Navigating the UK school admissions process

March 1 in the UK marked the point where 600,000 families discovered which state secondary school their child would be going to in September 2018. We take a look at the challenges involved in educating a growing population.

Navigating the UK school admissions process
Competition for good state schools around the country remains fierce and, according to The Telegraph, this year around one in five pupils missed out on their first choice of secondary school – up from one in six last year.The past five years have seen an increase in applications for state secondary school places in the UK due to a surge in birth rates since 2003. Just over half a million applications were received for places in 2012 and this year sees almost 600,000. But it is predicted that an additional 540,000 places are likely to be needed by 2025.When a child begins Year 5 of primary school in the UK, most families begin to think about secondary schools, attending school open days where they are able to take tours and get a snapshot of school life. It is also the point when families start preparing their children for entrance exams if they are choosing to apply for selective, state grammar places (testing usually occurs in the following September).By October 31 of the following year, parents must submit their applications, taking into account all of the criteria such as school catchment areas.

Family support for relocating families

For many families it is a stressful time waiting to find out if they have secured the school of their choice. But for relocating families – who often require school places outside of the normal admissions rounds and at short notice – the stress is compounded.The Relocate Guide to Education & Schools in the UK contains expert advice to help families – and those advising them – navigate both the state and private systems. This spring marks our third edition, fully revised to reflect current trends and hot topics in education.While families choosing state schools often have to filter through bewildering layers of bureaucracy and council rules, those choosing international schools will usually find them well placed to accommodate children moving outside of the normal admissions cycle.Like many international schools, the International School of London Group (ISL) has a rolling admissions procedure and is able to accommodate families as long as there are places.
Related articles from the Spring 2018 issue of Relocate Magazine:

The transition phase for children at school

“Relocating to London should be an exciting time for any family, but the on-going success of that transition frequently depends on the support and welcome from the new community. We are proud to have a successful Transitions Programme designed to ensure our new families settle into their new lives. The ISL Transition Team help ensure the continuity and development of the programme. All members of the ISL community, including the school administration, teachers, students and the Parent Teachers Association (PTA), play an integral role in the transitions process,” explains Juliette Bolon, London Admissions Registrar at ISL.“Important parts of the transitions process include an orientation day, a family meet and greet, buddy systems and regular workshops looking at living in London, identity and culture and moving on,” adds Ms Bolon.International schools have the added benefit of providing an environment with a rich mixture of different cultures which research has shown helps to develop ‘international mindedness’ – a skill increasingly desirable to employers operating in global marketplaces.For those who applied to state primary schools in January this year, there is still a wait until 16 April to find out whether they have secured their preferred school for September.Whether choosing state or private schooling, the advice is clear – begin your school search as soon as you have secured your assignment to reduce the stress associated with the process. If budget allows, instructing an education consultant can reduce much of the burden.Find out who won the Relocate Awards 2018 new category: Inspiring Future Careers – Best Employer & School(s) Initiative, celebrate best practice and network at the Relocate Awards Gala Dinner on 10 May, book here.


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Find out about independent school entrance exams in the Spring issue of our magazine

For related news and features, visit our Education and Schools section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  ©2018. This article first appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of Relocate magazine, published by Profile Locations, Spray Hill, Hastings Road, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JB. All rights reserved. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Profile Locations. Profile Locations accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein.