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When to apply
Under most circumstances applications can only be processed once a child is living locally and places will only be allocated to children who can start immediately. If you are planning a move, even if you have a new tenancy agreement or have exchanged contracts, we cannot accept the application until after the move has taken place and your child has moved in. Children whose parents are in Armed Forces or who are Crown Servants are an exception to this and should provide evidence when making the application.
In-year applications received more than 4 weeks before the place is required will not be processed, with the exception of applications for September places which will be processed after 15 July. Applications received early will be returned for resubmission nearer to the required start date.
It may not be possible to make September allocations over the summer after the schools have closed.
This is for one or more of the following reasons:
- the school you have applied for is an admission authority school and we cannot offer places until they return in September.
- a vacancy cannot be confirmed until September, when the school returns and leavers are verified.
- you have not provided Section 8 of the in-year form and we must wait for further information from your child's previous school.
Your application will be acknowledged but please allow two weeks following the start of term for any offers to be made.
When sending supporting documents, please ensure that they are in PDF format and are combined into one document. We cannot accept individual pages photographed and sent as separate documents.
How to apply
In-year applications cannot be made online and an In-year form must be submitted with Section 8 completed by the most recent school. A PDF of the form can be found below.
If your child is already in a local school and you wish to transfer to another school, please complete an in-year application for below but clearly outline your reasons for requesting the transfer.
The reasons driving the request will be considered and, in most cases, we will write to you to recommend a course of action with the existing school. Only once these routes have been exhausted, or there is evidence to support an immediate transfer, will an application normally be processed.
The transfer process is not quick and, if a transfer is approved, the importing school can delay the start date until the next full school term.
Background information is normally sought from the current school to determine if the transfer process should apply and to support panel decisions around appropriate types of provision.
Please note that applications made to avoid exclusion from an existing school or to give a fresh start elsewhere will not normally be considered immediately.
Choosing a school
Information about primary schools with possible vacancies can be found using our vacancy checker:
To find your nearest school you can use the GOV.UK Schools Finder, however please note that the distances quoted are not as accurate as those used by the School Admissions team and are for guidance only.
Before submitting your application we advise you to visit the schools you are interested in. If schools are full they will not be able to offer you a place immediately. We encourage you to name schools with possible vacancies to ensure your child can access a school place quickly.
To make an application, please complete the In-year Application form and email it to email@example.com
Alternatively, an application form can be obtained by contacting School Admissions or attending the Civic Centre.
- You cannot currently make an in-year application online.
- You should only make an application when you know your child will be able to take up the offer of a place at a school straight away, as places cannot be reserved until you arrive.
- You can only name schools in Merton on your form. If you wish to apply for schools outside Merton, you will need to contact those boroughs for an application form.
- Some schools may require you to complete a supplementary form to support your application. You are advised to contact the schools to see if this will be necessary.
- If you are new to the area, and not yet registered for Council Tax purposes, we may need to see evidence of your new address and evidence that you have left your former address.
- If you have not yet moved to the area we are unable to process the application, however there is part of the form that must be completed by your current school and you may wish to arrange this before you have moved.
- If your child is currently in Year 2 at an infants' school outside Merton you will need to complete a Junior School Application form, please see below for further details about Junior School Applications.
What happens next
If you apply for a school with vacancies, the process will normally take up to two weeks. Applications may take a little longer if you name schools which are full. Secondary school applications often take longer due to the need to consider the impact on timetables and option groups.
You will receive an outcome for each of your applications; this may be in one or more letters. If you are successful, the school will contact you to arrange a meeting to discuss admission dates and any additional needs. This may be by telephone or letter.
How places are allocated
Each school will have a set of criteria by which applicants are ranked and places offered. These are only relevant if the school has more applicants than places at the time of application, or the school is already full. Where a school has no vacancies, the admissions criteria for the school are used to place children on the waiting list.
If a child is only eligible for one school within the listed preferences, this will be the offer made. Under certain circumstances, it may be that you will receive more than one offer. If this is the case, you will be asked to quickly choose which offer to take so as not to block a place for another child.
We will process your application as quickly as possible to ensure your child is not out of school for a lengthy period of time. However, if your child has significant support needs to enable them to access education, it may delay the application process. We may need to contact your child's previous school to ascertain if this may be the case.
If we are unable to offer you place at a higher preference school, you will be given the opportunity to go on the waiting list. Waiting lists for Merton Community Schools are held termly and you will be informed of the closing date when we confirm your place on list. Please contact the admission authority responsible for the school if you have named a VA school as they may manage their waiting lists differently.
For full details of how in-year applications submitted for Merton schools will be considered and processed, please see our In-Year Admissions protocol. This protocol has been prepared by Merton Council and agreed to by all Merton community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled, academy and free schools.
Your child's name will normally only be added to a waiting list if no school can be offered. The letter giving the outcome of your applications will give you more details of this based on the particular circumstances of your case. We do not encourage further changes of school without good reason.
Children cannot be placed on waiting lists until an application has been made.
Waiting lists close termly - further details about waiting lists can be found on the waiting list page.
The letter giving the outcome of your application will give you more details on the appeals process if you are not offered your first preference school. Please see Appeals for further information and an online appeals form.
Applications for families arriving from abroad, including from the EU, from 1 January 2021
In most cases, children arriving from overseas have the right to attend schools in England. It is the responsibility of parents to check that their children have a right, under their visa entry conditions, to study at a school before submitting an application.
If you have recently arrived from abroad, we recommend that you check that you have a right of abode or that the conditions of your immigration status otherwise permit you to access a state-funded school.
Children aged under 18 are classed as dependant children if they are the children of foreign nationals who have settled status in the UK, or who are entering the UK on a work visa or Student visa, or who are part of a family entering or residing in the UK under the immigration route for British National (Overseas) citizens and their dependants. These children are entitled to enter the country with their family, or to join their family and study at a state-funded school once in the UK.
Unaccompanied children may also enter the UK to access a school. To comply with their visa terms, unaccompanied foreign national children, and young people (including such EEA nationals entering the UK after 31 December 2020) who are entering on a Child Student visa or Student visa must, when accessing education in England, study at the independent school, sixth form college or further education college which is sponsoring them.
Foreign nationals cannot use the 6-month Standard Visitor visa, or 11-month Short-term Study (English language) visa, to enter the UK to enrol as a pupil at a school. Find out what these visas can be used for on the visa pages of the Government site.
Irish citizens' right to live in the UK and access school places will not change. Irish citizens do not need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, but their family members, who are not Irish or UK citizens, will need to apply.
Junior school applications
Merton does not have any junior schools. However, some Merton resident children may be attending infants' schools in other boroughs. If your child is in Year 2 at an infants' school, you will need to complete a Junior School Application to apply for a linked Junior school or for an alternative Junior school.
Applications for Junior school can be submitted online using the eAdmissions system.
You can make an online application at www.eadmissions.org.uk. Where possible we recommend that you make your application online.
If you are applying for a Junior school, you must submit your application by 15 January 2022. We will pass the application details to the relevant borough to consider your application. Offers will be made on 19 April 2022.
If you are unable to apply for a Junior place online, a paper form can be obtained from the Civic Centre in Morden.
14+ school applications
Merton does not have any schools that start at Year 10 but there are schools across London that admit children from Year 10 onwards. These are known as university technical colleges (UTCs), studio schools or 14+ schools. A list of these schools is available along with contact details for further information.
Children with special educational needs
If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) you will not need to complete an application as your school will be named on the EHCP. For further information please contact SEN Team.
Educating your child at home
In some cases parents wish to educate their children at home. If you are considering withdrawing your child from school to electively home educate, please contact Merton's EHE Advisor on 020 8545 3974. We would strongly recommend you also discuss this decision with your child's school directly. Children educated at home (merton.gov.uk)
School Admissions Team