Starting secondary school

When to apply for a school place, how to apply and important dates when applying.

When children start school

If your child was born between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2012, they should start secondary school in September 2023.

The deadline to apply to start secondary school in September 2023 is 31 October 2022.

When children finish school

Children need to go to school until the last day of the school year in which they become 16 years old. This is usually the end of year 11.

The child then needs to carry on their education or training until they become 18 years old. They can stay at school if it has a sixth form, go to college or study for an apprenticeship.

When and how to apply

If your child needs to move up to secondary school from a junior or primary school in September 2023, you can apply for a school place from September 2022.

If your child is changing schools or needs to start school during the school year, you can apply for a place at any time.

Watch our video to find out more about the application process.

More information

Find out about school years, key stages and the national curriculum.

View our school application guides for more information.