How to Secure a New School Place When Moving House

Martha Lott
Written by Martha Lott
24th September 2018 (Last updated on Monday 14th October 2019)

There’s a lot to think about when moving to a new house, especially if you’re doing the move with children. You’ll have to factor in proximity to family, friends and good schools. While there is a lot of procedures to get through when it comes to getting a school placement for your child, good planning and research will help make things less stressful.

Finding the right school for your child when moving house can be difficult, with constant fear that you’ll disturb their progress. Planning ahead will make everything a lot easier for your house removals, although there are plenty of things that can be done before and after your move to secure that place.

We’ve put together this guide with tips to help you prepare for securing a new school place for your children during the moving house process.

This article will cover the following points

Finding the Right School How to Apply Moving School During the School Year What if My Application is Denied? Save Money with Compare My Move

Finding the Right School

You should start by creating a school shortlist a few months prior to the move. List the schools in your new area that you would be happy to send your children to. It is advised to keep your child enrolled in their current school at this point, in case anything happens to push back moving day.

Once you have shortlisted a number of schools, contact the office to find out subscriptions and popularity to gauge how successful your application will be. If the school is oversubscribed, it is unlikely your child will be accepted, although you can always appeal the decision.

While finding the right school is extremely important, it is useful to remember that eight out of ten schools are rated as good or above by Ofsted. Education play a big part in your child’s development, but it is arguably more beneficial to create a positive and supportive home for them to learn in.

Tips -

  • A good website for school scouting is Ofsted. It allows you to search for schools nearby your new home. From there you will be able to read all reports published in regards to each individual school’s performance.
  • The Department of Education website will help you compare schools in the area in terms of academic results, finance, attendance, and other school characteristics (such as number of pupils enrolled and ratio of boys to girls).

How to Apply

Proof of address for your new home will be needed when applying for a new school. Each local authority is different, but they will generally ask for evidence of your address which can be a letter from your solicitor confirming moving date, a utility bill for your new address, or a copy of the lease agreement from your letting agent.

Remember that you will need to apply at least six weeks before your child is set to start at the new school. The actual application process is largely contingent on where you choose to live. Depending on the council, you will either have to apply directly to the school or via the local authority.

When over subscription to schools happens, there will be certain criteria outlined by the admissions office which will be considered. They will likely consider the distance between your house and school, academic record, and welfare of the child.

Tips -

  • For your peace of mind, it is worth applying to a range of schools to be certain your child will have somewhere to go once you have moved house.
  • If you’re moving from abroad back to a house that you own, you may be asked for evidence from a third party, like a doctor's statement.

Moving School During the School Year

Trying to secure a new school place during the middle of the school year can be stressful. Commonly known as ‘in-year admissions’, transferring to a new school midyear requires a lot of preparation.

You’ll want to have a few different schools in mind when it comes to moving during a term, relying on just one school isn’t a viable option as you’ll more than likely be disappointed. You should start by contacting the desired school as well as the local authority in advance if you know you’ll be transferring your child to the school during the school term.

Councils will usually have different contact details if your child has special educational needs. This will consider your situation and will be able to give you information suited to you and your child.  

Tips –

  • Don’t forget to provide evidence that you live in the school’s catchment area when you apply.
  • If possible, arrange to meet the headteacher before you start to have a better understanding of the situation. 

What if My Application is Denied?

Your application will most likely be denied if the school is oversubscribed, or you are outside the catchment area. If this is the case, you have every right to appeal the admission office’s verdict. Your appeal will most likely go to a different board of people (depending on the council) who will look at applications on a case by case basis.

You will likely need to prove that your child will be better off at the school you are appealing for, with evidence pointing towards travel times to other schools, and how your child may adapt to this school over others.

In the scenario that your application and appeal is denied, you can then ask to be placed on the school’s continuing interest list. This list is a first come first serve list of interested parties who will be accepted into the school once a vacancy becomes available.

Tips –

  • Open a dialogue with your child to find out what they would want. Take them with you to have a look at some schools and see where they would feel happy. You may find a school that wasn’t on the top of your own list, but where they feel they will fit in with a lot more ease.
  • You will be guaranteed a school place by your council, and so it is worth considering whether your child is better off settled in a school which wasn’t shortlisted or moving your child to your desired school once a vacancy opens.

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