Summer born children - deferring entry to primary school by a full year

The School Admissions Code allows parents and carers of summer born children (born between 1 April and 31 August) to request that their child is admitted out of their normal age group (into reception in the September following their 5th birthday).

Making this decision will not only affect your child's first year of schooling, but will continue to affect their education. We therefore recommend that before you make a request you seek advice from professionals such as your child's early years provider and the head teacher of your preferred school(s). You will also need to understand potential risks in deferring your child's entry to school (see point 3 below).

Process for considering requests to delay entry to Reception for a whole school year for Northamptonshire schools:

If you wish to defer your child's entry to primary school, the following process must be followed: 

  1. Parents and carers may submit their request to defer their child’s entry to reception until the term after their 5th birthday if they are a summer born child. All requests to defer entry to Reception from September 2018 to September 2019 should be made before 1 December 2017 (to provide sufficient time for requests to be processed, and where a request is not agreed, for the family to have adequate time to make an application before the closing date of 15 January 2018)
  2. Parents and carers should indicate clearly their 3 preferred schools in order of preference. e.g. School a, School b, School c.
  3. Parents and carers should submit (to the local authority) their reasons with evidence from an appropriate professional for wishing to defer applying for a school place, including confirmation of agreement with the proposal from the headteacher of their preferred or local school. Evidence can be emailed to: admissions@northamptonshire.gov.uk or posted to: School Admissions Team, Northamptonshire County Council, Angel Street, Northampton, NN1 1ED. On receiving the supporting evidence, and on the recommendation of the Head Teacher, the County Council will write to the parent or carer to agree that the application can be processed for the following year. However, the letter will highlight the potential risks or impact of this deferral which may be:
    • Whilst one school may agree to a delayed application, there is a chance that your child will not be allocated a place at that school due to places being allocated to other children up to the school's published admission number in accordance with the oversubscription criteria;
    • The application will be processed as part of the normal admissions round in the following year according to oversubscription criteria for each school stated as a preference. No additional priority can be given to the applicants and therefore, the applications may not be successful.
    • The local authority will make every effort to allocate a reception place (rather than a year 1 place). However, it may not be possible to allocate a reception place at the parents' preference or at the local school. This is because the local authority is not always the admissions authority and some schools, which are their own admission authority, may not agree to the deferred entry.
  4. If the request is not agreed, the parent or carer will receive a letter detailing the reasons.
  5. The parent or carer may still change their mind regarding a deferred entry by a whole school year, and may apply by the national closing date for primary school admissions (15 January) in the normal admissions round (to start in the September following their child’s fourth birthday). This will offer two options to the parent or carer:
    1. they can consider deferring the child’s start date in Reception until later in the school year or
    2. they can discuss part time arrangements with the allocated school, as detailed in 2.16 of the Admissions Code
      If an application is then received by 15 January, the parent’s previous request to defer until the following year would no longer apply. Applications received after 15 January closing date will be treated according to our late application policy.
  6. A copy of the letter sent to the parent or carer will be sent to the headteacher of the school(s) concerned.
  7. A parent or carer who chooses to defer entry by a whole school year will need to apply for a school place in the admissions round for the following year.
  8. If a child is given an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) after an agreement has been made with School Admissions to delay an application for a place in Reception, the plan will override any agreement made and will specify which school the child will attend.

If a parent who has applied by the statutory national closing date (15 January) later changes their mind and wishes to defer their child’s entry to reception, they should discuss this and other options with the headteacher of the allocated school. Requests to defer will not be agreed if the reasons for the request are based on dissatisfaction with a place offered/not being offered a place at a preferred school.

The Department for Education has further advice on the admission of summer born children.

Summer born children continuing at current nursery setting

Parents of summer born children (born between 1 April and 31st August 2014) who wish to apply for Reception in 2019 have the option for their child/children to stay at the current nursery class or school without having to reapply for a nursery place for September 2018. Children can remain at their current nursery setting until the term in which they turn 5. In order to ensure that the nursery can secure the nursery place for your child/children for September 2018, parents must notify their nursery before the end of the Spring term (i.e. prior to Easter break). The nursery can then take into account the number of summer born children continuing for another year when allocating places for September 2018. If parents do not notify their nursery until after nursery allocations have been released, nursery schools and classes will be under no obligation to offer a place above their normal intake number. Children can, of course, be considered for a place through the normal continuing interest process.

Further information on admission of children outside the normal age group

Northamptonshire County Council’s policy is for children to be educated within their correct chronological year group, with the curriculum differentiated as necessary to meet the needs of individual children. This is in line with DfE guidance which states that “in general, children should be educated in their normal age group”. If parents/carers believe that their child/children should be educated in a different year group they should, at the time of application, submit supporting evidence from relevant professionals working with the child and family stating why the child must be placed outside their normal age appropriate cohort. DfE guidance makes clear that: “it is reasonable for admission authorities to expect parents to provide them with information in support of their request – since without it they are unlikely to be able to make a decision on the basis of the circumstances of the case”.

For community and voluntary controlled schools, Northamptonshire County Council, as the relevant admission authority, will decide whether the application will be agreed on the basis of the information submitted. Decisions will be made on the basis of the circumstances of each case and in the best interests of the child concerned.  This will include taking account of the parent’s views; information about the child’s academic, social and emotional development; where relevant, their medical history and the views of a medical professional; whether they have previously been educated out of their normal age group; and whether they may naturally have fallen into a lower age group if it were not for being born prematurely. Admission authorities must also take into account the views of the head teacher of the school concerned. When informing a parent of their decision on the year group the child should be admitted to, the admission authority must set out clearly the reasons for their decision.

There is no guarantee that an application will be accepted. If the application is refused, this does not constitute a refusal of a place and there is no right to an independent statutory appeal. Similarly, there is no right of appeal for a place in a specific year group at a school. The internal management and organisation of a school, including the placement of pupils in classes, is a matter for the Head teacher and senior leadership of individual schools. The Governing Body/Academy Trust of schools, which is responsible for their own admissions arrangements (academies, voluntary aided, foundation and free schools) are responsible for making decisions about applications for places in their schools.

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