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The Importance of Feeder Primary Schools

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 6 Mar 2019 | comments*Discuss
Nursery Primary Secondary Grammar Faith

In this article we are going to look at feeder primary schools; what they are and what impact they have when it comes to finding a place for your child at a secondary or grammar school.

What is a Feeder Primary School?

A feeder primary school can be one of a network of primary schools within a designated catchment area, which works in conjunction with a secondary or grammar school within that catchment area in order facilitate the placing of pupils upon reaching secondary school age.

In some areas, depending on the size of the catchment area, a primary school might be required – or allowed – to allocate a set number of pupils for the move to secondary or grammar school but in others, again dependent on size, more than one primary school might be charged with this task.

How Feeder Schools Work

As we have already touched upon feeder schools are charged with the task of providing a certain number of pupils for either a catchment area’s secondary school or grammar school. This sometimes comes under the guise of the three-tier system which you can learn more about in our article The Schools System in the UK at: The Schools System in the UK

The three-tier system normally operates at lower, middle and upper school level and can be a series of schools, which feed pupils through from nursery to primary and then onto secondary or grammar education, depending on the schools operating within that system in a particular catchment area. Also faith schools operate in some instances on a feeder primary school premise as well.

Fundamentally, a feeder school can increase your child’s chances of getting a place at the secondary or grammar school of your choice if the feeder school is directly linked to it. It is similar in a way to the so-called ‘fast tracking’ schemes operated by some work places and public bodies.

Applying for a Place at a Feeder School

The process of applying for a place at a feeder school is exactly the same as applying for a place at a school that does not come under the banner of being a feeder school. The process of selecting your schools of choice, visiting them and completing application and supplementary forms is as you would normally expect. More information on this subject can be found at The Application Process Explained


It is also worth noting that although there are a higher number of children who are given priority because they already attend a feeder primary school there are exceptions to the rule in terms of placement. In the main, these exceptions might be because of distance to the secondary school of choice and/or special needs requirements.

In the instance of special needs education being required, it may be because of a physical disability, in which case special facilities or equipment may be unavailable at the secondary school linked to the feeder primary school and therefore another alternative should be provided. Also, there are instances were a child may have difficulty interacting with other pupils or adults and in these cases, alternative schools may be offered up in the selection process.

In respect of issues of distance a local education authority may refuse admittance if the pupil requiring a place lives – or has moved – outside the catchment area since attending the feeder primary school: in which case a place may be offered to a child who remains within the boundaries of the catchment area rather than to a child who has now moved beyond its borders.

As always, it is worth checking with the individual schools themselves and also with the local education authority as to how this procedure works and how you can appeal a decision should it be adverse.

Your local education authority will be able to provide you with the names of feeder primary schools within your catchment area and also the names of the secondary or grammar schools they facilitate.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
How to find the right feeder schools for a 4yr old girl and 8yr old boy?
Pds - 6-Mar-19 @ 5:10 PM
I was given a feeder school,and that school awaits problems for my grandson.Stud ents at that school had bullied him at his former school.He needs a lot of he lp and support.I don't know exactly the best thing to do.
dee - 25-Jul-17 @ 10:06 AM
Is there a way to find out the list of feeder primary schools to the top secondary schools in Greater London? Many thanks in advance.
Adelina - 20-Nov-14 @ 2:30 PM
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