NAHT guest on BBC News gets Summer Born Fact so Wrong it only further Proves our Point

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NAHT’s Judith Stott on BBC News

Aside from the BBC’s failure to fact check something so critical in the context of this 6 O’clock News report, it is astonishing just how accepting the National Association of Head Teachers is of its miscommunication to parents:

BBC: And from teachers’ leaders, there are some words of caution about children starting school later…

If the child then joins us a year late in Reception, they would still have to leave primary when they’re 11, so at some point, they’d have to jump a year and catch that up. If they miss the Reception year and go straight into Year 1, then they’ve missed those very important early learning experiences.

Simply not true according to the DfE, but even if it was true, why didn’t the NAHT submit comments and evidence to the Education Committee last week decrying this as bad practice?? Continue reading

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Watch Education Committee meeting LIVE

IMG_1029The evidence check begins at 9.30am today, March 4, 2015.

You can watch live here.
And join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #StartingSchool

Witnesses:

Helen Kirrane, Campaigns and Policy Manager, Bliss
Tammy Campbell, Researcher and Analyst, UCL Institute of Education
Michelle Melson, Summer Born Campaign
Dr Claire Crawford, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick, and Research Fellow of the Institute for Fiscal Studies
Nick Gibb MP, Minister for School Reform, Department for Education

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Mysterious U-Turn by Sheffield City Council 5 Months after Summer Born Support

IMG_1107In September 2014, in response to the DfE’s School Admissions Code consultation, Sheffield City Council’s submission said:

The Guidance is clear that the assumption is to approve a parental request unless there is reason not to. This principle is fully supported as it is recognised that the wishes of parents should be given priority.

Fast forward 5 months to February 2015 and Sheffield’s Children, Young People and Families Service (Inclusion & Learning Services) has written to a parent:

Sheffield is currently reviewing its position on delayed admission, and whilst it is not yet finalised, I can confirm that Sheffield’s view point would be that delayed admission should be an exception and only approved in very rare circumstances.

This is not the first case of a change of position by a council following the December 2014 publication of the DfE’s School Admissions Code – a Code the DfE told the media would offer “flexibility” to parents of summer born children… Continue reading

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Leading Independent Preparatory School Head Supports Flexibility for Summer Born Children

Nick BevingtonLast week, Nicholas Bevington, the head teacher of Town Close School in Norwich, one of the country’s leading independent preparatory schools, contacted the Summer Born Campaign group after reading about us in this Independent article.

Through his own personal and professional experience, he has come to the conclusion that parents should be allowed to choose whether their child enters Reception class at or before compulsory school age. He believes that forcing summer born children to miss a year of school if parents exercise their right to wait until their child turns five is not in the child’s best interests. He says it is fundamentally unfair that summer born children who start school when they turn five routinely receive one year of education less than their autumn born children starting school at the same age.

And yet in Norfolk, we are aware of numerous cases of refused Reception class admission, and children forced to skip a year of their education part way through primary school.

This is Nick’s story: Continue reading

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CSAge School Start is a Battle many Service Families can’t Fight

IMG_1037Every parent who ‘succeeds‘ in securing a Reception class place at CSAge for their summer born child then faces the fear and uncertainty of never knowing when or if their child will be forced to skip a year later on in school – and ‘returned‘ to their ‘correct‘ chronological age year group.

But for Service children, this whole postcode lottery and injustice is only exacerbated.

Parents know they may need to move home multiple times during their children’s education, and are so concerned about different councils or head teachers making very different decisions, one mother says “it’s not even an option to try and delay.” Continue reading

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Child Expert Dr Richard House formally Endorses our Campaign

Richard HouseI’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of this campaign from the outset. Not only is the Summer Born cause one that everyone with an interest in children’s health and age-appropriate development should support (and all the research evidence supports this view), but the campaigners themselves are amazing people – extraordinarily competent, articulate, selflessly voluntary – and most important, totally dedicated to supporting parents and families struggling with the self-serving bureaucratic intransigence of the current system. PLEASE lend your active support to this campaign’s noble aim of changing that disreputable system decisively for the better.

Dr Richard House, C.Psychol., AFBPsS, Cert.Couns.
Educational Consultant and Campaigner; Fellow, The Critical Institute (TCI); Co-editor, Self and Society: International Journal for Humanistic Psychology; Formerly Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood, University of Winchester

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Written Submissions Published ahead of March 4th Evidence Session

IMG_1044The Education Committee has published its ‘Evidence Check‘ written submissions on school starting age and summer born children, which were received by the February 23, 2015 deadline.

They can be read here and include:

Written evidence submitted by the Summer Born Campaign Group

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