We will probably be living in Lambeth where local schools are generally awful - those which aren't have a 200 metre catchment area, which we don't fall into, or will only take practising Catholics (which we aren't). Would quite like to send DDs to school in (vastly better) Westminster, but how difficult is this likely to be?
Primary or secondary? For primary you just fill in the application form for Westminster but of course you have to fulfil the same criteria as everyone else (so for oversubscribed schools they usually go by siblings and then shortest distance to the school, sometimes taking into account whether there is a nearer school). So if you are close to the edge of the borough you might have a chance, but otherwise you would only get into an undersubscribed school.
Secondary, I believe there is now one applications process covering all boroughs, but again you have to pay attention as to what the selection criteria of each school is.
Primary, LadyMuck. We are unlikely to go back to the UK until next August. DD1 will be going into year 3 and DD2 into year 1. Lambeth have unhelpfully said that they cannot consider any application until we are actually living there and may not allocate DDs a school place until the day before school starts. Moving house looks a better option.
For secondary schools, if you're towards the edge of a borough it shouldn't be too difficult to get into a school in an adjoining borough if you're close to it IYKWIM, because geographically you may be closer than other people actually in the same borough as the school but over the other side of it, so further away.
Ooh, good idea, Fauve. Two or three of the schools I am interested in say they have a number of children from outside the borough, whose parents work in Westminster, so if DH gets a job there, that might work.
We live in Lambeth and DSs go to school in Croydon. We didn't have any problems with it but it is a church school that we qualify for, so we applied directly to the school and not through the LEA. I would speak directly to the school you are looking at and find out firstly if you fulfill their entry criteria, and secondly if they will have any places. They might be able to help you from their end.