Can summer-born children start the Reception Year later

Can my summer-born child start the Reception Year in a state primary school later than the September of the school year in which he is 5?


You may have the option of keeping him for longer in his current pre-school as some authorities allow parents to apply for a place for the year in which their child is 5 and start in the spring or summer term after their fifth birthday. The school place then remains 'booked' for that child and is not available for another child. However, in most local authorities children are encouraged to start primary school for the Reception Year in the September of the school year in which they will become 5. This can mean that if your child was born in the spring or summer then he could start just after reaching the age of 4.

If your child is in this position and receiving therapy you may wish to discuss with the therapist whether the extra challenge of starting school, when he is so young, may cause pressures for him that affect his response to therapy, or is just too great a demand on his development. After consultation with the therapist, if you feel that would be the case it is worth approaching your local authority to see whether there is any flexibility on starting dates.

However, it is likely that your local authority considers that the Reception class curriculum offers the best opportunity for your child and refuses to permit a later entry to primary school in the year that your child is 5. This would mean that your summer-born child starts in primary school Reception class just after he is four. In some schools, children attend part-time at first. This is to help young children get used to school life. Individual schools will give details of their specific arrangements. This is at the discretion of the Headteacher.

The BSA hears from parents whose child started at just four in the Reception class. This was to be certain of a place at the chosen primary school even though they preferred him to start there in the September after he was 5, as the law allows. They told the BSA that provided a child is supported by his parents, teachers and ideally his therapist during this settling-in year he should be able to cope with the new challenges. The Reception class curriculum is less formal and should meet the needs of the young child.

Parents can also be reassured that the government has provided more training opportunities for Reception Year staff in supporting children with speech, language and communication needs, such as stammering. Your child who stammers should be professionally supported through the curriculum and should not feel any sense of pressure, even when he is one of the youngest in the class.

Information or training for staff is often available from speech and language therapists and specific strategies of support for class teachers can be accessed at BSA:Education.

If you are still deciding between keeping your child longer in his present pre-school and applying for a primary school place in the Reception Year you can get support and advice on your choices from the Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) and the BSA:Helpline.

Start considering your choices for the Reception Year at least eighteen months before your child starts.

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