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.


The Department for Education has updated its guidance on the admission of summer born children. 

Advice and guidence for parents is available here: