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Secondary school admissions now open

Published: 15 September 2021

secondary school application

Choosing the right school for your child

Secondary school admissions opened on 1 September. If you're a parent or carer with a child reaching age 11 between 1 September 2021 and 31 August 2022, you have until 31 October 2021 to apply for their 2022 school place.

If you miss the deadline you will reduce the chances of getting one of your preferred schools for your child, so we recommend applying by 22 October, the Friday before the half term holiday.

But firstly, what is the school admissions process and how can you be sure you're choosing the right school for your child?

How to apply

The online admissions system is quick, easy to use and available all day, every day and you'll receive the outcome of your application by email. But before you apply, take a look below to discover the full admissions process step-by-step.

  1. Research and choose schools
  2. Complete the application form
  3. Complete any supplementary forms
  4. Applications are assessed
  5. You child is offered a place
  6. You accept or decline the place

You can find more information on each step, how to apply and what to do if you don't get a place at your preferred secondary school, on our secondary applications web page.

The first step is a crucial part of the process, so we've provided our top tips for researching schools below.

Top tips for researching secondary schools

Choosing a secondary school to apply for is a big decision, and it's important to find the right one for your child. Researching schools is an important first step in the admissions process, so we've created a list of key things you should think about when exploring your options.

What is the school's admissions criteria?

Admissions criteria will vary from school to school. You can check the admission criteria for secondary schools in our booklet which can be found on the school admissions booklet web page or on the school's own website. Consider how these may affect your chances of being offered a place.

Many schools base their admission criteria on the distance between your home and the school, and priority is usually given to siblings, so do a bit of research first to find out what your options really are. You'll find an admission policy on most school websites.

Where is the school and how will your child get there?

You can find schools in your area via our directory of Surrey schools web page and you can check a school's approximate distance to your home on our school map.

It's important to think about how your child will be getting to school and it's also worth checking if you'll be eligible for free home to school transport. To check eligibility, visit our schools transport web page.

What are their policies and achievements?

You can find basic information on each school including contact details, links to the school's website and Ofsted results, as well as admissions and appeals information on our directory of Surrey schools web page.

You can also find details of their policies, achievements, and exam results by visiting the school's own website or by reading their brochure. You'll find a brochure on most schools' websites. This will give you an idea of which subjects the school specialises in so you can consider whether these match your child's interests and talents.

Have you been to an open evening?

We highly recommend visiting all the schools that you are considering applying for. You can find details of open evening dates in our schools booklet or on the school's own website. Some of these are held in September so check the dates as soon as possible.

When you're there, take a look around the facilities, go to the headteacher's presentation, chat with the student tour guides and talk to the teachers. Take your child along with you so you can gauge their reaction to the school. After all, it's all about finding the right fit for your child.

It's important to remember that not all schools will suit all children, so have a good think about the kind of environment your child will be happy and thrive in.

Primary School admissions – coming soon

Parents with children starting primary school in September 2022 can start applying for a school place from 1 November 2021 and have until 15 January 2022 to complete their applications.

Look out for our article coming soon on primary, infant and junior school admissions.

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