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.

How to defer your child's entry to primary school

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 2017 to September 2018 should be made before 1 December 2016 (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 2017)

  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.

  4. On receiving the supporting evidence, and on the recommendation of the headteacher, the county council school admissions 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 agrees to the deferral, there is a chance that the child will not be allocated a place at that school.
    • 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.
  5. If the request is not agreed, the parent or carer will receive a letter detailing the reasons.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. A copy of the letter sent to the parent or carer will be sent to the headteacher of the school(s) concerned.
  9. 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.

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 sole reason is due to the parent not receiving an offer of one of their preferred schools.

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

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 and carers believe that their child(ren) 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 it 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, the county council as the relevant admission authority, through a panel process, will decide whether the application will be accepted on the basis of the information submitted. The panel make decisions based upon the circumstances of each case including the view of parents, the relevant headteacher(s), the child's social, academic and emotional development and whether the child has been previously educated out of year group.

There is no guarantee that an application will be accepted on this basis. If the application is not accepted 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 headteacher and senior leadership of individual schools. 

The governing body of schools are responsible for their own admissions (academies, voluntary aided and foundation schools) are ultimately responsible for making this decision for applications made to their schools.

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