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Early entry


  • Children who turn 5 between 1 March of that year and the last day of February of the following year will automatically be admitted to school. 
  • Parents/carers can make a request for early entry to school for a child whose fifth birthday falls after the last day of February of the following year.

Physical development

Is your child physically mature enough to cope with a full-time programme of education?

School places physical demands on children for approximately five hours each day. If your child is not physically mature enough to deal with the school situation, problems may arise in relation to:

  • concentration on a task
  • ability of basic learning skills
  • acceptance by other children in relation to the demands of both classroom and playground activities

Emotional and social development

Is your child emotionally and socially mature enough to cope with a full-time programme of education?

As a consequence of early admission to school, your child would be younger than the other pupils in the class. Difficulties may arise for your child in relation to:

  • separation from parent
  • making friends with others within the class group
  • play activities within the classroom and the playground
  • behavioural problems due to lack of maturity

Learning development

Has your child developed sufficiently to cope with the learning programme in a school?

Children learn informally through play and other individual, social and family experiences in the pre-school period. Early entry to school may deprive your child of such activities and experiences, leaving him/her underprepared for the more formal learning situation.

Long-term implications

Have you considered the long-term implications for your child throughout his or her career?

  • at the end of P1, when it may be felt that your child is not ready to proceed to P2 because of difficulty in adjusting to the school learning environment
  • at the end of P7 when it may be felt that your child is not ready to proceed to S1 in secondary school
  • at the end of secondary education when your child will be too young to leave school along with his/her class group and when there may be difficulties with entrance to a desired form of higher education

A press advertisement will appear in January advising parents of their right to make a placing request and asking for applications to be made by 15 March. Applications for early entry requests should also be made at this time. An acknowledgement will be sent within five working days of receipt.

What happens next?

Arrangements will be made for you and your child to be interviewed at the receiving primary school. You will be informed of the date and time of the interview and will be sent a simple form to complete about your child's pre-school experience. The interview will normally last for no more than an hour and will be conducted by a specialist in early education, designated by the authority, and by the headteacher of the receiving school. The purpose of the interview will be to determine whether your child has reached the level of development which will allow him/her to settle happily into a P1 class.

Following the interview, a report will go to a Head of Service. If it is decided that your request should be granted you will receive a letter inviting you to enrol your child at your local school.

However, you have the right to make a placing request for your child(ren) to be educated in a school other than the local school.

In considering requests for early entry the authority must take into account the normal constraints affecting the provision of education generally. Therefore in determining any request in addition to assessing the child's suitability, the authority will require to consider whether additional resources, for example, staffing, adaptation of school buildings or other facilities will require to be committed as a result of the early entry request.

If we decide to refuse your request, you will be advised accordingly and sent a copy of the assessment report on your child. However, there is no right of appeal against a refusal of an early entry request.

Where there are more requests than there are places available for the P1 stage at a particular school all requests will be considered in line with our priorities on admission.

Early entry application form

This is document can be completed online. 

When completed please send by email to or by post to:

North Lanarkshire Council
Education and Families
Civic Square
Motherwell ML1 1AB

Page last updated:
17 Dec 2021

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