Introduction

Your choices when your child starts school and how to ask for them to start or transfer schools a year early or a year late.

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.

Deferred entry

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.