Starting reception class

In the UK children normally start reception class when they are four years old. This means they turn five during their reception class year. This is a time of significant change for many children and their families.

If your child is born between 1 September 2014 and 31 August 2015 they would normally start reception class in September 2019. You must apply before 15 January 2019 even if you wish to delay or defer their start in reception.

If you are concerned about your child starting reception class you should talk to the headteacher of the primary school they will be attending (or the schools you want to apply for). They will explain how the school can support your child as they move into reception class.

Delayed start

After a school place has been offered you have the right to delay your child’s start in reception class by one or two terms depending on their birth date. You can also request that your child attends school part-time when they first start reception class. In both cases you must speak to the headteacher of the school first.

Deferred entry

If your child was ‘summer-born’, i.e. born between 1 April and 31 August 2015, you can request to defer their admission to reception class for a full year.

If you wish to defer your child’s start into the reception class from September 2019 until September 2020, you must apply in the normal way for a reception place in September 2019 (deadline Tuesday 15 January 2019).

For Hackney community schools Hackney Learning Trust, as the admission authority, will decide whether your request to defer will be agreed. You must follow the process outlined below to request deferral.

For all other schools (including academies, free schools, voluntary aided/religious schools and community schools outside Hackney) the decision is made by the academy trust, governing body or local authority (for community schools). You must make your request to defer direct to each school or local authority.

Requesting deferral at Hackney community primary schools

You must submit a ‘Request to defer reception’ form by Tuesday 15 January 2019.

Decisions for Hackney community schools will be based on your child’s individual circumstances including your views and the views of the headteachers of your preferred schools and evidence of your child’s social, academic and emotional development.

It is recommended that you provide evidence to support your request from relevant professionals working with your child/family that clearly demonstrate why it is in your child’s best interest to be placed outside their normal age appropriate cohort. Without evidence Hackney Learning Trust will be unable to assess your child’s individual circumstances.

Hackney Learning Trust place significant weight on the views of the headteacher of each school because they have the best knowledge of their school and how the children starting reception class can be supported. Requests will be granted where the headteacher of every Hackney community school listed on your application form agrees that it is in your child’s best interest to be educated outside their normal age appropriate cohort.

Department for Education’s (DfE) most recent ‘Advice on the Admission of Summer Born Children’, published in December 2014, states that ‘in general, children should be educated in their normal age group, with the curriculum differentiated as appropriate, and that they should only be educated out of their normal age group in very limited circumstances.’ In line with this guidance, requests to defer reception until 2020, will normally only be agreed in exceptional circumstances and where the evidence provided demonstrates clearly that it would be in your child’s best interests.

How will I be advised the outcome of my request?

If you submit your reception application and your request for deferral by 15 January 2019 you will be advised of the outcome of your request in writing prior to national offer day (16 April 2019).

If your request for deferral is received after 15 January 2019 it is likely you will hear the outcome after national offer day. Additionally, requests made at the end of the 2018/2019 academic year or during the summer holiday may not be decided until September 2019.

You will be advised whether your request has been agreed for Hackney community schools. With this information, and the responses you have received directly from academies, free schools, voluntary aided/religious schools and community schools outside Hackney, you will need to decide whether you will withdraw your application for a September 2019 start and reapply in the September 2020 cohort. You will be permitted to apply for Reception once only.

If you choose to defer your child’s start in Reception please note the following information carefully:

  • There is no statutory barrier to children being admitted outside their normal age group but parents do not have the right to insist their child is admitted to a particular age group
  • There is no right of appeal against the decision not to admit your child out of cohort but you can make a complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombusdman
  • When submitting your deferred application you should list only schools that have agreed to allow deferral. If you list a school that has not previously agreed to allow deferral and they are not willing to accept an application out of cohort then the preference will not be processed
  • If you are unsuccessful gaining a place at any of the schools you list on your deferred application then your child may be required to enter Year 1 directly and skip reception if the alternative school offered is unwilling to educate your child out of cohort
  • No secondary school is required to accept a child who has been educated out of cohort into Year 7 at secondary transfer and your preferred secondary school may insist your child enters Year 8 directly


Admissions and Pupil Benefits Team

020 8820 7000 (option 3)
This page was last modified on: 26 Oct 2018