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Applying to Your Chosen Schools

The application procedure varies depending on the type of school: 

Grammar schools require you to complete a Common Application Form (CAF). This should come automatically from your Local Education Authority (LEA) but can be requested in advance.

  • Depending on the LEA, you can choose up to 6 schools which are placed in order of preference. Generally, if you don’t get into your first choice, your second is then counted and so on.
  • You can apply to schools outside your borough on the CAF. Whilst no LEA is allowed to refuse an application to one of its schools, it may use distance as one of its admissions criteria. It is best to check this with schools outside your borough.
  • Not all grammar schools are equal and some may be more difficult to get into than others. Again, we can advise you on this. We always recommend including at least one back-up comprehensive school on the application form just in case.
  • Some schools will also require you to complete a Supplementary Application Form. Contact either the school or LEA for this and check where to send it.
  • If your child has a special educational need, you must complete an SEN Secondary School Transfer Form (obtainable from your SENCO). Your LEA will contact the schools directly on your behalf. If you comply with certain criteria, the LEA has the power to force a school to accept the applicant.
  • Closing dates for CAF forms are usually in the October of the year your child enters Year 6, while closing dates for Supplementary Forms are usually in the September of that year. Always check the precise closing dates for application forms as it does vary each year.
  • Applications received after the closing date or any changes made to the application form after the closing date is classed as a ’late application’. Late applications are not considered until after all applications received on time have been dealt with. If there is a legitimate reason for your late application, you should contact your LEA.

Independent (Private) Schools require a separate application to each school you wish your child to try for. Application forms can be obtained directly from the schools.

  • In theory you can apply for as many independent schools as you want, although you do obviously need to consider your child’s welfare here. We can give you advice on appropriate schools as we get to know your child. We can also advise on whether we think your child could try sitting for a bursary or scholarship.
  • The closing date for applications to independent schools is much earlier than for state schools. Many school application dates fall between late October and early December of the academic year previous to a child’s entry. Many schools will not accept a late application, so it is crucial to contact schools as soon as possible.

Fees and Payment Methods
There are various ways in which school fees can be paid. The Independent Schools Information Service publishes a helpful leaflet ‘School Fees’ – Tel: 0207 630 8793 / 4