When children start school

If your child is going to be five years old between 1 September 2021 and 31 August 2022, they should start school in September 2021.

Children born between 1 September 2016 to 31 August 2017 can start infant or primary school.

Children born between 1 September 2013 to 31 August 2014 can start junior school.

The deadline to apply to start junior and primary school in September 2021 is 15 January 2021.

Starting school later

If you want your child to start school later you need to let the school know when you accept the school place.

Child's birthday Options
1 September to 31 December

Start school full-time or part-time in September or wait to start school in January

1 January to 31 March

Start school full-time or part-time in September, wait to start school in January or at the start of summer term

1 April to 31 August

Start school full-time or part-time in September, wait to start school in January or at the start of summer term

You can also choose for your child to start school the following September, after their fifth birthday.

Children who start school the following September usually start in year 1, but you can ask for your child to start in reception instead.


If your child needs to start reception or year 3 of a junior school in September 2021, you can apply for a school place from September 2020.

If your child is changing schools or needs to start school during the school year, you can apply for a school place at any time.

Watch our video to find out more about the application process.

More information

Find out about school years, key stages and the national curriculum.

Download our school application guides for more information.