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Reception Year at Dandelion

Delaying/deferring reception year


In England, all children are entitled to start school in the September following their fourth birthday.

This means that the oldest children in the school year will turn five as soon as they begin Reception, while the youngest will have only just celebrated their fourth birthday. 

Although most children start school in the September after turning four, they are not obliged to be in education until they are of Compulsory School Age. This is a set point in the year following their fifth birthday.

  • Children who turn five between 1 September and 31 December reach Compulsory School Age on 31 December.

  • Children who turn five between 1 January and 31 March reach Compulsory School Age on 31 March.

  • Children who turn five between 1 April and 31 August reach Compulsory School Age on 31 August.

This means that Summer born children  – those born between 1 April and 31 August – don’t have to start school until a full year after they could have been admitted.

Currently, you  can request that  your child's school starting date be delayed by a year if they were born between 1 April and 31 August, and you don't think they're ready to start school in the term after they turn four. Different children develop at different rates, and although some summer born children are more than ready to start school soon after their fourth birthday, many others are not.

If you make a request to delay your child's school entry, the school has the right to decide whether they can start in Reception a year late, or whether they go straight into Year 1 with their normal age group, missing the whole Reception year. 

If you want to delay your child's starting date, you'll need to apply for a school place for them to start at the normal time (i.e. the September after their fourth birthday), but should submit your request for deferred entry at the same time. The school should tell you how to make your request.

The law says that if you defer your child's school starting date until the term after they turn five, the admission authority (the local authority or the school's governing body, including the headteacher) must take account of the child's individual needs and abilities in making a decision about whether they should be admitted to Reception or Year 1. The decision must be made in the child's best interests.

It's advisable that you submit any relevant information with your request for your child to start Reception a year late. This could simply be a statement that you write explaining your reasoning. If your child already attends Dandelion we can support this process

The admission authority should tell you whether they'll grant your request before primary school National Offer Day (mid-April).

If your request is granted, you'll need to withdraw your application and reapply the following year. Your application will be treated as a new application, and you'll be subject to the same admissions criteria as every other child applying for a Reception place.

If your request is declined, you have the choice to carry on with your child's application and accept a place in their normal age group, or refuse the place they've been offered, skip the Reception year and make an application for them to start in Year 1 the following year.

There's no right of appeal, but you can make a complaint to the admissions authority, which they have to process in line with their complaints procedure.

The Summer Born Campaign is appealing for all parents of summer born children who defer school entry until Compulsory School Age to have the choice of whether they start in Reception or Year 1. ‘It’s unfair that parents in some areas have this option, while in others, they have to decide between sending their child to school before they’re ready or letting them miss a whole year of their education,’ Pauline explains.

Reception year at Dandelion 


Time spent at Dandelion during a child’s Reception year will be:

  • Fun

  • Engaging 

  • Academically productive

  • Reflective of the child’s own interests

  • A partnership between the child, family and Dandelion 


The Reception year at Dandelion will:

  • Develop emotional literacy

  • Develop management of risk

  • Develop self efficacy

  • Develop creative and critical thinking

  • Develop positive resilience ( a link must be made between this and EL)


Learning will always move on. It is our job at Dandelion  to scaffold children’s learning , to know how children learn so well that we can ALWAYS move them on rather than allowing them to continually practice what they know e.g., counting to 10.


Reception aged children at Dandelion will be ready to  enter school at the beginning of year one  at the same place (or in advance) educationally of  their peers who have spent their Reception year at school.

Reception at Dandelion is offered in the Main nursery and at the Den.