SERVICE families who missed the October state boarding school admission deadline can still apply for a place – and your application will be given a higher priority if you qualify for the MOD’s Continuity of Education Allowance.

Many state boarding schools set their admission numbers to cater for the changing needs of military families, meaning they can receive late applications after the deadline and even after March when they have allocated all day-school places.

Applications for year groups other than year 7 are accepted at any time of year before the start of year 10.

Paul Spencer Ellis, Chairman of the State Boarding Schools’ Association (SBSA) and headmaster at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Surrey, said: “Few counties have a state boarding school, so most local authorities have little or no experience of dealing with boarding admissions and parents are frequently advised that they cannot apply for a boarding place after October. That simply isn’t the case.

“Yes, our day school places fill up fast and boarding places at some of the specialist MOD and smaller schools go by March. However, the majority of larger state boarding schools will still have places until the summer because they aim to cater to the needs of parents, such as Service personnel, whose circumstances can change radically over the course of a year.”

How to apply

To apply for state boarding, you must complete an application through your local authority or the school’s local authority if you live abroad. A separate form must also be completed for the boarding school itself.

Once your application has been submitted, your child must undergo an assessment to determine their suitability for boarding, which will include a face-to-face or Skype interview and a boarding reference from their current school. There may also be an entrance exam.

It is also possible to apply for state sixth form boarding after the deadline. As many places are dependent on the pupil achieving certain grades, sixth forms that were full can suddenly have places available on results day.

For advice on applying for state boarding or for more information, visit

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