Starting P1 

If your child is living in the West Dunbartonshire area, and will be 5 years of age between 1 March 2024 and 28 February 2025 they will be due to start school in August 2024 and must be registered at their catchment school.

Wherever you live, there will be two catchment schools – a denominational school, and a non-denominational school. You can only register your child at either the denominational or the non-denominational school in your catchment area. You can view the schools in your catchment area using our catchment area postcode search.

We are not asking parents/carers to attend the catchment school to provide supporting proof of date of birth and home address.   

If your child is in attendance at a West Dunbartonshire Council nursery, or in one of our partnership nurseries, the nursery will provide the catchment school with confirmation of your child’s date of birth and your home address.  If your details change before August 2024 you must let the catchment school know. 

If your child is attendance at a private nursery you should contact the local catchment school for details of when to attend to provide the documentary evidence required.

We make every effort to accommodate your child in your preferred school. Please note that living within a catchment area does not guarantee your child a place in that school. Where a place is not obtained your child’s name will be held on a waiting list.

Registration is now closed for 2024/25.  If you still need to register your child to start school in August 2024 please email

What if you want your child to go to another school?

Generally children attend their catchment school, however occasionally parents / carers may wish to make a formal request to place their child in another school.  Such a request is referred to as a placing request. It is essential however that you still register your child for Primary 1 at one of their catchment primary schools however, you can apply for a placing request on the P1 registration form.

Your application, along with any relevant documentary evidence supporting your request should be made as early as possible and requests submitted before 15 March will be considered first and you will be notified of the outcome of your application by 30 April.  If your request is received after 15 March this will be processed after all other applications have been received, and we will provide you with a response within 2 months of receiving the placing request. As requests received by 15 March will be considered first your late request may mean that there are no places available in the school you want and you should therefore submit your placing request as early as possible.

Please be aware that the granting of a placing request for one child / young person does not guarantee that any future placing requests made for a younger sibling for the same school will be automatically agreed. 

Where your application is successful for a P1 placing request into an alternative West Dunbartonshire primary school, the P1 place at your child’s catchment school will be automatically withdrawn. Further information on Placing Requests.

You should note that if you apply and are successful for a P1 placing request into an alternative school, the P1 place at your child’s catchment school will automatically be withdrawn.

What if I make a mistake with the form?

When completing this form, it is very easy to make a mistake. This mistake can range from putting the wrong school, wrong date of birth or wrong personal details. If this happens, can you please email in order for this to be amended. Please don’t resubmit a new form.

Early Entry

You can ask for early entry to school if your child’s fifth birthday is later than 28 February 2025. You can do this by completing the P1 Registration Form. If you are thinking of making an early entry request, please first consider your child's:

Physical Development

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

Emotional /Social Development

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

Learning Development

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

Long-term Implications

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

If after the assessment Educational Services decide to refuse your request, you will be advised accordingly and sent a copy of the assessment report on your child.  

If your early entry request is refused, you cannot appeal this decision.

Delayed (deferred) entry to primary school

Children who are not yet 5 years old on the day that the school year begins, can be 'deferred'. This means that their start date at primary school is delayed until the following August. From August 2023 children are automatically entitled to an additional year of funded early learning and childcare. This means, that this option applies to children whose 5th birthday falls between the day after the school starts in August (17 August 2023) and the last day of February (29 February 2024) the following year.

All parents and carers have the legal right to defer their child’s entry to primary school if they are not yet 5 years old at the beginning of the school year. From 1 August 2023, all children who defer will automatically be entitled to an additional year of funded early learning and childcare (ELC) when they defer P1 entry. This includes children who defer the 2023-24 school year.

If your child is still age 4 on the day they would usually start primary 1, you’ve got the right to delay (or defer) when they start primary school. This means they can start school the following year, when they’re 5.

When do you need to decide?

You need to let us know no later than 29 February 2024 if you decide to delay your child's entry to primary school. This allows your child's nursery place to be allocated as part of the nursery admissions process. Notifications received after 29 February 2024 will not be considered until the nursery allocations process is complete, usually in May. This could mean that your child may not be allocated a place at the nursery of your choice, if they are staying at nursery for an additional year.

Choosing to defer

Choosing to defer when your child starts primary school is a big decision. Before you make your mind up talk to your child’s school and the team at the nursery.  It is important that you begin the process of consideration well ahead of the deadline date (end of February) for notification of your decision.

Every child is different, even those of the same chronological age. Prior to making your decision it is important to give consideration to a range of factors, including:

  • How your child feels about starting school.
  • Your child's strengths as a learner.
  • The particular outcome that would be achieved for your child by an additional year at nursery.
  • Who can help inform your decision making?

Applying to defer

You can apply to defer your child until 29 February 2024. Your child’s nursery will talk to you about this.

Further information is available in the decision-making guide for parents/carers.

Delay within school stage

All pupils will normally progress through school spending an academic year at each stage of schooling.  In exceptional circumstances, where pupils have missed a significant portion of an academic year due to medical or other factors, and would benefit from remaining at the same stage in school for another year, consideration may also be given to such a request.  

School and Educational Grants

You may be entitled to school age grants including free school meals and clothing grant, Best Start Grant and the Scottish Child Payment.  

Further details, including eligibility criteria, is available on the School and Education Grants Section.