Attending school full-time or part-time

The reception place that will be offered will be for a full time place starting from 1 September 2019.

Nearly all schools start children with some degree of part-time education to help children 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 term following your child's fifth birthday). This should be negotiated with the head teacher of the allocated school will will be able to advise on what part-time provision they are able to offer.

You also have the right to defer your child's entry into reception class to any point up to your child reaching compulsory school age, but not beyond the start of the summer term of reception year.

If your child was born between 1 September and 31 March, you cannot defer entry through to 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 transfer application for a year 1 place.

Before making a decision to educate your child out of normal age group, please ensure you have read our education outside normal age group guidance.

Deceleration (holding back a year)

If your child is summer-born (born between 1 April and 31 August), you may choose not to send them to school until the September following their fifth birthday. You may request that your child is admitted out of their normal age group, to reception year, rather than year 1.

If you wish to apply for your child to start school outside their normal age group, you must complete and return the education outside normal age group request form. Please email the request form with any available supporting evidence to Each request will be decided on its merits by the individual admission authority of the school concerned - this will either be the Local Authority or the Governing Body. You will be notified of the outcome of your request in writing. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact the school admissions team at Southampton City Council by sending an email to or call 023 8083 3004.

Acceleration (starting a year early)

You may wish your child to start in reception class a year earlier than their date of birth would indicate. You have the right to request that your child be educated out of year group, and the same process as for deceleration applies. Your request should be made in the first instance to the school admissions team at Southampton City Council.

Parents should bear in mind that there is much more to thriving in reception class than academic achievement. Southampton City Council makes very well regarded provision for three and four year olds via the nurseries and pre-schools in the city.

Please note:

If your request for education outside normal age group is agreed, this is not a guarantee of a place at your preferred school. Your application will be considered along with the other applications made for children in the correct age group for that year, and places will be offered strictly according to the admission criteria for the school. If the school to which you apply is unable to offer a place to a child outside their normal age group, the Local Authority, or any other admission authority, are under no obligation to agree admission to a year group outside the normal age group.

This means that if you are unsuccessful in a decelerated application outside your child's normal age group, your child could be placed straight into year 1 (their correct age group), resulting in your child missing up to a year of education.

Likewise, if your child is admitted to a reception class that is outside their normal age group, then when a subsequent application is made to junior or secondary school, the admission authorities for these schools are under no obligation to offer a place outside the normal age group. Parents will have to submit another request for each school transfer. It is advisable to take this into account before requesting admission outside your child's normal age group.