Your child is entitled to a school place in the September after their fourth birthday. Children must start school in the term (January, Easter or September) after their fifth birthday. It might be helpful to see our term dates and holidays page.
Your child is entitled to a part-time or full-time place at school in the September after their fourth birthday. Children must not attend part-time after they reach compulsory school age. If your child attends school part-time you cannot claim early years funding.
Why some children start school on different dates and sometimes part-time
Some schools operate different start dates for children entering reception classes to help them settle into school smoothly. This is known as ‘staggered entry’.
Schools will produce a clear statement about their September entry arrangements, and organise visits and taster sessions for children and parents, so that they can start school life in a positive way and parents can make arrangements for their care over the staggered entry period.
Parents do, however, have the right to request a full-time place for their child from the September after their fourth birthday.
If your child was born between 1 September and 31 March, you have a legal right to put off admission to reception until the start of the term after their fifth birthday (January or Easter).
If your child was born between 1 April and 31 August you can also put off their entry until January or Easter, or to the next September with an in-year application for a year 1 place. This must only be done less half a term before it is required, following the in-year admissions process.
When you decide whether or not to apply for deferred entry, you should think about any possible benefits of keeping your child in the early years setting. And you should balance these against the possible difficulties of your child joining an established group of children in a school reception class part way through the school year.
If you wish to put off your child’s entry when you are offered a school place, you must discuss their start date with the school.
Can my child start school a year later because they were born in the summer?
If your child was born between 1 April and 31 August you can ask for them to start reception a year later. This is called delayed admission.
This is an important decision and there are lots of things you need to think about. Please make sure you read this important information carefully. It includes details about how to apply.
Can my child start school a year early?
You can ask for your child to start reception a year early by filling out the acceleration application form in the downloads section. Decisions will be made by the admission authority of the school or academy and will be based on the circumstances of the case and in the best interests of the child concerned.
My child has already been delayed or accelerated and will be due to transfer to the next phase of education. How do I request that this continues?
Please fill out the delayed admission or acceleration application form in the downloads section and return to the Local Authority prior to the closing deadline for school place applications.