BBC Radio 5 Live’s presenter Sam Walker hosted an excellent discussion on the Summer Born Campaign this morning, with guests including Michelle Melson (campaign leader) and Fiona McGuckin (parent of a summer born child).
You can listen to it here (at 40 min, 1hr 55min, 2hr 13min), and below are some highlights from the debate.
Michelle Melson (pictured): “Tinkering with tests is not going to fix the summer born issue. It’s not the answer to children missing a year of school.” Continue reading
Anyone else miss out on a year of primary school?
A few years ago, I came across the discussion forum above.
It describes a chronological reorganisation of children in school, which does not appear to have considered their individual best interests, and includes the anecdotes below.
“…a girl in my brother’s class was suddenly found to be too old for his year, was put up to my year but was the youngest“.
“I think it has something to do with them changing the school years from “children born in 1974” to “children born from Sept 1973-August 1974” – as another friend (who I was with in the first year… was born in October 1974 but he stayed behind and completed his 1st year infants and didn’t leave for secondary school until September 1986 – a full year after me.” Continue reading
The Summer Born Campaign‘s Michelle Melson has been invited to participate in a special Learning Exchange (LEX) event in London this month, where she will discuss campaigning for change in education.
Re-imagining School is on June 24th and the topic is RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL EDUCATION CHANGE CAMPAIGN
Michelle Melson and Pauline Hull are the lead campaigners of the Summer Born Campaign Group. Both are parents of summer born boys who didn’t want them to start school a few months after their 4th birthday, and believed that it was in the boys’ best interests to wait until they reached compulsory school age.
On January 15, 2014, they published their Summer Born Report Continue reading
In today’s Leicester Mercury, Fiona Dryden describes Stephanie Walsgrove’s fight with Leicestershire County Council to allow her daughter, Amelia, to enter Reception class at CSAge in September 2017: Leicestershire mum wins battle to delay her daughter’s school start.
The article refers to this 2016 Local Government Ombudsman decision, and includes a statement from the council, saying “we agreed with the Ombudsman to make a small financial settlement to Mrs Walsgrove which recognises the time and trouble caused to her.”
This demonstrates yet another cost Continue reading
On the very same day I read this in the Guardian – Cuts, cuts, cuts. Headteachers tell of school system ‘that could implode’ – a parent in our Summer Born Campaign group described how no fewer than three head teachers had attended a meeting with her to decide the school entry fate of her summer born child.
In total, the local authority had convened a panel of seven specialists, including the three heads, an educational psychologist, and early years specialists, to spend two hours trying to convince the parent (a teacher herself, with the child’s nursery’s full support) that she does not need to ‘delay’ her child’s entry to school.
Two hours spent (wasted) answering the wrong question. Continue reading
Stephen Hammond, Conservative MP for Wimbledon
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress the Minister of State for School Standards has made on assessing the potential costs of changing the Schools Admissions Code to provide more flexibility for summer-born children.
Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb
We are currently undertaking evidence gathering and analysis to estimate the potential costs of providing more flexibility for summer born children. However, it is complex and will depend on how we implement any changes, the level of parental take up and whether those children take up free early education. (Hansard source HC Deb, 11 January 2017, cW)
Summer Born Campaign
The DfE raised concerns about cost back in 2014 during an ‘Evidence Check‘, and we responded in detail to its concerns at the time: Response to the DfE’s ‘Summer Born Children’ Evidence Check for the Education Committee (MPs please read)
With many of the 7,200 members in the Summer Born Campaign group busy preparing admissions applications for primary school places this week, the shocking postcode lottery and differences in admissions authorities’ positions is more stark and stressful than than ever.
Copious letters, emails and telephone calls to many schools and councils as parents fight threats of Year 1 entry and a missed Reception class – or Reception entry with a school year to be skipped later on – with many others allowing a straightforward process of applying in the year of compulsory school age entry (see this article on Hertfordshire’s simple guideline for parents of summer born children). Continue reading