FREE Child Travel

Children between the ages of 5 and 10 need a Zip Oyster Photocard Web Page5-10 Zip Oyster Photocard if they want to travel free on London Tube Trains, Buses and DLR Trains without an adult accompanying them.

Apply For PhotocardTFL Oyster Photocard

Children aged over 10 years and 11 months, but under 16 years old on 31st August, can apply for an Zip Oyster Photocard Web Page11-15 Zip Oyster Photocard to travel free on London Buses and Trams. They also get child rates on London Tube Trains, DLR and most National Rail services in London.

How To Register A Child With An Infant (Primary) School

Required ID - Age Groups - School Types - National Curriculum

If you are settling down in England (UK) with a child already or will be having a child during your stay, you could send it to a Private Nursery (Kindergaten) for one year, at the age of 2 years old, whereby you might be able to get help with payment via government (state) benefits such as Child Tax Credit. And when your child reaches the age of 3, or is already between the ages of 3 and 4 when it arrives in England (UK), you can apply for a place in a FREE Nursery; paid for by your local borough council (the government).

Just before your child reaches 5 years old you should register it for a place in a FREE Infant (Reception) School, paid for by your local borough council (the government); if your child's nursery has not helped you with the registration process already. Ideally, you should apply about 4-6 months before your child turns 5 years old, if not before, because school places will be difficult to find after that.

Example: If your child was born between 1st September 2012 and 31st August 2013, they can start a government FREE Infant (Reception) School in September 2017. However, you would register them in June 2016 for example to be, almost, certain of getting them a place in your preferred Infant (Reception) School. If your child is already 5 years old but no more than 6¼ years old when it arrives in England (UK), you might have to wait 2 or 3 months before your child is found an Infant (Reception) School place.


Full time education is compulsory by law, but absolutely FREE, for all children between the ages of 5 and 16 in England (UK) and up to the age of 18 if the child was born after 1st September 1997.

Your child will attend Infant (Reception) School between the ages of 5 and 7 years old, before attending Junior (Primary) School between the ages of 7 and 11 years old. From 11 to 16 (or 16½) years old your child will then attend Senior (Secondary) School before moving onto College (16/16½ to 18/18½ years old) and finally University (if their grades are high enough).

In some areas, in some schools, they might start your child in September of the year they become 5 years old regardless if they are almost 5 years old, exactly 5 years old or just over 5 years old. With the same token: In some areas, in some schools, they start the child on the next September, next December or next March following their fifth birthday. So it is worth checking with the school's and borough council's policy. The same applies when they first arrive in England (UK). They will have to wait until the next official starting month.


If you are new to England (UK), you will find the older generation refer to school names (and the Types of school in England (UK) Web Pagetypes of school) as Junior School and Senior School for example whereas the modern generation will say Primary School and Secondary School; and Academy and Foundation too.

It is the same with exams. The older generation refer to the old system of O'Level (Ordinary Level), GCE (General Certificate of Education) and A-Level (Advanced Level / General Certificate of Education - Advanced Level) which have since been combined and referred to as GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education). For many people these changes have become confusing. Hence why I have clarified things in the list below.

School Names Age Attending Key Stages Forms Tests / Exams
Nursery 2, 3 or 4 Reception Class
Infant (Reception) 5 or 6 1 1st–2nd Form Infants Maths and English
Junior (Primary) 7, 8, 9 or 10 2 1st–4th Form Juniors English, Maths and Science
Senior (Secondary) 11, 12 or 13 3 1st–3rd Form Secondary English, Maths and Science
Senior (Secondary) 14 or 15 4 4th–5th Form Secondary GCSEs / FE
College (Secondary) 16 (1st Year) 6th Form Secondary A S Levels, BTEC
College (Secondary) 17 (2nd Year) 6th Form Secondary A-Levels, NVQs, Diplomas, Etc
University 18 or after HE (BTEC, MSCE, Ph.D, Etc)

Abbreviations: FE - Further Education. HE - Higher Education.


During a child's Junior (Primary) School (1st–4th Form Juniors) and Senior (Secondary) School (1st–5th Form Secondary) years they will take SATs (Standard Assessment Tests) to assess their progress over those school years. Among other things, this gives the government an indication of how well the National Curriculum Web PageNational Curriculum is being taught, which schools in certain areas are under-performing and which schools are performing well.

With that information the government sets its achievement targets for schools, which give parents a guideline as to where they would like to send their children for education. In other words, which are the best schools.


After an assessment of a school, via a visit from Offsted WebsiteOffsted (the government education body), if the school was seen as "Outstanding", it is given banners to put on its school fences/walls; stating words such as "This school is Outstanding for education and safety". However, anyone with a child will tell you this is just a "Government" facade.

Meaning: Offsted do not have the time to visit every child and test them individually for ability. Instead, they rely heavily on the teacher's performance and success (likeability) via questionnaires given to the parents throughout the year. Parents who A***lick the teachers give the teachers good performance ratings and lie about their school because they are frightened their child's education might suffer otherwise.

All 'local authority (borough council) run schools' teach the basic curriculum (reading, writing and spelling) as well as the national curriculum (English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education (PE) and Computing), religious education and sex education. There are other curriculums too, such as Geography, History, ADT (Arts, Design & Technology), Music and Foreign Language, but these are based on a child's age and whether or not it is in a particular school's teaching framework.


In many online application forms and government websites you will come across the wording: Local Authority. A Local Authority is basically the local government department responsible for managing the government Schools, Sports Centres, Libraries and so on in your particular borough (region). They are known as the Local Council, Borough Council or Local Borough Council.

A city like London is split into many boroughs (many regions) such as the Borough of Southwark, Borough of Lambeth and Borough of Westminster. Furthermore, each borough (region) is split into many districts/towns. The Borough of Southwark for example has districts/towns called Bermondsey, Camberwell, Dulwich, Kennington, Peckham and Walworth whereas the Borough of Westminster has districts/towns called Charing Cross, Chinatown, Hyde Park, Mayfair, Paddington, Pimlico and Victoria. Some boroughs even overlap each other.

When applying for a school place you should look for a school within your own borough, because getting a place in a school outside of your borough will be difficult. With an overlapped borough, you will either have a slight advantage (picking between boroughs) or a disadvantage (you might apply for a good school in a good borough, only to be offered a place in the worst school in the worst borough!).


As well as boroughs, you also need to consider Catchment Areas. A catchment area is similar to a postcode in that a catchment area maps the streets that surround a particular school. In other words, schools within a borough are split into zones known as Catchment Areas.

A school will often give priority, and a school place, to an application where the child lives within its catchment area (within its school zone). The closer the child lives to the school the better. This is something to consider if you are thinking of settling down in England (UK) with children.


To register a child for a place in a UK Infant (Reception) School the child must be aged between 5 and 6 Years Old and to register a child for a place in a UK Junior (Primary) School the child must be aged between 7 and 10 Years old. Either way, as the parent or guardian of that child you first need to contact as many schools as possible within your local area (neighbourhood) in order to enquire if they have a vacant school place for your child. Try and do this as early as possibly, before the school year starts in September, because school places are very difficult to secure.

Although the actual registration can be done by visiting a school, many schools will refer you to their online registration process (run by, who cover 33 London Local Authorities and Surrey County Council) in order to School Registration Web Pageset up an online account. This is done in two parts:

Part 1 involves giving your name, address, contact phone number and e-mail address whereby you need to confirm your e-mail address in order to receive your unique USO (username) and password. Once you have a username and password you can then login to your account and proceed by filling out a 'new child' School Registration application form (Part 2).

The 'new child' School Registration application form requires the following details about your child:

As you answer the questions on a particular page, it is important to SAVE that page (when filled out) before proceeding to the next page. When you have completed the whole 'new child' School Registration application form and saved it, you can then SUBMIT it. You will then be able to check its progress online and see if/when your child has been accepted a place in one or more of your preferred Infant (Reception) Schools. It is the same process when apply for a Junior (Primary) School or Senior (Secondary) School.

NOTE: If a child is coming from (already attends) nursery, the nursery staff should give you a local borough School Admissions Web PageSchool Admissions brochure that informs you about the online Infant (Reception) School registration process, as well as other useful school information, prior to your child finishing the nursery and applying for an Infant (Reception) School place.

NOTE: Not all schools notify you by letter of an application's progress (i.e. acceptance or denial), especially if you have applied online, as they expect you to check progress and offers online via your eAddmissions account. Furthermore, when an offer is available you are expected to accept it or decline it within 14 Days of receiving it.