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Deferring Entry to Primary One and Requesting an Additional Year of Early Learning and Childcare

In Scotland, there is one intake to Primary School in August of each year. Children born between the beginning of March and the end of the following February are able to start primary school in the August when they will be between 4.5 and 5.5 years old.

If your child's birthday is on or between 1 March and the first day of school term in August, your child will start school this August.

If your child is five years old on or between Wednesday, 23 August and the last day of February 2024, your child can start school on 22 August 2023. However, you have the option to defer your child's entry to school.

From this August (2023), a change in legislation means that all children who are eligible to defer, as above, will automatically be able to access an additional year of funded Early Learning and Childcare.

How to decide what's best for your child?

Choosing to defer when your child starts primary school is a big decision.

Before you make your mind up, it's worth finding out a bit more about how primary one has changed over the last few years. Much of the learning in the early stages of primary school are based on play. This helps create a smooth transition for children moving from early learning and childcare into primary one.

Speak to your early learning and childcare manager or head teacher who will be able to give support and advice to help you make your decision. Further information about deferred entry can be found via the Parent Club Scotland website.

Deferred Entry to Primary One

If you choose to defer your child, please confirm this with your Early Learning and Childcare setting and your child will automatically be carried forward for an additional year. You will not therefore be required to complete a registration form for Primary One.

Automatic Deferral

If your child’s birthday is in January or February, they will have the right to start school. They will also have the right to defer entry to Primary One and we will provide a free early learning and childcare place for an additional year. If you wish your child to have an automatic deferral, please speak to your child’s nursery staff who will organise this for you.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS