Checklist for applications to defer or delay

A dad walking with his child and holding their hand

This checklist offers some guidance on how you could structure your application to your local authority for delaying or deferring your child's start to primary school.

Including the information in this checklist can help support your application. You might find it useful to use the bullet points as sections for your application letter.

Local authorities and school admissions boards all do things slightly differently across the UK. If you want to defer or delay your child’s primary school place, you should contact your local authority. They will tell you what you need to do and when the application needs to be completed by.

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, it is likely that you will be asked to:

  1. Explain why your child should be educated outside of their normal age group.

  2. Provide evidence to support your request.

Remember: admission authorities should consider the age group a child would have fallen into if they were born at full term.

The authority is also required to make a decision based on the circumstances of the case and in your child’s best interests.

1. Explain why your child should be educated outside of their normal age group

Tell the authority why you are asking for your child’s school place to be delayed/deferred and why you think this is the best outcome for your child.

Things you might include:

  • Their expected birth date and actual birth date. Your application is more likely to be given serious consideration if your premature child was born:

- 1 June to 31 August (England and Wales)

- 1 April to 1 July (Northern Ireland)

  • Information about their premature birth and early life experiences, such as the time they spent in neonatal care.
  • Any conditions they have been diagnosed with, such as ADHA or autism.
  • Any challenges you have noticed, such as difficulties communicating, poor coordination, or issues with self care (e.g. getting themselves dressed).

2. Evidence (documents) that support your views

Things you might include:

  • Statements from keyworkers in your child's early life, such as social workers, nursery staff or other early years providers who have cared for your child.
  • Copies of letter from any medical professionals involved in their care. This might include:

- Consultant or specialist (e.g. paediatrician or neurologist)

- Speech and language therapist

- Occupational therapist

- Physiotherapist

- Educational psychologist

- GP

  • Statement or letter from a headteacher, SENDCo or any other staff from the school or schools you would like your child to attend.

The 'TIGAR' study based out of the University of Oxford recently published a report about how being born early might affect a child’s health and progress at school. It contains some useful information and statistics that can be used to support your application. You can find the full report using this link and a helpful summary of their findings using this link.