Primary schools in Chelmsford, Brentwood and Colchester are some of the most in-demand in Essex.

Parents of children starting primary school in the next academic year, which begins in September 2022, can now apply online for their child's reception place.

The most in-demand school this year is expected to be Beehive Lane Community Primary School in Chelmsford.

The school received 70 first-place preferences last year, even though the school has a maximum intake of 30 children in reception.

St Peter's CofE in South Weald, Brentwood was 108 percent oversubscribed and takes second place.

The school received 94 first-place preferences for just 45 spaces.

Up to ten of these places are awarded to children whose parents regularly worship at St Peter's Church, South Weald.

After that, places are reserved for parents who meet worshipping criteria, but who are not in the first ten places and have other children attending the school when they apply.

Kendall CofE Primary in Colchester took third place.

Children are entitled to start primary school in the September after their fourth birthday.

Parents and carers of children born between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018 can apply for a school place in Essex online:

Applications received after the deadline on January 15 will only be considered once all on-time applications are decided.

The top 10 hardest schools to get your children into in Essex are:

  1. Beehive Lane Community Primary School, Chelmsford
  2. St Peter's CofE Primary, South Weald in Brentwood
  3. Kendall CofE Primary, Colchester
  4. Quilters Infant School, Billericay
  5. Hockley Primary School, Hockley
  6. Hamilton Primary School, Colchester
  7. Chipping Hill Primary School, Witham
  8. Lyons Hall Primary School, Braintree
  9. White Notley CEVC Primary School, White Notley
  10. Lee Chapel Primary School, Basildon

Essex County Council said late applications can reduce a child's chance of getting into their preferred school.

Councillor Tony Ball, who is responsible for education at the county council, said: "Starting school for the first time is an exciting milestone in a child's life, so it's important to get the application process right.

"It's vital parents apply on time and use their child's preferences to ensure their child gets the best possible chance of a place at a preferred school."