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Can Daughter Start School Before She Reaches School Age?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 5 Mar 2021 | comments*Discuss
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My daughter will be too young to start school in September (when she'll be 3 years 9 months old). At present she is 3 years and 4 months old - she is incredibly articulate and her vocabulary is extensive. She can write her own name and other short words. She counts accurately to twenty.

She is desperate to learn, and I really feel that she would benefit from early admittance to primary school rather than nursery (as is the current plan). I don't know how to go about this, or where to start, can you help point me in the appropriate direction?

(G.P, 14 April 2009)


Thanks for your question. There aren’t any set guidelines regarding early admittance to primary school, so the crux of the matter will really reside with the primary school in question and your local education authority. In some cases, they may agree to early school admittance, if you can demonstrate that your child is exceptionally gifted and would benefit more from being at primary school than at nursery.

However, realistically you may need to be prepared that your plea might get turned down. For example, there are some schools of thought that suggest younger children starting school very early may not be up to meeting all the demands of school yet. Although younger children may be very keen to learn and able to cope with the learning aspect, there are other elements involved in going to school and they need to be able to cope with the emotional issues, longer day and social interaction too.

Some people suggest, for example, that putting a child into school at a younger age, before they have developed and matured to the usual age at which kids start primary school, might be detrimental to them in the long run, not least as it forces structured learning on them at a younger age than need be. In fact, the school starting age for children in the UK is actually one of the earliest, compared to other areas of Europe. Fans of the later school starting age suggest children should be able to have more time to play and learn in a relaxed environment when they are young, rather than within the constrains of a structured school environment, and studies have shown starting school earlier don’t always have a better impact in the long run.

If your child is not able to start primary school so soon, then don’t despair, as there may still be plenty of opportunities for them to gain valuable learning skills and put them in a good position for when they do start primary school. If you feel that nursery wouldn’t be the right place for them, then you could either put together a learning programme for them at home, find various other clubs and learning classes outside of the home or consider one-to-one home education classes for more in-depth learning.

If there is the chance that your child could be gifted, then it would be worthwhile contacting the National Association for Gifted Children – they will be able to provide more information regarding how a child is classed as gifted and offer specialist assistance with how to take things further.

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My third dd was born in 2nd September. He will be 5 by the time starts school. However if he was my first born, I wd have waited but as being third, he is learning from siblings and without doubt ready for school. It is discrimatoey that summer born babies can defer for one year. Also school term does not start until 4/5 Sep so i strongly believe it is disappointing to wait for whole year. Babies born within first ten days in Sep SHD be given opportunity to start early to avoid boredom. By the end of year 2, everyone is on same level.
Su - 29-Feb-20 @ 9:35 PM
I have a son and daughter both born in the same year. However one is born before the school year split and the other is born just after. Their dates of birth are as follows: Mr Alyasa Ali (01/02/2018) Miss Eliana Shahbaz (13/11/2018) My question is, is it possible for them to be admitted into the same school year or is this against the the school policy? Any advice or information will be highly appreciated.
Khadija - 23-Apr-19 @ 3:59 AM
My daughter was due to be born on the 20th September, however she turned up 6 weeks early! Our LEA will therefore be expecting her to start school a year earlier. However I am also aware of there summer baby policy which means we can delay it a year. My question is what are the best signs to look for to know what’s going to be best for her. Looking at her on a corrected age scale she is very advanced. Walking before 10 months, cursing by 7 months and now loving to dance and spin around at 12 months. She already understands instructions and can pick out all her farm animals and knows her colours along with other favour items (banana was shouted over and over at breakfast this morning when she saw it ?? ). She builds with her blocks and constantly points and asks ‘what that?’ To everything she sees! Despite being a very proud mummy, I don’t want to send her too early, just because I think she’s my little genius! Is a 6 week prem baby best starting school just 3 weeks after her 4th birthday when she wasn’t due until another 3 weeks after that??? Advanced or not!?
Kate - 2-Oct-18 @ 9:38 AM
There is no evidence to suggest that starting reception early will satisfy the learning urges of a gifted child. I've looked into this and we have resolved to help with literacy and numeracy outside school. Our eldest is already three stages ahead of the mean without losing contact with his peers. Although this will be exacerbated in his younger brother as he was born in September, I am confident of the social and shared cultural benefit of maintaining his year group. Look at the Swedes!
Yeppit - 25-Jan-17 @ 6:31 PM
My daughter sounds exactly the same as yours Thomas and same age... I just wondered whether you will be putting her into reception early or you managed to get any further advice Many thanks
Mrs D - 13-Jan-17 @ 6:32 AM
My daughter is born on the 10th of September and she is now 3 years and 3 months. She reads very well (at least 10 books a week, she loves it and we have to stop her sometimes as we get tired sitting with her)and recognises and counts numbers up to 100 without any difficulty. She manages speaking 2 languages ( English and my mother tongue quite well). Has started writing and doing basic additions and subtracting as well. I don't know how much she will benefit going to nursery, and she can start reception only in 2018 September which is nearly 1 and 3/4 years away. I was just wondering is there any way she can get to reception early. And also will it be a wise decision to put her to reception early if there is such an opportunity.
Thomas - 29-Dec-16 @ 10:06 AM
My daughter is 4 in September and has been in the school nursery since January. She has an older brother in reception class (just 18 months between them). I an borrowing books from my son's reception teacher and my daughter is able to read then back to me once we have read them through together. She is also starting to write letters and can count/recognise numbers up to 20. She had to stay in nursery for another year but I feel she is ready for reception class in September. I wish there was a way to move her up early. The school is unsubscribed.
Rachel - 3-May-16 @ 9:04 AM
My son is nearly 4 and has trouble talking and saying words, in every other way he clever he understands what things are and colours and responds well, but he struggles with actual conversations. He can say a about 20 words and will say some sentences, but he'd rather pull or point or tug if he wants something. Any advice on helping to talk properly for his age group.
lara - 8-Sep-11 @ 12:01 PM
My 2 year old girl can spell her name, count to 20, say the whole alphabet, she also know the days of week and months of the year. Is there anything to can do to support this learning eg starting school early?
louise - 7-Aug-11 @ 9:51 PM
My daughter is 4 in September 2011 how long will she have to stay in nursery school before she can start infant school.
angie - 12-Jul-11 @ 2:34 PM
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