This page is for parents who have children turning 5 years old between 1 April and 31 August, and are considering delaying their child’s entry to reception year.

The legal age for children starting school is 5. Children born between April and August can start in September before they turn 5. Once a child has a school place, there are a few options parents can discuss with the school, such as:

  • starting school on a part time basis initially
  • starting later in the academic year – deferred start

If you want to delay entry until the following September – you can ask for your child to be admitted into a Reception class instead of Year 1. Please be aware there is no legal duty for the school to agree to this. You should visit and/or discuss with the school and speak to staff before submitting a “Request for delayed entry into Year R” form. There may be different reasons why a delayed entry may not be the best option for your child and experienced school staff can help with advice. Starting part-time or a bit later in the academic year may be a better option for your child; school staff can advise on this. You should also speak to any relevant professionals involved with your child – including nursery staff, health visitors, therapists etc. to get supporting evidence. This will help the admissions authority in making a decision. If a child is undergoing assessment for an Education and Health Care Plan (or has one) you should also speak to the Special Educational Needs team.

You will need to fill out a “Request for delayed entry into Year R” form. To request the form:

You must return the completed form as well as the starting school application form by 15 January.

Delayed Entry requests and decision information

Requests are considered by different admissions authorities, depending on the school you have applied for.

  • If request for delay entry for Year R is approved, the starting school application/offer of place will be withdrawn. Parents will have to submit a new starting school application the following year. Please note, an agreement to delay entry doesn’t mean a guaranteed place at the school the following year.
  • If the decision is made not to delay entry, the starting school application will continue to be processed. Parents can then discuss any concerns they have with the allocated school. However, if parents still prefer their child to start school later, they’ll have to re-apply for year 1 place for the following September.

Future Consequences

  • If a child has to move schools – the decision to keep the child in a younger age group has to be made again by the admission authority of the schools being applied for. The new admissions authority may decide that it’s in the child’s best interests to return to their normal year group.
  • GCSEs – A child working a year below their chronological year group would reach statutory school leaving age in June in Year 10. They could decide to leave school at that point and there would be no legal requirement for them to continue to attend and complete GCSE’s.
  • Free transport – If a child is eligible for free home to school transport, this will stop when they reach statutory school leaving age even if they are still completing GCSE’s.
  • Post 16 entitlement – Where a young person is educated in a younger year group they may find their Post 16 entitlement is reduced from 3 to 2 years.


Further guidance from the Department for Education can be found at on the national government website