Step 1: Research and choose primary, infant or junior schools to apply for

Summary of this step

You must decide which schools you want to apply for (up to a maximum of four schools).

You should research the schools that you are interested in before you apply.

Children in Surrey can go to:

  • an infant school (between the ages of four and seven).
  • a junior school (between seven and 11).
  • a primary school (between four and 11).

When choosing a school:

  • Find schools in your area with our directory of Surrey schools or our school map.
  • Check a school's approximate distance to your home on our school map.
  • See basic details for each school including contact details, links to the school's website and Ofsted results, as well as admissions and appeals information in our directory of Surrey schools.
  • See how Ofsted inspect and report on schools using their education inspection framework (EIF)
  • Find details of their policies, achievements and exam results by visiting the school's own website or by reading their brochure.
  • If your child is leaving Year 2 of an infant school, read our advice on applying for a year 3 place.
  • Check how many places they are offering (this is known as the published admissions number or PAN) and also how many people applied and were offered a place last year in our school admissions booklets or on the school's own website. This will give you an idea of how oversubscribed the school might be.
  • Check their admission criteria (how they allocate places) in our school admissions booklets or on the school's own website. Consider how these may affect your chances of being offered a place.
  • Check if you will be eligible for travel assistance to your chosen schools. If your child is not eligible for travel assistance it will be your responsibility as a parent to get your child to and from school.
  • Visit schools that you are considering by contacting them directly to arrange a time.

Continue to step 2: Complete the application form

Further information to help you choose a school

School admission criteria

Each school has admission criteria which set out how they allocate places. You should read the criteria for your chosen schools and consider how likely it is that your child will be offered a place. Many schools put their admission criteria on their websites. Our school admissions booklets include:

  • a summary of admission criteria.
  • the number of pupils each school intends to offer a place to for the next school year (the published admission number or PAN).
  • information on how places were allocated for the previous year.
  • the furthest distance each Surrey school offered places to last year under their last offered criterion (where this was applicable). These distances are provided as a guide only. There is no guarantee that a school will offer to the same distance as in the previous year because each year it depends on the number of applications, where the applicants live and how many places are available.

School transport

Check if your child will qualify for travel assistance. Eligibility for travel assistance is not linked to the admission criteria of a school. For example, some schools give priority for a school place to children who are attending a feeder school, but this does not confer an automatic right to travel assistance. You should also not assume that existing transport will be operating or available in the future, including local and school buses. If your child is not eligible for travel assistance, you should think carefully about how your child will get to school.

Applying for a Year 3 place (a junior place)

If your child is leaving Year 2 of an infant school in July 2024 you will need to apply for a Year 3 place at a junior school or an all through primary school that has a junior intake. You can only name schools which have an intake at Year 3 on your application form. These schools are listed separately in our school admissions booklets.

If you want to apply for a junior place at a primary school that does not have an intake at Year 3, you will need to apply for an in-year school place for that school and indicate your preferred start date. If the school has a vacancy, they may agree for the place to be deferred until the start of the autumn term. If the school is full you can arrange for your child's name to go on the waiting list. However we advise you to also apply for other schools which have an intake at Year 3. For more information on which primary schools may have in-year vacancies for children due to transfer from an infant school please contact us.

Types of primary, infant and junior schools in Surrey

  • Academy - independent of the local authority and funded directly by the Department for Education. An academy can set its own curriculum.
  • Community - maintained by the local authority.
  • Foundation - state funded school run by its own governing board.
  • Free school - a type of academy set up by a group, such as parents, teachers, charities, community groups and businesses.
  • Trust - a type of foundation school, which forms a charitable trust with an outside partner.
  • Voluntary aided - maintained by the local authority but strongly supported by the church authorities (usually Church of England or Catholic).
  • Voluntary controlled - maintained by the local authority but with close links with the church authorities. Some of the governing board is appointed by the religious foundation.

Admission authorities

Admission authorities are responsible for setting and applying admission arrangements.

  • the local authority is the admission authority for community and voluntary controlled schools.
  • a school's academy trust or governing board is the admission authority for academies and foundation, free, trust and voluntary aided schools.

Continue to step 2: Complete the application form

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