BBC South Coverage of Summer Born Postcode Lottery

Sam and Holly Dec 2014On Thursday 4th December, this BBC News report highlighted the inconsistency between different admissions authorities in how they interpret the School Admissions Code in relation to summer born children starting school at compulsory school age – ironically referred to as “delayed entry” just because these children are ‘expected‘ to start school at age 4 (one year early) and this has long been considered ‘the norm‘.

In a follow up to her September 2, 2013 report, BBC South producer and reporter Chrissy Sturt spoke with parents from our SB Campaign including Sam and Holly Watts, who are having to fight for the right to simply exercise their legal parental duty in West Sussex:    “If we were living 13 miles to the west across the border, it’d be almost guaranteed for our son to start in Reception in 2016, and bearing in mind that those counties are applying the same guidelines, the same Admissions Code, …how can you have such a subjective interpretation?

And incredibly, the council’s statement to the BBC demonstrates just how much power local authorities are trying to wield when it comes to enforcing an age 4 start: “The responsibility for decisions over deferring pupil start dates rests with each individual authority….

NO – this is not true. It is for us, the parents, to decidewhether our child begins their education AT or BEFORE CSAge. Your responsibility lies in ensuring that year group placement decisions are made PRIMARILY in our child’s best interests.

And where is the evidence that starting in Year 1 at the age of 5, having missed the “critical” (DfE’s word) foundation that is Reception class?

Sam’s question above is rhetorical of course given that the Code is neither clear, fair nor objective on the point of summer born admissions, but it remains one worth asking.

Readers may also be interested in the discussion on the BBC South facebook page where a shorter version of Chrissy Sturt’s film appears; some interesting comments.


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