Education and training

Children's education

Education in the UK is free for children aged 3 to 18 years. Between the ages of 5 and 16 years children must have an education, and education or training between 16 and 18. Find out more about school leaving ages.

  • pre-school/nursery:  0 to -4 years old
  • primary school:  4 to 11 years old
  • secondary school:  11 to 16 years old
  • post 16 education and training: you must be in education, training or an apprenticeship until you are 18

It is your responsibility to make sure your children are enrolled at a school. You can do this by contacting the head teacher at your local school or by contacting your local authority.

In Croydon, children can start school the September after their fourth birthday. You need to apply the September after their third birthday.

Children can go to secondary school the September after their eleventh birthday. You need to apply the September after their tenth birthday.

Children can leave school the June after their sixteenth birthday, but they can also continue their education for free until they are 18.

For information on nursery, primary schools, secondary schools and colleges you can call 020 8726 6400, extension 61884. Alternatively you can visit the following websites:

A full directory of schools and colleges in Croydon is available below to help you to find your nearest state primary school, state secondary school or college.

Children's centres

Children's centres can provide information and support for families with children under 5. From the term after your child's third birthday you are entitled to 15 hours of free early years education in either a nursery class pre school or day nursery.

To find your local children's centre or for information about your free entitlement, call the Family Information Service on 0845 11 11 100 or 020 8686 6383.

Further services

You may also find the following services helpful:

  • E-Admissions - the online school admissions service
  • The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) - a national charity that provides independent advice on education, including information on admissions and appeals. Call 0808 800 5793
  • Ofsted - the government agency responsible for inspecting and providing reports on schools. Call 0300 123 1231
  • - the government website that provides information about all public services, including schools
  • Department for Education - the government website for children, schools and families. It includes information on school performance.

Adult education and training

You can find more information on adult education courses on the Learndirect website or on 0800 100 901.

Croydon Adult Learning and Training (CALAT) offers over 1500 part time courses to help people learn new skills. For more information visit the CALAT website or call 020 8726 7777.

Croydon College and John Ruskin College also have courses for adults. Their contact details are provided below: