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Starting primary school

2. When children can start primary school

Children can start reception year at primary school from the September after their fourth birthday. However, by law children don't have to start school until the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday.

Earlier starts will be considered in very exceptional cases or circumstances. Parents must provide evidence of an exceptional or substantial need for this to happen.

These are the dates that children would usually start school and when to apply for a school place:

Child born between Starts primary school Apply between
1 Sep 2016 - 31 Aug 2017 Sep 2021 Sep 2020 - Jan 2021
1 Sep 2017 - 31 Aug 2018 Sep 2022 Sep 2021 - Jan 2022
1 Sep 2018 - 31 Aug 2019 Sep 2023 Sep 2022 - Jan 2023
1 Sep 2019 - 31 Aug 2020 Sep 2024 Sep 2023 - Jan 2024

You can request that your child attends school part-time or defer their starting school until they reach compulsory school age, if that best suits the needs of your child.

You can also request to defer your child's admission until the following school year.

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Apply online for a school place

Apply online

The deadline to apply for a primary school place for September 2021 is 15 January 2021.

Any applications received after the deadline will be classed as late.