When can you apply for school?

If you are moving to the UK with school age children, did you know you can make school applications whilst still abroad?

Each admission authority will have its own set of guidelines however the Department of Education advises authorities should consider all in-year applications and not refuse an application simply because a parent or child currently lives in another country”, unless the school is full, for example because it has reached its published admission numbers.

Do you know where you will be moving to yet?

Have you decided on an area and done your research on local schools?

Be prepared to apply for schools either as soon as you arrive or depending on your council or school’s policy you may be able to apply upto four weeks ahead of your arrival if you have rented or purchased a home in the area.

Note that, in addition to the Government’s recommendations, each local authority and school will have it’s own guidance and policy for admissions as part of normal intake or in year admissions. When looking for homes and schools, check catchment areas and school admission criterias to shortlist your preferences. Being flexible with where you live and which school is important as popular schools will usually be oversubscribed and have a long waiting list.

In-Year Applications:

One council that accepts in-year applications up to four weeks before a child’s expected arrival date is Surrey County Council, as long as you can provide evidence of

  1. your planned move to the United Kingdom and
  2. residential ties in Surrey – for example a tenancy agreement or ownership of a home.

Normal intake

For children entering the first year of primary school (reception year) or secondary school (year 7) applications must be received by January 15th for primary and October 31st for secondary schools, so for 2021 you will have missed the allocation deadline. If your children are planning to start primary or secondary school in 2022, Surrey’s current policy according to its website states that applications for normal intake can be accepted where children are not currently in the United Kingdom but parent(s) are able to provide evidence of their planned move and confirm:

  • They are planning to arrive in the United Kingdom in time for the start of the academic year; and able to show that your child will be living in Surrey when they are due to start school. However, it should be noted that whilst your application may be accepted, the allocation of a school place will still be based on your address overseas until your child arrives in the UK. Where no residential link to Surrey is provided, applications will not be accepted until your child arrives in Surrey. If your child arrives in Surrey after the start of the academic year, you should apply for in-year admission. What is “evidence of your planned move”?
    Examples of satisfactory evidence of your intention to move to the UK include, but not limited to:
  • A written statement from parent(s) stating their intention to enter the United Kingdom, giving their reasons and an expected date
  • Termination of a work contract from abroad
  • Sale of a property or notice to terminate a rental property
  • Copy of work contract within the United Kingdom
  • Confirmation of study arrangements within the United Kingdom
  • Confirmation of travel arrangements to the United Kingdom Examples of evidence of an established residential link in Surrey:
  • If you own a property in Surrey, notice to existing tenants to terminate their tenancy so you can move into the property.
  • Completion of purchase of a property in Surrey
  • Confirmation of an exchange on a property in Surrey along with a confirmed completion date
  • Tenancy agreement for a property you are renting in Surrey

If an offer for a school place is received it will be on the condition that your child will start school from the day of their arrival or on the first day of the following half term if you arrive during the school holidays. If you do not attend when expected schools may have the right to withdraw the offer.

Information provided is for reference only and is not given as advice. For more information regarding school admissions visit:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/schools-admissions-applications-from-overseas-children#processin g-applications-from-parents-moving-to-england