Children normally start full-time school at the beginning of the autumn term after they are four (e.g. they would join the reception class at the beginning of the 2017 Autumn term, when they had their fourth birthday on or between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017).

Parents can defer the date their child is admitted to school until later in the school year but not beyond the point at which they reach compulsory school age and not beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year for which the application was made. Parents can also take up a part-time place until later in the school year but not beyond the point at which they reach compulsory school age.

A child reaches compulsory school age the term after their fifth birthday. Therefore, if you are offered a reception class place at a school, you can opt to defer your child’s start date, but they MUST start full time school following their fifth birthday by the dates given below:

  • children born on or between 1 September and the end of December must start full time school by the beginning of the spring term in January
  • children born on or between 1 January and the end of March must start full time school on 1 April
  • children born on or between 1 April and the end of August must start school at the beginning of the autumn term in September.

The Local Authority’s expectation is that a child born between 1 April and 31 August should start the Reception class at the beginning of the summer term at the latest.

However, parents may choose that their child does not start school until the September (beginning of the autumn term) following their fifth birthday. However, please note the place cannot be held open beyond the summer term, this will mean that as their child will be a year one pupil when they join, parents will need to apply for a year one school place using the in-year application form

School leaving age

Children can leave school on the last Friday in June of the school year in which they reach 16 years of age.

They must however do one of the following until they are 18:

  • stay in full-time education, e.g. at a college
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • work or volunteer (for 20 hours or more a week) while in part-time education or training

Children, youth, families and schools

Address

Bernard Weatherill House, 8 Mint Walk, Croydon CR0 1EA , United Kingdom