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Delayed and early school entry

Defer entry to Primary School

In Scotland, children usually start primary school in the year preceding or during which they have their 5th birthday. However, from August 2023 a change in Scottish Government Legislation means that parents have the legal right to defer their child’s entry into primary school.

To defer a child’s entry to Primary School in session 2023-2024, their 5th Birthday must fall on or between the day after the school start date in August 2023 and the end of February 2024.

If you feel your child would benefit from deferred entry into primary school, you should speak to the staff in your Early Learning and Childcare establishment.

How to apply

You should discuss this with your child's current early years establishment who will arrange for you to be emailed the link to the online application form.

Applications must be submitted in January each year, once processed, your child will be automatically granted a deferred year.

During the deferred year, your child will continue to access their Early Learning and Childcare in their existing establishment. Should you wish to change your early years provider, please discuss this with the EY staff and make an application online.

Start Primary School early

Most children start primary school in the August of the year that they turn 5. Apart from children with whose birthday falls in January and February, who can start school in the August of their 4th birthday.

If, as a parent, you feel your child is ready emotionally, socially and academically to start school early , you can apply for early entry into Primary School.

All children who apply for early entry into Primary School are assessed by an Early Learning and Childcare specialist and views are gathered from parents, carers and the Early Learning and Childcare centre the child attends.

How to apply

Apply online for Early Entry.

Applications must be submitted by 15 March each year. We will notify you of our decision, in writing, by 30 April.

To request a paper version of this form, phone 01294 310000 or email educationresources@north-ayrshire.gov.uk

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