School places

The Council deals with enrolments and requests for places at local primary and secondary schools from parents of prospective pupils.

The number of children each school can accept is limited and the Council cannot guarantee that a place will be available for your child to attend a preferred school.

Every school is assigned a geographical area, usually referred to as the catchment area, and places within each school are normally offered to pupils who live within that area. Parents may request a place in any school they wish but priority will be given to children from the recognised catchment area.

The Scottish Government produces a publication which is a guide for parents on choosing a school and the placing request system. View the publication 'Choosing a School: A Guide for Parents' on the Scottish Government website.

School Finder

You can perform an address search using our 'Find My Nearest' tool if you aren't sure which schools are in your area. Once you've entered details for your home you will see the name of your nearest school with a link back to the school information. You can also use this tool to find out which Councillors represent you, where your nearest Council Office is and what your Council Tax band will be. 

For information on your nearest Roman Catholic school, please contact the Pupil/Parent Support Unit using the details at the bottom of this page.

Places at Primary School

The official enrolment date for children about to enter school for the first time will be advertised in the local press six months before the commencement date. Pupils may be enrolled at any time after the official enrolment date, but late applications may lose priority.

Please note that attendance at a particular nursery does not give a child the automatic right to attend that school if the child does not live in the catchment area for that school.

If a child is under the school entry age a parent may decide that they wish to send their child to primary school earlier and this is called early entry. If you think your child should start primary school at a younger age than is usual, you should contact your local school to discuss this.

Places at Secondary School

Pupils normally transfer from primary school to its associated secondary school(s) between the ages of 11 and 12. Your local primary school will be able to tell you the name of the secondary school(s) to which your child would normally transfer after the Primary 7 stage.

Transfer from primary to secondary schools will be dealt with by direct approach to parents from individual primary schools. Parents will be informed of the secondary school(s) where a place is available on a first priority basis. Details will also be provided on how to opt for an alternative school.

Your child's primary school will advise you of what school is in your catchment area and more often than not a straightforward transfer will take place. Any pupil who attends a primary school other than the one initially proposed by the Council will be offered a place at the secondary school in the area he/she lives.

Placing Requests

Parents have the right to request a place for their child in a school of their own choosing even if they live outwith the catchment area and, assuming there is space, this request will usually be granted.

You can only apply for one school for your child at a time. If you put more than one school on the placing request form, we will process the placing request for the first named school. However, if your first placing request is unsuccessful you may submit another placing request for another school.

Even if you are trying to place your child at another school, you should still enrol your child in the local school as there is no guarantee that your placing request will be successful and your local school needs to take account of your child in their numbers.

If your placing request is refused your child's name will automatically go onto a waiting list. Your child's name will remain on the waiting list until the end of the school year that you applied for. After this time you will have to submit another placing request for the new school year.

If you move out of the catchment area, your child can still remain at the school they are currently attending. However, parents/guardians must request permission for the child/children to remain there and they will be responsible for transporting the child/children to and from school.


A parent/guardian may appeal against the refusal of a placement request at a primary or secondary school for which they apply.

If you wish to challenge the Council's refusal of your placing request, you must do so in writing no later than 28 days from the date which you received the Council's letter of refusal. The Council must then set up an appeal committee to consider your request for a place in the school.

Related Information

Contact Details


Community and Commissioning

Education Services
30 Edinburgh Road

Tel: 01387 260493
Fax: 01387 260453

Contact Dumfries and Galloway Council T: 030 33 33 3000

Council Offices
English Street

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