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 to find out more information about applying for a school place after the start of the school year (for example changing schools).

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

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

If either date falls on a weekend, confirmations are sent the next working day.

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

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 do not think they’re ready to start in the September after they turn 4

They could start school in the September after they turn 5.

Contact the school’s admission authority to make a request. This is usually the school or 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 hours childcare when your child is aged 2 to 4. 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 30 hours free childcare 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

    Your child starts primary school the September after they turn 4.

    1. You are currently viewing: 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.