Step 1: Research and choose secondary schools to apply for

Summary of this step

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

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

Children in Surrey go to secondary school between age 11 and 18. Surrey secondary schools are comprehensives and cater for all abilities.

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.
  • 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 booklet, Information on secondary schools or on the school's own website. This will give you an idea of how oversubscribed the school might be.
  • Check their admission criteria in our booklet, Information on secondary schools 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.
  • Visit schools that you are considering - please see our booklet, Information on secondary schools for details of open evening dates.

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 booklet, Information on secondary schools, includes:

  • 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.

Types of secondary school 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.
  • Voluntary aided - maintained by the local authority but strongly supported by the church authorities (usually Church of England or Catholic).

Admission authorities

Admission authorities are responsible for setting and applying admission arrangements.

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

Applying to a University Technical College (UTC), studio school or another school that provides education from Year 10

UTCs and studio schools admit children at Year 10. Some other schools also only provide education from Year 10 and these are often schools which specialise in performing arts. The process for applying to a UTC, or school that provides education only from Year 10 is the same as the process for applying for a place at a secondary school. Applications must be submitted online or on a paper form by 31 October 2022.

Currently, there are no UTCs or studio schools in Surrey and no other Surrey school provides education only from Year 10, but if you live in Surrey and wish to apply for one in another local authority area, you should return your application to us.

Continue to step 2: Complete the application form