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When can my child start school?

1 September 2016

Most children begin attending a primary school during the school year in which they reach five years old. You have the right to start your child at school on a full-time basis from the September following their fourth birthday, providing they have been allocated a school place. 

 

A school year runs from September to the following August. 

 

Born on up to and including
1 Sept 2014 - 31 Aug 2015  Starts in 2019/20 academic year  – apply from Nov 2018
1 Sept 2013 - 31 Aug 2014 Starts in 2018/19 academic year – apply from Nov 2017
1 Sept 2012 - 31 Aug 2013 Starts in 2017/18 academic year – apply from Nov 2016
 

The law does not require a child to start school until the start of the term following their fifth birthday, which is when compulsory school age is reached.  Please read the section deferred entry to school for further information.

Deferred entry into school later in the school year

Whilst you can defer your child’s start date until later in the school year, you cannot defer it beyond the beginning of the term after they turn five and not beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year in April. Your child can start school part-time later in the school year, but not beyond the beginning of the term after they turn five.


If you plan to defer your child’s start date until later in the school year, you must still apply at the usual time for primary or infant school places.  You should also speak to the schools you are applying for, to discuss how you would like your child to be admitted.

Further information is available in the Primary Education in Essex booklet.