In-year admissions

By law, children aged between 5 and 16 must receive an education. This means that if your child is not in school you must apply for a school or tell the local authority what alternative arrangements you are making for their education.

You can make an in-year application if you need to join a school outside of the normal admissions timeframe.

Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) or an Education, Health and Care Plan and you want to ask for a school transfer, you must contact the SEND team. They consider these applications separately from the process outlined. See more information on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Tel: 020 7364 4880

You do not need to apply for in-year admission if your child is

  • In the term after their 3rd birthday and you want to apply for a nursery place in September – you should apply for a nursery place
  •  Currently in year 6 at primary school and you want to apply for them to move to year 7 at secondary school in September – you should apply for a secondary school place

You can apply for in-year admission if

  • you are moving house to Tower Hamlets, or moving house in Tower Hamlets and your child cannot continue at their current school
  • your child is being educated at home and you want them to attend a mainstream school instead
  • your child is already at school, but you want to move them to a different school
  • you are without a nursery place and you want to apply for a place.
Timetable for admissions applications
Child's date of birthPhaseHow to applyClosing date

1 September 2020 - 31 August 2021


EA Admissions website


16 February 2024

1 September 2019 - 31 August 2020


EA Admissions website


15 January 2024

1 September 2012 - 31 August 2013

Secondary transfer

EA Admissions website


21 October 2023

1 September 2007 - 31 August 2019

In Year Primary/Secondary

Through the Parent Portal

See the Timetable for In Year transfers

1 September 2020 - 31 August 2021

In Year Nursery

Through the Parent Portal

See the timetable for In Year transfers


Timetable for In Year Transfers
 Application Type Start Date Closing Date Parents Notified
Child out of school

Within 10 to 15 school days of application being received (delays in exceptional circumstances).

 Not applicable

Within 10 to 15 school days of application being received


Spring Term (January 2024 start)

3 November 2023


24 November 2023


Summer Term (April 2024 start)

2 February 2024

1 March 2024


Autumn Term (September 2024 start)

7 June 2024

28 June 2024

Before you apply

Changing school may not always be in your child’s best interests. Where possible, please discuss your transfer application with your child’s current school, to see if any issues can be resolved without disrupting your child’s education.

School history form (SHF)

Please ensure the School History Form Primary or School History Form Secondary has been completed by your child’s current or most recent school and must be uploaded to each school preference named on your application form..

We are only able to consider an application as fully completed when it includes the SHF. If we do not receive the SHF this may delay the processing of your in year transfer application. 

If your child is new to the UK you do not need to submit the SHF.


Priority admission under medical/social grounds

If you are requesting priority admission under medical/social grounds, please upload supporting information to that preference when you name it on the form.

Supporting evidence must come from a professional (such as a hospital consultant or social worker). It must explain the reasons why the school in question is the most suitable and the difficulties that would be caused if the child had to attend another school.

This advice also applies if you are facing extreme difficulties that are affect your child’s attendance at their current school and want your transfer to be considered immediately.

Schools outside Tower Hamlets

If you are applying for schools outside Tower Hamlets, please contact the relevant Local Authority.

Independent schools

 We do not accept applications to independent schools.

More information before you apply

Please read our:

How to apply

Applications for in-year transfers and admissions must be made through the Tower Hamlets Portal. The Portal is available through Safari, Chrome and Edge browsers.

Apply for an in-year transfer



If you need any help, please read our Step by step guide to the parent portal.

A brother or sister attending the school

If there is a bother or sister already attending the school you put as a preference, please include the:

  • name,
  • date of birth and
  • gender of any sibling (full, half, step, adopted or long-term fostered brother or sister) living at the same address who is already at the school you put as a preference.

This is important to ensure that the correct priority is given to the application.

If you are applying to an academy, free school or voluntary-aided school

You may also need to complete a supplementary information form (SIF) if you are applying to an:

  • academy
  • free school or 
  • voluntary-aided school

You can get this from the school and you must return it to them. 

Some schools may also require a baptism certificate or priest's reference.

Further information on the school's admissions policy should be obtained directly from the school. See a list of schools requiring SIFs.

Children ‘in care’ or ‘looked after’ by a local authority 

You should provide a supporting letter from the social worker to confirm:

  • children looked after by the local authority,
  • previously looked after children who have left care under a special arrangement (residence) or special guardianship order,
  • or those adopted from local authority care.

Children with a formal kinship care arrangement

Kinship care includes children who may be:

  • living in informal arrangements made by their birth parents with a close relative, or by default, for example because their birth parent has died or abandoned them
  • living with private foster carers looked after by the local authority and placed with kinship foster carers who will need to be approved as foster carers on a "Child Arrangement Order" or "Special Guardianship Order" granted by the court in arrangements which are due to lead to adoption by a relative or friend
  • living with testamentary guardians when a parent has died.

We need to see written evidence of the arrangement that applies. Evidence includes a:

  • will or
  • court order or
  • statutory declaration.


Guardianship only applies if you can prove that you have full care of the child and their normal, permanent home is with you.

It does not apply when picking up children to and from school, or looking after them until their parents collect them.

If you cannot prove guardianship, we will refer the application to social services while we process your form.

Informing you of the outcome

We will write to parents informing them of the outcome of their application by the notification date on the timetable.

The school will then make arrangements for your child to start.

If your child is not in school please contact the school as soon as you receive your offer letter.

If the school are unable to make contact with you to arrange your child’s admission, then the offer may be withdrawn.

If you have changed your mind about your application

If you have changed your mind about your application or have plans to move for example and do not wish to proceed please inform us in writing via email, giving the details of the new address/school.

Waiting list

If your application for a transfer is not successful, your child’s name will stay on the waiting list for that academic year. You will only be contacted again if it is possible to offer a place in future.

If we are able to offer a place at a school, then we will automatically remove your child’s name from the waiting lists of any other preferred school(s). However, if you wish to make a further application to transfer during the same academic year then you should wait for a school term before doing so.

Your application is only valid for the school year that you submit it in. If you want your child to stay on the waiting list for the following year you have to submit a new application in line with our published timetable.

Vacancy information

All Tower Hamlets schools are required to regularly update the School Admission Service with their vacancy information. 

You should contact the Admissions Service to get information and advice about schools with vacancies.

The primary and secondary admission booklets have information about all schools in Tower Hamlets.

If an offer cannot be made at a preferred school

All offers for available school places are made in line with the published admissions criteria. School admissions criteria 2024/25 laces in schools are offered to children based on our admission criteria and not on the date we received your form.

If your child doesn’t have a school place

If your child doesn’t have a school place and there are no places at your preferred school/s we will offer a place at the nearest school with a vacancy. Your child should attend the school that has been offered. However, if you have put alternative arrangements in place you must inform us of this in writing via email.

Appeal a decision

You can  appeal against any decision not to offer your child a place at school (but not nursery).

Support with travel to and from school

Children under 5 travel free on public transport and children between 5-17 years old are entitled to free travel on buses

However, if travel assistance is required outside of the free travel arrangements, you can make an application for travel assistance.

Fair Access protocol (FAP)

A fair access protocol is there to ensure that children without a school place, especially the most vulnerable, are offered a place at an appropriate school as quickly as possible.

If your child is on roll at a school, and you think your application should be considered under FAP, you must discuss this with your current school.

The government has issued non-statutory guidance on Fair Access which schools, governors and local authorities should follow.

Overseas nationals

Overseas nationals entering the UK who wish to apply for a state-funded school place must check to ensure they have either a right of abode or the conditions of their immigration status allow them to access a state-funded school.

For more information please visit GOV school applications from overseas children page.

Contact the Admissions service 

By email

We normally respond to emails within 5 working days. It may take longer during busy periods.

Please do not email us about the status of your application until the relevant time has passed. 

You can contact the admissions service by email at

By telephone

Tel: 020 7364 5006

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