Local Education Authorities

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Local Education Authorities

There are 33 LEAs in London, and each London borough, including the Corporation of London, has an LEA.  The LEAs are responsible for running all central services such as school transport and facilities for children with special needs, as well as administering admissions for those schools that come directly under their control.

You do not have to choose a school in the borough in which you live.  State schools are paid by the number of pupils that they admit regardless of where the pupils live.  A legal ruling in 1989, known as the Greenwich judgement, established the right of parents to apply to any school they want.  In London, where the sheer density of population means that local authorities are close to one another, it is common for parents to send their children to a school outside the borough where they live.  Around 14 percent of children in London travel every day to schools outside their home borough.

The right to apply to any school you choose is not the same as a right to a place.  Legally only your own borough has a duty to find a school place for your child.  Otherwise, it is up to you to find a school and persuade the relevant admissions authority that your child meets the admission criteria.  These criteria must, as the law states, be clear, objective, and published openly.

The inner-London LEAs are —

The Corporation of London, Camden, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, and Westminster.

The outer-London LEAs are —

Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston-upon-Thames, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond-upon-Thames, Sutton, and Waltham Forest.

The London-wide admissions process

Since 2005, a London-wide admissions system has been implemented to improve the way that the state secondary transfer process is administered, therefore making it easier for parents and carers. The ‘Pan-London coordinated admissions’ system works as follows —

  • To apply to most state secondary schools you need to complete only one application (the Common Application Form ‘CAF’), even when applying for schools in different London boroughs or nearby boroughs (eg Dartford, Kent).  You must send the CAF application to the borough LEA where you live, either by post or enter it on-line . 
  • However, some state schools (typically selective and voluntary-aided) also require a supplementary application form (or Supplementary Information Form ‘SIF’) to be submitted in addition to the CAF.  These SIF forms are available from the school itself or from the LEA where the school is.  The SIF must be returned to the school or its LEA as appropriate.  Please be sure to refer to the application procedures for your chosen schools to make sure you comply correctly.
  • The closing date for CAF and SIF applications is usually during the October of the year before planned entry to secondary school.  Please note the arrangements for selective (Grammar) schools in Bexley and Dartford where the closing date for applications will be in July.
  • You can apply to up to six state schools on the CAF.  If there are vacancies in one of your preferred state schools, you will usually be offered one of them.  This will be from the highest preferred state school on your list, which has most vacancies.
  • All parents & carers are notified at the same time, of the outcome of their application.
  • You must apply direct to independent (private) schools.  These are not covered by the CAF. Refer to the school website (see our Fact File) for its particular application procedure.