Admission of children outside their normal year group

Apply for your child to be educated outside their normal year group.

1 Overview

The Department for Education (DfE) expects pupils to be educated in their chronological year group.

Find out which is the normal year group for each age range.

Only in exceptional cases should a child be educated outside their chronological year group.

2 Apply for delayed admission to Reception class

By law, children must start their full-time education in the term following their fifth birthday. In West Sussex your child may start either full or part-time in the September following their fourth birthday.

If your child turns five between 1 April and 31 August they will become of statutory school age the following September. The majority of parents of summer born children are happy for their child to start school in the September following their fourth birthday.

The government has said it intends to change the School Admission Code so that parents can choose to delay when summer-born children start school; however, the law has not yet been changed.

The Code states that parents of summer-born children have the right to choose not to send their child to school until the September following their fifth birthday. Therefore, the decision to start at statutory school age is for parents. However, there is still no automatic right to a child being able to start in reception class where that is not their normal age group.

Parents of summer-born children can request that their child’s entry into Reception be delayed until the following academic year. This includes parents of children who were born prematurely and who would have naturally fallen into a lower age group if they had been born full-term.

Each case must be considered under its own merits and a decision made by the admission authority for the school. The County Council is the admissions authority for community and controlled schools. We would liaise with the admissions authority for other schools if they were named on your form.

How to apply

  1. Parents must complete the delayed entry application form below before the closing date of 15 January and should include any available evidence from professionals detailing why there is a need for your child to start in the Reception class the following year. The views of the headteachers of your preferred schools will be sought as part of the decision making process. Applications should be returned to the Pupil Admissions Team.
  2. You must also complete the standard application by 15 January for the admission of your child in the September following their fourth birthday. This ensures they have a school place if the delayed entry is declined. The views of the headteachers of your preferred schools will be sought as part of the decision making process.
  3. If your application for delayed entry is agreed, your child will not be allocated a place at a school in the September following their fourth birthday (or any place already offered will be released) and you will need to make a fresh application for a school place in the following September. The application will be considered in line with the published admission arrangements for the school alongside all other applications for that September.

If a delay is agreed, it is not possible for the Pupil Admissions Team to provide written confirmation that a child will remain with the same group of children throughout their academic career. This will be the decision of the admission authority of the school at which future school places is sought. However, the DfE guidance is clear that an admission authority must make a decision on the basis of the circumstances of each case, and will need to bear in mind the year group the child has been educated with up to that point.

3 Apply for back-classing

A back-classing arrangement is when a child who has already been in receipt of education repeats an academic year and is therefore educated outside of their chronological year group. This includes where a child has had a delayed admission and is now transferring to junior or secondary school.

It is expected that most applications for backclassing are submitted by the child’s school. Applications from parents will be discussed with the school. Completed application forms should be returned to the Pupil Admissions Team

4 Apply for acceleration

An acceleration arrangement is when a child who has already been in receipt of education advances an academic year and is therefore educated outside of their chronological year group.

It is expected that most applications for acceleration are submitted by the child’s school. Applications from parents will be discussed with the school. Completed application forms should be returned to the Pupil Admissions Team

It would be rare for a pupil to have an acceleration arrangement from the September following their fourth birthday but consideration will be made under the acceleration arrangement.

5 Further information

The document below provides further guidance on delayed admissions, back-classing, acceleration and deferred places. It also explains how we deal with these applications.

Last updated:
12 September 2019
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