Renfrewshire Council

Early entry to school

Things to consider before early entry to school include physical, emotional, social and learning development and the long term implications of starting school early.

Entry to primary schools in the Renfrewshire Council area happens once a year, at the start of the new session in August.

Only children whose fifth birthday falls between 1 March of that year and the last day of February of the following year will automatically be admitted to school.

You may apply for early entry to school for a child whose fifth birthday falls after the last date in February. We must receive your application by 15 March for the request to be considered for the next school year.

However, you should consider the following issues associated with early entry into school.


Physical development

Will your child be physically mature enough to cope with a full-time programme of education?

School places physical demands on children for approximately five hours each day.

If a child is not physically mature enough to deal with the school situation, problems may arise with

  • concentration on a task
  • mastery of basic learning skills
  • acceptance by other children in relation to the demands of both classroom and playground activities.

Emotional and social development

Is your child emotionally and socially mature enough to cope with a full-time programme of education?

If they start school early, they will be younger than the other pupils in their class.

Difficulties may arise for  your child with:

  • separation from parents
  • making friends with others in their class
  • play activities in both the classroom and the playground
  • behavioural problems due to lack of maturity.

Learning development

Has your child developed sufficiently to cope with the learning programme in a school?

Children learn informally through play and through other individual, social and family experiences in the pre-school period.

Early entry to school may deprive the child of such activities and experiences, which prepare them for the more formal learning situation.


Long-term implications

Have you considered the long-term implications for your child as they get older?

At the end of Primary Class 1, your child may not be ready for Primary Class 2 because they have difficulty adjusting to the school learning environment.

At the end of secondary education, your child may:

  • be too young to leave school along with their class group
  • have difficulties getting a place in higher education, due to their age.