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Early Registration for nurseries and schools

Many families may have heard rumours about how early to register their new-born child. Should they do so before birth? Do they have to wait until after the baby is born? Is it just nurseries they need to register early with, or is it schools as well?


The Education Consultancy works with a good number of families who are keen to consider their options during pregnancy, so that they know where and when to register their new child.



When referring to registration, this means the completion of a form, potentially on a school or nursery’s website, and the payment of a fee. This registration does not guarantee a place, but it does create awareness with the institution that a family are interested in a place. The requirements of the registration form are usually quite simple in terms of name, date of birth, date the family would be seeking a place, home address and contact details. This is a declaration to the school or nursery from the family that the information is correct, thus why third parties should not complete the registration on behalf of a family.


Understanding how the British system works is a key to helping families decide which schools and nurseries to register with. Some families will have specific senior schools they are aiming towards and working a strategy backwards helps to maximise chances towards those schools, whether they are Eton, Wycombe Abbey, St. Paul’s Girls’ School or Westminster School. There is a strong element of ‘feed’ in the British system, with preparatory schools [which generally go from the age of 4 to 11 or 13] posting their results on where their pupils have achieved places, in order for families to understand the strength of their academic feed.


Many families tend to look for a nursery in close proximity to their home, ideally in walking distance, but it is worthwhile considering the prep school you might be looking towards, as the prep school might have a greater flow from that nursery and, in some cases in London, the prep school might have assessments for entry into the Reception class [at the age of 4] and the nursery might prepare their pupils for those assessments. This can be important from the angle of a child settling in more easily into their school, as their friends from nursery might have joined that school as well. In addition, families do socialise through the nursery, thus they might have continuity of friends, along with their children.



Schools such as Wetherby and Pembridge Hall in Notting Hill do require families to register their children as early as possible, ideally on the day of birth, to maximise a family’s chance of a place. The way to consider it is that in the UK we do like queuing and registering as early as possible is joining that queue, potentially at the front. Many schools will not permit a registration during pregnancy, thus why there is such a focus on the day of birth. Some nurseries will permit registration during pregnancy, particularly the daycare nurseries which can start from a child being six months old.


Considering your school and nursery options as early as possible is always worthwhile. London tends to require earlier registration due to the density of population and the resulting demand for places. Some schools even have deadlines on registration, such as The Hall in Hampstead requiring families to have registered their son by his first birthday. In the countryside there is less of an impetus to register so soon after birth, but registering early does avoid future disappointment.

Richard Northey runs the Education Consultancy. Homebodies works closely with Richard, and we highly recommend his services.

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