There are two types of school in the English school system – state schools and private schools. depending on the type of schools you are applying for there are different procedures that need to be followed. Before applying, you can always find out more about a school by attending their open days, reading the school’s Ofsted reports, checking the school league tables or by talking to other parents about the school.

State Schools

In England and Wales ‘state schools’ are government funded schools that provide free education to their students. All children in England aged between 5 and 16 are granted a free place to attend at a state school.

Within the state school category, there are several types of school; some of which are open to all, some which are academically selective such as grammar schools and others which are open to members of certain religions (faith schools). Some schools are maintained by the local authority and others are run autonomously. These are known as academies and are a relatively recent addition to the UK education landscape. 

When applying for a state school, you should contact your local council or visit their website for admission information including admission criteria, opening and closing dates of application, etc... Application generally opens at the beginning of autumn term a year before your child is due to start school.

You will have to submit an application form either online or on paper, and list at least three schools in the order of your preference. There are chances that you will receive an offer not from your preference list, if you are unhappy about the decision the authority has made, you can appeal against it.

Private Schools

Private schools in the UK (also known as independent schools) are schools that are not funded by the government and they charge fees to educate their students. All private schools must be registered with the government and they are inspected by various associations regularly. 

Unlike state schools, the majority of the private schools are academically selective and it is common to attend an interview as part of the assessment process. Many offer limited scholarships to gifted children. You should contact the school for details regarding their admission process, since it is generally the norm to register for a private school in advance of school age.