Parents of Year Six pupils living in Derbyshire can now apply to the county council for their child's secondary school place for September 2021.
Around 9,000 year six primary school children – who were born between 1 September 2009 and 31 August 2010 – have been sent information about the application process.
The deadline to submit applications is midnight on Saturday 31 October 2020.
Parents are being encouraged to apply online to help the council's school admissions team by heading to www.derbyshire.gov.uk/admissions.
An online application also allows parents to make changes to their preferences or amend any other details if necessary at any point up to the closing date. Anyone who applies online will receive an email to assure them their application has been received.
When completing the application form, parents are asked to list, in order of preference, up to three schools they would most like their child to attend and should consider including their child's 'normal area' school as one of their preferences.
The county council say that parents who don't include their child's normal area school could – if that school then becomes full – may find themselves being offered a place at a school further away and be liable for any costs associated with home to school transport.
The authority adds that although parents have a legal right to express preferences, they have no automatic right to a place at any particular school.
Cllr Alex Dale, Cabinet Member for Young People, said: "As the new school term just begins, it’s time for parents with children in Year Six to apply for their child’s secondary school place for September 2021.
"It’s really quick and easy to apply – especially if parents do it online and we have a dedicated team on hand to help parents with the application process if they need it."
Applications submitted to the council after the deadline will not be considered until places have been allocated to those children whose parents did return their form on time.
Parents who fail to meet the deadline are more likely to find that the school they want their child to go to is full.
Cllr Dale added: "We know picking the right school is a big decision so we’re asking parents to take their time and send in their application before the deadline to avoid disappointment.
"Parents are less likely to get a place at their preferred school if they miss the deadline and it could mean their child may have to travel further to an alternative school or not get into the same school as their friends."
Any parents who are refused a place for their child have a right of appeal to an independent panel.
Parents who do not have access to the internet can Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190.