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Every child in England is entitled to a free education, and every child resident in Cambridge will be offered a school place*.

The Admissions Team in the Cambridgeshire County Council is your key resource when enrolling your daughter and/or son in a Cambridgeshire state funded primary and/or secondary school. The County's webpages have all the information you will need including comprehensive admission booklets.

Highlighted below are a number of important points to assist you in the process:

  1. Key Ages:

    • In England you are required by law to make sure your child begins education from the beginning of school term after he or she turns 5 years old. However, children normally start Reception class in a state school from the September after their 4th birthday.
    • Primary schools take children from ages 4–11. Secondary schools take children from 11–16. If a secondary school has an attached Sixth Form for studies in Year 12 and 13, they will accept children that choose to stay on beyond the age of 16.
  2. Allocation of places

    • Your child is given priority for a place in your catchment area state school (i.e. the age-appropriate school in the area where you live) as long as there is a vacancy. You can use the My Cambridgeshire service to look up catchment area schools for your address.

    • You will be required to provide evidence of a local permanent address for your child when you apply.
    • There are a number of key deadline dates that you will need to meet for successful enrolment. These are clearly stated on the Cambridgeshire County Council webpages (above).
  3. Non- EEA Visitors

    • If a child has entered the UK for the purpose of accompanying their non-EEA parent who is a visiting academic on sabbatical leave and undertaking research for up to 12 months in the UK, then the child is eligible to attend a state maintained school. The Cambridgeshire School Admission Team indicate that there are three conditions which are that the child must be:

      • Between the age of 4 and 16;

      • Resident in Cambridgeshire for six teaching weeks or longer; and

      • Free from immigration restrictions that prevent them attending a State school (which will be the case if the non-EEA visiting academic obtains a 12 month visitor visa in advance of coming to the UK)

  4. Overseas students/visitors

    • You may also be asked for a copy of your child's passport and entry visa to check permission to stay in the country.

    • Your child will need to be resident for at least 6 teaching weeks to be eligible for a school place.

  5. Choosing the right school for your child/ren

  6.  Support with choosing a school

Deciding which school you would prefer your child to attend is a very important decision. 

Cambridgeshire County Council's  Parents' School Preference Adviser can help you understand the system and make informed decisions when choosing a school. 


The Parents' School Preference Adviser provides advice and information on choosing a school, how to apply and the appeals process.

They can help with information and advice on:

  • how the transfer and admissions process works
  • admission policies and criteria for different schools
  • provision for special educational needs
  • changing schools during the school year
  • the appeals process
  • travel issues

The website is here.