The job is secured, and the wheels are in motion for you and your family’s relocation to London. The next major task at hand is getting them into a great school. The length and process of admission can shock many unsuspecting parents, relocating or not – but it doesn’t have to be the case.

Research is key

The biggest question before starting the process is will your children be public or state educated? The application length can vary greatly, for example, public schools will set their own admission dates, whereas state-run schools will normally have a January 15th deadline for a September start. Make sure you know the deadlines to avoid disappointment.

Once the type of education has been decided, it’s time to draw up a shortlist of the schools within the area. All registered state schools can be found using the Department of Education Website . In addition, you can whittle down your shortlist further by reading up the Ofsted reports for the schools you may be interested in, which can be found here.

Plan your visit

Most schools are open on most days of the week, so it’s easy to just drop in and make your enquiries, but to be on the safe side, calling to make an appointment for a full tour (before the September intake for state) is often a good idea.  This will give you an opportunity to chat with teachers and watch how the children learn, play and interact with each other. If by any chance you’re unable to visit, you can always request the contact details of fellow parents should you wish to pick their brains about their child’s own experience at the school.

The application process

Depending on whether you choose public or state school, the duration of the process can vary greatly. With a state primary, for example, you’ll need to apply for three schools during the autumn for a place the following September (deadline January 15). Most councils will ask you to submit your application online, but each individual school decides how they want applications submits, so it’s best to check with the local authority.

With public school applications, the process can be much longer, for example, public primary schools advise drawing up your shortlist and starting your application process up to two years before your child is of admission age. Remember, to speed up the process, have all important paperwork such as birth certificates and other documents of identification and residence prepared.


In both public run and state schools, places are always in high demand. Primary school classes can only accept a maximum of 30 pupils, so prepare yourself for the possibility of not getting accepted to the school you love. Other factors that come into play are usually catchment area, disability or special needs and faith. If you are applying to a faith school of the same religion as you are practising, then they will normally accept your child ahead of applicants who are not.

The next phase is a waiting game, and parents should prepare themselves not to hear back on an application for at least a few months. Should the decision not be in your favour there is then the option to appeal (state). Public run schools will normally have independent panels for appeal so it’s worth checking each one individually.

At Cornerstone we offer a specialist education and tuition service that provides advice on the right schools for your children. We take care of the research, school tours and even private tuition should they need additional help securing a place – we have you covered.

To find out more, take a look through our brochure or contact us today.