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How quickly do schools respond to applications?

Applying for schools in London is a daunting task for any parent moving from overseas. Once the application documents have been submitted, the wait starts… and the question we often get asked is: how quickly will I receive a response?

How quickly do schools respond to applications?

1. The timeframe for a response

So the general answer will be: it depends. There is no rule or regulation obliging schools or local authorities (also called Boroughs) to respond within a certain timeframe.

However we can share our general experience:

  • For state schools (for applications managed by the local authorities): anything between 2 days and 4 weeks.
  • For private schools: usually a few days.

At this stage, we would like to add that receiving a response doesn’t mean necessarily mean being offered a place. It can be an information that your child has been placed onto a waiting list.

2. Confirmation of your application being submitted

You will usually receive a confirmation email that your application has been received (for state or private), giving you at the very least the reassurance that your application has not been lost.

Since most school applications in London are made online these days, this can be in the form of an automated email.

Nevertheless, we recommend to keep it in your records, together with a copy of your application, just in case there is an issue later on (in very rare cases).

3. Following up

You are allowed to make phone calls to check on your application. And generally speaking, it never hurts to ask.

  • For state schools (for applications managed by the local authorities): depending on which authority you are calling, they might tell you nothing, or give you some information about where the application stands (including the size of waiting lists, if they are having a good day). There is no standard or rule, or obligation on their part.
  • For private schools: admission teams are always happy to answer phone calls. They tend to give more information than local authorities would for state schools, unless they are a very oversubscribed school, in which case they might keep their cards close to their chest.

Good luck!

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