When does my child have to start school in a reception class?

Newcastle schools offer all children the opportunity of a whole year in reception regardless of their birthday.  Children born between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014 may start school in September 2018.   Children must be in full time education once they reach statutory school age.  This starts from the term after the child’s fifth birthday. 

  • Children becoming 5 years old between 1 September and 31 December are of statutory school age at the beginning of the term after 1 January.
  • Children becoming 5 years old between 1 January and 31 March are of statutory school age at the beginning of the term after 1 April.
  • Children becoming 5 years old between 1 April and 31 August are of statutory school age at the beginning of the term after 1 September.

Can I delay my child’s start date?

Once you have a confirmed school place, it is possible to delay your child’s start date until they reach statutory school age, but you must inform the Headteacher in writing that you wish to defer entry to the school.  Your child’s place at the school will then be kept open for them to join at the later date. Your start date must be within the same school year.

Please bear in mind if you delay your child’s start date that your child will be placed in a class of children who have already had the opportunity to adapt to school life and make friends in their class. You may not be able to keep your child in a nursery or other early years setting during this period.

Keeping your child at home until they reach statutory school age because you have not been offered a place at your preferred school will not increase your chances of being offered the preferred school.  By the time your child reaches statutory school age, there may be no places left in schools close to home and the only place available for your child may be some distance away.

In exceptional cases it may be possible to delay entry to school for a full year or for a child to be placed in a different year group. This must be supported by evidence and agreed by both the local authority and the school admission authority.  Places will not be kept open for an academic year; a new application should be made next year.  Contact us to discuss.
If you wish to discuss educating your child at home, please contact us on 0191 278 7878 (Ask for School Admissions).

My child is summer born. Can I delay when they start school until they are statutory school age?

All children born between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014 can apply for a place to start Reception in September 2018.  However, children born between 1 April and 31 August do not become statutory school age until 1 September 2019. This means that parents can opt, if they wish, to ask for their child to start school a year later than their normal year of entry.  Please note that you have the right to ask for your child to start school a year late, but there is no legal requirement for a school to agree to your request. The decision will be made by each school's admission authority based on the individual circumstances of the case and in the best interests of the child. A decision by one admission authority is not binding on another admission authority.

If your child is born between 1 April and 31 August 2014 and you would like your child to be considered for admission in September 2019 rather than 2018, you must write to the local authority in the Autumn of 2017 setting out your reasons and providing any relevant supporting evidence. Please specify the schools (admission authorities) that you would like to consider your request for delayed admission. The local authority will forward your request to the schools and they will each consider the request and advise you of their decision.

It is important that you send in your request in good time to receive a response before the closing date for applications for 2018 (midday, 15 January 2018).  If all the schools you are interested in refuse your request, it means you will still have time to apply for a Reception place for your child for September 2017 before the closing date. Alternatively, you can keep your child at home during 2018/19 and then apply for Year 1 places rather than Reception places for September 2019.

Please note that a positive response from a school does not mean that your child has a guaranteed offer of a reception place at that school in 2018. It just means that the school has agreed to consider your application in the admissions round in 2019 alongside all the applications from children for whom that is their normal year of entry. The application will be considered in the same way as any other, against the oversubscription criteria in the admission policy. It is your responsibility to apply for a place in the relevant admissions round.

If your child is not able to be offered a reception place at your preferred school in 2019, there is no guarantee that a reception place in an alternative school will be offered.  This will depend on whether another school is willing to accept your child as a delayed admission. If a reception place is not available, your child will be allocated a Year 1 place in the nearest school available with a place.

You cannot apply for a place for September 2018 and defer your child's place until September 2019.

You do have the right of appeal if you are refused a place in your preferred school, but you have no right of appeal specifically against being refused a place in your preferred year group.  You can complain using the school's formal complaints process.

Finally, if your child is offset and taught in a year group that is not their normal age group, please note that you will need to repeat this process at transfer time to request that the secondary/middle/high school also agrees to consider the application as a delayed admission in the appropriate admission round. It is the decision of the individual admission authority whether to accept your child in a different year group or expect them to join their age peers. For example, if your child is attending secondary school and offset by one year, you will need to discuss school transfer with the LA and your preferred secondary schools when your child is due to start year 5, i.e. when they would ordinarily have been entering year 6.

Page last updated: 
11 August 2017
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