How Do I Apply to a UK State School?

Applying to a UK state school for 2024? rounds up the key dates you need to know as part of the admissions process.
How Do I Apply to a UK State School?
By Carli Allan
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Are you looking to enrol your child into an state primary or secondary school in the UK for September 2024? rounds up all the key dates you need to know as part of the admissions process.

When should I apply for a school place for a UK state school?

If your child is due to start school in September 2024, you’ll need to submit your application for a primary school place by January 15 2024 and for a secondary school place by October 31, 2023.

All parents applying to a state school in England need to apply through their local authority to apply for places at their chosen primary schools. You can find your local authority by entering your postcode here.

By the time applications close for primary school, your child must be three years old or have just turned four years old. School places are allocated in line with published admissions criteria on your local education authority’s website.

How do I complete the application?

You can complete the application form online or on paper. You’ll be asked to list the schools you’re applying for in order of preference.

Admission criteria can vary by local authority and by school, but priority is typically given to children:

  • who live close to the school/in the school catchment area
  • who have a sibling at the school already
  • from a particular religion (for faith schools)
  • who pass an entrance exam (for grammar schools)
  • who went to a particular primary or ‘feeder' school

How do I apply for a UK school place if I am living overseas?

If you’re applying from another country, contact the local council in the area where you’re going to live.

You may need to supply:

  • proof of your new address, such as a mortgage or rental agreement, to show that you are living in the school's catchment area.
  • proof that you’ll be living in the area before the start of the next school term.

When will I find out if my child has been accepted at a UK state school?

You will be notified of your child's school place by post or by email on National Offer Day, which is April 16 2024 for primary schools and March 1 2024 for secondary schools. Any applications that arrive late will be considered after those which were submitted by the deadline.

Read more: Here’s what to expect on the day – and what to do if you don’t get your first choice.

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