Deferred Entry to Primary school

Parents and carers have the legal right to defer their child’s entry to primary school if their child’s fifth birthday falls on or between the first day of the school term in August and the last day of the following February.

From August 2023, a change in Scottish Government legislation means that all children are automatically entitled to 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare for their child’s deferred entry year. The Early Years Admissions Policy provides the framework for allocation of early years places in local authority early years centres in East Dunbartonshire.

Children who have their fifth birthday between 1st March and the first day of term in August must start school. Exceptions are only made in extraordinary circumstances, and where it would be considered in the best interests of the child to further delay their school start date. This would normally only apply to children with significant additional support needs.

If your child is eligible, you are an East Dunbartonshire Council resident and you would like to apply for a deferred entry year for your child, we need you to do three things:

  1. Enrol your child in your catchment primary school. This allows a place to be held in school should you choose to change your mind. The online application link for enrolling your child at primary school will open around the beginning of November. Please note: if your child takes the deferred entry year, you must re-register your child for primary school again in the following year.
  2. Inform your current early learning and childcare provider that you are intending to defer your child’s entry into primary school. Inform your provider if you are intending for your child to remain at their provision, or if you are intending to move your child to a different provider. Please note: if changing provider, this will have implications on the priority of allocation. For more information, please see the Early Years Admissions Policy.
  3. Complete a Deferred Entry to Primary School - Application to let us know you are choosing to defer your child's start at primary school. Applications for deferred entry opens mid November the year before and the closing date for applications is the last day in January. It is important to apply on time, as this allows your child’s nursery place to be included in the early years allocations and admissions process. Late applications received after the closing date will not be considered until the allocations process is complete – around May. This could mean that your child may not be allocated a place at the nursery of your choice for their deferred entry year.

Cross Boundary -If you reside out with East Dunbartonshire and choose to access an additional year of funding you must complete deferred entry application for the host authority and also check process with your resident authority (e.g., Glasgow CC) as additional paperwork may be required to ensure approval of funding. Applications will only be considered after all eligible East Dunbartonshire applications have been allocated.

Notification of your child’s deferred entry place will take place by mid-March. On receipt of this notification, Parents/Carers must either accept the additional year of 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare and give up their child’s place in Primary 1; or decline the early years place and retain their child’s Primary 1 request.


I am not sure if I should defer my child’s school entry or not – how do I know if they are ready for school?

East Dunbartonshire Council’s Education Service and the Curriculum for Excellence encourage continuity and progression for all children across all settings. Early Level experiences and outcomes are based upon an active, play based approach to learning and teaching in both early learning and childcare settings and in early primary school. Children have access to developmentally appropriate learning experiences, planned to meet their needs both academically and emotionally and children are able to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding by revisiting these experiences and outcomes at a pace that is appropriate to their individual needs. Primary teachers and early years practitioners work closely to share information about your child, including their learning and achievements, likes and dislikes and friendship groups. All of this helps to create a child-centred transition as your child moves in to primary one. 

Before you make your decision, it is worth finding out a bit more about the primary school you wish your child to attend as primary one may look quite different to the last time you were there! Your child’s early years centre and chosen primary school can provide you with support and guidance that may help you reach your decision, and you can also discuss any specific concerns you have, for example if you think your child might benefit from extra support to settle in.

We know that as the parent/carer, you are your child’s first educator and that you know your child best; your views and your child’s views are the most important part of this process and these will always be central in all planning around your child’s move from early years provision into primary one. We endeavour to be approachable and no question is too silly to ask; we are aware that this is a very important time in both your and your child’s life, so please do not hesitate to talk to someone in your child’s early years centre or primary school. You can also contact the central Early Years TeamParentzone Scotland also has lots of great information.

I have decided to apply for deferred entry /additional 1140 hours funded year in early years. I do not think I will change my mind. Do I still need to apply for primary one?

 Yes, we require you to register your school-aged child for primary one as well as completing the Deferred Entry to Primary School - Application form to let us know you are choosing to defer your child's start at primary school. Applications for deferred entry will open at the middle of November. Around the middle of March you will be asked confirm which of these options you are choosing for your child.

Will I get the place and/or pattern for my child at my chosen early years provider for their deferred entry year?

Allocations are carried out as per the East Dunbartonshire Early Years Admissions Policy. You can talk to your child’s early years centre who will provide support and guidance in the process.

What if my child has additional support needs?

Planning and supporting children with additional support needs is continuous throughout all stages of their education, and particularly at points of transition. All early years centres have a ‘Support for All’ planning process in place. The leadership team in your child’s early years centre coordinates this process ensuring a collaborative approach with effective communication and multi-agency planning. At the heart of this process are the views of both you and your child. If you have any questions or you require any support or guidance, please speak with the leadership team at your child’s early years centre in the first instance.

Will there be implications for my child later on, if I choose to defer their entry to Primary 1?

It is important to consider your child’s whole school career when making the decision to defer. In Scotland, young people can leave secondary school at 16. Children who have a deferred year in early years will be the eldest in their cohort and this is worth reflecting upon when making your decision.

What if I change my mind later and want to withdraw my application for deferred entry, after I have given up my child’s primary one school place?

Parents/Carers have the right to withdraw a deferred entry request; you should contact the Head Teacher/ Head of Centre to confirm you wish to withdraw your request. If you change your mind and withdraw your request prior to your child starting their deferred entry /additional 1140 hours year of funded early learning and childcare place, you can request to submit a late request for a primary one place at primary school. Every effort will be made to provide a primary school place at your child's catchment school. 

Once children begin their deferred entry/additional 1140 hours funded early learning and childcare year, the decision is unable to be reversed at any point in your child's education.

What if I change my mind later in the year after registering my child for primary one, and wish to submit a late deferred entry application?

If you change your mind prior to your child starting in their primary one place, you can submit a late application for deferred entry /additional 1140 hours year of funded early learning and childcare by contacting Every effort will be made to allocate your child to their current early years centre and to the pattern you request, however this may not be possible, as this will depend upon the capacity within the early years centre. You can discuss availability with your child’s early years centre. You should also keep your child’s chosen school up to date with your decision and plans.

I am an East Dunbartonshire Council resident but I wish my child to have a deferred entry year in another local authority. How do I apply for this?

Funding follows the child approach enables you to apply to other local authorities to request your child’s funded hours. East Dunbartonshire residents must follow the deferred entry application process for the cross-boundary local authority in which your chosen early years provider is based.East Dunbartonshire Council has a cross-boundary protocol and cross-boundary protocol guidance in place to administer funding follows the child.

I have moved into East Dunbartonshire and although my child is school age, I wish them to start late in a deferred entry place in early learning and childcare. How do I apply for this?

 Late requests for deferred entry/additional year of early learning and childcare can be made by contacting Please also make contact with the early years centre or childminder that you wish to take your child’s funded hours at, and let them know to expect notification of your late application. 

I am having trouble completing the application form

If you are having any issues with completing the online form, or if you do not have access to online facilities, please speak to your child’s early years centre and they will provide support and guidance to complete the application.