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).

Summer born children

A child reaches compulsory school age on the prescribed day following his/her fifth birthday (or on his/her fifth birthday if it falls on a prescribed day). The prescribed days are 31 December, 31 March and 31 August (e.g. a child born on 16th February 2016 reaches compulsory school age on 31st March 2021).

The term ‘summer born’ refers to children born from 1 April to 31 August. These children do not reach compulsory school age until a full school year after the point at which they could first have been admitted, at the point at which other children in their age range are beginning Year 1.

The School Admissions Code (2014) allows parent(s)/carer(s) of summer born children to request that they are admitted outside their normal age group, into Reception rather than Year 1, if they feel that it would not be in their child’s best interests to start school before he/she reaches compulsory school age.

Paragraph 2.17A of the School Admissions Code requires that, in any circumstance where a parent/carer requests their child is admitted out of their normal age group, the admission authority of the preferred school must make a decision on the basis of the circumstances of the case and in the best interests of the child concerned. They must also take into account the views of the Head teacher of the preferred school(s).

Please note: The admission authority for all community and voluntary controlled schools is NCC, whereas the admission authority for Academies, Voluntary Aided, Foundation and Free Schools, is either the Governing Body (VA and Foundation Schools) or the Academy Trust (Academies and Free Schools).

Parent(s)/carer(s) of summer born children who could start school in September 2020, but wish to delay applying for a Reception place to start in September 2021, should make their request before 1st December 2019. This is to enable 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 for a place for September 2020, before the deadline of 5 p.m. 15th January 2020.

Process for requesting delayed application

If you have more than one preferred school, you can request a delay from each of the schools.  The following steps will be required depending on the type of school you are applying for

A) If your preferred school is a Community or Voluntary Controlled school:

  1. Parent(s)/carer(s) make a formal written request (with reasons for the request) to School Admissions at NCC (as this is the admission authority for these schools);
  2. Parent(s)/carer(s supply School Admissions with supporting information from a professional and/or Early Years practitioner if available, at the point of request;
  3. School Admissions will consult with the Head teacher of the preferred school and take into consideration any evidence supplied in order to make a decision.

B) If your preferred school is an Academy, Voluntary Aided, Foundation or Free School (or your preferred school is a Community or Voluntary Controlled school outside Northamptonshire):

  1. Parent(s)/carer(s) make a formal written request (with reasons for the request) to the preferred school;
  2. Parent(s)/carer(s) supply the school with supporting information from a professional and/or Early Years practitioner if available, at the point of request;
  3. The preferred school will then approach their admission authority with the reasons and evidence supplied by the parent(s)/carer(s) so that a decision can be made (by the admission authority);
  4. The request and written confirmation from the admission authority of the preferred school that they are in agreement with the parent(s)/carer(s) request to delay their application to Reception for a year, must be sent to School Admissions at NCC.

What happens next?

If the admission authority of a school agrees to the parent(s)/carer(s) request to delay applying for a Reception place for a year, School Admissions will write to the parent(s)/carer(s) confirming that an application can be made in the following year. A copy of the letter sent by School Admissions to the parent(s)/carer(s) will be sent to the Head teacher of the school(s) concerned; the letter will highlight the potential risks/impact of making a delayed application which may include the following:

  • The application will be processed as part of the normal admissions round in the following year, according to the oversubscription criteria of each school stated as a preference;
  • While a school may agree to a delayed application, there is no guarantee that the child will be allocated a place at that school in the following admissions round as other children may have a higher priority within the school’s oversubscription admission criteria. No additional priority will be given to an applicant applying under the summer born policy, nor will they be penalised;
  • 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 parent(s)/carer(s) preference or at the local school. This is because NCC is not the admissions authority for all schools, and schools which are their own admission authority may not agree to the delayed entry;
  • If we are unable to offer a place at one of your preferred schools, it may not be possible to offer a place in Reception at another school (as they will not have agreed to delayed application). In this case, you would be offered a place at a school in Year 1 at the nearest school with a place available.

If the request is not agreed, parent(s)/carer(s) will receive a letter from the admission authority of the preferred school providing reasons for refusal.

  • Any complaints should be addressed to the admissions authority of the school in question;
  • If parent(s)/carer(s) change their minds about wanting  delayed entry by a whole school year, they may still apply by the national closing date for primary school admissions (15th January, 5 p.m.) in the normal admissions round to start in the September following their child’s fourth birthday. If an application is received by 15th January, the parent/carer’s previous request to delay until the following year would no longer apply. Applications received after 5 p.m. on 15th January (the closing date) will be treated according to the current NCC’s late application policy;
  • Parent(s)/Carer(s) who choose to delay entry by a whole school year will need to apply for a school place in the admissions round for the following year. It will not be possible to make an application online. School Admissions will send a paper application form for parent(s)/carer(s) to complete;
  • 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 EHCP will override any agreement made and will specify which school the child will attend and which year group the child will be in;
  • Please note that other Local Authorities may have different arrangements for how they deal with Summer Born requests and this may affect you if you move to another county before taking up a school place in Northamptonshire.
  • Parent(s)/carer(s) who have made online applications for their normal cohort and have been offered a place in Reception, and then later change their minds and wish to delay their child’s entry to Reception, should, in the first instance, discuss their options with the Head teacher of the allocated school. A request to delay applying for a Reception place for a summer born child will not be agreed if the reasons for the request are based on dissatisfaction with the place offered or if a place has not been offered at a preferred school.

See Department for Education advice on the admission of summer born children

Further considerations

Will your child move back to their normal year group?

Once a child has been admitted to a school, it is for the head teacher to decide how best to educate them. This may, on occasion, include deciding that a child should be moved to higher or lower age group, including moving a child who has been admitted out of their normal age group, into their normal age group. This decision should only be made where there are sound educational reasons to do so and in consultation with the child’s parents.

Will there be a problem if you change school or when transferring to secondary school?

If your child has been admitted out of their normal age group and then moves school, for example because you move house, you will need to make a new request for admission out of the normal age group if you want them to continue to be educated out of their normal age group. You will also need to make a new request when you apply for junior or secondary school;

The admission authority of the new school is not required to continue to educate your child out of their normal age group, but they should take account of the fact they have already been educated out of their normal age group when making their decision.

What happens when a child reaches school leaving age in year 10?

A child ceases to be of compulsory school age on the last Friday of June in the school year they turn 16. They are not legally required to attend school after this point. A summer born child who has been educated out of their normal age group will cease to be of compulsory school age at the end of year 10. This means they will be under no obligation to attend school in year 11 when most children take their GCSEs.

The school will not ask your child to leave because they are no longer of compulsory school age, but they may not be able to enforce their attendance. 

Will there be an effect on home to school transport?

Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide free home to school transport to eligible children. To be eligible, a child must be of compulsory school age. If your child is educated out of their normal age group, and is eligible for free home to school transport, they will stop being eligible before they finish secondary school. Local authorities can choose to continue to provide free transport at this point, but they are under no duty to do so.

Will Alternative Provision still be available for children who are summer born delayed?

Local authorities have a duty to make arrangements for the provision of suitable education, other than at a school, for children of compulsory school age who otherwise will not receive a suitable education, whether that is because they are ill, have been excluded, or for another reason. This duty will not apply in relation to a child who ceases to be of compulsory school age before they finish secondary school.

What may be the impact on participation in extra-curricular activities?

You may wish to consider whether your child will be able to participate in organised sports and extra-curricular events with their classmates. For example, some sporting organisations organise teams based on age. This may mean your child would be eligible for a different sports team than their classmates.

Summer born children continuing in a current nursery setting

Parents/Carer of summer born children (born between 1st April and 31st August 2016) who have an agreed delay still have the option for their child/children to stay in an Early Years setting.  Children can remain at their current Early Years setting until the Funding Block (Term) in which they turn 5. In order to ensure that the Early Years setting can secure the funded place for your child/children for September 2020, parents/carers must notify their Early Years setting before the end of the Spring Funding Block (Term) 31st March.

The Early Years setting can then take into account the number of summer born children continuing for another year when allocating places for September 2020. If parents/carers do not notify their Early Years setting 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 waiting list process.

Admission of children out of their normal year group (out of cohort)

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 parent(s)/carer(s) 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 admission authority, will decide whether or not 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)/carer(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/carer 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.

Please use the link below for further information in the School Admissions Code (page 25, paragraph 2.17) about the admission of children outside their normal age group