Starting school in 2018

Starting school in 2018

Children born between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014 should apply for a reception year place in the starting school 2018 round.

Schools must offer your child a full time place in September following your child’s fourth birthday if that is your wish. However, your child does not have to attend school full time until he or she is of statutory age.

The closing date for applications is Monday, 15 January 2018. Applications received from Tuesday, 16 January are deemed late.

Deferred entry

Children are normally admitted to school in the September following their fourth birthday, which is at the start of reception year. However, they do not have to start school until they reach statutory school age, which is the term after their fifth birthday (see below):

  • children born between 1 September 2013 and 31 December 2013 are of statutory school age in the Spring term (January 2019) and therefore need to be attending school full time from this date
  • children born between 1 January 2014 and 31 March 2014 are of statutory school age in the Summer term (April 2019) and therefore need to be attending school full time from this date
  • children born between 1 April 2014 and 31 August 2014 are of statutory school age in Autumn term (September 2019 - start of Year 1) and therefore need to be attending school full time from this date

Even if you want to defer the school place, you must still apply at the normal time of admission. To defer your child’s place until they are of statutory school age please put this in writing to the head teacher once a place has been offered. If the place offered has not been taken up by the beginning of the summer term, then it will be withdrawn and offered to another child if necessary.

Parents / carers of children who are not statutory school age until the summer term, and choose to start them at school in autumn 2019 (the start of Year 1) will have to make an in-year application after the May half term 2019 for a year 1 place for September. Places are not reserved for this situation, and therefore you may find there is not a place available for your child at your preferred school.

Delayed admission for summer born children

Parents / carers of children who are summer born (i.e. 1 April to 31 August) can also request that their child is admitted to Reception Year a year later. However, parents / carers do not have the right to insist that their child is admitted to a particular age group. A decision will be made by the admission authority for the school.

In general, children will normally be educated in their normal age group, with the curriculum differentiated as appropriate, and requests for children to be educated out of their normal age group in certain circumstances will only be agreed.

The Department for Education has issued non-statutory guidance (link opens in new window) which parents / carers should read if considering requesting their child’s admission is delayed.

Admission authorities must consider each request based on the individual circumstances of the case however there is no legal requirement for an admission authority to grant the request if they do not believe it is in the child’s best interests.

Where a parent has more than one preferred school in their application, the relevant admission authorities will each consider the request and make their decision individually. There is no guarantee that all will come to the same decision.

What happens next?

If the request is granted, the parent will need to make an application, as part of next year’s normal admission round and this will be processed within the normal allocation process. A place cannot be guaranteed at a particular school and in the case of oversubscription, places are offered in accordance with the school’s oversubscription criteria. Therefore requesting a delayed admission is to delay a child’s application for a year rather than an offer of a school place. If a place cannot be offered at the preferred school which has agreed to the delayed admission as they are oversubscribed the School Admissions Team will advise of the next steps. This could result in your child being offered a place at another school in your child’s normal year group.

If you have any queries regarding delayed admission then contact the Senior Admissions Officer for Starting School in the School Admissions Team on 0300 300 8037 or

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