Crucial dates

CHILDREN with birthdays in January or February have the right to deferred entry and a free nursery place for an additional year.

Children with birthdays that fall between the first day of the autumn term, August 17, and December 31 2011 will also have the right to delay their start to school but a free nursery place is not automatic and is at the discretion of the child's resident local authority.

Parents are required to provide relevant information when it comes to discretionary deferral, which should detail the child's additional support needs, explain the action that has been taken to support them and specify a proposed plan for the additional year at nursery.

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The number of applications for deferrals received by the city council in February ahead of academic year 2011/12 was 459.