Three days ago, the mother of a summer born child posted this on summerbornchildren.org:
“Our 24 wk boy was allowed to repeat reception in a faith school in North London. Allowing the board of governors ability to over throw Haringey’s adamant decision to send a child born on 6 Aug ( due 24 Nov) to school a year too early. The results were extraordinary. He was able to flourish as an equal.
We then moved to Kent and they bumped him from year 1 to year 2. The results have been devastating. He is now in special needs classes as a measure to help him catch up.We are also sending him for an extra hours tutorial a week.
His self esteem is shot to pieces and he is confused and has said things like” I have a stupid brain here mum”. So young to break the news to him that this is certainly not true but that the adults in authority who have taken this decision most certainly have.
It is more than obvious these children are merely stats and budget victims and that there is no one with enough strength of character and work ethic to take on the challenge to create a precedent.
We are doing everything in our power to move back to Muswell Hill to Our Lady of Muswell. Where a wonderful teacher taught him for a year then stuck her head above the parapet and spoke of it being immoral to expect a child to adapt to learning when they are not developmentally at the same stage as their classmates.
Fundamentally setting the child up for failure.”
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Now let’s just remind ourselves how Kent County Council responded to the DfE’s consultation of its proposed School Admissions Code changes in 2014 (my emphasis below):
“The significant challenge here is that there is a distinction to be made between children ready for school able to be taught alongside their peers and parents who are not yet ready for their child to start school because of their anxieties, and children for whom it would genuinely not be in their best interest to be in school. Where the former is the case, parents invariably will not be best placed to take that decision objectively…
KCC’s preferred solution which would provide far greater clarity to process would be for children (without a statement or EHCP) to be required to apply at the correct time associated with their chronological age group regardless of their individual needs.”
And now look at what the DfE added to its new December 2014 Summer Born Advice:
“We therefore recommend that the process local authorities and admission authorities put in place:
- requires the parent to make an application for their child’s normal age group at the usual time, but enables them to submit a request for admission out of the normal age group at the same time
If their request is refused, the parent must decide whether to accept the offer of a place for the normal age group, or to refuse it and make an in year application for admission to year one for the September following the child’s fifth birthday.”
And finally, let’s look again at the ‘flexibility‘ three separate DfE Ministers have assured parents of, and ask yourself, who did the DfE take most notice of?
Councils like Kent – or parents and children..?