Education Committee Wants YOUR VIEWS on Govt Summer Born Policy

11-Oct-25-27 cj rocking chair face paint magic show cakes pix 017With a deadline of midday December 12, 2014, the Education Committee is inviting your views, via an online forum, on the strength of the evidence in relation to the DfE’s current policy on Summer Born Children (among others).

In order to identify areas for scrutiny in early 2015, the Committee asked the DfE to provide a two-page note answering the questions ‘What’s the policy?’ and ‘What’s the evidence for this policy?’ for nine topics, and is now asking members of the public to evaluate the DfE’s evidence and submit comments via an ‘Evidence check’ forum.

The nine topics covered are: Continue reading

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DfE reports EYFSP Attainment Gap Between Summer and Autumn Born Children

charlie and lolaThe Department for Education has published its Early years foundation stage profile (EYFSP) attainment by pupil characteristics in England for the academic year 2013 to 2014.

No real summer born surprises given that these children’s level of development was measured while most of them were still only 4 years old and had not even yet reached CSA:

Of pupils born in the autumn term, 71% achieved a GLD [Good Level of Development] compared with 49% of those pupils born in the summer, a 22 percentage point attainment gap, marginally lower than in 2013.

Not only does this make it look as though our children are somehow ‘failing’ (which they are not), it also reflects badly on our teaching profession and national standard of education, which is quite ludicrous. Why is everyone being set up to fail here? Continue reading

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Vital Link Between Improving Mental Health, Delaying School Start of Youngest Children and Reducing NHS Costs

smiley faceOn November 18, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) called on politicians to “develop an action plan… focussing on prevention and early intervention to ensure parity of esteem for children and young people” because “1 in 10 children (that’s around 3 in every classroom) have a diagnosable mental health condition“.

Coincidentally, the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry just this month published ‘Children’s relative age in class and use of medication for ADHD: a Danish Nationwide Study‘, which suggests a simple and effective action plan for the improvement of summer born children’s mental health – allowing the holding back of “relatively young children” for one year.

Existing research shows that “Summer babies ‘more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD“(Telegraph, 18/09/10), “disproportionately identified as having special educational needs” (02/09), and “wrongly classed as having special needs” (28/12/12), and the Danish researchers were aware of this phenomenon too: Continue reading

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DfE’s New Code will Exacerbate Gap Between Rich and Poor

100_3152The new 2014 draft School Admissions Code remains unclear, unfair and subjective for the admission and continued education of summer born children.

But it’s even worse for summer born children from poor or socially disadvantaged backgrounds, and for children from homes with English as a second language.

Millions of pounds have been spent on government attempts to close the educational attainment gap between the richest and poorest in our society, only for the DfE to rubber stamp a postcode lottery admissions process for summer born children that pits parents against schools and LEAs in which only the luckiest and/or most articulate and educated parents have a chance of winning the battle. Here’s why: Continue reading

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Commissioner promises to “relentlessly champion the interests and rights of children”

anne longfieldLast Tuesday, the pre-appointment hearing for the next Children’s Commissioner in England took place, with Anne Longfield OBE, Chief Executive, 4Children, answering questions posed by the Chair of the Education Select Committee.

The issue of summer born children was mentioned briefly at the start, and you can listen to the whole hearing here or read extracts below. Continue reading

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Education MPs have a Blind Spot for School Starting Age

number 7Education Minister Nick Gibb ‘tells schools to copy China‘ in the Daily Mail, demonstrating how readily MPs can isolate single aspects of other countries’ education practices - without uttering one single word about when those children start school (also see former Education Secretary Michael Gove’s high praise of Canadian schools).

Mr Gibb for example, doesn’t appear to espouse China’s school starting age of 6 or 7 nor its primary school pupil-teacher ratio of 16.8 (and 15.5 at secondary school, according to WorldBank Indicator), both of which could be having an impact on learning…

Instead, after researchers ‘found that children in China achieve marks in maths up to 30 per cent higher than English pupils of the same age‘, Mr. Gibb put it down to one thing: Continue reading

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Key Priority for new Children’s Commissioner – Have Your Say Today

anne longfieldUp until midday today (Monday 10 November) you can send your views  on what the 2015 Children’s Commissioner’s  key priority should be via Twitter, using the hashtag #OCCintray.

With the term of office of the current Children’s Commissioner coming to an end early next year, the Government has invited the Education Committee to give its view tomorrow on the suitability of the Government’s preferred candidate, Anne Longfield OBE. Continue reading

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