Summer born children - delaying entry to Reception 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).

Key points:

  • School admission authorities are required to provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday, but flexibilities exist for children whose parents do not feel they are ready to begin school before they reach compulsory school age
  • Where a parent requests their child is admitted out of their normal age group, the school’s admission authority is responsible for making the decision on which year group a child should be admitted to. They are required to make a decision on the basis of the circumstances of the case and in the best interests of the child concerned
  • There is no statutory barrier to children being admitted outside their normal age group, but parents do not have the right to insist that their child is admitted to a particular age group

​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 16 February 2017 reaches compulsory school age on 31 March 2022).

There is flexibility for parents who do not feel their child is ready to start school before compulsory school age. They may defer the date their child is admitted to school until later in the school year following their fourth birthday, providing they do not defer beyond the point at which they reach compulsory school age, or beyond the start of the final term of that school year. Alternatively, their child may attend school part-time until they reach compulsory school age.

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 to school, 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, at this point, that they are admitted outside their normal age group, into Reception rather than Year 1, if they feel that it would be in their child’s best interests.

Please note, this is a 'request' and parents do not have the right to insist that their child is admitted to a particular age group. The school's Admission Authority is responsible for making the decision on which year group a child should be admitted to.

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. This will require the Admission Authority to take account of the child’s individual needs and abilities and to consider whether these can best be met in Reception or Year 1. It will also involve taking account of the potential impact on the child of being admitted to Year 1 without first having completed the Reception year. The views of the head teacher will be an important part of this consideration.

​Parent(s) or carer(s) of summer born children who could start school in September 2021, but wish to delay applying for a reception place to start in September 2022, should make their application for a reception place for their child’s normal year of entry before the deadline of 5 p.m. on 15 January 2021. They should also make their request for admission to their preferred schools out of the normal age group by the same date - 15 January 2021. This is to enable sufficient time for requests to be processed prior to national offer day (16 April 2021).

If an admission authority agrees to the parent’s request, their application for the normal age group will be withdrawn before a place is offered for their normal year of entry and they must make a new application for that school as part of the main admissions round the following year. One admission authority cannot be required to honour a decision made by another admission authority on admission out of the normal age group. Parent(s) or carer(s) should therefore consider whether to request admission out of the normal year group at all their preference schools, rather than just their first preference school.

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).

How do I request to delay my reception application?

If you have more than one preferred school, you must make the request to delay your child’s reception application to each of the schools. You will only be able to add schools to your reception application whose admission authorities have agreed to the delay.

The following steps will be required depending on the type of school you are applying for. You can find out what type of school your preferred school(s) is/are by visiting school admissions.

A. If your preferred school is a community or voluntary controlled school:

  1. Parent(s) or 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) or carer(s can 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) or carer(s) make a formal written request (with reasons for the request) to the preferred school
  2. Parent(s) or carer(s) can 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) in consultation with the head teacher of the school
  4. Following their decision, the school should then inform the parent(s)/carer(s) of their decision in writing, giving detailed reasons if the request is refused
  5. If they agree to the request, 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 by either the parent or the school so our system can be adjusted to accept a Reception application for the following year

What happens next?

A. If the admission authority of a school agrees to the parent(s) or carer(s) request to delay applying for a Reception place for a year:

  • School admissions will write to the parent(s) or carer(s) confirming that an application for that school can be made in the following year. A copy of the letter sent by school admissions to the parent(s) or carer(s) will be sent to the head teacher of the school(s) concerned
  • If parent(s) or carer(s) have made an application for reception in the normal year of entry, this application will be withdrawn and a place will not be offered on national offer day (16 April 2021)
  • Parent(s) or carer(s) will then need to submit an application for the schools whose admission authorities have agreed to the delay for reception the following year
    Please note: the current online system for applying for a primary school place is not set up to accept dates of birth outside the normal year group of entry. You will be sent a paper application form to complete and email/post back to School Admissions, ensuring it is sent in time to be received before the deadline of 5 p.m. on 15 January 2022. You can also find a copy of the application form on school admissions which can be printed off and completed
  • Parent(s) or carer(s) can only apply a full year later for a Reception place at schools whose admission authorities have agreed to a delayed application for their child
  • The new 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
  • If it is not possible to offer a place at one of the preferred schools, the local authority will make every effort to allocate a reception place (rather than a Year 1 place) at an alternative school. However because NCC is not the admissions authority for all schools, an school approached as an alternative school would have to agree to the delayed entry
  • If the local authority is 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.

B. If the admission authority of a school refuses the parent(s)/carer(s) request to delay applying for a reception place for a year:

  • Parent(s) or carer(s) will receive a letter from the admission authority of the preferred school providing reasons for refusal
  • Assuming an application for a reception place for the normal year of entry was submitted on time (by 5 p.m. on 15 January 2021), parent(s) or carer(s) will receive an offer of a school place on national offer day (16 April 2021)
  • Parent(s) or carer(s) then need to decide if they will accept the place offered for their normal year of entry on national offer day, or decline that place and apply for Year 1 place for the following September when their child is compulsory school age. If a parent or carer chooses to decline the place, they must put this in writing to the school admissions team (information about how to do this will be on your offer email)
  • Parent(s) or carer(s) who have not applied for a reception place in their normal year of entry will need to apply as soon as possible if they decide that they would prefer their child to start in reception rather than waiting until they reach compulsory school age and start school in Year 1. Applications received after the deadline of 5 p.m. on 15 January 2021 will be classed as late applications (see school admissions for more information on late applications)

Frequently asked questions

​​If parent(s)/carer(s) change their minds about wanting delayed entry by a whole school year, they may still apply by the deadline for primary school admissions (5 p.m. on 15 January 2021) in the normal admissions round to start in the September following their child’s fourth birthday.

If an application is received by 15 January, the parent/carer’s previous request to delay until the following year would no longer apply. Applications received after 5 p.m. on 15 January will be treated as late applications according to the current NCC’s late application policy.

​​If a child is given an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) after an admission authority has agreed that the parent(s)/carer(s) can delay their child's 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.

​Parent(s) or carer(s) who have made online applications for their normal year of entry 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.

Parent(s) or carer(s) should follow the same procedure as above to request the delay. The place offered for reception in the normal year of entry will remain allocated to the child until either a delay has been agreed or the parent(s) or carer(s) decide they would prefer their child to wait and start school when compulsory school age is reached, even if that means entering school in Year 1.

​Any complaints should be addressed to the admission authority of the school in question.

Parent(s) or carer(s) can request to delay their application to more than one school. A request may be refused by one school and agreed by another. There is no limit to the number of schools you can approach to request a delay.

​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.

​Once a child has been admitted to a school, it is for the head teacher to decide how best to educate them. In some cases it may be appropriate for a child who has been admitted out of their normal age group to be moved to their normal age group, but in others it will not. Any decision to move a child to a different age group should be based on sound educational reasons and made by the head teacher in consultation with the parents.

​Where a child has been educated out of their normal age group, the parent may again request admission out of the normal age group when they transfer to junior or secondary school or wish to move schools. It will be for the admission authority of that school to decide whether to admit the child out of their normal age group.

They must make a decision on the basis of the circumstances of each case and in the child’s best interests, and will need to bear in mind the age group the child has been educated in up to that point. Parent(s) or carer(s) must make a new request as outlined above prior to applying for junior or secondary school.

​Children are assessed when they reach the end of each key stage, not when they reach a particular age. There are no age requirements as to when children must take their GCSEs or other assessments.

​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.

​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.

​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.

​Some sporting organisations organise teams based on age. This may mean your child would be eligible for a different sports team than their classmates and may not be able to participate with them.

​If an admission authority has agreed that you can delay your reception application by a full year, you must ensure that school admissions have received a copy of this confirmation and have sent you an official email confirming the delay. Our system can be adjusted to show that your child will start school a full year later and you should be able to request your funding as normal.

In order to ensure that the early years setting can secure the funded place for your child/children for September 2021, parent(s) or carer(s) should notify their early years setting before the end of the spring funding block (term) - 31 March 2021. The early years setting can then take into account the number of summer born children continuing for another year when allocating places for September 2021. If parent(s) or carer(s) 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.

More information and advice on the admission of summer born children can be found on the DfE website.

More information on the admission of children outside their normal age group can be found in the school admissions code: