of the evidence a parent might submit could include:

  • information about the child’s academic, social and emotional development;
  • where relevant, their medical history and the views of a medical professional;
  • whether they have previously been educated out of their normal age group; and
  • whether they may naturally have fallen into a lower age group if it were not for being born prematurely.

The school will consider each case on its merits, taking into account the individual circumstances of the request and the child’s best interests. We will also ensure the parent is aware of whether the request for admission out of age group has been agreed before final offers are made, and the reason for any refusal. Requests for admission out of the normal year group will be considered alongside other applications made at the same time. An application from a child who would ‘normally’ be a year 8 child for a year 7 place will be considered alongside applications for year 7.

In Year Admission

The Local Authority coordinates in-year admissions to The Swan School.

Applications can be made by following the guidance on Oxfordshire County Council’s website.

The school will only admit pupils into Year 7 in the academic year 2019-20.

Waiting lists (Continued Interest List)

The Swan School will operate a continued interest list for each year group. Where in any year the school receives more applications for places than there are places available, a continued interest list will operate until the end of the academic year. This will be maintained by Oxfordshire County Council Local Authority Admissions Team and it will be open to any parent to ask for his or her child’s name to be placed on this list, following an unsuccessful application.

Children’s position on the continued interest list will be determined solely in accordance with the oversubscription criteria. Where places become vacant they will be allocated to children on the list in accordance with the oversubscription criteria. The list will be reordered in accordance with the oversubscription criteria whenever anyone is added to or leaves the continued interest list.


All applicants refused a place have a right of appeal to an independent appeal panel constituted and operated in accordance with the School Admission Appeals Code. Appellants should contact Oxfordshire County Council for information on how to appeal. Information on the timetable for the appeals process is on the website here.

Should you have difficulty completing the information on their website please contact:
School Appeals Team
Law and Culture
1st Floor, County Hall
New Road
Tel: 01865 810180 Email: [email protected]

Distance criterion

‘If in categories 2-7 above a tie-break is necessary to determine which child is admitted, the child living closest to the school by the shortest designated public route will be given priority for admission. The River Learning Trust uses the Local Authority’s measuring system, whereby the route from home to school has been measured using the “shortest designated route”.

The start point of a measurement is the “seed point” of the home address. The “seed point” is provided by Ordnance Survey from information compiled from Royal Mail and/or district or city councils. The seed point normally falls within the bounds of a property. The accuracy of seed points is to the nearest ten centimetres. It is possible to move the location of an individual seed point, but this is not necessary for most addresses. It is not possible to verify the individual location of every seed point prior to measuring due to the number of addresses in Oxfordshire and surrounding areas.

From the seed point the route firstly connects to the nearest point of the digitised network namely the road on which the house is situated. The positioning of front doors, driveways and back gates are not relevant to the route or the measurement and are not programmed to be used by the measuring system.

The digitised network is constructed from road data supplied by Ordnance Survey called the Integrated Transport Network (ITN). The Integrated Transport Network has been accurately digitised to measure along the centre of roads and takes corners at right angles. This is the same underlying information as used by internet-based mapping solutions (e.g. Google Maps). However, the LA has a more accurate start point than internet-based mapping solutions and the ITN has been augmented by the LA to take into account other available public routes (e.g. alleyways, public footpaths, bridleways, etc). Ordnance Survey assures that the augmented ITN used by the LA is accurate to at least 1 metre. All 548,000 kilometres of roads in Great Britain are accurately mapped in a consistent and logical network. The network does not include routes that are not defined as public; these include crossing parks with no paths where the park is not open and available all the time, “short-cuts” across patches of open land without paths, or footpaths across private land which are not defined by Ordnance Survey as public routes.

The end point of the “shortest designated route” is the nearest open gate of the school, first arrived at from the direction of travel from the seed point officially available for use by students for entry and exit to the school site at the start and end of the school day. The location of this gate has been set by the Trust to ensure accurate placement of the gate and its availability for use.

The shortest designated route is established using an algorithm within the bespoke software used by the LA. This software is called RouteFinder and is produced by Higher Mapping Solutions ( This programme integrates with the LA’s 6 database (ONE) which is supplied by Capita Children’s Services (

RouteFinder measures in kilometres and the measurement is converted into miles accurate to three decimal places, which gives an accuracy up to 1.609344 metres.

The “shortest designated route” is not necessarily a driving route because it may use in whole or in part a non-driveable route (e.g. footpaths). The “shortest designated route” is also not necessarily a walking route for example, where roads are used, the measurement is along the centre of the road not along the edge (pavement or equivalent) of the road.

Other measuring systems may give a different measurement but the LA cannot take a measurement from another measuring system into account because this would constitute mal-administration of the admissions process by the Local Authority for the school.

Random Allocation

‘If in categories 2-7 above a tie-break is necessary to determine which child is admitted, random allocation undertaken by the local authority will be used as a tie-break to decide who will be admitted.


Admissions to The Swan School for September 2019 are not part of the normal process of transfer to secondary school.

You MUST apply for a secondary school transfer for other secondary schools via Oxfordshire County Council (or your home local authority if you do not live in Oxfordshire).
If you live in Oxfordshire you will be able to list up to 3 secondary schools in addition to this preference (i.e. up to 4 secondary school preferences in total).

Apply via the Oxfordshire County Council website
  1. 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).
  2. Parents/guardians will be required to provide evidence of eligibility and the school may request confirmation from the applicant’s home local authority. Children given priority under this criterion fall into the following categories: a. children currently registered as eligible for free school meals and children who have been registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last six years; b. children eligible to be registered for free school meals * and c. children whose parent(s) are serving in the regular UK armed forces, to the children of regular armed forces personnel who were serving in the past 3 years, or to children who are in receipt of a pension under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the War Pensions Scheme because their parent(s) died on active service with the UK armed forces
  3. Pupils eligible to be registered for free schools meals, but not yet registered will be required to provide proof of eligibility to the school Universal Credit by the following: Income Support; income-based Jobseekers Allowance; an income-related employment and support allowance; support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; Child Tax Credit (provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income that, from 6 April 2011, does not exceed £16,190 (as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs); where a parent is entitled to the Working Tax Credit run-on (the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit); the Guarantee element of State Pension Credit.