Starting primary school (reception)

Information for parents about applying for reception places for September 2024.

5. Delaying a full year

For children who are "summer born" (birthdays between 1 April and 31 August), parents may decide to delay school start until the September after a 5th birthday.  There is nothing to stop this from happening, as legally this is when this group of children are required to start school (please see 1 above).

In Lancashire, where parents decide to do this, they will have missed the child's reception year and will be required to apply for Year 1 places from the September after a 5th birthday.  Parents should be aware that the increasing demand for primary places and class size legislation may reduce their chances of obtaining a place at a preferred primary school or academy in these circumstances.

There is nothing in law to prevent a Year 1 aged child being placed in a reception class. This is a consideration for the admission authority (and the school for community and voluntary controlled schools).  The circumstances of each case will be carefully considered. It is recommended you contact your local area education office for further advice.

Where parents want a full year delayed entry and a placement in a reception class, they must complete an application form for the September they would usually start and also complete Lancashire County Council's Summer Born application form providing evidence of exceptional or substantial need for this to happen.

Substantial or exceptional need

This can be anything which the parent(s) consider relevant.  It may include developmental, educational, medical, social or welfare information/reasons.  Premature birth will be taken into consideration, as will a child's medical incapacity for all or most of the previous nursery year (if this prevented access to early years provision). Parents should, however, provide evidence to support any request for early start or full year deferral with a reception start.

It is not sufficient to provide personal views and opinions and/or to refer to national research. Information and evidence should be about the specific needs of the child.

Please read the information about summer born children if you are considering requesting a deferment.

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The deadline to apply for a primary school place for September 2024 is 15 January 2024. Any applications received after the deadline will be classed as late.