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Early, delayed or deferred entries

Compulsory school age

Your child will usually start full-time in a reception class in the September prior to their fifth birthday.

  • September 2020 - children's dates of birth 1 September 2015 to 31 August 2016.
  • September 2021 - children's dates of birth 1 September 2016 to 31 August 2017.
  • September 2022 - children's dates of birth 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018

Reception Class forms part of a child's entitlement to the "Early Years Foundation Stage".

Children are not classed as compulsory school age until the term after their fifth birthday and therefore legally do not have to be in receipt of full time education until this time.

Deferred entry

Parents can request that their child attends school part-time until they reach compulsory school age, or that the date their child is admitted to school is deferred until later in the same academic year.

Where parents wish to apply for a deferral until later in the same academic year then they are encouraged to discuss their request with the headteacher of the requested or allocated school.

Summer-born children (dates of birth between 1 April and 31 August)

Parents who choose not to send their child to school until they have reached compulsory school age, where this would ordinarily mean entry into Year 1, have the right to apply for admission into Reception.

Please note: that a space cannot be kept available in the correct chronological age group for a year if you choose not to admit your child at the normal age of entry. Any such application will need to be made in line with the closing date for Reception admissions for the appropriate year (usually 15 January preceding admission) supported by information that outlines why the child should not be admitted into Year 1, alongside children within the correct chronological year group.

For community and voluntary controlled schools this request will be considered by the Local Authority in conjunction with the headteacher at the preferred school. For academies, foundation and voluntary aided schools the decision will be taken by the school trustees or governing body who is the responsible admitting authority for this type of school.

Transfer to junior/middle/secondary/high school - When considering deferred entry, parents need to be aware that there is no automatic right of admission to a deferred year group on transition to junior/middle/secondary/high school. An application complete with reasons why your child should not be admitted to their chronological age group would need to be submitted, and the same process applies as with application for reception.

For further information please view the DfE's advice on admission of summer born children.

Early admission / delayed transfer to school (admission outside of the normal age group)

Parents wishing to apply for their child’s early admission to school will need to make an application alongside children applying at the normal age of entry, with supportive evidence as to why an exception should be made in the case of their child. In the case of community or voluntary controlled schools, only in very exceptional circumstances will applications for admission earlier than the normal age of entry be agreed by the Local Authority.

Where early admission is requested to a community or voluntary controlled school, the application should be sent to the School Admissions and Transport Service in the first instance who will make the decision in conjunction with the headteacher at the preferred school.

Where the school is an academy, voluntary aided or foundation in status, the application will be considered by the school trustees or governing body who is the responsible admitting authority for this type of school.

Where parents wish their child to remain at their present school for a further year rather than transfer to the next phase of their education then they will need to make an application to the headteacher via the Local Authority.

Parents wishing to make an in-year application for a year group outside of their child's normal age group will need to make an application to the school which should explain why it is in the child’s best interest. This may include information such as professional evidence as to why this is the case and why an exception should be made in the case of the child. A decision as to whether this is an appropriate course of action will be made by the Local Authority who will take into account the circumstances of the case and views of the headteacher of the community or voluntary controlled school concerned. Parents do not have the right to insist that their child is admitted to a particular year group.

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