Children in Scotland usually start school between the ages of four years six months and five years six months old. All children who are four years old at the start of the school year can defer and start primary one the following year. Applications for children with a January or February birthday have automatically been approved. Applications for children with a birthday between August and December have not been funded by the Scottish Government and approval by the council has been discretionary.
From August 2023, all families will be able to access a further year of funded quality Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) if they want their child to defer entry to primary school. This will ensure that all children who defer have an equal right to funded ELC if their parent or carer feels it is in their best interests.
The Scottish Government has been piloting the implementation of the changes to deferral entitlement to better understand the likely uptake of the extra year of funded childcare and help local authorities plan. Although Edinburgh was unsuccessful in our request to pilot the delivery of the new guidance before August 2023, the council has agreed to fully fund all requests from August 2022 for children born between 18 August and 31 December.
How to apply
If your child’s date of birth is between 18 August 2017 and 28 February 2018 you are able to apply to defer their school entry until August 2023.
The application process is now open and all applications must be submitted by 31 March 2022. Please use the following link to apply https://forms.office.com/r/y0gH94XB00
ELC settings will support parents and carers in coming to an informed decision about deferring entry to primary school. They will meet with you to discuss any concerns and can arrange visits to your catchment school so you can find out about the experiences P1 would offer your child. This gives you the opportunity to speak with the school about how you can work together to support your child in making this important transition.
When you apply to defer entry to P1, you are agreeing that you don’t need a place in P1 until August 2023. When your application is approved, your child’s P1 place is withdrawn.