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The SENCO Guide - 8. Further Information

8. Further Information

Offset and placing pupils with SEN out of chronological age group

Children who turn 4 born between 1 April and 31 August are not of statutory school age until the September after they turn 5; parents can ask for their child to start school a year late, but there is no legal requirement for the school to agree the request. The decision is made by each school’s admission authority based on the individual circumstances of the case and in what it feels is in the best interests of the child. A decision by one school is not binding on another school. This is called an offset.

In exceptional cases it may be possible to offset a school place for children who are not summer born. This must be supported by evidence and agreed by both the local authority and the school admission authority.

Deferring a place until statutory school age (for a maximum two terms) is a parent’s right and does not need to be considered and agreed by the school, however parents cannot defer a place for a full year and for summer born children they must start at the beginning of the summer term.

Further information on how to apply and when to apply for an offset is available from the Admissions team.  

Please note:

If a child is offset and/or taught in a year group that is not their normal age group, parents will need to repeat the process at transfer time to request the secondary/middle/high school also agrees to consider the application as a delayed admission in the appropriate admission round. For example, if a child is due to move to a secondary school and is offset by one year, parents will need to discuss school transfer with the LA and preferred secondary schools when the child is due to start year 5 (when their age group would be entering year 6)

If parents choose to move their child’s school before their normal transfer time, for example in year 2, any schools which they apply for would also need to agree the offset or the child may need to move into the age-related year group.

Resolving disagreements

Chapter 11 in the Code of Practice is primarily about resolving disagreements between parents or young people and early years’ providers, schools, colleges, local authorities or health commissioners. It:

  • supports early resolution of disagreements at the local level
  • explains the independent disagreement resolution arrangements which local authorities must make available for disagreements across special educational provision, and health and care provision in relation to Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans
  • also explains the independent mediation arrangements which parents and young people can use before deciding whether to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability) (‘the Tribunal’) and for health and social care complaints in relation to EHC plans
  • goes on to describe the conditions for appealing to the Tribunal or making disability discrimination claims. It finishes by describing other complaints procedures and health and social services complaints procedures

Who to contact

Parent Organisation
The SENCO Guide
Last updated: 21/11/2019
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