UK Schools Application Procedure

Independent schools

Step 1: Contact the school directly for further details and an application form. Remember It is never too early to register your child for your favourite schools as UK parents register years in advance. 

Step 2: Complete the application form. Pay the registration fee. 

Step 3: The admission team will guide you through the admissions process, there might be a taster day for your child to be more familiar with the school. They will let you know what assessment papers your child is required to sit, as well as the exam arrangement. Prepare your child for the exams. 

Step 4: Sit the entrance exams and attend interview. 

Step 5: If you accept the place offered, usually you have to put down a deposit. 

State schools

Step 1: Contact your local council

You will find the state-funded schools in your area and the admission criteria, and how many places for the schools you’re interested in. Every school has an admissions limit, and this determines the number of applicants they will accept. 

The process is different if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. 

Step 2: Research

Most local authorities ask for a list of three or four schools in order of preference. For London, you can apply for up to 6 schools. There is no guarantee that your child will be offered a place at your local school; this will depend on how many applications are received for the places available. Therefore, make sure you read the admission criteria to find out if your child is likely to be offered a place, and looking at the previous years’ intakes. Church schools may give priority to applicants that demonstrate practice of the respective faith. 

Step 3: Complete the application form

You can apply for a place at a state primary school online or by using your council’s application form. You apply through your local council even if you’re applying for schools in another council area. The deadline for primary is usually in January, for secondary is usually in October. 

You should think carefully about your order of preference when you decide how to list the schools for which you are applying. This is because if your child qualifies for a place at a number of schools you will only be made one offer, to the school with the highest preference for which your child is eligible. Any offers to a lower preferred school will be automatically withdrawn to ensure each

child only receives one offer.

The admissions system automatically makes schools aware of the children who have expressed a

preference for their school. The admissions system ranks the applications for each school according to the admission criteria.

The Pan London eAdmissions

(applicable to London) 

Step 4: Being offered a place

If your child qualifies for a place at more than one school, the order of preference will be used

to determine or decide the highest preference school for which your child has met the

admissions criteria.

If you applied online, you will be sent an email with the outcome of your application. You must accept or decline your offer by deadline. 

If you are not offered a place at any of the schools you applied for, your local council will offer you a place at another school where possible. If this is not possible your child will be considered as unplaced and they will contact you to discuss your options. 

Contact the Admissions Team

For further advice you can speak to the Admissions Team of your local council (, who will be able to offer you guidance on the likelihood of your child being offered a place based on the information you provide. 

Information about independent schools can be obtained from: 

Independent Schools Council First Floor, 

27 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9BU 

T: 020 7766 7070