legal school age
Your school leaving age depends on where you live.
If you turn 16 between 1 October and the end of February you can leave at the start of the Christmas holidays in that school year.
If you do not think your child is ready to start school by then, they can start part-way through the year or part time – as long as they are in full-time education by the time they reach ‘compulsory school age’.
Your child must start full-time education once they reach compulsory school age. This is on 31 December, 31 March or 31 August following their fifth birthday – whichever comes first. If your child’s fifth birthday is on one of those dates then they reach compulsory school age on that date.
- children who will turn 5 between 1st January and 31st March are of compulsory school age at the beginning of the term after 1st April
- children who will turn 5 between 1st April and 31st August are of compulsory school age from the beginning of the term after 1st September
- children who will turn 5 between 1st September and 31st December are of compulsory school age from the beginning of the term after 1st January.
Your parents, by law, must make sure that you are in full-time education from the term after your fifth birthday. This is called compulsory school age. From this age, you must either be in school or receive home education.
Owing to the current exceptional circumstances, there is very limited telephone access to the Pupil Services Team. For any queries, please email [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Children are required by law to receive full-time education at the start of the school term following their fifth birthday but have the opportunity to start in the reception year in the September following their fourth birthday. Children are normally admitted to the reception year at school in the September following their fourth birthday.
You can find out what year your children need to start school with our school-age calculator below.
All children of compulsory school age must be enrolled in school and attend every day – this is the law. All children must attend school up until they are 16 years old. Sixteen and 17 year olds must be enrolled in school or a training organisation, be employed or be in a combination of school/training/employment.