Admission to reception: deferring entry

Learn about parents' rights to delay when their child starts school and what's involved in the process for summer-born children.

Last reviewed on 16 August 2023
School types: AllSchool phases: PrimaryRef: 8955
  1. In a nutshell 
  2. Deferring until the next academic year 

In a nutshell 

Children are not required to attend school (or other suitable education) full-time until the first day of the school term after they turn 5. They're entitled to a full-time place from the September following their 4th birthday.

Parents can decide to delay the date their child starts full-time education to later on in the school year. But, a child that turns 5 between:

  • 1 September and 31 December must be in school from the beginning of the spring term 
  • 1 January and 31 March must be in school from the start of the summer term
  • 1 April and 31 August (summer-born) must be in school from the start of the autumn term 

This is outlined in paragraphs 2.17 and 2.18 of the School Admissions Code. This code applies to maintained schools and academies (except maintained special schools and special academies). 

For summer-born children, if parents delay their child's start date