In answer to a DfE written question on July 8th, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, Lord Agnew of Oulton, said “a public consultation… will be launched in the autumn.”
It has been almost 4 years since Nick Gibb, the Minister for School Standards, promised to amend the 2014 Code, and the timescale given since has been “in due course“.
The question in Hansard (HL Deb, 8 July 2019, cW) does not directly address the issue of summer born children admissions, and the information does not appear to be listed in the government’s latest DfE news, but this is a welcome development.
The Summer Born Campaign‘s Rosie Dutton provided an update on her daughter’s progress after starting school at age 5, instead of age 4.
In this week’s Guest Post, A later start can be the best thing for many children, Rosie says Olivia is grateful for her mum’s decision, and as she approaches the end of Year 3, she has a better understanding of admissions law than some adults. Continue reading
Following years of complaints from parents of summer born children, the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman has published new ‘Guidance for practitioners‘.
Unfortunately, the LGO supports the practice of parents applying one year early, for a school place they do not want, so that admissions authorities can make a decision about which year group their 3 year-old summer born child should enter when they turn 5.
This additional layer of bureaucracy was recommended in the DfE’s 2014 (non-statutory) Advice on the admission of summer born children, but it does not appear in the 2014 (statutory) School Admissions Code, contrary to the LGO’s inaccurate assertion (see bold below). Continue reading
Parents who want to delay their child’s first year of school have varying success rates depending on where they live, a BBC investigation has found.
The Summer Born Campaign’s Rosie Dutton is quoted in the BBC’s article:
“It has been over three years since that letter was released by Nick Gibb, and in those three years many children have been forced to miss reception or start school before their parents wanted them to.
“We really need this legislation published quickly.” Continue reading
This was a Q&A on summer born admissions in Parliament yesterday (Hansard HC Deb, 4 June 2018, cW):
Tracy Brabin Shadow Minister (Education)
“To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in the number of school start deferral requests for summer-born children between 2015 and 2017.” Continue reading
The Summer Born Campaign welcomes the DfE’s Delayed school admissions for summer born pupils report, as it confirms:
– the DfE is fully aware of the admissions postcode lottery
– the DfE knows children are being forced to miss a year of school
– parent requests for CSAge entry are increasing
– the DfE needs to improve communication of admissions information, and ensure equitable access for, all parents (as we predicted in 2014)
– the DfE needs to widen its focus from academic attainment to social, emotional, cognitive and behavioural benefits (these don’t appear in the report or parent survey)
What’s wrong with the report?
Just some key points:
1) Exclusion of summer born children with SEN
“We have limited this analysis to pupils that do not have a SEN flag in both Reception year and Year 1.”
This hides important data. Continue reading
In recent weeks, parents of summer born children have been receiving correspondence confirming whether or not their child can enter Reception at CSAge without further battle.
“‘I’ve got a yes!” “Mine’s a no.”
The educational fate of these children is entirely in the hands of subjective opinion and a postcode lottery, and Stephen Hammond (Conservative MP for Wimbledon)’s efforts to push for promised progress have yet again seen the DfE stalling.
The DfE says it’s still busy “gathering evidence“, concerned that “the costs could be significant“, but given the lack of action since Nick Gibb MP‘s promises in 2015, it’s very likely that this evidence will be designed to justify a decision that has already been made.
Even the simplest financial calculation can recognise the cost-savings in SEN support alone, but the DfE will likely focus on the problem of summer born children finally getting access to the same 6 terms of pre-school funding as autumn born children.
These are Minister of State for Education’s latest responses to Mr. Hammond’s questions on March 27: Continue reading