What local authorities, maintained schools and academies need to know about foreign nationals applying to attend a state-funded school.
In most cases, children arriving from overseas have the right to attend state-funded schools in England.
When you deal with an application for a child who is not a UK national, you must comply with the school admissions code. You must not refuse a school place simply because of doubts about the child’s immigration status.
The following children are not entitled to a state education:
- children from non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries who are here as short-term visitors - these are children who live abroad but have been admitted to the UK for a short visit (for example as tourists or to visit relatives), and not to study
- children from non-EEA countries who have permission to study in the UK - these children are allowed to study in England on the basis that they attend an independent, fee-paying school
If you find that children belonging to either of these categories are attending a state-funded school, you must not deny them a place. Instead, you should alert the Home Office’s school referrals team so they can investigate further.
Home Office school referrals team
It is up to you to decide whether or not you let the child’s parents or carers know that you have contacted the Home Office.
The Home Office will aim to respond to you within 48 hours.
If the Home Office finds that the child is not entitled to state-funded education, it will be up to them to take any further action they consider appropriate. You should not deny the child a place on the basis of the Home Office’s findings.
If you are concerned about the safety of children from overseas who are in private fostering arrangements, read the ‘Keeping children safe in education’ statutory guidance.