3. Applying

You must apply for a place at a school, even if it’s linked to your child’s current nursery or primary school.

The way you apply depends on whether you’re applying for:

You should apply in the same way if you have just moved to England or are applying from abroad.

Contact the council if you’re applying for a school place after the start of the school year (eg changing schools).

Private schools have their own admissions procedures. Apply directly if you want to send your child to a private school.

Delaying when your child starts primary school

You can ask for your child to be held back a school year if the following both apply:

  • they were born in the summer (1 April to 31 August)
  • you don’t think they’re ready to start in the September after they turn 4

They could start school in the September after their fifth birthday.

Contact the school’s admission authority to make a request. This is usually the school or local council.

When applications open

Applications open on different days in each local council area - usually at the start of the autumn term of the year before your child is due to start school.

Find out from your local council when applications open for primary or secondary schools.

Deadlines to apply

You must apply for a primary school place by 15 January.

You must apply for a secondary school place by 31 October.

How to apply

When you fill in the form (online or on paper) you’ll be asked to list the schools you’re applying for in order of preference.

You must apply for at least 3 schools.

To get a copy of the application form on paper, contact your local council.

When you’ll find out

Councils will send confirmations for:

  • primary schools on 16 April
  • secondary schools on 1 March

See your local council’s website for more information or to find out your results if you applied online.