Parents looking for a primary school place for next year can apply now.
Applications for places in September 2013 must be made before January 15 2013.
All reception aged children are entitled to start school in the September following their fourth birthday, and parents and carers of children born between September 1 2008 and August 31 2009 inclusive must apply during this time.
An Essex County Council website allows parents to search for school details, read Ofsted reports, check admissions criteria and catchment area information before submitting their application.
County councillor Stephen Castle, responsible for education said: “Applying for the first school for your child can be daunting process. The website aims to provide you with the tools you need to make an informed application.
“Last year we were able to provide most parents with their preferred school but schools can become oversubscribed so it is very important for parents to select more than one preference and keep their options open.”
Parents are advised to use all four preferences and to include the priority admission area school as a preference.
Applications can be made online at essex.gov.uk/admissions.