East Lothian Council has agreed to fund an additional year of early learning and childcare for nursery deferral requests for children who turn five between 18 August 2022 and the end of February 2023.
This change will provide comfort to the families who believe it is in their child’s best interests to defer for a year
All parents and carers in Scotland have a legal right to defer their child’s entry to primary school if they are not five at the start of the August term. Children who will turn five in January or February will automatically be granted a deferral and can access a funded Early Learning and Childcare place for another year. This automatic entitlement does not apply for children who turn five between August and December. Instead, their families must apply for a deferral which is granted at the discretion of the local authority following discussions with the parents and child’s nursery setting.
New legislation means that, from August 2023, all children who are not five at the start of term and who choose to defer will be entitled to funded early learning and childcare regardless of their birth month.
Local authorities were able to apply to become a pilot project; unfortunately East Lothian Council was not successful in its application, however the council committed to reviewing its deferral arrangements. This will mean that East Lothian families benefit from this additional funded entitlement a year earlier.
Cabinet member for Education and Children’s Services Councillor Fiona Dugdale said: “While we were disappointed not to be accepted as a Scottish Government pilot project, we are pleased to offer this additional year to families who choose to defer their primary one place from August 2022 and recognise the certainty it will bring.”
Executive Director for Education and Children’s Services Lesley Brown said: “We know that most families will continue to choose to take up their school place from the start of the August term and that our schools will work with families to put in place all the supports needed for a successful transition from nursery to primary 1. However this change will provide comfort to the families who believe it is in their child’s best interests to defer for a year.”
Applications for deferrals for academic year 22/23 are invited by 25 February 2022. Parents/carers can request an application form from their nursery or funded provider.