When You’re Born Matters But now WHERE YOU LIVE Matters More

IMG_2872The challenges faced by many children born in the summer months is well documented, but since the Department for Education published its updated advice on the school admissions process for summer born children, and a new draft Code, the biggest influential factor and newest life lottery for our children’s education is now WHERE THEY LIVE.

From the mounting evidence of more than 1600 members of the Facebook Group ‘Flexible School Admissions for Summer Borns’, the admissions process for summer born children across England can best be described as inconsistent and unpredictable, both in state and private schools. Continue reading

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Illogical Policy: No Warnings, Fines or Imprisonment for us – our Summer Born children ‘MUST’ miss a Year of Education

monopoly chance cardThe irony is breath taking.

While other parents are being arrested and jailed for allowing their children to miss school,  summer born children are being forced to skip a whole year of their education, against their parents’ wishes (not to mention the child’s best interests).

Just this summer, an Australian study concluded that there is “No safe level of missing school“: “A 10 day period of unauthorised absence in a year is sufficient to drop a child about a band in the NAPLAN testing.

Similarly, this is what 7 English LEAs and teachers had to say about the impact of school absence in a 2003 research report from the University of Glasgow: Continue reading

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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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