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Deferring a Reception Place

(36 Posts)
LondonSuperTrooper Mon 01-Aug-11 16:33:34


I have just been told by the council that if I defer my DC's reception place from September to January, then I would lose that place.

Is this correct?!

AuntieMonica Mon 01-Aug-11 16:34:24

How old is your DC?

LawrieMarlow Mon 01-Aug-11 16:43:50

As children don't have to be in education until the term after their 5th birthday, this isn't true.

mrz Mon 01-Aug-11 16:49:26

Your child must start within the school year so before next summer.

systemsaddict Mon 01-Aug-11 16:56:09

Depends where you are and what you mean. You might not be able to keep the place open at a particular school that you want, if they have a waiting list. Many LEAs won't let you defer till January anyway - ours would only have let us defer for the full year, starting ds in year 1 (August birthday), and we wouldn't then have got to keep his place in the school we wanted as there were lots of children on the waiting list.

LawrieMarlow Mon 01-Aug-11 17:00:43

I am actually wondering a bit now, as I know parents have the right to request that the place is deferred, but I'm not sure that LEAs have to allow it. Hopefully an expert will see this and clarify.

mrz Mon 01-Aug-11 17:01:23

By Law you may defer your child's entry to reception class to later in the same school year, but not beyond the academic year for which the application is made. This is because if your child’s fifth birthday is during the Summer Term 2012 (16 April 2012 and 31 August 2012), and you wish them to start school in September 2011 (after their fifth birthday), they would have to start in Year 1 and consequently miss the entire reception year.

admission Mon 01-Aug-11 17:01:30

It is not correct.
You need to talk to your school, which will obviously be difficult before September and make the formal arrangements to defer to January.
I would actually go back to the Council by email and ask them to confirm the answer because it would not be a great surprise if the Council still think they can do this.
Paragraph 2.69 of the Admission code specifically states that admission authorities must allow parents to defer until later into the school year as long as it is not beyond the beginning of the term after the child's fifth birthday. They cannot remove the place.

hocuspontas Mon 01-Aug-11 17:03:52

I thought parents could choose when to send their children now (up until the term after they turn 5)? Unless your child is 5 before the autumn term starts maybe.

LondonSuperTrooper Mon 01-Aug-11 20:14:46

Thanks for the replies.

I was really surprised when they said that I would lose my DC's school place. Basically what they said is that by defering his place I am turning it down? I explained that he just turned 4 and that I would like him to start in January or even after the Easter holiday and they said no, I must re-apply and I will be allocated a school that has a vacant space for reception..... and that it may not be a local school sad

I will e-mail the council now.

LondonSuperTrooper Mon 01-Aug-11 20:15:34

Admission, thanks for pointing out that clause. I will use that info in my e-mail smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 01-Aug-11 20:31:16

London as the others have said you can defer, you still apply and accept the place in the normal way though.

We were thinking of deferring DD who is 4 this month and starts Reception in September. After talking to the school and pre-school and seeing how she handled the settling in sessions we have changed our minds.

Have you had a reply from your email yet?

LondonSuperTrooper Mon 01-Aug-11 20:33:47

JiltedJohnsJulie no i havent had a reply..... I only sent the e-mail in the last 5 mins smile

admission Mon 01-Aug-11 22:30:37

do not know what your LA does about accepting places, but assuming that you accepted the place offered then the LA cannot now remove that place. By defering you are not rejecting the place and the people in the LA admission are obviously aware of the difference or they are simply breaking the school admission code on the basis that they need every school place they can get their hands on!
If the LA do not have a system where you have to confirm the place, then I would definitely send another email, confirming that under no circumstances are you saying that you are giving up the place.

admission Mon 01-Aug-11 22:32:42

oops should read my posts before I press the button!
It should of course say that the people in the LA admission office are obviously NOT aware of the difference.

LondonSuperTrooper Tue 02-Aug-11 09:00:20


I have been in touch with the council again via the phone and I was asked where the admission code Paragraph 2.69 comes from?

Also, they said that the council will hold the place for my DC but the school will only keep it for 6 weeks as there is a waiting list. They also said most schools do not accept deferred entry to reception due to demand for places.

I’ve received an automated e-mail (to the e-mail sent last night) saying that due to high demand it will take 21 days to get a reply!!!

What do I do now?!

LondonSuperTrooper Tue 02-Aug-11 09:04:40

Just wanted to add that I know Para. 2.69 comes from the school admission code 2010 but she said that this now out of date?

prh47bridge Tue 02-Aug-11 10:11:56

She is wrong. The 2010 Admission Code is still current. The government is consulting on changes to the Code but no changes have been made.

prh47bridge Tue 02-Aug-11 10:14:19

And if they are saying that schools do not accept deferred entry they really don't understand the rules. Schools don't have any choice in the matter.

Contact the Admissions Manager at your LA. I hope they will know the rules. If not you will have to work your way up the management chain. Ultimately if they do withdraw the place you should appeal but I hope it won't come to that.

SoupDragon Tue 02-Aug-11 10:17:12

That paragraph isn't clear though as it says schools must allow parents to request that their child's entry be deferred. It doesn't categorically state that they must allow the entry to be deferred.

prh47bridge Tue 02-Aug-11 10:24:26

I thinks you are looking at an old version of the code. The current code is completely clear. It says:

"Admission authorities must allow parents of children who are offered a place at the school before they are of compulsory school age to defer their child’s entry until later in the school year. Where entry is deferred, admission authorities must hold the place for that child and not offer it to another child."

prh47bridge Tue 02-Aug-11 10:31:28

"I think", not "I thinks"...

Anyway, that is completely clear. You have the absolute right to defer entry until the term after your child's fifth birthday and the place must be held open for you. The only exception is in the next sentence of 2.69 which says they don't have to hold the place if you defer for a full year, but that isn't the case here.

The council's comments seem to say that they will hold the place open but the school will offer it to someone off the waiting list. That is complete and utter rubbish. If the school is its own admission authority it is bound by the Admissions Code and must therefore hold the place open. If the school is not its own admission authority it must not offer places to children on the waiting list - that is down to the LA.

admission Tue 02-Aug-11 14:52:09

I can't really add anything to what PRH has said. They simply seem to be making it up as they go along, what Council are we talking here?
You must accept the place, as this stops them, in theory, from doing anything to jeopodise the place. In reality you can do nothing about defering the place until you can speak to the school, which will probably not be until about a week before the pupils start back. The temptation in the interim is to send an email to the LA admission manager and ask them to confirm in writing that you can defer admission. It will be interesting to see what they reply!

LondonSuperTrooper Tue 02-Aug-11 16:08:29

Thanks admission & prh47bridge

The admission helpline team cannot help me as they categorically say that I cannot defer. When challenged, they passed on a number for the admission team manager for my area but I only get a voicemail telling that they are experiencing high demand & to try again later angry

I'm based in surrey & therefore dealing with Surrey CC

I have already accepted the place and as far as the school is concerned my DC is starting school on 7 September. I'm worried to leave this unresolved until i speak to the school in september in case they want my DC to start in sept IYSWIM.

prh47bridge Tue 02-Aug-11 17:09:56

From Surrey's Primary School Admissions booklet:

"Where we offer school places to parents in reception classes before their children are of compulsory school age, we must allow parents to request that their child’s entry be deferred until later in the same school year. The effect is that the place is held for your child and is not available to be offered to another child. This means that if your child is 4 years old between the 1 April 2011 and 31 August 2011 you would have to take up your offer of a school place at the start of the summer term 2012."

That is correct apart from the fact that it only says you can request deferral whereas you have the absolute right to defer. But the important point is the second sentence - the place is held for your child and is not available to be offered to another child. So not only do the admission helpline not know the rules, they don't even know their own policies.

Don't worry about what the school will say. You have the right to defer entry whatever they think. And if they do try to take your place away they will be in breach of the Admission Code and Surrey's published admission arrangements. But I don't think that will happen. I think this is just another "helpline" that fails to live up to its name.

I would contact the Admissions Manager to complain that the helpline is giving advice which is incorrect and which is causing parents unnecessary stress.

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