This week, the Guardian published Fran Abrams’ excellent report, ‘Too much, too young for summer-born children forced into ‘big school’ Parents complain there is a postcode lottery over when children must start school – and new government guidelines have made matters worse.’
This was followed up by a special comment/debate hosted by Tony Harbron on schoolsimprovement.net – he asked:
“Do you think Pauline Hull is making a valid criticism in suggesting the government’s new code may actually have made things worst for parents? Is it too easy for local authorities to justify a decision that goes against the parental wishes? If you were to propose a solution to the issue what would it be?
Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…”
One of the better reports I’ve seen! Accurate in the facts that were reported. I spent all day tweeting about it to anyone I could find that had shared the article! Well done to all involved!
Great article and fantastic to see so many positive comments that followed.
“Do you think Pauline Hull is making a valid criticism in suggesting the government’s new code may actually have made things worst for parents? YES
Is it too easy for local authorities to justify a decision that goes against the parental wishes? YES
If you were to propose a solution to the issue what would it be? LET PARENT’S DECIDE, SIMPLE
Yes absolutely Pauline is making a valid criticism. How can it be that the government has got away with making it a legal right for parents to send children born up until 1st April to school at their compulsory school age, but made it a request and a postcode lottery process for children born thereafter. Indeed the way to improve this situation dramatically is to write the same choice in for the group of children who are most likely to be in need to help anyway in any given year. It is an absolute scandal.
There is no question that Pauline is right. The current system has a different & detrimental rule for an identifiable group of children, that is the very definitiona of discrimination. The majority of children, all autum/winter borns automatically start school in the term AFTER they turn 5 yet the rule for the minority summerborn group who are also the youngest and most vulnerable group of children are required to start school in the term BEFORE they turn 5. Increasingly these youngest are also pressured into starting at only just turned 4! This is a time when many are too young and evidence shows this can do longterm emotional damage and have a negative effect on a childs relationship with learning as well as being a time when they are too young to access the curriculum in comparison to their peers and so are at a further disadvantage on top! Its ludicrous that it has gone on for so long un checked. The DfE are absolutely accountable to legislate to stop this sytematic discrimination of an identifiable and vulnerable group of young children and must do it now as every year that goes by more and more children are unfairly disadvantaged.
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