Back to school: when to apply

September 02, 2021

When can you apply for a new school place, and what happens if you move? Take a look below for details on when best to apply for your preferred school catchment area.

Infants, Junior and Primary Schools

Are you thinking about moving to a great infant or junior school catchment area? Your chances are best if you start your house sale now, then move and apply when the applications open in November.

Move by mid-January at the latest to get your children into your chosen infant and junior schools, with the closing date for Hampshire and Surrey schools in mid-January. 

The councils deal with applications slightly differently, but alterations on e-admissions can be made until the deadline. 


In Hampshire, if you have already made an application and are now moving, a new school application will be accepted if it is received before the deadline.

Late applications

In Hampshire, changes to schools in your applications should be accepted if you have:

  • Changed address
  • If another of your children have been accepted at your preferred school, or a linked infants or juniors.

You should notify the County Admissions Team of these changes as soon as possible.

Late applications will be considered differently, depending on when they are received. If an application for Year R and Year 3 is received after mid-January but before mid-April, it will be considered in the last week of April.

Any application received towards the end of April and onwards will be placed on a waiting list. Once placed on a waiting list, places are offered in accordance with the availability at the schools themselves.


Surrey County Council asks that all applications are made by the closing date, regardless of whether you plan to move. Applications received by 10th February will only be treated as if they were made earlier in extenuating circumstances.

After the 10th February, your application will be treated as less of a priority compared to those on time. Any applications received after 19th April are added to a waiting list and allocated a place in accordance with school availability.  

Secondary School Applications

You will need to start your house sale as soon as possible to be in with a chance of getting your child a new catchment secondary school place next year.

Applications for Hampshire and Surrey secondary schools open from mid-September and are due by the 31st October. You should be notified of the decision on the 31st March. If you do not receive your preferred choice, your child will automatically be entered on the waiting list for that school.


As with Hampshire infant and junior schools, you can make changes to your application if you have moved or if you have another child accepted to the preferred school. The deadline for these changes is the start of January. If you make a late application, it will be considered just after on-time applications if received by the 1st March. After this date, it will be added to the waiting list.

Hearings will be held for the majority of appeals in May, should you wish to appeal your child’s school place.

You can apply for an alternative school to the one on your application, and it will then be added to the appropriate school waiting list.


Year 7 applications for 2022 need to be completed by the 31st October 2021. The offer of a school place will be issued on 1st March 2022, which needs to be accepted or declined by 15th March.

If the school offer you receive was not your first choice, then your application will automatically be added to a waiting list for your preferred (community) school.

In-year applications can be made if:

• You move house
• Your child can no longer attend their current school or is being educated at home
• If you wish a Year 2 child to have a Year 3 place at a primary school 
• If you wish your child to change schools

You can apply for a place up to four weeks before it is required unless this is the start of the autumn term, in which case you can apply from the beginning of June.

For more information on the outstanding schools in our locations, click here. To book a valuation or for information within a specific catchment area, please contact your local branch or search online.

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