You must apply for a place at a school, even if it’s linked to your child’s current nursery or primary school.

When to apply

Applications open on different days in each local council area. Find out from your local council when applications open for primary or secondary schools.

You can apply for a primary school place in the autumn term after your child turns 4. You’ll need to apply then even if you want your child to start part-way through the school year.

Applying a year later

If your child was born in the summer (1 April to 31 August) you can apply in the autumn after your child turns 5. You need to get permission from the local council or school if you want your child to start in reception year instead of year 1.

Find out when your child reaches ‘compulsory school age’.

Application deadlines

You must apply for a primary school place by 15 January.

You must apply for a secondary school place by 31 October.

How to apply

Follow your local council’s application process to:

You apply through your local council even if you’re applying for schools in another council area.

You should apply in the same way if you have just moved to England or are applying from abroad.

Contact the council to find out more information about applying for a school place after the start of the school year (for example changing schools).

Private schools have their own admissions procedures. Apply directly if you want to send your child to a private school.

Completing the application

When you fill in the form (online or on paper) you’ll be asked to list the schools you’re applying for in order of preference.

You must apply for at least 3 schools.

To get a copy of the application form on paper, contact your local council.

When you’ll find out

Councils will send confirmations for:

  • primary schools on 16 April
  • secondary schools on 1 March

If either date falls on a weekend, confirmations are sent the next working day.

See your local council’s website for more information or to find out your results if you applied online.