DfE Scope note/definition of Compulsory education:
“Parents of children of compulsory school age (5-16) are required to ensure that they receive a suitable education by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”
DfE Scope note/definition of Attendance:
“A person begins to be of compulsory school age on the prescribed day which either falls on or follows a person’s fifth birthday. The prescribed days are currently 31st August, 31st December and 31st March, ie the term following the person’s fifth birthday. A person ceases to be of compulsory school age on the school leaving date in the academic year in which they turns 16.“
What the above appears to say is that a summer born child starting Reception age 5 (and therefore turning 6 by the end of that academic year) would be legally entitled to leave school at the end of Year 10, and not Year 11 (when secondary school education ends). As such, this is one of the many reasons given to parents by admission authorities for NOT allowing their 5 year old summer born child entry into Reception Class.
However, parents need to know that the DfE School Admissions Code states:
“An entry class to primary schools providing education suitable for children aged five and any children who are under or over five years old whom it is expedient to educate with pupils of that age.”
Parents also need to know that the law is changing in September 2013 (with the “participation age” rising to 17), and again in 2015 (rising to 18), with one of the options for children being to remain in full-time education in school.
Government website: “In England, if you’re currently in year 11 you must stay in some form of education or training until the end of the academic year when you turn 17. If you’re currently in year 10, then you have to stay in some form of education or training until the end of the academic year when you turn 18. This doesn’t have to mean staying in school, it can be full-time education, e.g. at a school or college, an apprenticeship, full-time employment (over 20 hours a week) combined with part-time education or training.”
Of course this or any successive government may change any or all of the above; but given that all parties seem to agree on the importance of a good education, and a focus on the best interests of a child, I cannot see how any DfE could stand back and allow a summer born child who has moved through school from compulsory age 5, starting in Reception, to be given unequal access to any applicable funding, grants or education options that are available to every other child in their year group.
Pauline M Hull