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Implications of deferred entry to school

Placement outside a child’s chronological year group must be considered to be in the best interests of the child. 

The decision could potentially have long-term effects and it is therefore important to establish the reasons for the request to delay starting school. 

It is also important to anticipate what will happen when your child would be old enough to transfer to secondary school, to leave statutory education and the timing of any consequent examinations. 

Some points to consider: 

  • Your preferred school may not have space in the following year to accommodate your child.
  • As your child matures they may realise that the rest of their class are of a different age, causing adverse emotional impact.
  • Admission authorities (e.g. academies) will be the decision makers and as they are independent of the local authority may choose to decline a deferral request. 
  • As the law currently stands, a child who starts Reception a year behind cohort will need to request a formal deferral to progress through each phase of education with their adopted cohort (for example to apply for a deferral to secondary phase when a child is in year 5.)
  • A child applying for a selective school (e.g. grammar school) may be subject to a weighting in their selective test due to being older than other children in their cohort.
  • If your child reaches school-leaving age before they have completed their Key Stage 4 curriculum, they may decide to leave school without completing formal examinations.
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