Delaying a child's start to school

Starting school

A child must start full-time education the term after they turn 5 years, but have a right to attend from the September after they turn 4.

If you don't want your child to start school the term after they turn 4 year, there you have some options. Please watch the video below and read the further information.

Deferring a school place

You can choose to delay the start of your secured place until your child is statutory school age, but can only delay for a maximum of two terms, so children born between 1 April and 31 August need to start in April rather than the following September.

You may also choose to send our child part-time until they are statutory school age.

This is a parental right and you should inform your school of your plans. However, most schools prefer to have one in-take each year as the children settle into friendship groups and can all begin learning at the same stage. If you are considering this, we suggest you speak to the school once you have received your offer. You must apply for reception in the usual timescale.

Offsetting a school place

If your child is summer born (between 1 April and 31 August) you may be able to offset your child's school place; offsetting means your child will be taught a year behind their age-related year group.

Although parents have a right to ask the school to consider offsetting their child, the decision is made by the school and will only be agreed if they feel it is in the best interests of the child and they can accommodate it in the school. This means some schools may agree and other refuse the offset request and there is no right of appeal if the offset is refused.

You will have to ask each school that you want to move to whether they will also accept the offset, this applies both to in-year applications and when your child reaches an age-phase transfer point, for example from primary to secondary school. If they do not agree, your child may need to miss a year of education or attend a school which is not your preference.

Further information can be found on the Government's Summer-born children: school admission guidance page

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