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What you need to know about changing schools during the year

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A child and parent getting ready for school

Sometimes it is necessary for children to change school during the school year or at a time outside the usual transfer point, for example between academic years 8 to 9 rather than year 6 to year 7.

This can be for various reasons, such as moving house into a new area. This is known as an “in-year” move.

Although for most families this isn’t the ideal situation, fortunately the process itself is straightforward. Here we tell you all you need to know about how to change schools in-year.

How to change schools in-year

To change your child’s school in-year, you will need to apply to either the school you wish your child to go to, or to the local authority. This is known as an ‘in-year application’.

The process for applying for a school place in-year can differ from area to area.

You can apply directly to the school of your choice where the school has its own admission authority, including for academy schools, foundation schools and voluntary aided schools.

For community or voluntary controlled schools you should apply to the local council.

In some areas you can submit in-year applications for all schools to the local council, as the local council has agreed with other local schools to coordinate their in-year applications for them

Your local council website will tell you whether to apply direct to the school or to the council.

Local councils are required to provide advice to parents on vacant places in their area where this is requested.

Once you have found your new local council’s website, their ‘schools/education’ page will have information about transferring your child to a school in their area.

Most councils recommend that you do this online but some have online forms you can download, print and post to them once completed.

When will I hear the outcome of my application?

Where you have submitted an application, the admission authority or council must notify you of the outcome in writing within 15 school days.

If a place is refused, they must inform you of your right of appeal.

If you are offered a place, and you accept the offer, arrangements should be made for your child to start school as soon as possible, particularly where your child is out of school.

Can my current local council help me transfer schools?

Local councils may have different advice available.

For example, local councils in large cities like London have contact information for neighbouring boroughs.

It is best to seek the information of in-year admissions from the local council you wish your child’s new school to be in.

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