Every parent who ‘succeeds‘ in securing a Reception class place at CSAge for their summer born child then faces the fear and uncertainty of never knowing when or if their child will be forced to skip a year later on in school – and ‘returned‘ to their ‘correct‘ chronological age year group.
But for Service children, this whole postcode lottery and injustice is only exacerbated.
Parents know they may need to move home multiple times during their children’s education, and are so concerned about different councils or head teachers making very different decisions, one mother says “it’s not even an option to try and delay.”
“It’s very disheartening, I don’t really understand why the law says children don’t have to attend school until age 5 [when] What the government are currently saying is, unless you want your child penalised with missing a school year, they have to start at age 4“.
The Ministry of Defence’s Army Secretariat has told us that its Children’s Education Advisory Service has not received any concerns from Service parents in the UK regarding the problems Service Families face regarding this issue.
However, some parents in our Summer Born Campaign facebook group say they have contacted the MOD’s Children’s Education Advisory Service regarding issues related to summer born admissions.
We also asked: Does the MOD keep any records on the education of children within military families, and if so, would it be able to identify how many total years of education these children receive?
The FOI reply stated: “I can advise you that following a search of our recorded information, I have established that the information you requested is not held by the Ministry of Defence. While the MOD does hold some records relating to Service children’s education, we do not record the information you have requested.”
But the important thing is that the MOD says it “always strives to meet the best interests of Service children“, and provides the following help for all Service parents:
Children’s Education Advisory Service
Telephone: 01980 618 244 (Military 94 344 8244)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 01980 618245 (military 94 344 8245)
CEA Governance Team
CEAGT, SPVA, Room G18
Gloucester GL3 1HW
Telephone: 01452 712 612 extn 5693
Fax: 01452 718 471 (Military GPTN 95471 5471)
The CEAS Helpline is manned from 8.30am to 3.30pm, Monday to Friday. At other times, or when the helpline is busy, messages can be left on the answer machine or sent via email. Please ensure that your name, the name and date of birth of the child (if appropriate) and your contact details are left slowly and clearly.
(With thanks to Michelle Melson for putting the above contact details together.)