Deferring school entry

Deferring school entry allows a child to begin school at a later date than September but joining their own age peer group.

This could mean anything from missing one term to missing the whole of the reception (first) year.

Delaying school entry

Delaying school entry is defined as holding back a child from joining their own age peer group and starting school a year later.

This means the child will chronologically be the oldest in the class. Only ‘Summer Born’ children can delay school entry.

Choosing the best option

It is very important for you to assess your child’s capability in conjunction with your child’s early years setting, the Local Authority, health and/or educational professionals when deciding whether or not to request deferred or delayed entry to the reception class.

There are often subtle difficulties that need to be assessed, and there are both positives and negatives to be evaluated. 

Flexible school attendance

If you are unsure whether deferring or delaying school entry is right for your child, you may want to consider requesting to have some flexibility when your child begins in reception class.

This could include attending school on a part-time basis, or a staggered approach, which would involve beginning with part-time hours and slowly working towards a full day. 

Contact your allocated school to discuss this option. If the school is happy with this arrangement, it would be appropriate to request that this introduction to school be monitored, and your child’s needs be continually assessed.

Points to consider

  • The needs of the child and the possible impact of them entering the year 1 class without having first attended the reception class
  • In the case of children born prematurely, the fact that they may have naturally been born 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
  • Parents should research the outcomes of summer born and premature children


Applying for deferred school entry

Parents who wish to apply for deferred school entry for their child need to contact their child's school.

Applying for delayed school entry

Parents who wish to apply to delay their child's school entry need to contact the Partnerships and Placements team.