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You are here:home > Learning > Applying for a school place > Starting school (Year R)

Starting school (Year R)

When does my child have to start school?

The law says that a child must start school no later than the beginning of the term following their fifth birthday.

In Southampton we recognise that an early start to education is vital in laying firm foundations for a child's future learning. All children living in the city are able to start school before this.

All four year olds can attend a reception class (Year R) in the September of the school year in which they become five.

The table below shows which year children should start school.

Children born betweenStart school in
1 September 2010 - 31 August 2011September 2015
1 September 2011 - 31 August 2012September 2016
1 September 2012 - 31 August 2013September 2017
1 September 2013 - 31 August 2014September 2018

Information on infant and primary schools

You can download a copy of the admissions policies on our admissions policies and information page.

The following pages provide further information on infant and primary schools in Southampton:

Please also see our frequently asked questions, which are listed below.

Starting primary school - frequently asked questions.

1. Will my child have to attend school full-time straightaway?

The reception place that will be offered will be for a full time place starting from 2 September 2015.

Nearly all schools start children with some degree of part-time education as the transition to school needs to be carefully managed, and it can be difficult for some children to adapt to the new environment.

Parents have the right to request part-time education up to the point where the child is of statutory school age. The school decides what part-time provision they are able to offer.

2. Can I delay admission?

Yes – you can defer your child's admission until the start of the term after their fifth birthday.

However you cannot defer entry until the start of year 1 – your child must take up a reception (year R) place offered to you at some point in the reception year. If your child does not take up the offered place, you will need to make an in-year application for a year 1 place.

You can request that they attend part-time until they are of statutory school age within the reception year. If you wish to defer entry you must inform the school and the admissions team.

Contact information