Your child is entitled to a school place in 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 than 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.
Asking for your child to start school a year early or late
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.
You can also ask for your child to start reception a year early
This is an important decision and there are lots of things you need to think about. Please make sure you read carefully this important guidance for requesting delayed admission, before you apply.
Your child has already been delayed or accelerated and will be due to transfer to the next phase of education. How to request that this continues
Please fill out the online application form below.
Delayed transfer applications must be made the year before your child would be due to transfer school (for example, an application for a delayed transfer to secondary school must be made when your child is in year 5).
It is recommended that a school place application is also made by the deadline. You can then cancel this if the delayed transfer is agreed.