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Deferred (delayed) admission into school reception classes

This page has information and guidance for parents and carers about delaying their child's admission to school.
All children are entitled to a full-time place in the September following their fourth birthday.

Their parents (or persons legally responsible for the child’s education) can chose to defer the date their child is admitted to reception until later in the school year. But this cannot be beyond the beginning of the term after their child turns 5 and not beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year in April (summer term). 

The table below shows the dates a child must start reception school if their parent/carer choses their right to defer (delay) admission.

A child may also start part time later in the school year, but not beyond the beginning of the term after they turn 5.
​​5th birthday between ​Compulsory school age ​Latest deferment date
​1 September to 31 December ​1 January ​1 January
​1 January to 31 March ​1 April ​1 April
​​1 April to 31 August ​1 September ​1 April
Deferment is a big step and should not be taken without very careful consideration of the impact on the child’s whole time in school, not just starting reception. 

It should be recognised that choosing deferment, could potentially mean that the child will be missing reception education until they start, whereas other children of a similar age will be learning in the classroom. 

We strongly recommend that any Newham family considering deferment should speak to family, friends and professionals who know the child to ensure a decision to defer would be in their best interest.  

Even where parents/carers decide to defer, an application still needs to be submitted by the national closing date, to ensure the child has a school place. Once a place has been allocated, those wishing to defer must lodge their intentions with the head teacher of the school they have been offered so the place can be reserved. This must be done by email or  letter to the headteacher and preferably by the end of May before the September when the child was due to start. 

If a family does not make contact with the allocated school and inform the head teacher of their deferment decision the place maybe withdrawn and offered to another child.  

We recommend that deferment decisions are notified to the head teacher of the allocated school in writing within 10 school days of the allocation letter to assist schools with planning their admission.  

Although deferment is a legal right, the majority of head teachers will want to discuss this with families who apply to defer to ensure all the relevant advice and guidance has been provided so they can make the best decision for their 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 and to start reception in September.        

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​.  For Summer-born deferment the legal right is to apply and have the application considered, not for it to be automatically agreed. 
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