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Summer-born deferment

In addition to the legal right to defer (delay) the reception class start date​, for Summer-born children (born from 1 April to 31 August) families can apply to defer entry to reception until the next September when the child would normally starting Year 1. 

​Applying for Summer-born deferment does not take away a families legal right to defer entry to reception.

What is the difference between deferment and Summer-born deferment? 

Deferment is a legal right and results in a child missing part of their reception year. Summer-born deferment gives families only a legal right to apply to start reception a year late.

Legal Information: Department for Education 

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”. 

The local position

It was unanimously agreed by the School Admissions Forum​ in Newham that it may not be in the best interest of all children to start reception a year later than expected. 

In this partnership it was agreed that each case would be considered on an individual basis by head teachers of their preferred schools and professionals involved with the child to ensure any decision centres around the needs of the child. 

This means there is not a borough wide policy to automatically agree all summer born deferment applications. However, the parent voice (parents’ views) will continue to be a major consideration in the decision making. 

The decision will not just focus on the deferment of reception entry, it will include the impact of entry into year one as well as transition to secondary school. Therefore considering the child’s best interests at every stage of their education, rather than focusses only on the start.  

Major considerations for all families

Summer-born deferment is a really big step that will impact on your child’s education at every phase through to leaving school not just starting reception.  To ensure Newham families make the best decision for their child, if considering summer born deferment, we strongly recommend you read the information below, as well as other available information on this subject and speak to family, friends and any professionals involved with their child before proceeding.  

Any family’s decision making should also consider the physical, social and emotional development of their child and the impact of them being in a class with younger children. Remember a decision made by another family for their child to chose summer born deferment however successful for their child may not be the right decision for another child.   

Families must also understand that deferment will result in the allocated place being withdrawn and the requirement to reapply again for the following year.  This means when applying for reception for a second time (due to Summer-born deferment) it is possible that the same school may not be offered as other applicants this year may have a higher priority.  

What is Summer-born deferment?

This is where a child’s family applies and their school agrees that the child can start their reception in the September when they would normally be starting year 1. Meaning they will be in a year group below that determined by their date of birth.     

Is Summer-born deferment available to all families?

No, only those with children born between 1 April and 31 August 

What does this mean for a child?

If Summer-born deferment was agreed by the head teacher the child will start reception when they would normally be expected to start in year group 1.   This means the child will always be in a primary school class with children a year below them based on age.  

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 which may be different to others in their class. 

What provision is made by the law?

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 thought not the case the head teachers can refuse and are likely to refuse the application to defer.

Can I request Summer-born deferment in any year group?

No, Summer-born deferment only applies when a family want to defer their child’s expected start date into reception until the September of the following year, not other year groups.   

Will their agreed deferment continue throughout a child’s education?

Not in all cases. It is expected that deferment will continue to the end of primary school but the family will need to apply again for deferment as the child moves to secondary school unless they attend an ‘All Through’ school where the process maybe different. There is no guarantee that the secondary school would agree to the child starting in Year 7 and potentially this would mean starting in Year 8 therefore missing a full year at secondary school. 

If summer born is agreed, can their year group be changed if the parent changes their mind?

No, as the place would be  withdrawn when Summer-born deferment was agreed. The only option will be to make an in year application, but there is no guarantee the same school will be offered as all places may have been offered to other children.  

Where the child has already started their reception (Summer-born) this will be a decision for the head teacher of the school they are attending as they will need to work with the family to consider the impact on the child.  

For example if in year 2 a family decides they were not happy with their child being in a lower year group than other children of their own age, it will need to be understood to all parties the impact of the child moving up a year as this will mean they lose a year’s education. In some instances a school may not have a vacancy in the child’s correct year group and therefore there would need to be a further in year application with no guarantee that a preferred school has places available.       


What will happen regarding a child’s nursery  place? 

Where Summer-born deferment is agreed by the family and the school, the child can continue to attend their nursery. However this must be agreed by the head teacher of the nursery and will depend on availability of places at the point the family advises they want to remain in nursery rather than moving into reception.  
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 if none of a families secondary school preferences will agree to deferment, the child will transition from year 6 direct to year 8 and miss 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 GCSEs irrespective of their academic year group and compulsory school age.

Application process

All families considering Summer-born deferment should speak to the professionals who work with their child to get a full picture as to whether deferring reception for a year would be in their best interests for both the short and the long term.       

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.


How to apply for summer born deferment

In Newham there are two options – pre and post offer.

Option 1 (before school offer is made)

The Department for Education  recommends we should expect Newham families to make a reception application for their child’s normal age group at the usual time (national closing date 15 January preceding the September of the year the child would usually be expected to start) even if they are considering applying for summer born deferment. At the time of this application the family can apply for summer born deferment.   .

If a family you choses this option they will be advised before offer day if summer born will be granted at any of their your preferred schools (named on the application).  

It must be noted at this time you will not be aware what school will be offered and it is possible that the child will not be offered a place at any of this schools but allocated another. 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 you 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 
submit their request for summer born deferment after immediately submitting their reception application using this form

Option 2 (after school offer is made)

Where a family wants know to If you decide to want to find out what school has been offered before making a decision they submit their request for summer born deferment immediately after you receive your offer letter using this 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 happens if delayed admission is agreed? The offered place is withdrawn and offered to the next child on the waiting list. The family therefore must apply for a reception place the following September (when the child would normally be entering Year 1. There is no guarantee a place will be offered at the school where you received approval to defer.

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 the may chose to lodge complaint with the school who refused using their published complaints procedure.  
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