I am delighted to report that Steve Biddulph, one of the world’s best known parent educators, and a retired psychologist, has lent his full support to our campaign.
He has asked me to publish the following statement:
“What the Summer Born Campaign is asking is simply for all summer born children to be allowed access to the same full, uninterrupted, curriculum as other children, regardless of whether they start school early or on time.
To do otherwise infringes their human rights. This really must be remedied, or a significant cohort of UK children will go on having a damaging and inferior experience of schooling, with all the life-affecting implications of this.
Parents today are aware and informed and deeply concerned at the anomaly that harms these children merely through the timing of their birth.“
The Prime Minister was quoted in the Daily Mail yesterday talking about how a good early years experience can have “the best chance of transforming a child’s life“.
However, the Summer Born Campaign is very troubled by talk of “services targeted at getting children school-ready by age 4” when legally, no child needs to be in education before the term following their 5th birthday.
It reinforces an entrenched culture that this is what ‘should‘ happen with every child, even if David Cameron’s intentions are good. He is also reported to have said, “Believe me, with a four-year-old with a birthday in August, I know just how challenging that can be as people come up to that September deadline.” Continue reading
New research published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry today (‘Younger children experience lower levels of language competence and academic progress in the first year of school: evidence from a population study‘) further confirms what is already well established about the experiences of many (not all) summer born children, and has received widespread media attention.
The Summer Born Campaign contacted the study’s lead author, Professor Courtenay Norbury, as she is quoted talking about the “constant dilemma for parents over whether to delay sending them to school” and her own view that “starting school young may be less of a problem if the curriculum is more in line with children’s developmental levels“.
- I asked what she believes is in the best interests of summer born children whose parents do decide to exercise their legal right and enrol them in school at CSAge rather than enrolling them early?
“If parents exercise their right to hold a summer born child back a year, then I strongly believe that the child should start in reception and continue with that year group throughout the school years. I don’t think skipping a year or leaving an established peer group is a good idea.” Professor Norbury Continue reading
This week, the Guardian published Fran Abrams’ excellent report, ‘Too much, too young for summer-born children forced into ‘big school’ Parents complain there is a postcode lottery over when children must start school – and new government guidelines have made matters worse.’
This was followed up by a special comment/debate hosted by Tony Harbron on schoolsimprovement.net – he asked:
“Do you think Pauline Hull is making a valid criticism in suggesting the government’s new code may actually have made things worst for parents? Is it too easy for local authorities to justify a decision that goes against the parental wishes? If you were to propose a solution to the issue what would it be?
Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…”
ITV is asking viewers to get involved and contact GMB ahead of tomorrow’s programme (Thursday 4th June) when it plans to discuss the issue of summer born admissions.
The GMB facebook page ‘DEBATE AT 8‘ asks, “Do you think summer-born children struggle when they start school? Should they be set different targets? Perhaps you’re concerned about your summer-born starting school this September? Or were you born in the summer and wish your parents had been given the option for you to start a year later?”
All excellent questions, although GMB’s accompanying post is not completely accurate:
“Should summer-born children be able to start school a year later? Earlier this year Rosie Dutton won a landmark ruling to start her summer-born daughter’s education one year later than usual.”
I responded on GMB facebook page with this comment: Continue reading
You can READ the May 2015 Under 5 ‘Kids of summer’ HERE
The article focuses on providing early years practitioners and professionals information on summer born school admissions rules, including the legal rights of parents, and busting common myths.
It was written by the Summer Born Campaign‘s Michelle Melson and Pauline Hull.