ITV 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 accuracy – Rosie 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.