In a pre-election webchat with the Telegraph, former DfE Minister of State for Schools David Laws was asked: What is your stance on summer-born children and whether they should have the right to delay their entry to school?
He replied: “I believe that local authorities and schools should respect the views of parents on this issue. We need to keep this under review to see if further action by the government is necessary to strengthen parents rights.”
However we have seen numerous examples of correspondence from Mr. Laws in which he insists that local decisions are best, including his shocking October 2012 response to a desperate parent whose summer born child was being forced to miss Year 7 (going straight from Year 6 to Year 8): “It is the government’s belief that such decisions are best left with the professionals, such as the head teacher in the school… I wish X every success in the future“.
This was a government department that KNEW head teachers and council administrators were forcing children to miss a whole year of school but chose to maintain the status quo and in fact make the situation worse with its 2014 Code.
What’s worse though, is that while the DfE empowered admissions authorities behind the scenes, ministers including David Laws made public promises to parents like this one from Laws in March 2014:
“we will take action if we find that schools are not paying attention to parental demand.”
The Summer Born Campaign has repeatedly told Mr. Laws and his department that further action is necessary, but to date, both have chosen to ignore us.
Author and Journalist