Choosing schools

If you live in England contact your local council to find:

  • state-funded schools in your area
  • admission criteria for the schools you’re interested in

The process is different if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

You can also contact your local council to apply for places at state schools in other areas. You can search online to find schools in England.

Private schools or home schooling

If you’re looking for a place at a private school (also called ‘independent schools’), contact the school directly.

You can also choose to teach your child at home, known as home schooling.

Children with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan

If your child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, it may name a school for them. A school named in the EHC plan must give your child a place.

Find out about a primary or secondary school

You can find out more by:

  • visiting the school - most schools have open days
  • reading the school’s most recent Ofsted reports
  • checking school performance tables
  • talking to other parents about what they think of the school

What schools must publish on their website

Schools’ websites must include:

  • admission arrangements, including how to apply
  • details of the curriculum
  • behaviour policy
  • links to Ofsted reports
  • links to performance data
  • the school’s latest key stage 2 and 4 attainment and progress measures
  • their special educational needs (SEN) information report, which includes information about their policies for children or young people with special educational needs and disabilities
  • the amount of money they get for taking underprivileged children (the ‘pupil premium’), what they do with it and the effect it’s had

You can also get advice about choosing state-funded schools from your local council.

  1. Step 1 Find out if you can get help with childcare costs

  2. and Find where you can get childcare

  3. Step 2 Get help paying for childcare

    You can get help with childcare costs for children under 18. You might be able to apply for:

    You could also get free childcare when your child is aged 9 months to 4 years. You might be able to apply for:

    You can only get childcare vouchers if you have already joined a scheme.

    1. Check the rules for childcare vouchers
  4. Step 3 Check what to do if your circumstances change

    Tell government straight away if your circumstances change and you're getting:

    If you're getting free childcare if you're working or Tax-Free Childcare you have to confirm if your details are up to date every 3 months.

    1. Sign into your childcare account to find out when you next have to check your details

    Your eligibility for support with childcare costs might also change.

    1. Check if your eligibility for help with childcare costs has changed
  5. Step 4 Check what to do when your child reaches school age

    1. Apply for a primary school place
    2. Find before and after school and holiday clubs

    You might be able to use help like tax credits or Tax-Free Childcare to pay for childcare like wraparound care, after school clubs or other activities.