Secondary education information for parents

View information for 2023-24 academic year.

Admission arrangements

The arrangements described below apply to children born between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013. We will not normally offer places in community secondary schools to children born after 31 August 2013.

Places at community schools are decided by the Director of Children, Families and Education according to the arrangements made by the local authority and described on this webpage. Places in academy, foundation, trust and voluntary aided schools are decided by the governing bodies of those schools according to arrangements they have made after consultation. You can get details of the admission policies from the relevant school.

The governing bodies of Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby Grammar School, Wirral Grammar School for Boys and Wirral Grammar School for Girls have reached an agreement with the authority on how their admission procedures will work. If parents want their children to be considered for places at these schools, Wirral Local Authority will assess these children on behalf of the school. The assessments for St Anselm’s College and Upton Hall School (FCJ) will be carried out by those schools.

Types of school

In terms of governing schools there are five types of school - academy, community, foundation, trust and voluntary aided. There are various differences between the different categories of school, but for admissions, the differences relate to the responsibilities of the governing bodies of the schools.

There are 26 secondary schools in Wirral. This includes five special schools and an all-age hospital school.

Community schools are non-denominational. In other words, they are not linked to any particular faith. The governors have responsibility for the overall conduct of the school but admissions are the responsibility of the local authority.

Foundation and Trust schools are schools, usually non-denominational, where the governors are responsible for the admission arrangements.

Academies are publicly funded independent schools. The academy trust is responsible for admissions.

The governors of voluntary-aided schools are responsible for their own admission arrangements. You can get more information about Catholic voluntary aided schools from:

Director of Education, Shrewsbury Diocese
Phone: 0151 652 9855

The local authority co-ordinates preferences on behalf of all schools.

All-ability and grammar schools

Wirral has all-ability (comprehensive) schools and grammar schools. The all-ability schools cater for the whole ability range and take children without assessing their ability. Grammar schools assess children’s ability and admit children who have reached the required standard. The grammar school might not be able to admit all the children who achieve the standard for grammar school.

You can view a list of all the maintained and Academy secondary schools. Each school publishes a prospectus. You can ask the school for a copy. Schools also offer parents the opportunity to visit them before the preference forms are due to be returned.

Admission numbers

Each school has an admission number, which is the number of places in the year group in which children start at the school (Year 7). Pupils will be admitted up to a schools’ admission number.

Timetable for admissions to secondary schools in September 2024

31 May 2023 Deadline for Request for Assessment forms to be returned.
September 2023 Literature and application forms will be available online or on request. The online admission system opens on 1st September for parents of Year 6 children who live in Wirral.
Autumn Term 2023 Tests for grammar school assessments are carried out.
31 October 2023 Online applications and Preference forms must be returned by this date.
1 March 2024 Email offers are sent to online applicants. Offers of school places for paper form applicants are posted second class on this date.
May to July 2024 Appeals to be heard and decided.
September 2024 Children begin secondary school in Year 7.

Wirral Secondary Schools

Map of Wirral Secondary Schools

List of Secondary Schools

  • Birkenhead High School Academy
    86 Devonshire Place, Prenton, Wirral CH43 1TY
    Phone: 0151 652 5777
    Admission number: 135
  • Calday Grange Grammar School
    Grammar School Lane, West Kirby, Wirral CH48 8GG
    Phone: 0151 625 2727
    Admission number: 210
  • Co-op Academy Bebington
    Higher Bebington Road, Bebington, Wirral CH63 2PS
    Phone: 0151 645 4154
    Admission number: 205
  • Hilbre High School Humanities College
    Frankby Road, West Kirby, Wirral CH48 6EQ
    Phone: 0151 625 5996
    Admission number: 200
  • Pensby High School
    Irby Road, Heswall, Wirral CH61 6XN
    Phone: 0151 342 0570
    Admission number: 180
  • Prenton High School for Girls
    Hesketh Avenue, Prenton, Wirral CH42 6RR
    Phone: 0151 644 8113
    Admission number: 158
  • Ridgeway High School
    Noctorum Avenue, Prenton, Wirral CH43 9EB
    Phone: 0151 678 3322
    Admission number: 160
  • St Anselm’s College
    Manor Hill, Birkenhead, Wirral CH43 1UQ
    Phone: 0151 652 1408
    Admission number: 156
  • St John Plessington Catholic College
    Old Chester Rd, Bebington, Wirral CH63 7LF
    Phone: 0151 645 5049
    Admission number: 270
  • St Mary’s Catholic Aided College
    Wallasey Village, Wallasey, Wirral CH45 3LN
    Phone: 0151 639 7531
    Admission number: 210
  • South Wirral High School
    Plymyard Avenue, Eastham, Wirral CH62 8EH
    Phone: 0151 327 3213
    Admission number: 212
  • The Birkenhead Park School
    Park Road South, Birkenhead, Wirral CH43 4UY
    Phone: 0151 652 1574
    Admission number: 180
  • The Mosslands School
    Mosslands Drive, Wallasey, Wirral CH45 8PJ
    Phone: 0151 638 8131
    Admission number: 224
  • The Oldershaw School
    Valkyrie Road, Wallasey, Wirral CH45 4RJ
    Phone: 0151 638 2800
    Admission number: 168
  • Upton Hall School (FCJ)
    Moreton Road, Upton, Wirral CH49 6LJ
    Phone: 0151 677 7696
    Admission number: 156
  • Weatherhead High School
    Breck Road, Wallasey, Wirral CH44 3HS
    Phone: 0151 631 4400
    Admission number: 254
  • West Kirby Grammar School
    Graham Road, West Kirby, Wirral CH48 5DP
    Phone: 0151 632 3449
    Admission number: 180
  • Wirral Grammar School for Boys
    Cross Lane, Bebington, Wirral CH63 3AQ
    Phone: 0151 644 0908
    Admission number: 155
  • Wirral Grammar School for Girls
    Heath Road, Bebington, Wirral CH63 3AF
    Phone: 0151 644 8282
    Admission number: 180
  • Woodchurch High School
    Carr Bridge Road, Woodchurch, Wirral CH49 7NG
    Phone: 0151 677 5257
    Admission number: 281

Making an application

Wirral’s online admission system can be accessed from

Applying online is quick and simple to do. You will receive an automatic email so that you know your application has been received by Wirral Local Authority. On allocation day, online applicants will receive an email with their child’s allocated place. The deadline for online applications to be submitted is 31 October 2023. You can put up to five schools in the order of your preference. It is always recommended to put more than one school in your preferences in case you are not allocated your first preference. If your child is being assessed for selective schools, it is recommended that you use at least two preferences for non-selective schools. If your child does not then reach the standard for entry to selective school(s), the grammar preference(s) will be withdrawn and the non-selective preferences will automatically move up to become your first and second preferences.

If you want to give a preference for a school outside Wirral, you will need to include this as one of your preferences. Wirral Local Authority will tell other local authorities about parents’ preferences for schools in their area by the end of November.

If you cannot apply online, you can complete the paper preference form provided. The deadline for paper applications to be returned is 31 October 2023.

If you do not apply online or return a paper preference form, it will be assumed that you do not have a particular preference. Your child will be given a place at the nearest school with a place.

Important information about preferences

Most school places are allocated on the basis of the home address of each child.

Home address

This must be the child’s permanent home address, where he or she lives with a person of parental responsibility as the main carer (as defined by the Children Act 1989). You must not give the address of a business, relative, childminder, friend, a temporary address or an address to which you hope to move.

The home address must not be where parents have taken out a short term let on a property solely to use its address on the application form without any intention of taking up permanent residence there. The Council will require proof of residence which may include proof of sale of a previous property. Arrangements where parents leave and collect children from another relative or carer on a daily basis will be regarded as childcare arrangements, and the child will not be deemed to be 'ordinarily resident' with that person.

Applications from separated parents

Only one application can be processed for each child; therefore it is important that both parties in shared custody arrangements are in agreement over the preferred school(s) named. The parent with whom the child is majority resident should submit the application giving their address as the child’s home address– this is the parent with which the child resides most days in a week. Failure to provide a definitive application could jeopardise your child’s priority for a school place.

In a situation where a child spends exactly equal time with both parents, the child’s main permanent residence should be submitted as their home address. If agreement cannot be reached, or if neither parent has been granted a Specific Issues Order in this respect, then the council will accept the application from the parent with whom the child is “ordinarily resident”. This is the address where the child lives for the majority of the school week (Monday to Friday) and is usually where the parent/carer receives child benefit for the child (where eligible). Proof of address and residence arrangements will be required with the application.

Changes of address

Parents and carers must inform the council immediately of a change of address, even if details of a future change of residency were included on the application form. The council will require supporting evidence to show that the place of residency has changed; e.g. a letter from the solicitor confirming the completion date; a signed rental agreement showing the start of the tenancy and its duration. In addition, further information may be requested – for example, copies of council tax and utility bills or any other information considered relevant to the application, including evidence of disposal of previous property. Information and supporting evidence must be received by 31 December 2023. Proof of residency received after 31 December 2023 will not be used to assign a higher criterion for admission but will be used to send the decision letter on the published offer date. We may remove a place where it has been identified that a change of address has taken place before 31st December 2023 and has not been declared.

Wirral Council regularly check addresses and any deliberate misrepresentation will result in a place being withdrawn. The council acts on behalf of all Wirral admission authorities and reserves the right to request independent confirmation of the child’s place of residence, as felt appropriate.

The Mainstream Admissions team may have to share the information provided with other departments of the council in order to verify the authenticity of pupil’s addresses. This may include data held by Council Tax and/or Housing Benefit teams. The council’s Fraud and Investigations Team may be asked to review the information that has been provided. This may include interviewing and taking a signed statement from the applicant.

The Authority has the right to withdraw any place offered on the basis of a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application

Personal Data

Wirral Council processes personal admissions data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Schools Admissions Code 2021. The information you provide on your preference form will be used by Wirral Local Authority and Governing bodies of primary/secondary schools as Admission Authorities. They will apply the information to their published admission policies in order to allocate school places for children.

Where necessary this information will be shared with various internal council teams, and with external agencies, including other Local Authorities and Schools, the Department for Education, Office of the Schools Adjudicator, the Education Skills Funding Agency, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and the NHS Community Trust where required in relation to other legal, statutory or other regulatory obligations or requirements.

In order to verify the authenticity of pupils’ addresses or income status this information may be shared with Council Tax and Housing Benefit teams. Information about your child may also be shared with Members of Parliament or Local Councillors, if you ask them to act on your behalf.

For further information please read the School Admissions Privacy Notice. If you have any questions or concerns about how your data is secured the council’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at or by writing to: Data Protection Officer, Wirral Council, PO Box 290, Brighton Street, Wallasey CH27 9FQ.

The Admissions Authority has the right to withdraw any place offered on the basis of a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application.

Admissions to schools in other local authority areas

If you want your child to be educated at a school maintained by another English local authority, you must name that school as one of your preferences on your Wirral Parental Preference Application. Wirral Local Authority will then send your application to the relevant local education authority.

You will be told by Wirral Authority whether your application has been successful on 1 March 2024 as detailed above.

Parents who live outside Wirral

If you live elsewhere in England you do not complete a Wirral preference form. If you want your child to go to a Wirral school, you must name the school on your home authority’s preference form and they will send your details to us. If you live in any other country, including Wales or Scotland, you must complete a Wirral preference form if you want your child to go to a Wirral school. No matter where you live, if you want your child to be assessed for a grammar school in Wirral, you must have told us by 31 May 2023.

Allocation of places

Considering your preferences

If your child does not reach the standard for entry to selective school(s), these preferences will be withdrawn. Once all the applications have been received, a list of applicants will be produced for each Wirral school. For community schools we will rank the applications according to our criteria, and decide whether your child is eligible for a place at any of the schools listed.

Schools where the governing body is the admission authority are provided with application information to enable them to apply their own admission criteria and rank applicants. This does not include what order you have put that school in your application, because schools are not allowed to use the order of parents preference in their admission criteria. They will not know whether you have put their school first, second, third, fourth or fifth.

If you have given a preference for a school in another English authority, that authority will tell us whether they can offer your child a place in that school.

If you are successful in meeting the criteria for more than one school, we will offer you the school which you listed as the highest preference.

It can happen that all the schools given as a preference by a parent are oversubscribed (in other words, there are more applications than places available) and it is not possible to offer a child a place at any of them. If this happens, your child will be given a place at the nearest appropriate school with a place available.

Admission criteria for community schools

Applications for community schools will be dealt with in order according to the following criteria.

  1. Children who are Looked After or previously Looked After as defined in the Admission Code 2021.
  2. Children who have a valid medical reason for a specific placement. You must give details on the preference form and this may be checked by a medical officer of the health authority. A letter in support from a senior health care professional will be required as evidence when you submit your preference form. You need to make it clear why only this school is appropriate for your child’s medical needs.
  3. Pupils who have a brother or sister (including half-brothers and sisters or step-brothers and step-sisters living in the same household) on roll at the school and of statutory school age when it opens in September.
  4. We will then take account of where your child lives. We will give priority to those pupils who live nearest to the school. We use a computer mapping system, based on Ordnance Survey maps, to measure the distance from your home to the nearest school pedestrian gate to your child’s home using the shortest road route, unless it is possible to use a footpath which we consider a safe walking route. As a general guide we will treat routes with no pavements and no street lighting as unsafe for children.

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 under section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989.

A previously Looked After child is one who immediately moved on from that status after becoming subject to an adoption, child arrangements or special guardianship order. This also includes those children who appear (to the admission authority) to have been in state care outside of England and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted (A child is regarded as having been in state care outside of England if they were in the care of or were accommodated by a public authority, a religious organisation, or any other provider of care whose sole or main purpose is to benefit society.)

Admissions to academy, foundation, trust and voluntary-aided schools

The admission arrangements for these schools are decided by the governing bodies and you can get them directly from the schools concerned. Wirral Local Authority will co-ordinate the preferences for those schools and the governing body will rank their applicants against their policy.

Admission to grammar schools

The admission arrangements for all grammar schools say that children should be assessed to decide whether they have reached the necessary standard for grammar school. The deadline for request for assessment forms to be returned was 31 May 2023.

Wirral Local Authority will carry out the assessments for the non-denominational grammar schools. The assessments for St Anselm’s College and Upton Hall School will be carried out by those schools.

Selective assessments for the non-denominational grammar schools are expected to take place during the Autumn term. Parents will be notified of the outcome of the grammar assessment tests by 21 October 2023.  If you have requested that your child is assessed for a place at any grammar school and they have attended the initial assessment sessions, do not submit a school preference application until you have received the outcome of the test/s.

If more children achieve the standard than there are places available in grammar schools, other criteria are used to decide which children should receive places. These criteria are published in the admission policy for the school.

Assessment arrangements for non-Catholic grammar schools

The assessment is based on the results of a test comprising two papers that pupils take in the Autumn term of Year 6. The tests have been designed to predict a pupil’s potential performance at secondary school and so preparation for the tests is not necessary. However, familiarisation materials containing sample questions will be available to help children prepare for the tests.

To ensure that children are not disadvantaged because of their date of birth, in each case the score is standardised to take account of each child’s age in years and completed months. The two test scores are then added together to provide a final score. A total weighted score is calculated from the Verbal, Maths and Non verbal components across both papers for boys and girls. Children who reach the required score will be deemed to have reached the grammar school standard.

The council will send the outcome of the assessment tests by e-mail to parents who have provided a valid email address on their request for assessment form within 6 weeks of the assessment date. Postal notification will be despatched to all other parents on the same date as e-mails are sent out, by first class post.

If your child is unwell on the morning of the test, it is advised that they do not sit the test that day. They can take it at another time, when they are feeling better.

A late test will take place later in the Autumn term for pupils who were registered to take the test but were unable to do so due to illness or absence on the main test date. No other arrangements will be made to assess children if request forms were received after 31st May, unless they have moved from another part of the country. Parents should still submit a preference form before 31st October naming at least one grammar school. If their child does not meet the grammar standard, any grammar preferences will be withdrawn

At the end of this process, we will have a complete list of the children who have reached the grammar school standard. This does not necessarily mean that they will go to a grammar school - that will depend on the number of preferences that we have for the grammar schools. If a grammar school is oversubscribed, the governors have to use other criteria to decide which children should be given places.

Children who do not live in Wirral

Requests from parents of children living in other authorities are  considered on the same basis as described for Wirral children. For other English authorities, if you want your child to be considered for a place in a Wirral school you need to contact your Local Authority and complete an application following their procedures.

Parents who live outside England will need to apply online or complete a Wirral Parental Preference Form at the Admissions Portal, or on request (0151 606 2000, email

Reasons to refuse your preferences

The law says that the Local Authority can refuse to follow your preference if to do so ‘would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources’. The quality of education for all children cannot be allowed to suffer by admitting more pupils than the school can accommodate.

If a community school is oversubscribed (more pupils apply than there are places available), the admission criteria will be used to decide which children should get places. In academy, foundation, trust and voluntary aided schools, the governing bodies publish their own admission arrangements which will explain the admission criteria they use.

Even if a child has achieved the necessary standard for a grammar school, the admissions authority may still refuse to give your child a place. This will happen if the school is oversubscribed and there would be prejudice of the kind referred to above.

If you include a grammar school as one of your preferences and your child has not reached the standard for grammar school, the grammar school preference cannot be taken into account and will be disregarded.

Late applications

Applications received by Wirral Local Authority by 31 October 2023 will be treated as on-time. Late preferences received on or after 1 November 2023 will be dealt with after places have been allocated to “on-time” applicants. Late grammar school test sessions will be held only for applicants who were not previously able to complete a request for assessment form for a grammar school, for example, parents who have only recently moved into the area.

Allocation of places

If you are a Wirral resident we will tell you which school your child has been allocated. On 1 March 2024, online applicants will receive an email with their child’s allocated school place. An allocation letter will be posted out to paper form applicants on this date.

The Mainstream Admissions team cannot guarantee to send an allocation email to you unless you apply online. Allocations cannot be given out over the telephone.

If you have applied online and have since changed your email address, you should email providing your old and new email address, before 1 March 2024, otherwise you may not receive your allocation email.

If you live in another English authority they will tell you where your child has been allocated.

Waiting list and appeals

Appeals against admission decisions

If you are not satisfied with an allocation you have a right to appeal. Appeals are considered by an Independent Appeals Panel established under the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998. The decision is binding on us or the governing body of the school concerned. You should lodge your appeal within four weeks of receiving your allocation wherever possible.

Appeals for places at Birkenhead High School Academy, Calday Grange Grammar School, St. Anselm’s College, St John Plessington Catholic College, The Co-Op Academy Bebington, Pensby High School and Upton Hall School FCJ are considered by Independent Appeals Panels established by the school’s governing body. Appeals arrangements for those schools should be obtained directly from the school concerned.

For all other Wirral schools you can appeal online.

Find out more the appeals procedures

You can also contact the Clerk to the Independent Appeals Panel at

If you have applied for a place at a school outside Wirral and wish to appeal the decision not to allocate a place, you should contact the relevant local authority for information on their appeals procedures.

Waiting lists for schools

Any child who was not able to be offered a place at a higher ranked preference within the borough will automatically be placed on the school’s waiting list.

Parents wishing to register a continuing interest in a school which had not previously been given as a preference, or which had been a lower ranked preference than the offered school, should do so by sending an email to including the child’s name, date of birth and the requested schools.

Children cannot be added to the waiting list for a grammar school if the child did not reach the standard for entry, details of how to appeal will be on the offer email/letter.

The continuing interest list will consist of those children who were not able to be offered a place at the school and those for whom an appeal form has been received, together with any late applications/requests. The continuing interest is only ranked if/when a place has become available and is re-ranked each time this takes place.

Autumn Term – Waiting lists for community schools

If places become available during the Autumn Term they will be allocated from the waiting list with priority given in accordance with the criteria used for the initial allocation.

We will cease to hold the waiting list at the end of the Autumn Term.

All other schools will have different arrangements for their waiting list and you should contact them directly for more information.

Transfers in Years 7 to 11 and moving to Wirral

Transfer between schools and children moving to Wirral

If you want your child to transfer to a Wirral school you can apply online. Applying online is quick and simple to do. You will receive an automatic email so that you know your application has been received by us. If you cannot apply online, you can complete a paper application form. These are available by calling 0151 606 2000.

For admissions to schools other than at the normal admission age, you can say which school you prefer and the admissions authority will meet that preference as long as it does not affect the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources.

You will need to read the admission policies for the schools which are included in a separate booklet. In general it is considered less disruptive to a pupils education to transfer at the end of the school year. Before a transfer request is considered, you will be expected to have discussed this with your child’s headteacher. Often a solution can be found without disrupting the education of the child.

Our arrangements are that a report will be requested from the headteacher of your child’s current or previous school so that the school has necessary information to make a decision. Your child will be offered the highest preference possible. The Director of Children, Families and Education will write to tell you which school your child has been allocated and giving you the right to appeal to an independent panel (as detailed previously).

Grammar assessment arrangements for children aged over 11

If your preference is for a grammar school, your child must achieve the standard for the school and you need to contact the school concerned to find out about their assessment arrangements for children transferring in Y7 and above.

There are no arrangements to admit or transfer children to independent (private) schools. If you want a place at an independent school, you should approach the school directly.

Fair access policy

Local authorities have a duty to ensure fair access to educational opportunity and have a key role in ensuring that school admission arrangements are lawful and comply with the mandatory provisions of the Admissions Code 2021. They must ensure that admission arrangements for schools in their area for which they are the admissions authority comply with all statutory requirements, are clear, objective and fair.

Full details of the fair access arrangements can be found in the Wirral secondary coordinated admission scheme on the Admissions webpage.

Education after age 16

Post-16 education in Wirral is provided by sixth forms in some schools, Birkenhead Sixth Form College and Wirral Metropolitan College.

Details of sixth-form education in other Wirral schools can be found on the individual school’s websites.

Financial assistance for 16 to 19 year olds

You could get a bursary to help with education-related costs if you’re aged 16 to 19 and studying at school or college (not University) or on a training course, including unpaid apprenticeship.

  • There are bursaries of up to £1,200 a year for the most vulnerable young people. This includes children in care, care leavers and those on income support. Schools and colleges will have flexibility to pay more to young people who need it.
  • For all other young people, schools, colleges and training providers will then be able to award bursaries to any student who faces genuine financial barriers to staying on in education and training to help with costs such as transport, food or equipment. The amount they will get is entirely down to their school or college.

You can get more information about the 16 to 19 bursary scheme from your school, college or the government website.

Travel to school

Transport policy

Under Section 508 (B) of the Education Act 1996 the council must provide free transport to and from school for a child if they are aged 5 to 16 between home and their nearest suitable school under certain conditions.

A ‘suitable’ school for transport purposes is the nearest school to the child’s home. There is no general legislative requirement for the council to transport pupils to the nearest school of a particular type e.g. faith school, ability (grammar or non grammar), single sex or mixed, academy or free school.

Assistance with public transport costs will be provided for Wirral resident pupils who qualify under the following circumstances*:

  1. Pupils are between age 5 and 16 and go to their nearest suitable school and live at least:
    • 2 miles from the school if they’re under 8
    • 3 miles from the school if they’re 8 or older.
  2. Pupils are registered at their nearest suitable school and are unable to walk to school, even if they were accompanied by their parent, due to a route which the council has assessed as hazardous.
  3. Pupils are from a low income family who are entitled to free school meals or maximum Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit with an income below £16,190, if they are:
    • aged 8 or over but under 11, attend their nearest suitable school and it is more than 2 miles away from their home; or
    • aged 11 to 16 years, and attend one of their three nearest suitable schools provided it is more than 2 miles but not more than 6 miles from their home; or
    • aged 11 to 16 years, attend a school that is more than 2 but not more than 15 miles from their home that their parents have chosen on the grounds of their religion or belief if, having regard to that religion or belief, there is no suitable school nearer to their home.
  4. Children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) are entitled to free transport however far they live from the school if:
    • they have a statement of SEN or EHCP that says the local council will pay transport costs.
    • they can’t walk because of their SEN, a disability or mobility problem.

A 'suitable' school for transport purposes is the nearest school to the child's home. There is no general legislative requirement for the Council to transport pupils to the nearest school of a particular type e.g. single or mixed sex school, faith school, ability, academy or free school.

The distance from home and the school gate nearest to home by the shortest available walking route will be measured using a computerised mapping system.

As a general guide, we will treat routes without pavements and street lighting as unsafe for children and young people. When assessing the safety of routes, the Authority will assume that the child is accompanied, as necessary, by a parent or other responsible person. Initial assessment of route safety is made by the team responsible for assessing eligibility for home to school transport. Where the safety of a route is questioned by an applicant, the council’s Road Safety team will carry out an assessment.

*Policy updated in line with revised guidance from the Department for Education released on 29th June 2023. Further information here.

More information or making an enquiry about free home to school travel

Other means of contact:

Wirral Council Call Centre Information and Advice Team
Phone: 0151 606 2000

Appealing a transport decision

Where an application has been made for free home to school transport under the provisions set out in the council’s policies and that application is refused, in whole or part, applicants have the right to have their case reviewed.

There is a two stage home to school transport review and appeals process for parents who wish to challenge a transport decision about:

  • Their child’s eligibility
  • The transport arrangements offered by the local authority
  • The distance measurement
  • The safety of the route used to calculate eligibility

Stage one provides an opportunity for the local authority’s school travel team to review their decision. Parents can submit a written appeal which should explain why the parent believes the local authority should review is decision and include any information they would like to be considered as part of the review.

Stage two provides for impartial re-consideration of the case. The local authority will make arrangements for an independent panel to review the case. Parents will be given the opportunity to attend the appeal hearing, virtually or in person, to present their case. Where a parent does not wish or is unable to attend a hearing, the panel should make its decision based on the parent’s written representation.

More information about home to school travel pass appeals.

Walking to school

Before you decide on your school preferences, it is worth considering how your child will get to school. There is a leaflet called “How to get to secondary school”. You can request a copy from the Road Safety team by calling 0151 606 2000 or emailing

In recent years the number of children who are driven to school has steadily increased. This contributes to traffic congestion and air pollution. Less walking and cycling to school is affecting children’s health and independence. Wirral Council is committed to encouraging more children to walk or cycle to school, or catch the bus for longer distances. When deciding how your child travels to school, the following points are important to consider:

  • Research has shown that children who walk to school are fitter, have better developed social skills, are more familiar with their surroundings, have better road sense and arrive at school more relaxed and ready to learn.
  • Walking, cycling or using the bus reduces congestion on the road. In the school holidays, when the roads tend to be much quieter, it is clear how much rush hour traffic is school-run related.
  • On average, the school-run costs families over £300 a year in petrol costs and general wear and tear.

Take some time to discuss this advice with your child and help them to plan their new route to school. The right choices can increase their self-confidence and independence whilst also helping to maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Find out more about walking and cycling to school or speak to your child’s school to find out if they have a travel plan or other initiatives in place.

School meals and clothes

School meals

Wirral’s secondary schools have cafeterias providing school meals with a wide variety of choice. It is the governors’ responsibility to provide free and paid-for meals facilities and to meet nutritional standards. These ensure that children are provided with a healthy, balanced diet.

Free school meals are available if the parent or guardian is in receipt of Income Support OR Universal Credit OR Income-based Jobseekers Allowance OR Income Related Employment and Support Allowance OR Guaranteed State Pension Credit OR support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 OR Child Tax Credit with a total annual taxable income of LESS than £16,190 but NOT receiving Working Tax Credit. There is now a new way to claim free school meals for children. To claim free school meals contact your child’s school to sign up to the free online system.

School clothes

Children are expected to dress neatly for school. Secondary age children do not need to wear a school uniform, but many schools ask children to wear a type or colour of clothing that is associated with the school. However, as the Local Authority does not ask for this, the council does not provide a grant towards buying school clothing. Some schools will offer free or low cost uniform items. Wirral F.U.S.S distribute free good quality recycled uniforms.

Special Educational Needs

The majority of children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities will have their needs met by local mainstream early years providers, schools or colleges. Some children and young people, however, may require an EHC needs assessment in order for the local authority (LA) to decide whether it is necessary for it to make provision in accordance with an EHC plan.

The School Admissions Code of Practice requires children and young people with SEN to be treated fairly.

Admissions authorities:

  • Must consider applications from parents of children who have SEN but do not have an EHC plan on the basis of the school’s published admissions criteria as part of normal admissions procedures.
  • Must not refuse to admit a child who has SEN but does not have an EHC plan because they do not feel able to cater for those needs
  • Must not refuse to admit a child on the grounds that they do not have an EHC plan

Details of the provision available in each school can be found in their school’s information report. Links to local early years providers, schools and colleges can be accessed via the SENDLO Wirral website.

Children and young people with SEN have different needs and can be educated effectively in a range of mainstream or special settings. Alongside the general presumption of mainstream education, parents of children with an EHC plan and young people with such a plan have the right to seek a place at a special school, special post-16 institution or specialist college.

If you think that your child may have special educational needs, you can speak to your child’s early years provider, school or college. There is usually a teacher responsible for coordinating SEN provision (the SEN Co-ordinator or SENCO). Further details about EHC plans can be found on the SENDLO Wirral website.

In a small number of cases, we will agree to a child who has an EHC plan receiving home tuition. This is normally following a medical recommendation. This service is only considered as a final option and only if a child cannot physically get to school. We believe that, wherever possible, a child should be educated in a school environment.

Transport to special schools and classes

Consideration for transport support is provided to children and young people who are resident on Wirral who have complex special educational needs, a disability or mobility problem as identified through the Special Educational Needs (SEN) assessment process (SEND).

Not all children with a statement of Special Educational Needs or EHCP require free transport provision. Where a young person is able to access and use the public transport network safely they will be expected to do so. Where they are unable to walk because of their SEN, a disability or mobility problem they are entitled to free transport.

Eligibility for transport is subject to an initial application which will be assessed in accordance with the councils home to school transport policy.

Following the assessment process parents will be notified of the decision regarding transport provision. Eligibility to provision will be assessed annually. The decision to provide transport is based on the student’s needs. This means that Wirral Council is not able to take the following into account when considering home to school transport entitlement:

  • Parents’ work or other commitments
  • Attendance by siblings at other schools
  • If a parent chooses to send their child to a provider that is not the nearest appropriate provider to the home address
  • A journey from one educational establishment to another
  • Ad hoc visits to other schools, colleges or other establishments
  • Out of hours clubs (breakfast club, after school activities)
  • To/from dental, clinical, medical or hospital appointments
  • At a different time due to detention or exclusion

In these instances, transport arrangements will be the sole responsibility of the student’s parent or carer. Parents sometimes raise issues regarding accompaniment as part of an appeal and these will then be considered on an individual basis.

If young people are assessed as eligible for free transport the type of transport provided will be based on individual assessment of young people’s needs and with regard to the best use of the council’s resources. This may be in the form of a free pass for use on public transport or transport in a contracted vehicle.

For students travelling in contracted vehicles there is no specific duty on the council to provide passenger assistants. However, a passenger assistant may be provided to accompany a young person with significant needs arising from a medical condition or a disability and where there is an exceptional need for care or supervision.

The decision on whether to provide a passenger assistant will be made as part of the eligibility assessment taking a number of factors into account. Such factors may include information relating, but not limited, to:

  • Medical issues
  • Health and safety related issues, including risk to self or others
  • The young person’s mobility
  • Any challenging behaviour arising from the young person’s SEN
  • Where a passenger has severe learning or physical difficulties, the need for continual care and supervision
  • Age and capability
  • Length of journey
  • The vehicle type and size

Transport is allocated on an annual basis and parents and carers will be involved in a discussion regarding the ongoing suitability of the existing transport arrangements during the review of the young person’s statement of educational needs or EHCP.

In cases of students with high risk medical needs (who require additional funding from a number of organisations) decisions regarding transport will be informed by health, education and social care practitioners. If a child is eligible for transport, health professionals will provide recommendations based on the child’s specific needs during transport to ensure safety. This will be reviewed appropriately in order to provide a responsive service.

Special Education Support Services (SESS)

This service is made up of teams of the following:

  • Educational psychologists
  • Medical/physical needs team
  • Social and communication and interaction difficulties team
  • Sensory Inclusion Service
  • Portage and Early Years Intervention Team

The service offers assessment, advice and support for pupils who have or may have special educational needs to enable schools to maintain placement of a child who has SEN but does not have an EHC plan.

Members of the service offer advice about a pupil’s educational needs to headteachers, class teachers, parents and other professional colleagues who may be involved.

You can get further information from the heads of the above teams by contacting:
Phone: 0151 666 4377

Wirral SEND Partnership

The SEND Partnership Service is delivered by WIRED, a charitable organisation which is independent of the local authority and which gives neutral independent advice and support to parents whose children have special educational needs and/or disabilities. The service is flexible and aims to work in a flexible manner, parents can self refer.

They may be able to help you if:

  • You think your child needs extra help at school
  • Your child is at risk of exclusion due to his/her behaviour
  • She/he has a Statement of Special Educational Needs or EHCP
  • You would like your child’s needs to be formally assessed
  • You are attending a school meeting
  • You need help with understanding or completing paperwork

You can get further information from:
Wirral SEND Partnership

Special schools and resourced provision

Moderate learning difficulties

Complex learning difficulties

Social, emotional and mental health

Physical and mental health

  • Wirral Hospitals School, Joseph Paxton Campus
    (By Referral Only)
    Phone: 0151 488 7680
    Age Range: 11 to 16

Autism Spectrum Disorder

For further details and information about places available at the above schools contact the SEN Team.

Wirral Attendance Team

Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow.

Good school attendance is an essential element to our ambition to raise standards and secure best outcomes for all children and young people. Our attendance team work in collaboration with schools and partner agencies to improve attendance levels in Wirral’s Schools and fulfil legal statutory responsibilities.

As well as its duties linked to school attendance, the Service has responsibilities in relation to Children Electively Home Educated (EHE), Traveller Children, Children Missing from Education (CME), Child Employment and children involved in performances and entertainment. This includes dealing with enquiries from the public, schools, Local Authority colleagues, and other agencies both on the telephone and in person.

Whilst we recognise that regular school attendance is a parents responsibility; in cases where poor school attendance and punctuality is a safeguarding matter and where all offers of early help and targeted support are not able to ensure a child attends school regularly, it may be necessary for school to work together with the Local Authority Enforcement Officer to enforce the law around school attendance.

You can get further information from:

Attendance Team
Phone: 0151 666 3433

Open Days and Evenings

Please contact schools direct for more information.

The school curriculum

All pupils under 16 in Wirral maintained secondary schools (but not Academies) must study the National Curriculum as part of the wider curriculum decided by individual schools.

Academy schools must follow the National Curriculum for English, maths and science, but are not obliged to include any of the other core curriculum subjects. In practice, however, there are generally only small variations between what is taught in an Academy and any other maintained school.

The National Curriculum covers the following subject areas for pupils aged 11 to 14 (Key Stage 3):

  • English
  • Maths
  • Design and Technology
  • Science
  • Music
  • Modern Foreign Language
  • Geography
  • Art and Design
  • History
  • Physical Education
  • Citizenship
  • ICT

Pupils can also study extra subjects from the options available in each school. Individual schools may organise their teaching in different ways, and headteachers will be happy to discuss their own school’s approach with you.


The National Curriculum for 14 to 16 year old pupils
includes the following subjects (Key Stage 4):

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Physical Education
  • ICT
  • Citizenship

Pupils are assessed at ages 14 and 16, and you can see reports on progress within the subject areas following these assessments.


More about the National Curriculum

You can get further details about the National Curriculum from the government's website.

Religious education

All pupils study religious education unless parents ask for them to be withdrawn from lessons. Religious education in Wirral is taught in community, foundation and trust schools according to an agreed syllabus. This syllabus is produced by the Wirral Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education. You can get a copy from schools or direct from us. Religious education at voluntary aided schools and academies is the responsibility of the governing body and will be taught according to the school’s trust deed.

Sex and relationship education

All pupils are entitled to receive sex and relationship education as part of the National Curriculum, unless parents ask for them to be withdrawn from lessons. Secondary schools must provide sex and relationship education. It must include teaching about AIDS, HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections, and be given in a way which encourages pupils to consider moral issues and the value of family life. The detailed content and nature of sex education is for school governing bodies to decide. Parents may request a copy of the school’s sex and relationship policy and may choose to withdraw their children from all or part of sex education.

Physical Education

Physical Education is taught to all pupils in Key Stages 3 and 4. A varied programme of Physical Education is offered.

From Year 10 onwards pupils, can extend their interest in Physical Education by studying for GCSE, A Level and Junior Sports Leadership Awards.

Pupils also have the chance to get involved in Health Related Exercise programmes, reflecting a more personalised attitude to Physical Education.

The reputation of school sport in Wirral continues to be of a high standard. All pupils – whatever their age, gender or ability – are encouraged to make the best use of their talents and interests to join after-school clubs.

Careers education

All secondary schools must provide a programme of careers education, and an appropriate range of careers information and guidance, for pupils during Years 7 to 11. They must also give pupils at key decision-making points during their education access to careers officers. The DfE website provides statutory guidance on careers education and information in schools.

For more details, contact the school directly.

Health Services in Schools

Health Services in Schools provide a range of services coordinated by the school nursing service, funded by NHS Wirral and hosted by Wirral secondary schools following consultation with governing bodies, parent groups and pupils.

Each participating school has a weekly open access drop-in clinic, staffed by a professional team of nurses and youth workers. Pupils are able to speak privately about any issue relating to their health and well-being and are encouraged at all times to tell parents and carers of their visit and involve them in their concerns.

Pupils will also be advised that confidentiality cannot be maintained if their safety could be affected. For more information:

Health Promotion Strategy Manager, NHS Wirral
Phone: 0151 651 0011


Learning to play a musical instrument is a journey of discovery, joy, challenge and fulfilment. Edsential provides music tuition in many primary, secondary and special schools. If your child is not able to receive tuition in school, then Edsential can offer tuition in Music Centres at Woodchurch or Wallasey in the evenings or on Saturday mornings. The Wirral Centre for Young Musicians takes place on Saturday mornings and provide string, orchestral, wind and brass groups as well as theory and aural tuition for children of all abilities. More advanced students may audition to become members of senior ensembles, including orchestra, brass band, big band and concert band. These groups regularly tour abroad and are involved with regional and national festivals of music.

Charges may be made for lessons and other activities. Financial support is usually available for children in receipt of pupil premium. Please enquire at your school or directly with Edsential for further details about financial support for music tuition and the remissions policy. Instruments may be hired or purchased from Edsential. You can get further details about tuition, music centres and ensembles from:

Edsential Music Service
Phone: 0151 541 2170 ext: 2011

Equal opportunities

We believe that all people are equal, whatever their race, sex, sexual orientation, pregnant or new parent, disability, religion or belief, transgender status, marital status or age. We do our best to make sure that the services we provide, and how we employ people, do not discriminate against anyone. We encourage positive action to overcome the effects of past discrimination and remove barriers to equal access. However, we do respect the right of governing bodies of voluntary aided schools to recruit staff of a particular religion in line with the school’s beliefs, and to give priority in admissions to children from that religion.

Glossary of terms


An Academy is a publicly funded independent school. Staff are employed by the Academy Trust, and the Trust or governing body are responsible for the admission arrangements.

Admissions authority

The body that decides the order that children should be considered for places at the school. In the case of community and voluntary controlled schools it is the Local Authority; in the case of academies, foundation trusts and voluntary-aided schools, it is the governing body.

Admissions criteria

When a school has more applications than places, applications are matched against a list of criteria and ranked accordingly. These criteria are agreed by the Local Authority for community schools and by the governing body for all other kinds of schools.

Admission number

This is the maximum number of pupils that a school is required to admit into each year group. The number is agreed as part of a school’s admission arrangements and is determined with regard to a Net Capacity Assessment (calculated on a formula from the DfE) based on the space available and use of resources. All schools must offer places up to the admission number if there is sufficient demand.

Community School

A school which the Local Authority maintains from public funds. The headteacher and governing body manage the school in collaboration with the Local Authority. Staff are employed by the Local Authority, and the Local Authority is responsible for the admission arrangements.

DfE (Department for Education)

The Government department with national responsibility for children’s services, families, schools and 14–19 education.


Relating to a particular religion.

EHCP (EHC plan)

Education, Health and Care Plans are personalised plans for children and young people with special educational needs that cover from birth to age 25.

They aim to ensure that all the support the young person needs from education, health and social care professionals is agreed in one place.

EHC plans replaced statements and learning disability assessments in September 2014. Children and young people who previously had one of these were moved over to an EHC Plan.

Foundation School

A foundation school is maintained by the Local Authority from public funds. The governing body employ the staff directly and own the buildings and grounds. The governors are responsible for the admission arrangements.

Maintained School

Any school funded by the local authority. This includes community schools, voluntary aided schools (usually “church” schools), voluntary controlled schools (usually “church” schools), foundation schools and Trust schools.

Trust School

A trust school is a foundation school with an additional foundation, or Trust. Trust partner(s) can appoint governors to the governing body in order to contribute their experience and ethos to the school and help raise standards in the long term. The governing body is responsible for the admission arrangements.

Voluntary Aided School

Voluntary aided schools are maintained by the Local Authority from public funds. The governing body employ the staff directly. The buildings and grounds are usually owned by a religious organisation. The governors of voluntary aided schools are responsible for their own admission arrangements.

14 to 19 schools

There are currently no 14 to 19 schools in Wirral, however there are two in Liverpool and one in Chester. The three schools are listed below along with a link to their websites, where you will also find information about the admission application process and the admission criteria.

University Technical Colleges

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are set up by universities and businesses and specialise in one or two technical subjects. At GCSE they offer a similar curriculum to a typical secondary school, including basics of English and Maths as well as their specialist subject.

Studio Schools

Studio schools are similar to UTCs in that they have employer involvement in the curriculum and focus on developing the skills needed for employment, involving personal coaching and work experience, alongside a similar curriculum to a typical secondary school.

Information about numbers on roll and admission numbers has been provided by the individual schools and will be subject to change. Enquiries should be addressed directly to the school.

If you do decide that you would like to apply for a place at any of these schools, you will need to submit an application directly to the school (see websites for details).