Starting school later: reception class

Starting school later: reception class

Delayed school start if your child is not ready to go to school in the September of the school year in which they are 5 years old

We offer a school place to every child in Bristol in the September after their fourth birthday. This is the normal time for your child to start school.

Term dates 2022 to 2023

Children who were born between 1st September 2017 and 31st August 2018 will be offered a school place to start from September 2022.

The compulsory school age that your child must be in full-time education is the term after their fifth birthday. 

You can ask that your child starts reception class:

  • in September part-time until they reach compulsory school age
  • later in the academic year
  • the following September if they are a summer born child

Your child must be in full-time education when they reach compulsory school age.

Deferment dates

If you want to defer entry you must still apply for school place for your child by 15 January 2022 so that a place at the school is kept open for your child.

You can’t defer entry to reception after term 5. If your child hasn’t started school by the beginning of term 5 their place at the school will be lost, and you’ll need to put in a new application for a place in Year 1 at the school.  You’re not guaranteed a place at your preferred school.

If your child was born between:

  • 1 Sep 2017 to 31 Dec 2017 you can defer their place until Tuesday 3 Jan 2023
  • 1 Jan 2018 to 31 Aug 2018 you can defer their place until Monday  17 Apr 2023

Summer born children

Summer born children are children born from 1 April to 31 August. They don’t have to start school until a full school year after the date at which they could first have been admitted. So when other children in their age group are beginning Year 1 you may want your child to be admitted to reception, rather than Year 1.

This means they’ll be starting school out of their normal age group, the admission authority for your preferred school(s) will make a decision if this is possible on the basis of the circumstances and best interests of your child.

Delayed and Deferred Entry to School Information for Parents and Carers (pdf, 121KB) (opens new window)

Delayed, deferred and accelerated admissions process (pdf, 152KB) (opens new window)

You can use the Delayed Entry to School Form (word doc, 23KB) (opens new window) when you apply for your child to start reception later. You can also use  the completed form when you talk to schools seeking their agreement to your child starting later.