This is just a selection of #summerborn children from our ever growing campaign group who very happily started school in Reception class this month – at compulsory school age.
They are the lucky ones, who have won the postcode lottery (school or council) in the areas of East Riding of Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Powys Wales, Bristol, Kent, Essex, Poole, Lambeth, Surrey, Norfolk, Devon, South Devon, West Sussex, Suffolk, Whitley Bay North Tyneside, Redbridge London, Hammersmith and Fulham London, Isle if Wight, Barnstaple Devon, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cumbria, Sutton Coldfield Birmingham, Sheffield, Wiltshire, Lewisham London, Dorset, Mid Devon and South Gloucestershire.
It’s become somewhat of an accidental tradition on this website to publish an annual poem by the parent of a summer born child – by Rosie Dutton in 2014 and Lauryn Douglas in 2015.
This year, Melanie Charnock says she was inspired to write about her horrendous admissions experience to date – a request for her twins’ CSAge entry to Reception class was agreed in Lambeth earlier this year but since relocating to Leicestershire, her request there is being refused.
Melanie’s experience epitomises the postcode lottery now at play:
No matter what you say we’re not going till CSA
So you want us in school today
but we’ve just turned 4 so we’re not going – no way!
We’re not ready to sit still,
legs crossed, arms folded, at your will Continue reading
It’s YOUR decision WHEN your child starts school (or alternative education).
CSAge is CSAge. End of.
You don’t need to be telling admission authorities why your child is ‘not ready’ for school at age four. That is irrelevant.
This is NOT about ‘school readiness’, this is about primary legislation.
CSAge and best interests AT THAT POINT.
Ask THEM to prove why missing reception would be beneficial to your child.
Ask THEM to prove why a Year 1 start would be in your child’s best interests.
You have no explaining to do. They do. Continue reading
I’m not an early years teaching expert, but I have witnessed firsthand how ingrained a hatred of reading can develop in some children, and was acutely reminded of this when I watched the BBC 4 documentary ‘B is for Book‘.
As a former secondary school teacher who has tutored numerous children in English (boys in particular) for more than 15 years, I could plainly see how easily a love of books can be jeopardised very early on in a child’s life.
Shockingly, the BBC film showed children who were not yet naturally interested in reading and writing independently (much less the daily monotony of phonics and lacklustre books) being deprived of precious playtime as punishment for academic failure at just 4 and 5 years-old.
“Why are we doing this to children???” I wanted to know. Continue reading
Following Theresa May becoming Prime Minister, the DfE has announced its final ministerial team, and moved responsibility for admissions to Lord Nash.
In February 2016, Lord Nash wrote this in answer to a Parliamentary question on admissions, which the Summer Born Campaign agrees with entirely:
“The School Admissions Code exists to ensure that places in all state funded schools are allocated in a fair and transparent manner. It is particularly important that parents feel confident that their concerns are listened to and acted upon.”
We also believe that it should be possible for parents to hold those responsible for implementing the School Admissions Code to account, especially since the current processes available for summer born children are evidently not working.
And despite the words of then Education Secretary Michael Gove in 2011, “You shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer to navigate the school system”, we know that it’s not just parents contacting solicitors on the summer born issue, but tax-payer funded admission authorities too. Continue reading
Parents of summer born children: Your chance to tell the Department for Education what you think…
LONDON – Tue 16th August – 11.30 – 13.00
SHEFFIELD – Wed 17th August – 11.30 -13.30
DARLINGTON – Tue 23rd August – 12.00 – 13:30
MANCHESTER – Wed 24th August – 12.00 – 14.00
The PTA UK website reads: “PTA UK met with the Department for Education (DfE) recently to discuss giving parents a say on future education policy and what happens in our schools. We are pleased to say that the DfE is running informal discussion sessions in August to give you a chance to share your experiences and ideas. Continue reading
One month ago, on July 6, Michelle Melson wrote to the Chair of the Education Committee, while I wrote to the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, and the DfE, to ask a number of questions related to the long delay in announcing the promised School Admissions Code consultation, and the Summer Born Campaign‘s concerns about DfE communication to parents in recent months that has not been as helpful or supportive as we would have expected, given its September 2015 public letter.
We understand that a change in the Code can take time, but further public announcements and/or greater pressure on admission authorities to stop the continuing postcode lottery could undoubtedly have helped more parents over the past year.
On July 7, the DfE contacted Michelle Melson to arrange a meeting to discuss the DfE’s progress on this issue, and we are currently awaiting confirmation of a date (the DfE referred to post-Brexit changes that are impacting all departments).
Today, Stephen Hammond, Conservative MP for Wimbledon, said he has written to the new Education Secretary, Justine Greening, to request a meeting to discuss the summer born issue too.
He says on his facebook page: Continue reading