Starting and attending school

Apply for a primary or secondary school place, help with costs, dealing with problems, home schooling, term and holiday dates.


  1. School term and holiday dates

    Find your child's school term, half term and holiday dates on your local council's website

  2. Find and compare schools in England

    Check school performance tables (‘league tables’), Ofsted reports and financial information.

  3. Apply for free school meals

    Check if your child can get free school meals - and find out how to apply on your local authority’s website

  1. Get help with school uniform costs

    Get financial help from your local council or your child's school to pay for school uniform and games kit.

  2. Apply for a primary school place

    Apply for a state primary school place through your local council

See all services

Guidance and regulation

  1. The national curriculum

    The English national curriculum means children in different schools (at primary and secondary level) study the same subjects to similar standards - it's split into key stages with tests

  2. School attendance and absence

    You can be prosecuted if your child has unauthorised absence from school - truancy, help with getting your child to school, and legal action to enforce school attendance

  3. Get a replacement exam certificate

    Request a replacement exam certificate or a certified statement of results if you've lost your original - check the list of old exam boards if your board no longer exists

  1. Schools admissions

    Get a place for your child at a primary or secondary school - applications, deadlines, admission criteria, appeals and complaints

    • Guide
  2. Complain about a school or childminder

    Complain about a school or childminder - complaints process, when to complain to the Department for Education, the Education Funding Agency or Ofsted

    • Guide
See all guidance and regulation

News and communications

  1. Sarah Teather sets out overarching vision for early years services in 'Nursery World'

    • Department for Education
    • Authored article
  2. Elizabeth Truss speech to the Daycare Trust conference

    • Department for Education
    • Speech
  3. Teather: parents should have a greater say in their children’s centre

    • Department for Education
    • Press release
  4. Sarah Teather to the Family and Parenting Institute

    • Department for Education
    • Speech
See all news and communications

Policy and engagement

  1. Home education: call for evidence and revised DfE guidance


  1. Home learning: the influence of early years providers

    • Department for Education
    • Research
See all transparency