What is summer born admission?
All children born between 1 April and 31 August are referred to as ‘summer-born children’ for the purposes of school admission. Children ordinarily start school full-time (reception class) in the September following their fourth birthday. While the School Admissions Code requires school admission authorities to provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday, a child does not reach compulsory school age until the “prescribed day” following their fifth birthday (or on their fifth birthday if it falls on a prescribed day).
- For children born between 1 September and 31 December, they reach compulsory school age on 31 December and must be receiving full-time education at the start of the Spring term (i.e. after the Christmas holidays, in January).
- For children born between 1 January and 31 March, they reach compulsory school age on 31 March and must be receiving full-time education by the start of the Summer term (i.e. after the Easter holidays, in March or April).
- For children born between 1 April and 31 August, they reach compulsory school age on 31 August and must be receiving full-time education at the start of the new school year (i.e. after the summer holidays, in September).
Parents of summer-born children will often be concerned that their child is not ready to start school in the September following their fourth birthday. If this is the case, parents can request to defer their child’s entry to school by a whole year until they reach compulsory school age and be admitted to Reception rather than Year 1 with their chronological peers. This means that a summer born child would not start school at all during the academic year after their fourth birthday. (Section 2.17 School Admissions Code). The law only provides the right to apply for reception deferment to next September; it does not guarantee that this will be granted.
What reasons will be considered for deferment?
Paragraph 2.17A of the of the School Admissions Code requires that, in any circumstance where a parent requests their child is admitted outside of their normal age group, the admission authority must make a decision on the basis of the circumstances of the case and in the best interests of the child concerned. This includes taking account of:
- The parent’s views;
- The views of the head-teacher of the school applied for;
- The child’s social, academic and emotional development;
- The child’s medical history;
- The child’s special educational needs (if applicable).
How to apply for deferment?
- Submit an application to the relevant LA for a reception place in the correct year group – this is to ensure that you are not disadvantaged for a preferred school place in the event that the deferment request is refused.
- Submit a request for admission outside of the normal age group in line with the process stipulated by the relevant LA.
Request for deferment agreed:
If the request for deferment is agreed, the application for the normal age group has to be withdrawn before a place is offered. The parent must then re-apply for a reception place the following year under the normal admissions round, naming only the school(s) which agreed to their request to delay. The application will be considered with all other applications for that year of entry against the same admission rules of each school. There is therefore no guarantee that the child will get a place at any of the named preferences when the parent re-applies. If the LA is unable to offer any of the preferred schools, they will endeavour to allocate a reception place at the nearest school with a vacancy that are willing to accommodate a child requesting a place out of normal year group. The child may be required to enter Year 1 directly and skip reception if the LA are unable facilitate a deferred entry to an alternative school.
Request for deferment refused:
If the request to delay is refused, the parent will need to decide either:
- Accept the offer of a place for the normal age group. The parent can accept the offer of a place for the normal age group, and still delay the entry date into school until later in the school year. The place must be taken up by the beginning of term 5 at the latest, or the place maybe offered to another child.
- Refuse the offer of a place in Reception and make an in year application for admission to Year 1 for the September following the child’s fifth birthday.
Parental appeals and complaints:
Parents who are refused a place at a school for which they have applied have the right of appeal to an independent admission appeal panel. There is not a right of appeal if the child has been offered a place but it is not the year group which the parent would like.
However, a complaint can be lodged with the admission authority about their decision not to admit a child outside their normal age group. This can be done in line with the relevant school complaints procedure.
Transitions in education
In the event that a child has been educated out of their normal age group, the parent can again request admission out of normal age group on 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.