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Frequently Asked Questions for City of Edinburgh Schools

The City of Edinburgh Council publishing the following replies to the most frequent questions parents ask regarding placing and starting primary schools in the city.

What are the maximum class sizes? The maximum class sizes for different year groups are: 

  • P1 – 25

  • P2 and P3 – 30

  • P4 to P7 – 33

  • Composite classes – 25

What is a team teaching class? If we cannot accommodate all P1 pupils through class sizes of 25 or composite classes, we will look at team teaching arrangements, where two teachers will teach a larger class. For team teaching we aim to go with class intakes based on 30 to allow us to reorganise back to classes of 30 for P2.

For example we may take in one class of 30 with two teachers or a class of 25 (one teacher) and one of 35 (two team teachers), allowing to reorganise back to one or two classes of 30 at P2

What is a composite class? A composite class has pupils from two year stages, for example P1 and P2. In Edinburgh we will only create a composite class where there is a minimum of five pupils in one year (e.g. 5 P1 and 20 P2). Head Teachers are responsible for allocating pupils to composite classes and unless there are special individual circumstances the oldest pupils from the lower year group will be placed in a composite class with the younger pupils from the higher year group. In recent years we have seen an increase in the number of composite classes as school rolls have increased.

What is the impact of rising rolls on individual school? The impact of rising rolls varies from school to school but it is likely that many schools will have a higher number of catchment pupils this year meaning this will result in less, if any, places available in some schools for placing requests.

Am I guaranteed a place in either of my catchment schools? You have a choice of two catchment schools, an RC school or non-denominational. If there are too many catchment applications for places in an RC school, priority will be given to baptised Catholics. No RC pupils will then be prioritised on distance from the school with other children being allocated places in their non-RC catchment school

My placing request for my older child was successful; will my younger child get a place this year? If places are available after all catchment pupils, and in some cases, children with exceptional circumstances are placed, and then priority will be given to siblings. If there are several families with siblings, they will be prioritised on distance from the school.


My child attends the nursery class in the primary school I’d like him/her to attend. Are they guaranteed a place? You will only be guaranteed a place in the primary school if you live in the catchment area. If you live outside the catchment area you will need to make a placing request and you will only receive a place if one is available. (see question about priority order for placing requests)

How do you decide the priority order for placing requests? If there are more placing requests made for a school than there are places available, places are normally prioritised in the following order:

  •  Exceptional circumstances

  •  Siblings living in the City of Edinburgh Council area

  •  Siblings living outside the City of Edinburgh area

  •  Children without siblings living in the City of Edinburgh Council area

  •  Children without siblings living outside the City of Edinburgh area

Where there are more children in one category, they will be placed on the waiting list based on the distance from the school.

Do you reserve places for families moving in to the catchment area after the end of February? We aim to provide places for P1 and S1 pupils at their catchment school if they are living in the catchment area by the end of February. Where possible, we will try to reserve a place in each class (two in a team teaching class) for families moving in to the area after the end of February. In some instances where we are aware of a new housing development that is likely to generate additional pupils between February and August we will be reserving extra places if available. If catchment numbers are high we may not be able to reserve any places, although families moving in to an area will be given a higher priority than non catchment children on the waiting list.

If reserved places are not used by August they will continue to be reserved during the school year for families moving into the area rather than being given up for placing requests. Spaces may also be reserved at other year groups as it likely families could move into the area during the school year.


You can find this information and more on the Edinburgh Council Website. Here


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