ITV’s Good Morning Britain Discuss Summer Born School Entry

IMG_2071ITV is asking viewers to get involved and contact GMB ahead of tomorrow’s programme (Thursday 4th June) when it plans to discuss the issue of summer born admissions.

The GMB facebook page ‘DEBATE AT 8‘ asks, “Do you think summer-born children struggle when they start school? Should they be set different targets? Perhaps you’re concerned about your summer-born starting school this September? Or were you born in the summer and wish your parents had been given the option for you to start a year later?

All excellent questions, although GMB’s accompanying post is not completely accurate:
Should summer-born children be able to start school a year later? Earlier this year Rosie Dutton won a landmark ruling to start her summer-born daughter’s education one year later than usual.”

I responded on GMB facebook page with this comment:

Why does GMB persist in asking ‘Should they be able to?’

In England, legal compulsory school age is the term following a child’s 5th birthday, so the parent of any summer born child can choose whether to enrol them early or ‘at’ CSAge.

The more accurate question is – should summer born children be able to access a full education (7 years of primary and 5 years of secondary) if their parent enrols them AT compulsory school age rather than earlier?

Department for Education ministers have said for three years in a row that flexibility is key and we should empower parents to make a personal decision – yet the School Admissions Code allows the opposite.

It lets admissions authorities make different decisions about forced miss years and the importance of teaching in ’12 month chronological age’ batches instead of acting in children’s best interests.

Whatever people’s views might be on flexibility and which year they would personally choose for their child to enter school, surely it’s only fair that the same admissions process and access to education is available to ALL summer born children in England, and not only those fortunate to have won the ‘where you are born’ lottery?

Also on a point of accuracyRosie Dutton did not win ‘a landmark ruling’ at all.

She is simply one example of many parents who fought their admissions authority and were lucky enough to gain access to Reception class at CSAge.

Media interest in this issue is a good thing, but it really needs to be accurate if readers, listeners and viewers parents are to be fully informed.

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4 Responses to ITV’s Good Morning Britain Discuss Summer Born School Entry

  1. I watched this this morning and there seemed to be a lot of references to “starting late”, “keeping back” and “delay”; along with the “someone has to be the youngest….” phrase. These are all unhelpful terms which do not accurately represent what we wish for. I found the research interesting, but again, more changes to the curriculum which would no doubt need further testing to ensure the changes were successful…. Here’s an idea which requires neither of those things. Allow our summer born children to start reception at compulsory school age, in accordance with the provisions in the School Admissions Code. Simple!


  2. And why is Chris McGovern of the Campaign for Real Education so hung up on sport? I remember he used that argument when he was on the show with Rosie. Though he seems to have softened a little with his comment that “if parents what them to start late perhaps they should be allowed to…” Again needs reminding that starting at compulsory school age isn’t starting late but on time, but it’s something!


  3. birchrm says:

    Chris McGovern, unbelievably suggested we could put our summer born children on a plane to China where they would be 2 years ahead by age 11. What a ridiculous suggestion, even if it was tongue in cheek. I have taught in China, primary class sizes were above 40, teachers used microphones to be heard, there was little outside play, many schools / kindergartens did not even have outdoor areas, education was extremely formal. This is the complete opposite of what we want for our children. Why not send them to the Netherlands where children do not start formal education till age 6/7 and have possibly the best education system in the world.
    Chris McGovern is completely out of touch.


  4. Julia says:

    It’s good to see that further research is being done to look at the impact of starting a summer born, at the early age of 4, into the formal setting of a school. It is also good to sees that the study is giving consideration to the current curriculum to see how it may be adapted to meet the needs of ALL children, not just summer borns but any child in reception lacking the necessary language skills to enable them to fully access the curriculum. However it is my opinion that until the social, emotional and physical skills are in place, language and educational attainment will suffer. I do not see a reception setting as the right place to develop a child’s foundation skills because it still has the formal undertone of an academic environment setting where children are now to be subjected to the stress of baseline testing and increased pressure to learn phonics, count to and recognise numbers up to 50 and read. I would prefer to see a fully flexible admission system where parents can choose to keep their child with a nursery, that is solely focused on the early years foundation, and allow the child to develop their the social, emotional, physical and language skills it needs before starting to introduce more formal learning. Surely a setting with fewer children to teacher ratio is better. The primary concern for summer borns should be what is best for them. I understand that for many parents there are financial implications to keeping their child at nursery until their child reaches compulsory school age but they would pay no more in childcare costs than a parent of a child who has their birthday in September.


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