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Deferred, delayed and accelerated school admissions

Children normally start Reception classes at the start of the academic year (September) which follows their 4th birthday. However, you may have reasons for wanting your child to start earlier or later.

This policy explains how we deal with requests to join a school which are not at the usual time. These can be one of the following:

  • Deferred: starting later in the school year
  • Delayed: starting at the beginning of the next school year
  • Accelerated: starting before the usual academic year

Deferred, delayed, and accelerated admissions policy

Deferred, delayed or accelerated entry into school will affect your child's learning and progress, but also their teacher and classmates. The aim of this policy is to establish a procedure which gives parents, schools and settings clear guidance how to manage requests for deferred, delayed or accelerated admission. Please select a topic below to learn in more detail how we will do this.

Key principles



All children and young people should normally be educated in their chronological year group.


Schools assess the learning needs of children and young people so that the curriculum they provide is relevant, enabling them to make appropriate progress and maximise their achievement.


Admission of children outside their normal year group will be made in accordance with the School Admissions Code 2014 – Paragraphs 2.17 A and B.


There is no statutory barrier to children being admitted outside their normal age group, but you as a parent do not have the right to insist that your child is admitted to a particular age group.


The relevant Admission Authority for the school will make the final decision about deferred, delayed and accelerated admissions. Please note that this authority will be different for different types of school, as follows.

Type of School Admission Authority


The Academy Trust which governs this school 


Voluntary controlled

B&NES School Admissions and Transport team


Voluntary aided

The school's governing body


If your child is already in school in an existing year group, their head teacher will make the decision on whether they should be educated in a year group outside of their chronological age. If your child is moving into a school or authority, the admission will be considered against their chronological age group.


Deferred and delayed entry


The Early Years Foundation Stage spans pre-school to the Reception age group within school, providing appropriate learning experiences for children aged 3 to 5 years.


Primary education is normally provided in primary schools, although in some areas there are separate infant and junior schools. Children whose fifth birthday falls before 1 September, 1 January or 1 April become of compulsory school age on whichever of these dates follows their fifth birthday.

Deferred entry


So that all children can benefit from three full years of infant education, they can be admitted to the Reception year group at the beginning of the academic year, starting in September (even if they are not yet of compulsory school age). Or you can request a deferred entry until later in the same school year, as long as this does not go beyond your child’s compulsory school age or beyond the academic year for which you originally made a school admissions application.


You can request that your child takes up the Reception place part-time until they reach compulsory school age. Once they have started at the school, however, you cannot apply for delayed entry.

Delayed entry


Children whose 5th Birthday falls during the Summer Term or normal school holidays (from April until the end of August) do not legally have to attend school until the following September. This is called a delayed entry.

If you'd like to have a delayed entry, you should apply for a Reception place at the normal time (that is, for the year they turn 5). For their request to be considered, they should state on their application that they wish to delay entry to the September following their child’s 5th Birthday. 


You should submit evidence which allows admission authorities to determine why it would be in your child’s interests to be admitted to Reception rather than Year 1. In some cases, you may have professional evidence that it would be appropriate to submit, for example, when a child receives support from a speech and language therapist. Admission authorities must still consider requests with no additional professional evidence. In such cases, the supporting information might simply be your statement as to why you have made this request for your child.


Before deciding to delay your child’s entry to school, you should visit the schools you are thinking of applying for. The teachers will be able to explain the provision on offer to children in the Reception class, how it is tailored to meet the needs of the youngest pupils and how the needs of these pupils will continue to be met as they move up through the school. They may also be able to allay any concerns you may have about your child’s readiness for school.


How requests are managed


Where you request that your child is admitted out of their normal age group, the school admission authority is responsible for making the decision on which year group your child should be admitted to. They will take into account the circumstances of the case and the best interests of your child, including the following:

  • Assessing your child's individual needs and abilities, to consider whether these can best be met in Reception or Year 1.
  • Taking account of the potential impact on your child of being admitted to Year 1 without first having completed the Reception year.
  • The views and experience of the head teacher.
  • When a child was born before their 'due date', they may fall into a different age group than if they had been born at full term. When considering the circumstances of the case, admission authorities will take account of the age group the child would have fallen in to, if born on time.


For Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools, the final decision on delayed or accelerated transfer will be taken by the Local Authority’s Delayed School Entry/Accelerated Admissions Panel (made up of representatives from Admissions and Transport, the Educational Psychology Service and the Early Years SEND Inclusion Panel), in consultation with the Headteacher of any school you have listed as a preference. You will be informed in writing of the decision, clearly setting out the reasons.

Your next steps, once your request is decided


If your request to delay is approved, you should withdraw your school admission application for the usual age group. You will then need to make a new school application, as part of the main admissions round for the following year.



If your request to delay is refused, you will need to decide whether to accept the offer of a school place for the usual age group, or to refuse it and make an in-year application for admission to Year 1 for the September following your child’s fifth birthday.


Where a parent’s request is agreed, the application will be processed as part of the main admissions round. Lower priority will not be given on the basis that the child is being admitted out of their normal age group.

Parents should note that where your request to delay is agreed, this does not guarantee a place at a particular school. You must apply again as part of the following admissions round, and their application will receive equal consideration with all others received. In the event of a school being oversubscribed, the admissions criteria will be used to determine the allocation of places, and a delayed applicant does not receive any higher priority.

Delayed or accelerated admission to junior schools and delayed transfer to secondary schools


Children and young people should transfer to the next phase of education (junior schools ) with their peer group. Decisions relating to delayed or accelerated transfer in exceptional cases should be informed by a report from relevant professionals which highlight the reasons why delaying or accelerating a child’s admission is in their best interest.


The implications for delayed pupils reaching statutory school leaving age before completing Key Stage 4 and social emotional issues for delayed or accelerated pupils must be considered when making any decision.


The final decision on delayed or accelerated transfer will be taken by the relevant admission authority. For Community and Voluntary Controlled schools, the final decision on delayed or accelerated transfer will be taken by the Delayed School Entry/Accelerated Admissions Panel, in consultation with the Headteacher of any school requested. The decision will be based on sound educational reasons 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.


Accelerated admission to secondary school


Children and Young People should normally transfer to the next phase of education (secondary schools) with their peer group.


If a request for accelerated transfer is made the final decision will be taken by the requested secondary school[s] being their own admission authority. Details of each school's policy will be available directly from the school concerned. It must, however, be noted that a receiving school may decide to review any previous decisions made, which may result in the child being taught in their chronological age group.


Pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)


Due to their specific needs, children with an Education Health and Care Plan may have it recognised that it is necessary to be taught outside their chronological year group. This decision will be made by the SEN Assessment Panel.