Delayed entry for summer born children

Parents of children who have been offered a place in a reception class at age 4+ have always been able to defer that place until later in that academic year.

Some children who are born between 1 April to 31 August may benefit delaying their start in reception class if parents feel they will be better ready for school.

Department for Education (DfE) gives guidance about school admissions for children born in the summer.

The information below considers the issues and how to go about this in practical terms.

A summer born child is one whose birthday in within the range 1 April to 31 August inclusive.

Request for delayed entry decisions

The admission authority for the school must make the decision as to whether they are prepared to allow an application for a delayed entry into the reception year. The admission authority for a community or a voluntary controlled school is the local authority, for a foundation or voluntary aided school it is the governing body and for an academy or free school it is the academy trust.

What you need to do to make a request for delayed entry

Parents should contact the admission authority for the school or schools that they would like their child to attend in good time prior to the closing date (15 January) for the round when their child would normally start in reception (1 September when their child is aged 4+).

Parents will need to provide the detailed reasons for their request on this delayed admission request form (Word) including any supporting evidence from relevant professionals to enable their request to be given proper consideration. Please send the completed form back to:

Factors that may be taken into account when considering the request

Some of the factors to consider are:

  • The needs of the child and the possible impact on them if they are not allowed a delayed entry of entering Year 1 without having first attended the reception class
  • In the case of children born prematurely, the fact that they may have naturally fallen into the lower age group if they had been born on their expected date of birth
  • Whether delayed social, emotional or physical development is adversely affecting their readiness for school
  • Relevant research into the outcomes of summer born and premature children

What do I need to do if a school agrees to a delayed entry application?

Where an admission authority agrees to a delayed entry application the parent will be able to apply in the following year when their child is 5+ on 1 September. Any agreement to a delayed entry application does not guarantee a place at the preferred school(s), but the application will be considered alongside all other applications for a reception place. The application form is available here

What happens if we’re not allocated a place?

The local authority as part of the coordinated scheme will consider all of your preferences and allocated the highest preference available. If none are available we’ll nominate the nearest school with space available which is prepared to offer a delayed entry place.

What happens if a school does not agree to a delayed entry application?

Your child can still be considered for a Reception place for their current year for admission, provided the admission application is received before the application deadline (15 January), otherwise this will be treated alongside other late applications.

Late applications

Late applications are considered after those received on time. This is why it is important for your request for delayed entry to be made before the closing date for applications for the normal admissions round, so that you can then choose to apply in your child’s admissions round if your request for delayed entry is not upheld before the closing date.

Alternatively you can apply at a later stage, either as a late application for Reception or you can re-apply during the following year for your child to attend a school in Year 1 but this will depend on the availability of spaces in the Year 1 cohort. As many Reception classes are over-subscribed the availability of Year 1 places will be more limited.

How can my child access education if they have a delayed entry?

Your child will still be able to attend a nursery or pre-school in the usual way.

Transferring to middle, secondary or upper school

Ideally, your child will be educated within the year group they have been taught in at lower/primary/middle school, so your request for delayed entry may have to be reassessed when it comes for your child’s birth date year group to transfer to middle/secondary/upper school.

The local authority recommends that when your child’s birth date year group are due to transfer, you contact the headteacher(s) of the school(s) that you are hoping your child will attend, and request delayed entry in writing for your child to continue to be educated in the delayed entry year group. This means contacting the schools a year before your child is due to transfer.

The admission authority of the middle/secondary/upper school must consider your request and must take into account your child has been educated in a different year group to that point and, unless there are sound educational reasons for doing otherwise, the assumption should be that your child remains outside of their normal year group.

There may be a need to complete a delayed request form, please contact the School Admissions Service for advice.