Starting school later or part time

School starting age

Find out when children usually start school and when your child must start full time education.

When children usually start school

Most children start in Reception at primary school in the September after they turn 4.

When children must start full time education

If you think your child is not ready to start school in the September after they turn 4, they could delay starting school or start part time. But they must start full time education after they reach compulsory school age.

Children reach compulsory school age on 31 December, 31 March or 31 August after turning 5 (whichever comes first). Your child would need to start full time from the first day of the next term after this date.

When your child must start school
Fifth birthday 
Must start education
1 September to 31 December
Beginning of spring term (January)
1 January to 31 March
Beginning of summer term (April)
1 April to 31 August (summer born)
Beginning of autumn term (September)

Check upcoming school term dates.

You cannot get government help with childcare costs (like Free Early Education Entitlement) after your child reaches compulsory school age.