Fife councillor reminds parents to submit school deferral request forms for their children before this month's deadline

A Fife councillor is reminding parents and carers of the importance of submitting school deferral request forms for their children before the end of this month, following the announcement of new rules.

By Debbie Clarke
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 12:03 pm

The move from Kathleen Leslie, member for Burntisland, Kinghorn and Kirkcaldy West, comes after Fife Council’s education and children’s services sub-committee agreed last November to take part in the Scottish Government’s pilot scheme for fully funded primary one deferrals.

It means that parents who choose to delay school entry for their child will be entitled to use funding in private partner settings.

The new rule will come into place this August when the council joins the pilot scheme to offer funding to all children whose parents choose to delay school entry.

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Cllr Kathleen Leslie

In effect, all youngsters who are not yet five years of age when they are due to start school will automatically be entitled to an extra year of funded nursery – if the deferral is in the best interests of the child.

Cllr Kathleen Leslie is reminding parents and carers that it is vital to submit a deferral request form before January 31.

The Conservative councillor, who has been pushing for a change in policy in Fife for the past three years, said: “After a long campaign and the fantastic work of Give Them Time we have finally got some equity here in Fife whereby parents are no longer faced with months of uncertainty as to whether their child will receive funding for primary one deferral. “Whilst there was always a right to defer any child, who was not yet five years old at the beginning of the school term, it was not widely known. Couple that with a confusing and inconsistent approach by Fife Council and parents were often left in the dark.

“Now a child can be deferred and funded for an additional year in either a council or partner provider nursery.

"However, it is important the application is submitted by January 31 to the nursery so I am urging parents who are looking to defer to complete their application urgently.”

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She added: “If a parent decides they would like to delay their child from starting school that is their choice and their right to do so, and the local authority now has an obligation to fund that.”

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