- Step 1: Research and choose schools
- Step 2: Complete the application form
- Step 3: Complete any supplementary forms
- Step 4: Applications are assessed
- Step 5: We offer you a place
- Step 6: You accept or decline the place
- Step 7: If you don't get a place at your preferred school
Summary of this step
You must complete and submit the application and any supporting documents.
You should read the information to help you complete your application before filling in the form.
The closing date for on-time applications to secondary schools was 31 October 2020. Please refer to the late application.
- complete the application and return it to the local authority where you live, regardless of which schools you are applying for.
- submit supporting documents with your application if you are applying under exceptional social or medical criteria.
Make only one application for each child. If you apply more than once for the same child, we will consider only the most recently submitted application received before the deadline.
If you submit your application or make any changes to your preferences without a good reason after the deadline, your application will be treated as late. Late applications will be dealt with after on-time applications, and this may affect the chances of your child being offered a place at one of your preferred schools.
However, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic means that, this year, admission authorities which offer all or some of their places according to academic ability or aptitude e.g. grammar schools, are likely to carry out their tests in late October/November 2020. This means that, if you are applying for an ability or aptitude place, you may not know the outcome of those tests by 31 October, the closing date for applications. If on receipt of your child's test results you wish to make changes to your preferences or order of preferences, we will make the changes, but only if details are received on or by 10 December 2020.
The closing date is 31 October 2020.
Making an online application lets you:
- See all information in one place.
- Make changes to your application right up until the deadline.
- Send scanned/electronic documents in support of your application.
- Accept or decline a school place offer online.
We use the eAdmissions website to manage all online school admissions. Here is some useful information on applying via eAdmissions.
You will need an email address to apply online and regular access to your emails as you will be sent emails to confirm that we have received your application and to let you know the outcome on the offer date.
Don't forget to click submit after completing your application online. You will receive a confirmation email listing your preferences and an application reference number. Please check this email carefully to make sure your application details are correct. Whilst you can make changes to your application up to the closing date, it may not be possible to fix mistakes after the closing date.
If you apply online and have an Android device you can opt to receive notifications from the eAdmissions website. Alternatively you can download the ParentComms mobile app to your mobile device to receive notifications. The following notifications will be sent:
- A reminder to submit any un-submitted applications one week before the closing date, as well as 24 hours before (if you register less than 24 hours before the closing date you will not be sent these reminders)
- Your application reference number of your submitted application
- The outcome of your application
You can also opt in to receive text messages by registering your mobile phone number online. If you register for text alerts you will not receive your outcome by text - you will need to login to your online application to view the outcome.
Make sure to read the information below to help you complete your application before you fill in the form.
Apply on paper
Applying online is the most popular way to apply. The online system is easy to use and we encourage all applicants to apply online.
If you would like a paper application form instead, contact us on 0300 200 1004. Make sure to read the information below to help you complete your application before you fill in the form.
The closing date is 31 October 2020.
Information to help you complete your application
All of the information below is important and may affect the place that is offered to your child – please take the time to read it.
- Completing the application
- Supporting evidence
- Admission of children outside their normal age group
- Children with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND)
- Applying for a Surrey school from outside Surrey
- Applications from Members of the Armed Forces and Crown Servants
Completing the application form
Who should fill out the application
The person applying should be the person with parental responsibility for the child. If you are unsure of your status you should submit your application with a covering letter explaining your situation.
The address to use
The address on the application must be the child's current permanent place of residence, usually the parents' address.
- If the parents do not live together, the address is where the child spends most of their time, usually the address of the parent receiving child benefit (where applicable). If there is equal shared custody of the child, it is left to the parents to decide which address to use.
- You should not use a business or carer/childminder's address. You should also not use a relative's address unless the child lives at that address as their normal place of residence.
- We will not accept a temporary address if the main carer of the child still owns or rents a property that has previously been used as a home address, nor if we believe it has been used to obtain a school place when an alternative address is still available to that child.
- An application can only be made from one address, and only one application per child can be made.
We will need proof of where you live - usually your council tax number, or if you are not responsible for council tax, some alternative evidence, which should be a copy of your signed tenancy agreement and a utility bill.
We will check the address on your application against the records we hold for your child's current school and we may also check council tax records or write to ask you to provide proof of your address.
We will investigate any applications where there is doubt about the address being given. Use of false information may lead us to withdraw an offer of a place, even after a child has started at a school.
More information on how we will investigate applications is available in our Address of Convenience Assessment Protocol (PDF) and if you wish to make a referral please use the Address of Convenience Referral Form (PDF).
If you change your address after applying
If you move after applying to us or to another local authority, you must let us know immediately. You must tell us the date you moved and provide us with evidence of your new address.
Please note that your new address will not be used in the allocation of a school place until you are actually living in the property.
If you have not yet applied, do not delay your application, even if you are planning to move. You must use your current address on the application, and submit it to the local authority where you live by the closing date. Applications made after the closing date will only be considered as on time if we agree that the application could not reasonably have been made by the closing date.
If your child is offered a school place based on where they live, it is conditional on them living at that address on the application closing date (or a different date if specified by the school). An exception will only apply if we have accepted a change of address that has taken place after the closing date (see further information below). A new address can only be considered once a move has taken place and we reserve the right to seek further information from you.
If you do not tell us about a move, or about a declared move that has failed to take place, we may withdraw your application or any offer of a school place we have made.
We will investigate any applications where there is doubt about the address being given. Use of false information may lead us to withdraw an offer of a place, even after a child has started at a school. More information on how we will investigate applications is available in our Address of Convenience Assessment Protocol (PDF).
If you move on or before the closing date (31 October 2020) but after you have applied
Let us know the date you moved and provide us with evidence of your new address, for example a copy of your tenancy agreement or confirmation of exchange with the date of completion, by 10 December 2020.
As long as the move took place on or before 10 December 2020, your new address will be used for school allocation purposes but only if you provide us with the evidence by 10 December 2020.
If you move after the closing date (31 October 2020)
If you move after the closing date it may be possible to update the application address, depending on when you move and you providing us with evidence of your new address.
Moving within Surrey after the closing date: If you move within Surrey after 31 October 2020 and complete the move on or before 10 December 2020, and you provide us with evidence (such as confirmation of exchange with the date of completion no later than 10 December) on or by 10 December your new address can be used in the initial allocation of school places on 1 March 2021 (the national offer day). At the point of your application or no later than 10 December 2020, you will need to provide us with evidence of exchange and evidence of an agreed completion date that is no later than 10 December 2020 (for example, a solicitor's letter).
If you move within Surrey after 10 December 2020 or if you provide us with evidence of a prior move after this date, your previous address will be used for initial allocation purposes on 1 March 2021. Your new address will be used for waiting lists from 1 March 2021, or the date you move if a move has not yet taken place.
Moving out of Surrey after the closing date: If you move out of Surrey after 31 October 2020 but on or before 10 December 2020 and you provide us with evidence (such as confirmation of exchange with the date of completion no later than 10 December) by 10 December 2020, we will need to forward your application to your new local authority. You may be asked to complete a new application form and be able to change your named preferences.
If you move out of Surrey after 10 December 2020 or if you provide us with evidence of a prior move after this date, responsibility for your application remains with us and your previous address will be used for initial allocation purposes on 1 March 2021. Your application will become the responsibility of your new local authority and your new address will be used for waiting lists from 1 March 2021 or the date you move if your move has not yet taken place.
Moving into Surrey after the closing date: If you move into Surrey after 31 October 2020 but on or before 10 December 2020, let your original local authority know in writing and provide proof of your new address. Please also let our admissions team know. Once your original local authority is satisfied that you have moved we will liaise with them to take over your application. We will ask you to complete a Surrey application form; we will need this and evidence of your new address on or by 10 December 2020 in order to take responsibility for your application and to consider your new address in the initial allocation of school places.
If you move into Surrey after 10 December 2020, or if you provide us with evidence of a prior move after this date, your application will remain the responsibility of your original home local authority and your previous address will be used for initial allocation purposes. Your application will become our responsibility and your new address will be used for waiting lists from 1 March 2021, or the date you move if your move has not yet taken place.
If your original home local authority uses a different date by which to accept a change of address, we agree with that local authority which of us should have responsibility for your application.
Your school preferences
You can name up to six schools.
- You must name the schools in order of your preference (this information is not shared with schools so does not disadvantage your application). If your child can be offered a place at more than one of your named schools, the offer will be for the one that is listed highest on your preferences.
- Do not include any private or independent schools. You should apply to these schools directly.
- If you are applying for schools outside Surrey but you live in Surrey, you must still name these schools on your Surrey application form. For details of schools outside Surrey contact the relevant local authority.
We recommend that you:
- Name six schools if you can.
- Name schools that your child is most likely to be offered a place at.
This will increase your chances of being offered a place at one of your named schools.
Naming fewer schools on your list of preferences does not increase the chance of you being offered a place at one of those schools. Places are allocated according to the admission criteria of the schools, not how many schools you have named. If you name fewer than six, you increase the risk of being offered a place at a school that you have not named, which may be further away.
Check each school's website or our admissions booklets for the admission criteria of each school to see how places are allocated, and how many children applied and were offered a place last year. Many children will be offered a place under the distance criteria (based on how far they live from the school). You can see the maximum distance that schools offered to last year in our admissions booklets (but note this is only an indication – the maximum distance will be different this year depending on how many children apply to each school).
Whilst we have a responsibility to make a school place available to each Surrey child, it may not be at one of your named preferences or at your closest school.
Your reasons for preference
The application form has space for you to give a reason for naming a school as a preference but you do not have to complete this. Any information included will be considered but reasons given will not usually affect how places are prioritised.
If you believe your child is eligible for sibling priority at one of your preferred schools, you must include the sibling's details on your application. If you don't, your child may be given lower priority for a place at the school.
For community schools we define a sibling as:
- brother or sister with the same parents whether living at the same address or not.
- half brother or sister living as part of the same family unit at the same address, Monday to Friday.
- adopted or fostered brother or sister living as part of the same family unit at the same address, Monday to Friday.
- step brother or sister living as part of the same family unit at the same address, Monday to Friday.
Siblings must already be on roll at the school you are applying for, and be expected to still be on roll at that school on the date of the child's admission.
Academies and foundation, free and voluntary aided schools may have different definitions of siblings. Contact these schools for details of their sibling criteria.
Looked after and previously looked after children
Children who are looked after or were previously looked after by a local authority, receive top priority for a school place. If your child meets one of the following definitions, please indicate this on your application and include supporting evidence from the child's social worker:
- Looked after children are those 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.
- Previously looked after children are those 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).
Applying under exceptional medical or social criteria
If you wish to apply under a school's exceptional medical or social criteria you must provide relevant information, including medical evidence, where appropriate, to support your case at the time of your application.
The exceptional social or medical circumstances might relate to either the child or the parent/carer. Supporting evidence from a professional is required such as a doctor and/or consultant for medical cases or a social worker, health visitor, housing officer, the police or probation officer for other social circumstances. This evidence must confirm the circumstances of the case and must demonstrate why the child should attend a particular school and why no other school could meet the child's needs. If you are applying for exceptional priority for a school that is not your nearest, you must explain why nearer schools cannot meet your child's needs.
Providing evidence does not guarantee that a child will be given priority at a particular school. In each case, a decision will be made based on the merits of the case and whether the evidence demonstrates that a placement should be made at one particular school above any other.
Community schools will also give priority to children who were previously in state care outside England and have ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted, under this criterion. 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. Some academies and foundation, free and voluntary aided schools may also give priority on this basis under their exceptional medical or social criterion, but you should see the school's admission arrangements or contact the school to see if this applies.
Common medical conditions and allergies can usually be supported in all mainstream schools, therefore priority would not normally be given for these. Some mainstream schools have units attached which provide specialist provision for children with an education, health and care plan which names the school. The facilities in these units are not normally available to children in the mainstream school and, as such, priority under a school's exceptional social or medical criterion would not normally be agreed for a mainstream place on the basis of a specialist unit being attached to the school.
In addition, routine child minding arrangements would not normally be considered to be an exceptional social reason for placement at a particular school.
If you have a council tax account number this must be provided with your application. If you do not have a council tax account number (for example some private tenants, or armed forces families living in service family accommodation in the United Kingdom), you must provide alternative evidence of your address with your application which should be a copy of your signed tenancy agreement and a utility bill.
Evidence to support applications under exceptional medical or social criteria must be provided with your form by 31 October 2020.
Evidence received after that date may be considered only if it could not reasonably have been provided by 31 October 2020 but will not be accepted beyond 10 December 2020.
Any evidence received after 10 December 2020 will not be considered until after the initial allocation of places.
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 based on your child's circumstances and what is in your child's best interests. You must state clearly why you feel admission to a different year group is in your child's best interests and, if you wish, provide evidence to support this. You can contact the local authority for advice, and also see Surrey's guidance on the education of children out of their chronological year group (PDF).
Children with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND)
We treat applications for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities in the same way as all other applications, unless they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). If your child has an EHCP, you must follow the procedure for applying for a school place for a child with an EHCP.
Applying for a Surrey school from outside Surrey
Other local authorities in England
Each local authority has its own application form. You must complete the form for the local authority where you live regardless of which schools you are applying for.
Applying for children living in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
If you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales and wish to apply for a Surrey school, you need to provide evidence of a planned return/arrival to Surrey in time for the start of the academic year and evidence of an established residential link in Surrey that indicates your child will be living in Surrey when that are due to start school. You must apply by the deadline of 31 October 2020. We will initially consider the application based on your child's address in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales and any subsequent change will be considered in line with our change of address policy. See our advice above about changes of address.
If you have not yet established a residential link to Surrey you will not normally be able to apply until this has been established or until the child has returned to/arrived in Surrey. However, exceptions may apply to families wishing to apply for a boarding place at Gordon's School or Royal Alexandra and Albert School and you should contact these schools directly for further details.
Children who are not due to return to/arrive in Surrey until after the start of the academic year should submit an in-year application.
Applying for children from abroad
If you and your child live abroad, you may only apply for a school place if you can provide evidence of your child's likely return/arrival to the UK.
If you wish to apply for admission as part of a normal intake to a school, you must also apply by the deadline and be able to demonstrate a residential link to Surrey.
For normal round applications, you must provide information about where you are living and when you intend to return. We will initially consider the application based on your child's address abroad and any subsequent change will be considered in line with our change of address policy.
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.
If you have a property in the United Kingdom you should apply to the local authority for that address. If you do not have a United Kingdom property and wish to apply to Surrey, you need to provide evidence of a planned return/arrival to the United Kingdom in time for the start of the academic year and evidence of an established residential link in Surrey that indicates your child will be living in Surrey when they are due to start school. You must apply by the deadline of 30 October 2020. We will initially consider the application based on your child's address abroad and any subsequent change will be considered in line with our change of address policy. See our advice above about changes of address.
If you have not yet established a residential link to Surrey you will not normally be able to apply until this has been established or until the child has returned to/arrived in Surrey. However, exceptions may apply to families wishing to apply for a boarding place at Gordon's School or Royal Alexandra and Albert School and you should contact this school directly for further details.
Children who are not due to return to/arrive in Surrey until after the start of the academic year should submit an in-year application.
For more information please read our guidance on admission of children overseas (PDF).
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 United Kingdom who are able to provide evidence of their relocation may apply for a school place ahead of a move. For Armed Forces applications we will use the unit posting address when considering the application. For Crown Servants who are returning from overseas to live in the area, a United Kingdom address can only be used if there is evidence of the address the child is returning to.
Files available to download
- Addresses of Convenience Assessment Protocol (PDF)
How we investigate applications that we suspect of using an incorrect address for the purposes of gaining a school place.
- Address of Convenience Referral Form (PDF)
Use this form if you want to tell us about someone who you believe is using an incorrect address for the purposes of gaining a school place.
- Guidance on admission of children overseas (PDF)
How we handle applications for school places for children from overseas
- Guidance on the education of children out of chronological year group (PDF)
How we deal with requests for children being educated in a year group different from that of their chronological age.
- eAdmissions Leaflet 2021 (PDF)
Useful information on applying via eAdmissions.