How do I find the right school for my children? 

  • November 05, 2021

One of the biggest concerns IMGs relocating with families will have, is how to find the right school for their children in the UK.

The good news is that the educations system is excellent, and education is free! 

If you are bringing children to the UK with you, the first thing you will need to do is apply for a place in the school you want them to go to. To do this you will need to get in touch with your local council to ask about the schools in the catchment area, and find out where places are available.

You can then apply for places in schools through the local council, applications usually opening a year before you want your child to start. More information about the process is available here. Children normally begin school in the September after they turn four and usually you can apply for a place in a state school at any point in the year.

There are many options that parents have when deciding which school is best for their children, including faith schools, free schools, academies, technology colleges, boarding schools, private or paid for schools, or grammar schools to name a few. 

All children living in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland are entitled to a free place at a state school.

If you choose to send your child to a free state school, then your local council will decide which school your child is given a place at. 

All schools have admission criteria to decide which children get places. The school or local council usually set these.

Admission criteria are different for each school. For example, schools may give priority to children:

  • who live close to the school (catchment area)
  • who have a brother or sister at the school already
  • from a particular religion (for faith schools)
  • who do well in an entrance exam (for selective schools, for example grammar schools or stage schools)
  • who went to a particular primary school (a ‘feeder school’)

Councils usually use 'catchment areas' to decide where your child is given a place at school.

A catchment area is an area around a school. Any children who live in this area are given a place at the school.

Most councils publish catchment area maps on their website.

You can find out where your child will be given a place at school by looking on your local council's website.

See below useful links to how to register, depending on country:  

If you choose to send your child to a paid school, then you can ask the team at IMG connect to help you further, including advice on how to check the school’s standards, costs and how to contact them directly. 

If you want to know more about schooling in the UK, have a chat with our team or take a look at our relocation blogs. 

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