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 2023 - children's dates of birth 1 September 2018 to 31 August 2019
- September 2024 - children's dates of birth 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020
- September 2025 - children's dates of birth 01 September 2020 to 31 August 2021
- September 2026 - children's dates of birth 01 September 2021 to 31 August 2022
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 into Reception
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 in line with guidance provided for parents by the Department for Education.
Summer-born children (dates of birth between 1 April and 31 August)
Parents of summer born children who choose not to send their child to school until they have reached compulsory school age have the right to apply for admission into reception a year later. Guidance from the Department for Education suggests that it is good practice for a parent to submit an application for reception at the usual time and withdraw the request at a later date if it is agreed by the relevant admissions authority that the child may be admitting to reception the following year.
For community and voluntary controlled schools any such requests will be considered by the Local Authority in conjunction with the headteacher at the preferred school(s). 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.
Please note: that a space cannot be kept available in the usual chronological age group for a whole academic year if you choose not to enrol your child at the normal age of entry. Any such applications need to be made to the relevant admitting authority supported by information that outlines why the child should be admitted into reception rather than year 1. Please see advice for parents from the Department for Education.
Transfer to junior, middle or secondary school - When considering deferred entry to reception, parents need to be aware that there is no automatic right of admission to a deferred year group on transition to junior, middle or secondary school. An application complete with reasons why your child should not be admitted to their chronological age group will need to be submitted, and the same process applies as outlined above.
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 directly explains the reasons for the request. This may include information such as professional evidence as to why it is considered to be in the child's best interests and why you consider an exception should be made in the case of the child. In the case of community and voluntary controlled schools, decisions will be made by the Local Authority who will take into account the circumstances of the case and views of the headteacher of the school concerned. Parents do not have the right to insist that their child is admitted to a particular year group or a right to an admission appeal should any such request be refused.