How to apply for state schools in London
We always get many questions from parents about the timing and formalities to enrol their children in the London public/state primary schools system.
The key to a successful application is to apply in time and to the right Borough – read below for more details.
This guide assumes you already know which school(s) you want to apply to. If that’s not the case, read:
- The top state schools in London
- The 5 steps to finding a state school in London
- Understanding state school catchment areas in the UK
To help you organize your school registrations calendar, you will find below a reminder of the fundamentals of the state schools applications in London:
1. Get a UK Address
- You will need to have an address in the catchment area of the school(s) you are planning to apply for. The address can be outside of the school’s Borough, as long as it is close enough to the school.
2. Apply with the Borough
- The application must made with the Borough of the school and not directly with the school – although some exceptions can apply, such as for some religious schools.
- You can apply for several schools at the same time.
3. In-Year applications
Apart from registrations for Reception (4-5 years) and Year 7, applications are not conditioned by any deadlines.
Any application made throughout the school year is called “in-year application”.
- You must complete an “In-Year Application” form with the Borough.
- For a September start, it is ideal to apply early July / end of June, except for the deadlines mentioned below.
4. Reception class deadline
For the Reception classes (children between 4 and 5 years old), the deadline is January 15th preceding the September school year you are applying for.
- After this date, applications are still possible, but the borough will allocate places according to the remaining availabilities (generally in the less oversubscribed schools).
5. Year 7 class deadline
For the Year 7 classes (fist year of secondary education), the deadline is October preceding the September school year you are applying for.
- After this date, applications are still possible, but the Borough will allocate places according to the remaining availabilities (generally in the less oversubscribed schools).
If you are thinking of applying in advance, meaning before your move to London, check out this article on applying for state schools in advance.
If you want to know when you can expect a response once you have applied, check how quickly schools respond to applications.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated in 2022 for comprehensiveness.