School ages and when to apply

In Northamptonshire, children are eligible to start school in the September following their 4th birthday i.e. the school place is available from the beginning of the school year in which the child has their 5th birthday.

If you are a parent or carer of a child living in Northamptonshire at the time of your application you can apply for a  primary school place at the following times:

Reception intake - infant and primary schools

In Northamptonshire all children are offered a full year in reception.

Primary schools run from reception to year 6 and take new children into reception. Infant schools run from reception to year 2 and take new children in to reception.

If your child turns 4 between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017, you should apply for their reception place by 15 January 2017. After this date you will need to make a late application.

Can I defer my child starting school?

Legally, children are required to start their compulsory education from the beginning of the term following their 5th birthday. This is based on a 3-term year with terms starting in:

  • September
  • January
  • April (after Easter)

There are exceptions for summer-born children. If your child was born in the summer and you're thinking of deferring their admission by a full school year please see our guidance on summer born deferrals.

Year 3 intake - junior schools

All infant schools have a linked junior school and children attending the infant school will have some priority within the oversubscription criteria for that school.

If your child is in year 2 of an infant school and turns 7 between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017, you should apply for a junior school place by 15 January 2017. After this date you will need to make a late application.

Year 5 intake - middle schools

There are no longer any middle schools in Northamptonshire. However, your child may be living in Northamptonshire and be attending a lower school in another county. If this is the case, you can apply for a middle school place outside of Northamptonshire for your child if they have their 9th birthday between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017 and are in their last year (year 4) at a lower school outside of Northamptonshire.

You should apply for a middle school place by 15 January 2017. After this date you will need to make a late application.

How to apply for a school place

Applying for a school place outside the normal entry times

Any applications to move schools outside of the school's normal entry year will be processed as in-year applications.

Please note that we do not allocate an in-year school place more than a month in advance of the date the place is required. Therefore, applications from children wanting a year 3 or 5 place at a primary school (rather than a junior or middle school) will be considered as in-year applications and will not be processed until the summer term. Parents will be informed in writing if a place is available in their preferred primary school. 

Special educational needs

If your child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan or a Statement of Special Educational Needs, there are different procedures for obtaining a school place. Please see special educational needs to find out more.

Living outside of Northamptonshire

If you live outside of Northamptonshire, you will need to apply through the local authority for the area in which you live, even if you are applying for a Northamptonshire primary school. 

Letter sent to parents of children due to start school

The following letter was sent to all parents of children due to start school that we hold address details for. You can access a copy of the letter and the same letter translated into other languages below:


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