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Deferred (delayed) admission to reception and summer born entitlement

This page has information and guidance for parents and carers about delaying their child's admission to school.

​The legal right to defer admission

All families have the legal right to defer (delay) their child’s admission to reception. ​

In addition to this legal right, for summer-born children (born from 1 April to 31 August) families can apply to defer entry to reception until the next September.  

Deferment is a legal right for all families but summer-born deferment only applies to those in the relevant age range (born from 1 April to 31 August). The law only provides the right to apply for reception deferment to the next September, it does not guarantee this will be granted. 

Head teachers, in partnership with other professionals and the family will consider if summer born deferment will be in the best interest of the child.  Where this is not the case the head teachers can refuse the application.
  • ​Reception admission to the named school is usually expected in early September.​
  • Parents/legal guardians can choose to defer their child’s reception start date until later in the school year, meaning they will not start in September.
  • Deferred admission usually occurs on the first day of each new term but in very exceptional cases head teachers may offer a different start date where it will better meet the child’s needs. 
  • Deferment cannot be after the child is compulsory school age or beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year for which the offer was made – this means the summer term, which is the term after the spring (Easter) holidays. 
  • Deferment can also mean the child attends their reception class part time from the offered September start date to the point they reach compulsory school age. 
Where deferment is chosen parent/legal guardians should lodge their intentions with the head teacher of the named school. This must be done in writing and preferably by the end of May in the year the child was due to start.

For offers after May, the family should lodge their deferment intentions as soon as possible but before the start of the school year.  

If a family applies for a reception place after the expected September start date, they should advise the named school of their deferment intentions before or at the admission meeting. 

Although deferment is a legal right, the majority of head teachers will want to discuss this with families who apply to ensure it is in the best interest of the child.

If your child attends a nursery you may wish to discuss the option to extend their placement before applying for deferment otherwise you may lose the nursery place as they will be expecting the child to leave to start reception in September.        

Summer-born deferment

​Only for children born from 1 April to 31 August
On 8 September 2015, an open letter from Nick Gibbs, Schools’ Minister to parents, schools and local authorities was published. 

This gave a commitment from the government that the Schools Admissions Code will be amended: “to ensure that summer born children can be admitted to the reception class at the age of five if it is in line with their parents’ wishes, and to ensure that those children are able to remain with that cohort as they progress through school, including through to secondary school. We will conduct a full public consultation in due course; and subject to Parliamentary approval will introduce these further changes to ensure that no child is forced to start school before they are ready.”

Whilst the September 2014 Admissions Code is still in force local authorities are encouraged to agree to requests with immediate effect, ahead of any amendment of the Code.  


Children who are Looked After, or have an Education Health and Care plan or social worker

Families or carers should discuss their possible deferment request with the relevant professional before submitting their application to defer. They maybe able to help with supporting evidence or completing your application if they believe deferment will be in the best interest of the child. 
  • ​Looked After children - Virtual School at the local authority responsible for the child. 
  • Education Health and Care plan - Newham 0-25 SEND Service. 
  • Social worker – Social worker  
All of these should provide you with support in making you application and the admission meeting if they believe it will be in the best interest of the child to start reception a year later than expected.

The Newham view

The Admissions Forum agreed it may not be in the best interest of all children to start reception a year later than expected. 

This meant we would not introduce a local policy to automatically agree all summer born deferment applications. 

To best meets the needs of these children it was agreed that each case should be considered individually by head teachers and professionals involved with the child. However the Parent Voice (parents views) will continue to be a major consideration. 


How to apply for summer-born deferment

In Newham there are two options.

Option 1

The government recommends that we expect families to make an application for their child’s normal age group at the usual time and allows you to submit your request for admission out of the normal age group (summer born deferment) at the same time.

If you chose this option you will be advised before offer day if summer born will be granted at any of your preferred schools. It must be noted at this time you will not be aware what school will be offered and it is possible if you have named academies or faith schools in your preferences the schools may give different decisions. 

This means for example that your 1st preference school may not grant your summer born entry then your 2nd and 3rd preference will.  

Under the rules of admission we must offer the place at the highest preference school that is possible based on child’s priority for a place at each of their preferred schools. 

So it is possible that your 2nd preference will agree summer born, but your 1st will not and then Pupil Services establish we can offer a place at the first preference school meaning summer born will not be granted to the child.   

Parent/legal guardians who want to apply for summer born before offer should email Pupil Services​ for advices on how to proceed. 

Option 2

You submit your request for summer born deferment after you receive your offer letter using our online form.
The head teacher will advise both Pupil Services and the parent/legal guardian in writing of their decision within 5 days of the deferment meeting.   


What if delayed admission is agreed?

In Newham, but not in all other boroughs, where summer-born deferment is agreed Pupil Services will reserve the place you have been offered for the next school year. 

You do not need to reapply. 

However if you leave Newham and do not want the place in the school that has been reserved you must follow your new borough’s process.   


What happens if your request is refused?

You will receive a decision in writing to your request for delayed admission for each school you are interested in if you applied before offer day.  

If you applied after offer day you will receive an outcome from the school you have been offered a place.  

These decisions will usually be made following a face to face meeting with the school.

Right of appeal

There is no statutory right of appeal if you are refused summer-born deferment. 

Where an applicant is unhappy with the decision regarding their application for summer born deferment they may chose to lodge a complaint with the school who refused using their published complaints procedure.

Important matters to consider before applying for summer born deferment

What will happen regarding child’s nursery have a place? 

Where a parent chooses to defer or delay their child’s entry to school, the child remains entitled to a funded early education place of 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year until they are admitted to school. More information about free early education is available on GOV.UK. 

Transition to secondary school 

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 secondary school. 

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. 

This means it is possible that none of a families secondary school preferences will agree to deferment, which may result in the child moving from year 5 direct to year 7.

Tests and performance tables 

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. 

School leaving age 

A child ceases to be of compulsory school age on the last Friday of June in the school year they become 16. 

If a child is educated outside their normal age group they will no longer be of compulsory school age during the school year in which most children take their GCSE examinations and cannot, therefore, be obliged to attend.

Newham strongly recommends that all children take their GCSE’s irrespective of their academic year group and compulsory school age.
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