The Summer Born Campaign wants all parents of summer born children to have the automatic right – without penalty (i.e. loss of school preferences and threat of or actual loss of school year at any point during child’s education) – to decide whether to apply for a Reception class place at CSAge or one year early.
But there is an important loophole that needs closing too. In 2014, during the DfE’s Code consultation, local authorities submitted concerns that parents of summer born children could apply for age 4 entry and then try again the following year if they didn’t get a place in their preferred school – thus giving them two bites of the cherry.
We agree this would not be a fair system – but the solution is simple.If parents are unsure about when they would like their summer born child to start school, they could apply for entry at age 4 but then if they change their minds, WITHDRAW their application BEFORE the April 16th OFFER DAY.
The majority of parents who choose a CSAge start are clear in their minds that this is what they want, and for other parents, much of the indecision and confusion that currently exists is a direct result of the DfE’s ambiguous summer born policy.
Many parents are only finding out that a CSAge start is allowed through media stories, and unfortunately not all of these reports contain accurate legislative information.
Other parents are fearful of the threats schools and councils have made regarding their child being forced to leapfrog a year later on (the NAHT even said this would happen – a BBC interview last month).
Fairness and Equality
We are campaigning for our children to have equal access to Reception class, equal application rights and no forced leapfrogging of a school year later on.
If we are given two chances to apply and use the option of starting a year later as an opportunity to get a second stab at the school place we want, then we would have an advantage over other parents – and that’s not fair.
There are tens of thousands of parents without their preferred school place this year, and while that is absolutely a crisis in itself, it’s distinct from the admissions scandal that we are campaigning against.
But remember, it’s the DfE’s own Summer Born Advice that is encouraging a “two bites” system, and one that we have been highly critical of since its publication in December 2014.
The DfE recommends that parents apply for a school place they don’t want – and advises them to hold on to it while they continue to battle with their admissions authority about being allowed to apply for a Reception class place the following year!
The DfE’s policy wastes valuable school places for all children.
We’re asking the government for just ONE SCHOOL PLACE for each summer born child – in the Reception class entry year of our choice (early or at CSAge).
Author and Journalist