Parents of summer born children


Please write to us with your experiences (example questions only below):

Have you been able to delay your child’s entry into reception class?

Are you facing/ did you face opposition from your local school and/or local education authority?

Why do you want your child to wait an extra year before starting school?

What has been the reaction from other parents or family members?

Have you been denied the opportunity to delay your child’s entry into reception but decided to defer their starting date until late in the reception year?

If you have an older child whose entrance into reception was delayed, are you happy with this decision or do you have any regrets?

If possible, please tell us the area you live in, as we’d really like to build up a picture of what is happening around the country. If you’ve had a positive experience with a very supportive school, please provide the name of that school, as we think it’s important to highlight good practice and to demonstrate that WHERE THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY.


373 Responses to Parents of summer born children

  1. El says:

    Does anyone have any experience of the opposite – asking for their child to be put forward a year?
    I have a son born 29 Aug, who has flourished in reception and year 1, but my daughter, born beginning Sep, will be the oldest in her class, going to school a year later and I would rather her go earlier!
    I know the discussion is about summer born babies being deferred, but it therefore makes sense that early Sep babies could go up? Anyone heard of this happening? I am applying for her to get a Jan 18 preschool place, as I feel to hold her back until Sep is not fair! Are there any local authorities that you have heard of that are flexible in both directions?


    • Corinne says:

      I was a year early and do not recommend it at all! I think it was a terrible decision,because there is no way a child can be put in a situation where his/her peers are1 year older in emotional and psychological development, and come out of it with more benefit than being in amongst real peers.
      Only my opinion, but through experience.


    • Mimi says:

      I am in the same situation! My 7th September born son is more than ready for school, given his mental and emotional capabilities. I have worked for years as a scientist tracking nerve development and some children have a much higher IQ and EQ levels compared to the majority of their age group. I am baffled at why councils will not even entertain an interview to these children or at least allow entry in January term to reception. I feel this is denying them their rights to education and holding back the most important factor – denying them environmental stimulus to facilitate learning and growth!
      Can like-minded parents or teacher please suggest how to apply for a January 2019 entry?


  2. Becky miller-barton says:

    Hi all,

    My son is turning 3 on the 28th Aug so is to start school next year. I really do not want this, but I also do not want to hold him back and for them to just put him in to year 1 the following year!!!! I have also been told that if I do manage to hold him back to start reception in 2019 he will then (before year 6) be moved up!!! Is this true?

    Trying for advice as to were to start…. thank you



    • Ruth Nilsson says:

      My son has the same birthday as yours. He did have delayed speech as well so I sent a paragraph explaining to Brighton and Hove Council explaining why I thought he should be allowed to join reception just after he turned 5 along with a speech and language report from the previous year even though he had been signed off. No problems at all – the council agreed it and he’s due to start this year on Sept 11th in reception which is 2 weeks after he turns 5. He is so much more ready for school this year than he would have been last year. Good luck!


      • Gen says:

        Hi, my son sounds very similar to yours – end of August birthday and speech delay. Can you remember what you said in your paragraph? Or how detailed the SLT report was? I am hoping to get a letter from the speech and language therapist but wasn’t sure what to ask her to put. Thanks 🙂


  3. Lee Davis says:

    Have you been able to delay your child’s entry into reception class? NO

    Are you facing/ did you face opposition from your local school and/or local education authority? YES

    Why do you want your child to wait an extra year before starting school? THEY WERE BORN ON THE 31ST AUGUST AND THEY ARE BEHIND IN THEIR EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL SCORING FROM NUSERY

    What has been the reaction from other parents or family members? SURPRISED THERE IS NO FLEXIBILITY

    Have you been denied the opportunity to delay your child’s entry into reception but decided to defer their starting date until late in the reception year? NO

    If you have an older child whose entrance into reception was delayed, are you happy with this decision or do you have any regrets? NA

    If possible, please tell us the area you live in, as we’d really like to build up a picture of what is happening around the country. WOLVERHAMPTON – I HAVE RAISED AN FOI ASKING HOW MANY REQUESTS HAVE BEEN APPROVED OVER THE LAST 3 YEARS AND ALSO FOR ATTAINMENT SCORES FOR SUMMER BORN VS NON SUMMER BORN CHILDREN.


    • Jules says:

      My daughter, a June baby attended the local school’s nursery (3 mornings a week) and had made friends. When it came to moving her to reception I didnt want to defer her and break up her friendship group but I didn’t feel she was emotionally ready to do 5 full days. I requested that she go part time but was flatly refused. I was also shocked to discover the school didn’t offer any kind of staggered start for reception children. I felt trapped and got together a petition asking that they offer a staggered start for those parents that want it for their child. A good number of parents signed and although the head called us in for a meeting she again refused to change her policy which I believe was largely due to her attendance figures. I really feel that this school is not putting the needs of it’s children first and feel very disappointed. We live in Northumberland.


  4. Clare says:

    we have a daughter who is going to be 4 on the 25th August and have decides to defer her entry into reception till sept 2018. We have agreement from the local council admission team but have to go through the applying process again, so no guarantee we will get her in.
    A question I have is if she does get in – is she safe? Can she be moved down a year later on if we were to move schools or is it that once she is in reception and started school, that’s it? any help would put my mind at rest 🙂


    • Ruth Nilsson says:

      When I asked my local council about this (Brighton and Hove) they said my son would stay in the year he entered school and wouldn’t be asked to move years by an LEA school although to be aware that some academies may have their on rules. As far as I’m concerned, I am expecting my son (he turns
      5 on 28th Aug and has deferred reception until this Sept) will stay in the year group he enters all the way through. If a school tried to move him I would be very surprised and would fight it as can’t see any reason in the current education system (I’m a secondary teacher) to justify making a child miss a year. Have confidence in your choice and your ability to know /fight for what is right for your child’s
      All the best!


  5. Jules says:

    I would like my summer born child to go part time as I feel the school day is too long but our chosen school have said no. Is there anything I can do? Would the council support the schools decision?


  6. Craig says:

    lots of comment, articles and features around ‘holding back’ but very little I’ve found about helping Children already in school and possibly struggling and disadvantaged. Whats the solution for these children?


  7. Khan says:

    I am glad I found this site. My son is june 2014 born and due to start reception next year, he has just started preschool which he is not settling in very well and i am thinking of taking him off and deferring him a year . Our Warwickshire council says we can apply to defer but it depends on the school and then the council will decide. He is so small, and now i am scared after reading here that councils are not always easy to handle:)
    Any tips on do’s and dont’s will be really appreciated to enable me to put forward a strong case.



    • Caroline says:

      Hello! We successfully went through this process 5 years ago- can’t believe it still hasn’t been resolved. We met with the Headteacher of the school we wanted our son to go to and presented a calm, rationalised argument as to why he needed to be deferred. Be cautious of anyone saying that your child will need to go straight into year 1 as that’s not the case and may be an indicator of a wider lack of additional support. Once you have the heads backing they will complete the county paperwork to get this formally agreed. Never agree on a handshake- there are too many cases of heads leaving and with no official agreement in place the child gets moved up a year whether it’s detrimental or not. In our experience councils are not your battle here- they are so stretched and underfunded they won’t contest Heads paperwork- although it may differ county to county. The relationship with the school and the head is the key and get it formalise by the Local authority.

      Good luck!


      • Eva says:

        Hi Caroline, would you mind sharing on what your cased was based? And was your request based on any feedback from a specialist / GP?

        I have a son who was born premature (his due date was 30 Aug) and can see that his communication skills are far from his peers in nursery. We speak two languages at home which also delays the speech development. His attention span is very short and I can’t see him sitting calmly for activities for more than 10 min.

        I’m wondering if I could get any formal feedback from a specialists before heading to the head master?

        Thank you in advance


  8. Bethan b says:

    Hi. I am currently struggling to know the right decision for my 4 year old. (Birthday July 4th). He started school in September and I took him out for odd days and half days. I had to fight for this right as the school was reluctant. They were not willing to allow half time attendance or agree to let him be deferred a year which was my initial preference. Currently he is struggling to meet their learning expectations and there have been a few incidents of biting other kids! I will keep taking him out for occasional half days to give him a rest. But wondering whether I should take him out completely and demand to be deferred a year. Any thoughts whether this could do more harm than good or how likely a school would be to accept that? Thanks


  9. Anna in Enfield says:

    Hi everyone – does anyone have experience with a summerborn child repeating a year? My 5 year old is summer born and did ok in Reception but is struggling and very unhappy in year 1. It would be better for everyone involved if he either moved down to Reception or repeated year 1 at the end of the year. From what I hear this seems almost unheard of, anyone been able to do this?
    Any advice or ideas of where to look for more information are much appreciated.

    Many thanks.


    • Lis says:


      I did this with my son and it has worked really well for us. We were worried about him settling into his class in the new year but it has worked really well. We talked a lot to him about it being a choice as wanted him to understand why he was finding the work hard in his current class. As it happened he was keen to make the move. A friend of mine also did this with her son (he was less keen to move for friendship reasons) but she also feels it was the right move. My son is so much more relaxed and condident now. The school felt he could have continued in his normal year but he definitely wasn’t thriving and i (and his current teacher) feel he would be really struggling if he had stayed in his normal year. I would trust your instincts. It’s a scary decision but in the end i thought there was more risk of a bad outcome if i left him than if i moved him. The only short term downside was his original classmates kept asking him why he had moved classes (which he didn’t like – they were intrigued rather than being unkind) but this stopped after the first term. Good luck with your decision.


    • Ruth says:

      I tried to defer but found it too difficult, so my daughter started in ‘the correct’ year group, she was fine in reception but is struggling in year 1. She now hates going to school. Socially she’s fine, has lots of friends etc but finds the sheets hard (her words) and I think she just zones out.
      I have moved her to another more nurturing school this year (although in the same year group though) because of a feeling she is not allowed to be sick, she must reach targets (to make the school/ teacher look good for ofstead), we must do all this practice at home so that she achieves.. what about play time?!?! Play is more important at 5 years old than practicing for tests. Children are people not a tick in a box.
      My advice would be to really look for the best school you can too.. sometimes it’s not the one you think it is. If you don’t gel with the headteacher there’s probably a reason for that.


  10. Michele says:

    I had no problems delaying my daughter’s start here in Hertfordshire. The council site states that all you have to do is refrain from applying then apply for reception the following year.
    Very straight forward. I hope this becomes the norm all over the country soon. Good luck to everyone out there!


  11. Jane says:

    I am considering deferring my son’s entry to reception (he is July baby so due to start this Sep). His development is totally normal and he’s a very happy boy. However, I’m concerned that he will be extremely tired, as he still has a sleep some days and can become quite unreasonable when tired. This is my main concern, along with knowing he is potentially at a disadvantage being one of the youngest. Having spoken to our borough (Havering), I feel I have no option but to put him in full time from Sep. They said it is very unlikely he will be allowed to defer as he has no SEN and I would need evidence to back up my request.
    Having also spoken Hertfordshire borough (where we are thinking of moving to in the next few yrs), they said there was no problem at all in deferring. No reason needed and he would stay in the same cohort throughout his school life. Very unfair that the admissions process is not the same in every LEA.


    • Mandy says:

      My son had SEN which was raised the year before he went into reception. I too was worried that he wouldn’t ‘catch up’ with his peers as he was also a summer baby (late May). However, we eventually decided to let him progress to reception instead of deferring. We have just started his second term. His first term has been amazing. He has made huge huge progress. If you thought they made leaps and bounds in nursery then wait till nursery. He has come back a little man. Full of independence. His SEN was mainly speech and language and social and interaction skills. He has been signed off speech therapy. He also can’t stop talking and saying hello to strangers and initiating play with his peers. Please don’t worry if he does follow onto reception without deferring. Sometime they need a challenge and reception quickly teaches them independence. Good luck.


  12. Chris says:

    Hi, father of a summer born child, born May 2013 here.
    I’m amazed at the battles and outright refusals some of you are having to deal with. My wife and I made a decision to delay our daughter’s reception year after a lot of research into other countries, including Scandinavia, and emotional and academic progress compared to starting ages.

    We live in the Newark and Sherwood admissions area, and when the applications for first admission for 2017 arrived, we phoned the admission office, and told them we wouldn’t be applying as we felt it in our daughter’s best interest, and in line with government guidelines, to delay her reception year. The lady I spoke to was very supportive, and asked us to e-mail staring what we’d just told her.

    After a few bureaucratic false starts (mainly getting the right people to read the e-mail), they granted the deferral. No medical or SEN reports were required, indeed we feel that our daughter would probably have coped very well if she had gone in with the expected intake.

    This year, we have just completed her application process, and every Head Teacher we spoke to agreed with our decision, said thar she would be their first such admission, but would happily take her for Reception (Foundation 2) year as normal. The only problem I had with the application, was due to the online system obviously not expecting an deferred reception, but a bit a creative form filling got around that, and a phone call to the LEA admissions office confirmes the applications are on the system correctly.

    I don’t know whether we were just very lucky, or whether Nottinghamshire/Newark and Sherwood LEA are better at dealing with it, so reading a lot of other people’s experiences with other LEAs is shocking.



  13. Christine says:


    My children are both summer term children, so they don’t get their funding until September but all their peers who are born between September and end of march receive and extra 1-2 terms of nursery. The younger children are already on the back foot because the difference in development between a child turning 5 in September vs one who turns 5 in July or August is huge.

    I think they should all receive the funding with from the September before they start school or the January term regardless of when their birthday is. I wouldn’t know where to start or see whether this has been done before?


  14. Ann says:

    My son was born in July 29th, I am really devastated because the online application rejected his entry into great 1. This is the first half I am going to see my child go to b grade 1 at seven. His 3 sisters started at 6 yes. ..

    What should I do?


  15. Michelle says:

    I don’t know what to do…

    My Summber norm (mid June) Daughter is starting school in Sept. I am very torn, she does actually seem ready I am nervous because he August born brother is really struggling.

    We have a strong history if dyslexia in my family and my son is in the process of being diagnosed.

    So whilst she actually seems ready and no problems are presenting yet I feel the pressure of knowing this is my only opportunity to buy her more time to mature.

    Any advise would be greatly received.

    Any negatives to starting a year later?


    • Michelle says:

      Wish I had read this properly before posting… I too have dyslexia sorry


    • Sharon says:

      I’ve just decided to apply to defer my daughter’s entry to reception, after several months of weighing up the pros and cons. She’s only just ‘summer born,’ with a mid April birthday. She’s a ‘more able’ child academically, but is a bit lacking in confidence and her personal, social and emotional development is a little behind her peers. I eventually ended my indecisiveness by taking an ‘err on the side of caution’ approach. If I don’t defer and she enters reception this year, and ends up struggling socially and emotionally, the effects could be profound and lifelong. If I defer her the main concern I have (will she receive enough challenge in school) seems so minor in comparison!


  16. E McM says:

    Oxfordshire Council have just refused my application to delay 15th Aug born child to start Reception at CSAge. School were supportive until council asked Head, he now feels not in best interests of child. As a EY teacher and parent my views have not been listened to at all. We are considering sending her to Reception as don’t want her to miss a year. Also as a military family, we have been threatened with ‘it is likely child will be moved back up into correct year group at some point in future as you move across every couple of years’. I know my child will cope but that is not good enough surely. How can a child fulfill their potential if they are not ready to begin?


  17. Lucy says:

    I have a little boy born 31st of August who will be starting nursery (5 mornings a week with a staggered start in September). He is attending the nursery of the school we hope he will attend. I really would like him to stay in Nursery for two years and start reception when he has had his 5 birthday. I am so daunted by what is ahead of me, and will hopefully begin a conversation about this at our nursery open evening (later this month) even the thoughts of it all make me feel so emotional. I just wondered if anyone could offer me a bit of encouragement and perhaps a conversation starter that I can present to the school. Really appreciate any words of support and advice. Thank you in advance.


  18. Chris Main says:

    Can I defer my son’s senior school entry. He is currently in year 6. Born 23rd Aug 2007 prematurely. Repeating year 6 would so him world of good. Head teacher said no. Dfe said it’s possible


  19. Carmen says:


    We have just been given approval to defer our daughters start. She was born in August 2014, and we have no concerns about her development – she is in fact coping very well and enjoying nursery. She would be fine to start reception this year but we feel quite strongly that to start at 4 is just too young. Based on research done in other countries esp Scandinavian countries, as well as my professional experience as a paediatric OT having seen how children can really struggle without enough time to play and be children prior to school, we wanted to give our daughter the chance for a more solid pre-school foundation to enable her to better cope with the social and emotional aspects of school, and all the pressures she will face academically. We also considered the impact of being the youngest in her teenage years.

    Our admissions team were helpful, but it was down to the head teacher and school goveners who were incredibly supportive and understanding. We have had a very peaceful process and it feels a little surreal to have had it approved in this way, considering lengths others have had to go to.

    I really do hope that it becomes the norm and that parents are more supported. If more children do start later, it won’t be such a big thing.


    • Lina says:

      I am looking to start an application and wanted to ask what ‘evidence’ you stated in your covering letter for your daughter to be accepted?

      Many thanks for your help and I’m glad to hear you got the result you wanted.


  20. Dee says:

    Hi, our request for summer-born offset admission was denied. The council stated they only approve such request when backed up by evidence the child has a medical condition. They gave us a school place for year 1 (our daughter will be 5 in July). I’m writing for advice. We plan to home school for a year until our child is more ready to start school. But the council told us that if we wait a year she will ha e to start at year 2! We are seriously considering moving. Does anyone know what might happen in another council? If we 1. Home school this year 2. Move 3. Come Jan 2019 request a year 1 place for Sept 2019 ? Our child will be just 6 then. Thanks for any input.


    • Holly says:

      Hi, I live in the South West and no issues. Both schools that accepted my request are academy’s, thus they made the decision and not the authority. Plus both schools are small country schools. If I still lived in a large town I don’t think I would of had my request accepted.


  21. Jagjit Kaur says:

    How can we help a summer born child prepare to be in a class with peers almost 12 months older, without pressure? Are there any services available?


  22. Emma says:

    My little boy has just started I’m nursery 5 mornings a week, he was pre term EDD 19th September he arrived 28th August. He’s is such a happy little bit and has taken every step in his stride! Until this he sobs every morning I leave him and is sobbing when I pick him up. There is 7 months difference between him and the next child in his nursery class. All the pics I see he is on his own and I am so so worried about him. I want to delay him until September 2019 which is when he would have started nursery if he had been born when he was due but his school have said if I delay him, he will miss nursery completely and will have to start reception and go all day full time. This will really impact him. I think I’m going to have to go down the lagal route to try and get them to listen to me. I know my boy and this is really impacting him. Any
    Advice would be greatly appreciated x


  23. Emma says:

    My little boy has just started I’m nursery 5 mornings a week, he was pre term EDD 19th September he arrived 28th August. He’s is such a happy little bit and has taken every step in his stride! Until this he sobs every morning I leave him and is sobbing when I pick him up. There is 7 months difference between him and the next child in his nursery class. All the pics I see he is on his own and I am so so worried about him. I want to delay him until September 2019 which is when he would have started nursery if he had been born when he was due but his school have said if I delay him, he will miss nursery completely and will have to start reception and go all day full time. This will really impact him. I think I’m going to have to go down the lagal route to try and get them to listen to me. I know my boy and this is really impacting him. We have now seen a consultant due to massive nose bleeds, he’s had some hearing tests which he passed but they were concerned about his spontaneous speech, I’ve got a
    Meeting with his health visitor and they have done a referral to speech and language. I really want him to re start nursery sept 2019 when he will have just turned 4 by 3 days. We live in north wales and they are just so behind here, so when you speak to the council they flat refuse unless there is “special needs” I hate that term, I don’t want him to be made to feel different, and I try to explain to them that if he had been born when he was due 19th September that we wouldn’t even be having this argument!!! Help!! Has anyone had any joy being in wales? Any
    Advice would be greatly appreciated x


  24. Caroline Randall says:

    My 6 year old was refused delayed entry in wales and is now in yr 2, he has some mild additional needs not learning difficulties.
    Things have got worse each year, there is no support for summer-born children or for additional needs, they say he is fine in school but clearly he is not. My son’s anxiety is so bad I am close to having to home school him as I fear for his future. I wish there was a record of how many families are in this situation and are denied schooling appropriate to their child’s needs.
    I would advise to always defer entry if possible.


    • It might be worth writing a letter stating you feel so strongly about the issue (repeating year 2 would help your son immensely I imagine!) that if the outcome you want is not approved you will be removing him from school for home schooling. I know of quite a few nursery parents who appealed the school their child was allocated when applying for a reception place (so not a summer born application) by stating they will home school if appeal is unsuccessful and lo and behold, they all ended up in the school they wanted in the first place! Of course this relates to a different issue, and a different LA, but it might be worth a try in your case. Best of luck!


      • Holly says:

        We are in our second year of year 2! My summer baby had been falling further and further behind and first time in year 2 ( last academic year) my child was a year behind. I decided enough was enough, I was not going to tolerate it anymore my 6 year can’t be a year behind and never catch up. I went out and got a private educational assessment done and told the lady what I wanted. She totally agreed my child should be moved down a year and wrote her findings all in the report, including that she recommended her being moved down a year. I stormed into the school with my evidence and said either you do it or I will find a school that will. They moved her down a year and I have never had a happier child, she is not behind anymore and happy being the average kid in the class. Made lots of friends. Best fight I’ve ever had to fight.


      • Caroline Randall says:

        I’ve been looking into a private assessment, I’ve been fighting for support and getting nowhere, they will not consider educating out of yeargroup under any circumstances. If I had the money I would move to a private school with less children in a teaching area, 60 kids noise is too much for a deaf child. I’m not in a position to homeschool unfortunately.


      • Caroline says:

        Hi. Great news. Glad to hear you got it through. Have you got it formalised in writing with your Local Authority? Have come across families where they had the agreement with the Head and the Head left/ child went up to secondary school and their year group was ‘corrected’. It’s a massive jump to go from year 6 to year 8. If you have that’s great, if you haven’t hope this helps. Good luck. Hope all continues to go well.



      • Holly says:

        I completely agree and I’m sure people come across this issue. We are in catchment for a first, middle and secondary school system, all academies and these are linked by a trust. The headmaster at the middle school and secondary school signed the agreement, along with the head of the trust. These are top class country schools in our catchment, so we are guaranteed never to have to move year groups.


      • Caroline says:

        Pleased to hear you’re happy with their guarantees. Hope it all goes well.


  25. Jay says:

    My daughter is now 8, born on the 10th August. Year upon year she is struggling to keep up and each year from reception to present day, we have asked for the school to keep her back as she is clearly struggling. Our local education authority (Surrey) have refused unless there are medical grounds. Out GP has referred my daughter to CAMHS as he believes she has ADD which means she is falling further behind and is obviously not mature enough for her year group. CAMHS are not going to assess her and the school SENCO has not been much help in re-referring her either. She has been referred to a speech therapist as this is another area where she is lacking development.

    We and her family have noticed that she is becoming less and less confident as she knows all her friends are now 9 and more confident, mature and aware than she is.
    Has anyone else had any success in taking their child back a year at this age group?


  26. Suz wigmore says:

    Our daughter started school this September. We deferred her as her birthday is 28/08, so she went into Reception, which was great. This was in Oxfordshire. We are a military family and are due to move to Wiltshire next summer. I phoned a potential school and they said that Wiltshire only defer children with SEN. I am now worried that she will miss a year and be put into year 2. Does anyone have experience of this or know how I should approach this. Thanks in advance.


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