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How to apply for a private school

Applying for private schools in London is very different from applying for state schools:

  1. You can apply before you are in the UK, months or sometimes even years in advance.
  2. You do not have to live in the vicinity of the school to apply or to have a chance of getting a place.

Here are some useful things to know about private schools in London and applying for them:

  • All private schools decide on their own admission criteria – they are totally independent in this matter.
  • Some schools require pupils to take an entrance exam.
  • Some schools might invite the family for an interview.
  • Some schools operate a first-come, first-served system and may have a long waiting list.
  • Some schools require parents to register their child before an application is made – this doesn’t guarantee a place.
  • A non-refundable application fee is often requested, to cover administration costs.

Here is how applications work for private schools in London:

  1. Visit the website of each school, they will have all the information you need to understand how to apply for each school, including the fees due for each application.
  2. Feel free to contact the admissions team of each school for any question – they are very happy to answer any question you might have, including the availability of places.
  3. Fill out the forms, include the required documents, and pay the application fees (usually one set of fees per child application). This can be done online in most cases.
  4. If tests or interviews are required for your children, the school will contact you to organise these.

Application fees

Whilst there is no limit to the number of private schools you can apply for, each school will require application fees to be paid – these fees are not refunded if the school cannot offer a place to your child, or if you decide not to take the place.

Application fees range from £100 to £400 per application. These fees are set by each school indenependently.

Applications deadlines

  • There are no general application deadlines for private schools
  • Schools will decide independently if they want to set application deadlines, sometimes for specific school years (in particular for Year 7, the first year of secondary school).
  • Many shools do not operate with application deadlines, meaning you can always try to apply, even if a place is never guaranteed.

How many schools can you apply for?

There is no limit to how many private schools you can apply for. The things to keep in mind are:

  • The application fees: you will be paying an applciation fee for each school you apply for
  • The exam and test process: many schools require tests and interviews to be taken by the applying child.
  • This can be a time-consuming and draining exercise for your child if applying for multiple schools, as each school will have its own set of tests and interviews.
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