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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 a mainstream school 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 – DO NOT  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 do not think they're ready to start school in the term after they turn four. 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. There are many reasons for delaying/deferring, this may be for: personal values; for further play based learning;  for the best interests of the child; for the higher adult to child ratios in Early Years, or for neurodiversity needs.

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 will 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 is 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. 

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 resilience


Learning will always move a child on. It is our role at Dandelion to scaffold children’s learning , to know how children learn so well that we can ALWAYS move them forward rather than allowing them to continually practice skills already mastered 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 within the Den.

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A day in the life of a Dandelion

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