Early admission to Primary 1

Early Admission to Primary School

The City of Edinburgh Council must provide education for children of school age.  A child who is 5 years old before 1 March in any year is of school age.  Such children can be enrolled from the start of the session in which they become five.  The Council does not have a duty to educate a child who is not of school age. However, if a child is not of school age, a request for early admission to primary school can be made (section 38 of Standards in Scotland’s Schools, etc Act 2000).  The law does not, however, allow parents who have been granted early admission for their child, to make a placing request for a specific school.  The City of Edinburgh Council has the discretion to decide in which school the early admission is possible. In exercising this discretion, we will respect parental wishes as far as possible. 

Early admission to primary school is only granted in exceptional circumstances. Admission would only be granted after all other ways of providing education within the nursery setting had been considered, including the provision of additional support, resources and experiences. The best interests of children are paramount when making decisions and primary consideration must be given to ensuring that no lasting detriment to the child's development can be anticipated as a result of early admission.

A request for early admission to primary school should be made as an action from a child’s planning meeting with evidence of continuous period of monitoring, assessment, planning and review. Evidence will be required of the child’s aptitudes, abilities, and maturity across all aspects of the curriculum within the child’s personal profile and learning plans devised by early learning and childcare staff in collaboration with parents.

Requests should be submitted to the ERG mailbox (educationresourcegroup@edinburgh.gov.uk) detailing:

  • Parent views on their child's exceptionality;
  • what exceptional abilities does the child have which makes them significantly different from other children of the same age. You should consider not only academic ability, but also social and emotional maturity;
  • the steps that have been taken to consider and address their exceptional abilities;
  • an explanation as to why the curriculum designed to meet children's additional support needs within the nursery setting is insufficient to meet his/her needs.

Documentation submitted should ensure every effort has been made to meet the child’s needs within their existing year group and clear consideration must be evidenced as to the impact on the early admission on the child socially and emotionally. The rights of the child to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them should be clearly demonstrated within the recommendation, as per Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Please note, it is not enough to state that a child will cope with early admission, is 'ready for school', just misses the entry date or is expecting to move to or from a different Education Authority where different legislation applies, eg, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  There are many other children to whom this might also apply and therefore this would not be deemed as exceptional.

Evidence of the child’s development and progression from the early learning and childcare centre will be requested to inform the decision.

The ERG will consider requests for early admission to primary school only in highly exceptional circumstances.

Decisions regarding early admission to primary school have a right of appeal to the Education Appeals Committee by: