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Admission of children outside their normal age group

On very rare occasions, you may feel it is in your child’s best interests for them to be admitted to school outside of their normal age group. For example, you may feel it is better for your child to start in Reception Class when other children their age are starting in Year 1. This may be due to your child’s:

  • ill health
  • premature birth

You can apply for your child to start school outside of their normal age group, but you cannot insist that your child is admitted to a particular age group.

Any applications you make will be reviewed by the admission authority (usually either the school itself or the Council) of each relevant school. The admission authority will look at the:

  • circumstances of your case
  • best interests of your child
  • views of the head teacher at the relevant school

To apply for an admission outside of the normal age group for your child, you’ll need to send each relevant admission authority:

  • your application
  • any supporting evidence

The admission authority must make sure that you receive a response to your application before the primary national offer day – the date when parents are told which school their children will be going to.

You should still apply for a school place for your child’s normal age group at the usual time: you can withdraw you application later if you need to.

If your application for a place outside of your child’s normal age group is approved, you must apply for a Reception Class place as part of the main admissions round the following year.

If your application is refused, you must decide whether to:

  • accept the offer of a place for your child’s normal age group
  • refuse the offer of a place and instead make an in-year application for admission to Year 1 for the September following your child’s fifth birthday