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The 5 steps to finding a state school in London 

Whether you are moving from abroad to London, or you are already in London and your children are to start school soon, finding places in London state schools can be a daunting prospect.

The main challenge with finding state schools in London is the lack of places: most state schools are unable to offer places to all the children who apply.

This results in a complex process for parents and schools alike, with schools trying to remain transparent and fair in how they allocate the few places they have, and managing waiting lists which are as secret as the Google algorithm!

A German family was telling us the other day "In Germany it is so easy, you apply to the school which is nearest to your home, and they give you a place - they have to. Period." We wish it could be that simple in London! And if you are reading this, you probably do too!

The second challenge when looking for a state school is that the schools will not tell you if they have places, or if they don't.

That means applying for state schools in London is like a shot in the dark, hoping that it will work.

The one thing that is for sure is that any child in London who is in school-age will be granted a place in a state school - the question is just which school, and there is no obligation to provide a place in a school near the home, if that school has no places available.

NB: In this guide, we are using both the "state schools" and "public schools" words - the real name in the UK is "state school", but so many other countries use "public school" that we also like to use it.

To give you a head start, you will find below the methodology that we use when helping clients find a state school in London.

Step 1 – Check when you can apply for London state schools

Here are the main rules about when a family is able to apply for a state school:

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