Step 2: What you need to know before applying for in-year admission

Summary of this step

You must read the information below.


When to apply

You can apply for in-year admission up to four weeks before the place is needed. We won't usually process applications earlier than this except for:

  • Members of the Armed Services and Crown Servants who are being relocated to the area: You can apply up to four months in advance of a move.
  • Applicants who are seeking a school place for a child from the beginning of the autumn term: You can apply from the beginning of July.

Withdrawing your child from their current school

You must not withdraw your child from their current school until you have secured a place for them at another school. If we become aware of any child without a school place, we will notify our Inclusion Service.

A school cannot ask you to withdraw your child from school or withdraw your child from the school roll without your permission or without first knowing that your child has a new school place. However, if a school believes a change of school may be in your child's best interests, the head teacher can discuss with you about arranging a managed move to another school or a referral to alternative education provision.

Further information

You should read any of the information below that applies to you before continuing to the next step.

Continue to step 3: Choose schools to apply for


If you want to apply because you are not happy with your current school

We discourage unnecessarily moving children to new schools.

If your child is already at school but you feel a move would be beneficial, you must first discuss the reasons with your child's current school and try to resolve matters with them rather than seek a transfer.

If you decide to move your child, you will need to provide your reasons for wanting to change schools and list what you have done to try and resolve the issues with the current school.

When considering your application, we may contact your child's current school so they might discuss your reasons for applying for a new school and whether it might be possible for them to resolve any difficulties your child may be having. We may also liaise with other services within Surrey, including any which have been involved with your child.

Please think carefully before applying, bearing in mind that other schools may be full and the upheaval may damage your child's progress.

If you want to apply for a school outside Surrey

You must contact the relevant local authority to find out how you apply.

If you want to transfer from home education or alternative education provision

If your child is being educated at home and you would like them to attend a mainstream school in future, you will need to make an in year application for a school.

Admission of children outside their normal age group

If you would like your child to be educated outside their normal age group the admission authority for each school will consider your request according to your child's circumstances and what is in their best interests. You must state clearly why you feel admission to a different year group is in your child's best interest and provide, if you wish, evidence to support this. Parents are advised to contact the local authority at the earliest opportunity for advice. Please also see Surrey's guidance on the education of children out of their chronological year group (PDF).

Children with special educational needs or disability

We treat applications for children with disabilities or special educational needs in the same way as all other applications, unless they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan and you want them to change school, you must liaise with your child's case officer.

Looked after and previously looked after children

Children who are looked after or previously looked after by a local authority, receive top priority for a school place. Looked after and previously looked after children will be considered to be:

  • children who are in the care of a local authority or provided with accommodation by a local authority in accordance with section 22 of the Children Act 1989 at the time an application for a school is made, for example, children who are fostered or living in a children's home.
  • children who have previously been in the care of a local authority in accordance with section 22 of the Children Act 1989 and who have left that care through adoption, a child arrangement order (in accordance with section 8 of the Children Act 1989 and as amended by the Children and Families Act 2014) or special guardianship order (in accordance with section 14A of the Children Act 1989).
  • children who appear (to the local authority) to have been in state care outside of England and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted. A child will be regarded as having been in state care outside of England if they were accommodated by a public authority, a religious organisation or any other provider of care whose sole purpose is to benefit society. The parent/carer will need to provide evidence to demonstrate that the child was in state care outside of England and left that care as a result of being adopted.

If an in-year admission is needed, we will arrange a place at the school most appropriate to the child's needs, in line with our protocol for the processing of in year admissions for children in care (PDF).

Applying for children from abroad

A summary of our advice is given below. For more information please read our guidance on admission of children overseas (PDF).

Children who live abroad

If you and/or your child live abroad you may apply for an in-year school place, up to four weeks before the place is needed, but only if you can provide evidence of your child's likely return/arrival to the UK.

You must provide evidence that your child is arriving in the United Kingdom within four weeks of the application (usually a copy of your child's flight ticket).

You must also confirm, with your application, where your child will be living and when they intend to return. We will initially consider your application according to your child's address abroad and any subsequent change of address will be considered once the move has taken place.

If an offer is made on the basis of an anticipated move to the United Kingdom, it will be on the condition that the child will be available to take up the place on the date previously specified by the parent.

When making an application for a school place, it is the responsibility of the parent to ensure that their child has a right, under their visa entry conditions, to study at a school and that they will not be contravening the conditions of any visa or United Kingdom immigration law if they take up the school place. School admission authorities must not refuse to accept an application or refuse to admit a child on the basis of their nationality or immigration status, nor remove them from the school roll on this basis.

Children from abroad already living in the United Kingdom

Legally all parents living in the United Kingdom, other than for a short period of time, must make sure their children receive education. Once in the United Kingdom, most children will be provided with a school place on request. Applicants will need to provide a copy of the child's passport to confirm the date of arrival in the United Kingdom.

However, unaccompanied children of compulsory school age without right of residence in the United Kingdom whose entry has been agreed so they can receive education cannot take up places at state funded schools. It will be a condition of their entry that they take up a place at an independent or private educational establishment.

Children who are temporarily visiting the United Kingdom

Children who do not have the right of abode in the United Kingdom and who have arrived as a short term visitor, with or without their families, are not entitled to a state education and will not normally be provided with a school place.

In other cases where children do have the right of abode, a school place will normally only be provided where it is expected that the child will remain in the United Kingdom for three months or more.

In all cases it is the responsibility of the parent to ensure they are not contravening the conditions of any visa or United Kingdom immigration law if they take up a school place for their child.

Applications from members of the Armed Forces and Crown Servants

Members of the Armed Forces and Crown Servants with automatic right of entry to the UK who are able to provide evidence of their relocation may apply for a school place ahead of a move. An application can be made up to four calendar months ahead of a relocation.

For Armed Forces applications we will use the unit posting address when considering the application. For Crown Servants a United Kingdom address can only be used if there is evidence of the address the child is returning to.

There is no guarantee that a place will be available at a preferred school. Each application will be considered in line with the school's admissions criteria.

Continue to step 3: Choose schools to apply for


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