Families moving to Leeds with children between the ages of five and 16 will need to find out about the UK education system and plan where they will go to school.

Finding a school 

All children must go to school between the ages of five and 16 in the UK. Once your child has arrived in Leeds, contact Leeds City Council to find out how to apply for a free school place. It's not possible to apply for a school place before you arrive in the UK. Some schools will accept children from the age of four. If your child is aged between 16 and 19, they can attend a local adult education centre or college, but may have to pay fees.

State schools

The UK state school system is divided into three types of school:
  • Nursery school - for children aged between three and five years of age
  • Primary school - for children aged between four-five and 11 years of age
  • Secondary school - for children aged between 11 and 16 years of age

Your children will be allocated a school near to where you live, so think about this when you're looking for your accommodation. Not all state schools are of the same standard.

The Leeds City Council website contains information about state schools in Leeds and links to each school’s website. There may be many schools in the area in which you live. To find nearby schools you can view the Leeds City Council website to find a primary school or a secondary school.

Independent schools

In the UK, schools that charge fees can be called ‘independent’, ‘private’ or ‘public’. The Independent Schools Council (ISC) lists all schools in the country that charge fees.

School holidays

The academic year for state primary and secondary schools runs from early September to late July. The academic year is broken into three terms. Half way through each term there is a holiday of one week and there are longer holidays at Christmas, Easter and during the summer. Term dates for schools are available on the Schools Calendar section of the Leeds City Council website. Be sure to make a note of the dates so that you can arrange extra childcare if required.

Taking children out of school

In the UK, parents don't have the automatic right to take their children out of school during term time. Parents can be prosecuted if their children fail to attend school. Once your child is registered with a primary or secondary school, the school will expect that child to attend throughout the term.

If you need to take your child out of school, for example if you need to travel abroad, you should discuss this with the school as soon as possible.

If your child is unwell or is unable to attend school for another reason, you should contact the school as soon as possible either by telephone or by going to the school in person. If you're unhappy about the way your child is being schooled, you should discuss this with the head teacher and then the Chairperson of the school’s board of governors.

Pre- and after-school clubs

Some schools offer clubs before and after school to help parents who have to drop their children off early or collect them late. Ask your child’s school about pre- and after-school clubs.