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When will my child start school?

Most children start school in the September following their fourth birthday. However, by law a child does not have to start school until the term following their fifth birthday.

Child's BirthdayStart School
01 September 2011 - 31 August 2012
September 2016
01 September 2012 - 31 August 2013
September 2017
01 September 2013 - 31 August 2014September 2018

All reception age children are offered full time places when they start primary or infant school.

If parents want their child to attend part time from September or to delay entry until later on in the academic year, they must contact the school directly to arrange this.

  • A school place in the reception class is available for children from the September of the academic year in which they turn five
  • Where an offer of a place is made to a child below compulsory school age, parents also have the right to defer their child’s entry to school until later in the school year
  • The place is held for the child and is not available to be offered to another child
  • Entry may not be deferred beyond the beginning of the point at which the child reaches compulsory school age and not beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year for which it was made

  • Where a parent or guardian chooses to defer their child’s admission beyond the academic year for which admission is sought, the place originally offered cannot be held over and a fresh application is required
  • Children whose entry is deferred are usually expected to join their chronological peer group (i.e. year 1 unless the parents submit an application for admission to an alternative year group)

  • Parents may seek a place for their child outside of their normal age group, for example, if the child is gifted and talented or has experienced problems such as ill health.
  • All requests should be made from the September following the child’s third birthday, in order to give sufficient time for the case to be considered by the admissions authority prior to the deadline for applications of 15 January

If you would like to apply for a place for your child outside their normal age group please go to our applying for a primary school page.

Applications for admission outside the child’s normal age group cannot be submitted online.

  • Parents of a summer born child may choose not to send their child to a school until the September following their fifth birthday and they may request that they are admitted outside their normal age group – to reception rather than year 1
  • All admission authorities are required to make clear in their admission arrangements the process for requesting admission outside of the normal age group
  • The decisions on requests for applications outside the child’s normal age group are made by the admission authority for any particular school
  • The admission authority for any particular school, which in the case of voluntary controlled and community schools is the council
  • All parents who wish to apply for delayed entry into reception for any Wiltshire school, must first submit a formal application to the council
  • Parents applying for a voluntary controlled or community school will also need to make a written request at the time of application to the local authority’s admissions co-ordinator, providing reasons for the request along with any supporting documentation they wish to include
  • For voluntary aided, foundation schools or academies the admissions authority is the governing body of the school concerned
  • The decision to admit outside of their normal age group is made on the basis of the circumstances of each case
  • All parents who wish to apply for delayed entry into reception for any Wiltshire school, must first submit a formal application to the council

Parents are applying for a delayed entry at a voluntary aided, foundation school or an academy will need to submit a formal application to the local authority and should also contact their preferred school directly to discuss the request. 

  • A separate application for a place in the next cohort would have to be made in the following September.
  • This application would be considered along with all the other applicants for admission in that year at the preferred school
  • There would be no guarantee that a place would be able to be offered in the preferred school
  • If the preferred school is over-subscribed and you are not offered a place, the local authority will make an alternative offer
  • However please note that delayed admission in to reception in the alternative school may not be possible.
  • The formal application which has already been submitted will be processed, unless the local authority receives a request from the parent to withdraw the application

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Last updated: 19 September 2016 | Last reviewed: 19 September 2016