Renfrewshire Council

Early entry to school

Who gets a place at school, things to consider first, physical, emotional, social development and learning development, long-term implications, assessment of your child for early entry to school, staying on at nursery or childcare.

Entry to primary schools in the Renfrewshire Council area is at the start of the academic year in August.

Who gets a place at school

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 can 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.

Things to consider before you apply for early entry to school

Starting school at a young age may put some children at a disadvantage both academically and emotionally. Every child is different and taking advice from your child's early years setting can help you to reach this decision.

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

You should also consider 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.

Staying on at nursery or childcare

If you feel your child is not ready for primary school yet, you can apply for an additional year at nursery or childcare.