Schools and coronavirus

Schools, childcare and other educational provisions are closed to everyone following the outbreak of coronavirus, except for:

Children of key (critical) workers

- Vulnerable children - this includes children with a social worker, an EHCP and those with safeguarding concerns


These schools will remain open for these children. They will be prioritised for early years and education provision. We are working with schools to provide support at this time, including for families who rely on free school meals for their children.

Community nursery and primary schools admissions 2021/22

The equal chance system

Tower Hamlets Council seeks to operate an admissions system that provides equal and fair opportunities to all applicants. This includes having due regard to children living in areas where there are limited options in applying for a school place.

Catchment areas and oversubscription criteria

A school catchment area is a geographically defined boundary used to help provide children with fairer access to a local school and ensure all schools in an area have an equal share of children.  A child living in the schools catchment area will, therefore, be given priority over a child living outside the school's catchment area.

There are six school catchment areas for admission to Tower Hamlets community schools and each catchment area has a number of schools that you can choose from. You can see a more detailed map of primary and nursery school catchment areas here. We also have an interactive map of Tower Hamlets schools.

new catchment area

What happens if a school is oversubscribed with applications from within its catchment area?

If a school receives more applications than places available and more than one child has an
equal claim under any of the main admission criteria (i.e. catchment area), the Council must
then decide who gets priority. This is called a ‘tie break’.

In the event of a tie break, priority will be given to children for whom the school is their nearest within the catchment area; and then by the shortest walking distance. It reduces the possibility of a family having to undertake an unreasonable journey to school and provides equal opportunity for families living in parts of the borough where access to a local school may otherwise be limited.

Further information

The frequently asked questions (FAQs) page explains the admission system,  including catchment areas for community nursery and primary schools.

See our main schools page for detailed arrangements for nursery, primary and secondary schools.

If you would like more information please contact the Pupil Services Team.