SECONDARY school applications are now open for the next academic year.

Oxfordshire County Council launched the admissions process today, for children starting secondary school in September 2020.

Parents of children born between September 1, 2008, and August 31, 2009, need to apply for a place for their child.

This year families have been encouraged to chose four preferences.

Applications must be submitted by midnight on Thursday, October 31, via

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Paper forms will be available from schools and County Hall, but the council has advised parents to apply online 'for efficiency and security.'

The council's admissions team had an additional challenge in the 2019 intake, due to having to run a dual application system for Oxford's new Swan School.

This was because the ESFA, a government agency, had not (at that point) signed the funding agreement - meaning there was still a chance it wouldn't open.

Pupils are due to start at the new school on Monday, and for 2020 admissions the school will be on the council's normal school list.

However, parents wanting to send their child to the new Whitelands Academy in Bicester will have a similar dilemma this year.

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According to the council's admissions page, the school - due to open in September 2020 - has also not yet had its funding deal agreed by the ESFA.

Families will have to register their interest via the academy's website by October 31, but they are also urged to complete a separate application via the council, as a back-up.