A continued interest list (CIL) 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. Some schools and other local authorities call them waiting lists.
The legislation for CILs or waiting 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 2.14 of the 2014 School Admissions Code states:
- 2.14 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 CIL 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.
Who will be on a CIL?
Any child who could not be offered a place can join the CIL if it is a higher preference than the school where s/he was offered a place. A child cannot join the CIL if s/he has been offered a higher preference.
For example, Ahmed has been offered a place at Cheney School (his first preference). He was not offered a place at The Cherwell School (his second preference) and did not need a place there (because he was offered a place at his first preference school). He cannot join the CIL for The Cherwell School. His preference order would need to be changed first [see our policy on changes of preference] and his application would need to be considered. If, after his application had been considered, he could not be offered a place at The Cherwell School his parent would then have the option for him to join the CIL and/or appeal for a place.
Children are not automatically placed on the CIL for schools where they were not offered a place. Parents are invited to add their child’s name to a CIL if they wish when they are told that a place could not be offered. Some LAs tell parents that their child has been automatically added to the waiting list for schools where a place could not be offered. Where this school is in Oxfordshire, we honour this commitment from the child’s home local authority.
Children cannot join the CIL for a school where a place was never previously requested.
For example, Bryony’s parent made the following application:
1. Tower Hill School
2. Queen Emma’s Community Primary School
3. West Witney Primary School
She has been offered a place at Queen Emma’s Community Primary School. Her parent sends an email requesting for her to be added to the CILs for Tower Hill School and Madley Brook Community Primary School. She is added to the CIL for Tower Hill School and her parent is informed that a change of preference request needs to be made if she wants to be considered for a place at Madley Brook Community Primary School.
How many lists can a child join?
Three. A child needs to have been previously considered and not offered a place. The schools need to be listed as higher preferences than the offered school and the child’s parent needs to have requested to join the lists.
How is the order on the CIL decided?
Children are listed in order of the published admissions rules for the school. Children are not listed in order of how long they have been on the list.
For example, Connor joined the CIL for Bure Park Primary School on 18 September. He lives 0.436 miles from the school (outside the designated area and was therefore considered under Criterion 5 – “Children living outside the designated area”. He is currently in first place on the CIL.
On 25 January, an application is received for Daisy for a place in the same year group at Bure Park Primary School. She lives 0.129 miles from the school (in the designated area) and therefore her application is considered under Criterion 3b – “Children in the designated area”. She cannot be offered a place either. Her parent asks for her to join the CIL. She has a higher criterion than Connor, so her position on the CIL is now first and Connor moves down to second on the CIL.
How long will a child’s name remain on a CIL?
CILs for schools where Oxfordshire County Council is the Admissions Authority are held until 30 June of each academic year.
The list is then discontinued and all names are removed. If, by this date, a child still has not been offered a place and his/her parent wants him/her to continue to be considered for any possible vacancy, the parent will need to make a fresh application to request a place for the following academic year. Such applications can be made no earlier than the first Monday after the summer half-term break in June.
A child cannot remain on a CIL for more than one academic year but can join a CIL at the beginning of each academic year once a new application has been made and notification has been sent in writing that a place cannot be offered.
CILs or waiting lists for schools where the school is its Own Admissions Authority (OAA) may be held for a different period. This should be clearly set out in the school’s admission arrangements/policy.
Links to these documents are available on the individual schools’ pages.
How do school admission appeals affect CILs or waiting lists?
School admission appeals are completely separate to the CILs.
A child can join the CIL for a school but does not have to make a school admission appeal as well.
A parent can request a school admission appeal but their child’s name is not automatically added to the CIL in this case. It is only possible for a child to join the CILs for three schools but it is possible to appeal for more than three schools.
For example, Eesa has been added to the CILs for St Leonard’s CE Primary School, St Mary’s CE Primary School, Banbury and Hardwick Community School. His parent has also appealed for a place at St Leonard’s CE Primary School and St Mary’s CE Primary School, Banbury but has not appealed for a place at Hardwick Community School.
His parent then requests a change of preference for Orchard Fields Community School as a new second preference. A place cannot be offered at this new school either. Eesa cannot join the CIL for Orchard Fields Community School unless his name is first removed from the CIL for one of the other three schools but his parent can appeal for a place at Orchard Fields Community School.
The Independent Appeals Panel cannot take into account a child’s position on a CIL. For appeals organised by Oxfordshire County Council, Panels are trained not to ask about a child’s position on a CIL and to request that a parent does not tell them.
If a school admission appeal is upheld and a child is awarded a place it does not matter about their original position on the CIL or even if s/he was not on the CIL. He/She is automatically entitled to join the school. His/Her name would be deleted from the CIL (if applicable). If the number of children attending or due to join the school is higher than the Admission Number for the school, this affects children’s positions on CILs and means a child in first place on a CIL might not be offered a place even if another child leaves.
For example, Frankie is third on the CIL for St Nicolas’ CE Primary School, Abingdon. George is first on the same CIL. Frankie’s appeal for a place is upheld and she starts at the school. There are now 61 children in her year group. Her name is deleted from the CIL. George is still first on the CIL. However, if a child leaves this year group at St Nicolas’ CE Primary School, Abingdon, George will not automatically be offered a place because the number of children will reduce from 61 to 60 and there still will not be a place available for him.
What happens if a place becomes available?
If the number of children in the year group reduces below the Admission Number, a place is available to be offered. The Admission Authority will look at children on the CIL and also at any new applications that have been received but have not yet been determined. The place will be offered to the child with the highest priority for a place. This might be the child in first place on the CIL but it might be a child who has recently applied for a place but has not yet been told whether a place can be offered or not.
For example, Hollie is first on the CIL for Chilton Primary School. She lives 0.238 miles from the school (in the designated area) and her application was originally considered under Criterion 3b – “Children in the designated area”.
A place becomes available (there are now 44 children in the year group and the Admission Number is 45). Hollie needs to be considered for this place. However, an application has recently been received for Ivor but a letter has not been written yet. He lives 0.087 miles from the school (in the designated area) and he also should be considered under Criterion 3b. The available place is offered to Ivor because he has a higher priority for it based on the school’s admissions rules. He does not receive a refusal letter and he does not join the CIL for the school before the place is offered. Hollie remains in first place on the CIL for Chilton Primary School.
If a place is offered at a school from the CIL the place at the school that was previously offered is taken away so that it can be offered to another child. Children cannot hold offers of places at more than one school at the same time. When parents request for their child’s name to be added to the CIL, they are asked to sign that they have read this policy and they understand that the place at an alternative school will be taken away and offered to another child if an offer can be made from a CIL.
What happens if a child was receiving or due to receive transport to the alternative school?
Eligibility for free home to school transport is assessed at the time an offer is made and is generally only available to the nearest school. If transport was offered to an alternative school it will not automatically continue if a place is offered at a higher preference school from the CIL.
For example, Jessica is first on the CIL for The Marlborough CE School, Woodstock. She lives 8.327 miles from the school (outside the designated area) and her application was originally considered under Criterion 6 – “Children outside the designated area”. She has been offered a place at Wheatley Park School instead. She lives 9.655 miles from the school and was offered a place because it was her nearest available school with a place at that time. She was offered free transport from home to Wheatley Park School because it was her nearest available school and is over 3 miles away.
Jessica is now offered a place at The Marlborough CE School, Woodstock. She is not offered free transport because it is not her nearest available school with a place at the time of the offer. Her nearest available school with a place is Gosford Hill School, Kidlington
If her parent accepts the offer of a place at The Marlborough CE School, Woodstock, Jessica will not receive free transport. If her parent refuses the offer of a place at The Marlborough CE School, Woodstock and she remains at Wheatley Park School she will no longer receive free transport because it is no longer her nearest available school.