32Dates for commencement of school attendance
(1)Subject to subsection (7) below, an education authority shall fix a date or dates (any such fixed date being hereinafter referred to as a " school commencement date ") for the commencement of attendance at primary schools in their area; and any such date may be either a calendar date or fixed by reference to the occurrence of a particular annual event.
(2)Subject to subsection (7) below, an education authority may, under subsection (1) above—
(a)fix different school commencement dates for different primary schools in their area ;
(b)at any time fix a different school commencement date in substitution for any date previously fixed by them under the said subsection (1).
(3)A child who does not attain the age of five years on a school commencement date shall, for the purposes of section 31 of this Act, be deemed not to have attained that age until the school commencement date next following the fifth anniversary of his birth.
(4)Subject to subsection (7) below, an education authority shall, in respect of each school commencement date fixed by them under subsection (1) above and applicable to a public primary school, fix the latest following date (any such fixed date being hereinafter referred to as an " appropriate latest date ") on or before which a child must attain the age of five years in order to come within the category of children whom the authority consider of sufficient age to commence attendance at a public primary school at that school commencement date.
(5)Subject to subsection (7) below, an education authority may, under subsection (4) above—
(a)where a school commencement date is applicable to more than one public primary school in their area, fix in respect of that school commencement date different appropriate latest dates for those different schools;
(b)at any time fix a different appropriate latest date in substitution for any date previously fixed by them under the said subsection (4).
(6)The education authority shall carry out their duty under section 1 of this Act as if a child who is under school age on a school commencement date, but who will attain the age of five years on or before the next following appropriate latest date fixed in respect of the school commencement date, has attained the age of five years on the school commencement date; but nothing in this subsection or in subsection (4) above shall, in respect of a child under school age,—
(a)impose any duty on his parent; or
(b)require an education authority to take any action under section 36 or 37 of this Act.
(7)The period between an appropriate latest date applicable to a school and the next following school commencement date applicable to that school (whether or not the school commencement date is that in respect of which the appropriate latest date is fixed) shall not, except with the approval of the Secretary of State on an application to him by the education authority, exceed six months by more than seven days:
Provided that no such application shall be made, nor approval given, in respect of any such period which commences after 31st December 1979.
(8)In relation to any child, " school commencement date "—
(a)in subsection (3) above—
(i)means, where the child is a pupil in attendance at a primary school, a school commencement date of that school;
(ii)in any other case has the same meaning as in subsection (6) above;
(b)in subsection (6) above means a school commencement date of the public primary school to which a child of his religious denomination and from his place of residence would normally be admitted.
(9)In this section, " primary school" does not include a nursery school or a nursery class.