Blog /

How to enrol in UK schools: Primary and Secondary education for children

So where do you start with how to enrol in UK schools? Well, you already have all the stressors related to moving to a new country. It’s a foreign home with its own set of rules, and you want to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. When you’re relocating to the UK, the experience of this adjustment is no different.

If you’re doing so with your children, you want to consider taking a few steps to make sure you start to handle the enrolment process. The sooner you can handle that, the sooner your children will be able to start school again with minimal interruption.

Being a part of the EU no longer helps in how to enrol in UK schools

The first thought was that maybe there’s still some type of free movement still between the UK and the rest of the EU. That has ended for quite some time now, back at the end of 2020. Any settlement scheme for those that were in the UK before that date needed to handle their paperwork by the end of June 2021. After that, everyone is treated as a foreign national, which could hinder access to one of the UK’s state schools.

Those foreign nationals already established in the country can follow the normal procedures of having their children enrol in a state-funded school based on their current location and address. Having this home address established is a key component when looking to see which state-funded school they can access.

Of course, Irish Citizens have different rules and are part of Common Travel Area stipulations that allow Irish Citizens to easily have access to both types of schools in the UK. You don’t need any specialized permission for any Irish citizen to study in the UK, whether in an independent or state-funded school.

Ensuring your child has the right paperwork

If your child is an unaccompanied foreign national, they must come into the UK on a student or child student visa. As a result, they will have no opportunity to be able to study at any state-funded school. They will only be able to access an independent primary or secondary school with a licensed student sponsor.

This includes those coming to the UK for a six-month visitor visa or even a short-term study visa, which lasts up to 11 months.

Ultimately understanding the type of paperwork needed falls into the hands of the parents and not any institution when it comes to ensuring the rights of the child and their UK entry possibilities.

So, what types of schools are available to foreign nationals?

A list of independent schools falls into a list of licensed student sponsors. This is the list of schools that can handle the children of foreign nationals. The first step to consider this route is to actually directly contact the school or schools they are considering applying to. After the application process is complete, there’s usually a type of reference number that the school can give back to the foreign national parents for the children. This is what is required to be able to obtain a child’s visa.

This is the best route to take. Even if foreign nationals are moving with their children, they will still need to establish a presence and seek advice from their local council on their own set of specific rules before allowing a foreign national child into a state-funded school. The best option is to always consider going to an independent school first that is also a licensed student sponsor.

A deeper look into the application process of how to enrol in UK schools

Once there’s a thorough understanding of the visa and legality situation, we can start looking into the rest of the process.

The first step is to research schools before you arrive in the UK. Research all the independent schools near where you will be living, and there are plenty of online resources, including the school sites, to consider. You want to make sure to see what their specific admissions policies are and what the correct procedures may be.

From there, as mentioned earlier, you want to contact the school in advance to inform them of your situation. You also want to consider visiting the school itself (which can be done via a visitor visa). You can look at the school facilities and see if it’s the right option for your child. It’s also the best time to ask any pertinent questions you may have.

From there, it’s all about gathering other types of documentation the school may need. This ranges from identification to proof of address and whatever else the school may need. You may need to transfer the prior school documents as well, and the independent school may require them to have translation. Get the complete list at the latest while you’re visiting the school.

The final steps

You can complete and submit the enrolment forms with all the documents in hand. Those documents you collected will most likely have information you will need to complete these forms. Find out when the deadlines to submit are and what format is acceptable, whether you need to mail it in or you can submit it completely online.

All you need to do from there is wait for acceptance and enrolment (as well as any reference number that they may require for the child’s visa), and you can finalize your travel arrangements. You will only then have to prepare for that first day of school as you would have normally done in your home country.

Keep in mind the following with how to enrol in UK schools

The UK educational system for primary and secondary education may be a bit different than what you may have in your home country. For your reference, remember that primary education is from ages 5 to 11, while secondary education runs from 11 to 16 in most cases. Do keep that in mind, depending on your child’s age, to ensure that your child goes to the appropriate level based on the UK system. The school itself should be able to help out in many cases.

Applying to UK schools can be straightforward; you just need to understand the necessary paperwork and documentation beforehand. If you need any financing to assist you, we’re here.