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Continued interest lists

A list for children who were not offered a place at their preferred school.

A continued interest list is a list of children who could not be offered a place at their preferred school but whose parents want them to be considered in case a place becomes available later. Each school has its own continued interest list.

Warning We recommend that you accept the offered school to ensure a place for your child in September.

How to add your child to a continued interest list

We do not automatically add a child to the continued interest lists of schools we did not offer.

If you applied online

You can add your child to a continued interest list through the Citizen portal when you view your offer.

If you made a paper application

You'll need to complete a paper form. We include the continued interest form with your offer letter.

Some local authorities automatically add the child to waiting lists of the preferred schools not offered. Where the school is in Oxfordshire, we honour this commitment from the child’s home local authority. We do not automatically add the child if they live in Oxfordshire.

Which continued interest lists you can add your child to

Your child can only be added to the continued interest list of a school if:

  • you selected on your application and were refused a place
  • it is a higher preference than the school offered.

For example, if your child has been offered a place at your third preference school, they can be added to the continued interest list of your first and second preference schools.

If you place your child on a school's continued interest, you are stating that you want this school:

  • more than the school we offered
  • instead of the school we offered.

If we offer you a place at the continued interest list school, we'll withdraw your previous offer.

Which continued interest lists you cannot add your child to

You cannot add your child to the continued interest list of:

  • a lower preference school if we've offered your first preference
  • a school that was not on your preference list.

It is possible to change the preference order but we'd have to consider your updated application. Read changes of preference (pdf format) for guidance.

How many lists you can place your child on

You can place your child on the continued interest list of any school that you applied for but were not offered. And is a higher preference than the one offered.

How the order on the continued interest list is decided

The published admissions rules for the school determine the order, not how long a child is on the list.

For example, a child outside the school's catchment area may be pushed down the list if a child inside the catchment area is added.

How a place becomes available

A school place can become available:

  • if the number of children in the year group goes below the admission number
  • a parent accepts an offer from another continued interest list.

We'll look at the continued interest lists and new applications during the second round of offers. We offer places depending on the published admission policy for the school. 

How long your child’s name will remain on a list

Where Oxfordshire County Council is the admissions authority

We hold continued interest lists until 30 June of each academic year.  We then discontinue the list and remove all of the names.

If you still want to a place at the school, you'll need to make an application for the following academic year. You can make the application no earlier than the first Monday after the summer half-term break in June.

You can add your child to the school's continued interest list at the start of each academic year if you have not received an offer.

Where the school is its own admissions authority (OAA)

Continued interest lists are generally held until 30 June each year. But they may be held for a different period. This should be clearly set out in the school’s admission arrangements/policy.

Links to these documents should be available on school websites.

Admission appeals and continued interest lists

You can add your child to the continued interest list for a school without making an appeal.

If you request an appeal, we do not automatically add your child to the continued interest list of the school. 

You can appeal for any of the schools your child has been refused admission to.

The Independent Appeals Panel do not take into account a child’s position on a continued interest list. For appeals organised by Oxfordshire County Council, panels will not ask about the child's position on a list. We'll ask parents not to tell them.

Where an appeal is successful

If the Independent Appeals Panel offers your child a place, they are entitled to join the school. The admissions authority and the school must uphold the panel's decision.

Admission appeals can affect continued interest lists

Successful appeals can affect how continued interest lists work. There could be more children attending or due to join the school than the published admission number. So, even if a child leaves the school, there may not be a place to offer to a child on the continued interest list. 

School transport

Your child may have been eligible for free home to school transport with the original offer. They may not be eligible if you accept an offer from a continued waiting list.

Read our school transport pages for more information.

The legislation for continued interest lists

Section 86 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 sets out the duties of local authorities to make arrangements for parents to express a preference and their reasons for it. Further, it requires admission authorities to comply with a preference unless such compliance would prejudice the provision of efficient education of the efficient use of resources (e.g. because of over-subscription).

Paragraph 2.15 of the 2021 School Admissions Code states:

  • 2.15 Each admission authority must maintain a clear, fair and objective waiting list until at least 31 December of each school year of admission, stating in their arrangements that each added child will require the list to be ranked again in line with the published oversubscription criteria. Priority must not be given to children based on the date their application was received or their name was added to the list.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Co-ordinated Admissions Scheme clearly states that the local authority must offer, on behalf of the relevant admission authority, a place at the school that is the highest preference listed where it is possible to offer a place according to the published Admissions Rules.

If a parent adds their child's name to the waiting list for a school which could not be offered, they are stating that they want this school more than (and instead of) the school offered if it is possible to make an offer at a later date.