Education Minister Nick Gibb to Review Summer Born Issue at ‘Earliest Opportunity’

Nick Gibb speaking at the Education Committee Meeting on March 4, 2015

This month, one of the Summer Born Campaign leaders, Michelle Melson, had the privilege of meeting with the Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb, following her submission of oral evidence on Summer Born Children at the Education Select Committee meeting in March.

She says, “The meeting was I feel, a positive one and the Minister was sensitive to our issue.

He shares our concerns about children joining Year 1 rather than Reception class, and also our concerns surrounding access to a continuous and uninterrupted progression through the school system where a request is granted.

The Minister is keen that every child is given the chance to reach their full potential and will be reviewing this issue with Ministerial colleagues at the earliest opportunity.

When parents first brought the summer born issue to the attention of officials at the back end of 2012 (during the previous coalition government), David Laws had just been made Minister of State for Schools, and his responsibilities included school admissions.

Ironically, this role had previously been held by Nick Gibb, who was subsequently appointed Minister of State for School Reform in 2014, and whose responsibilities included attendance and reducing bureaucracy.

As of May 2015, with a new government, many of the previous education ministers have been reappointed, and the responsibilities of each minister have been slightly rearranged.

Nick Gibb was reappointed as Minister of State for Schools.

Questions….???

Will Nick Gibb succeed in being the minister responsible for sorting out the summer born scandal once and for all?

Will he finally put an end to the enforced missed years of education solely because parents elect to wait until their children are of compulsory school age before enrolling them in school?

Could he signal the end to the bullying tactics and threats from local admission authorities and schools (e.g. ‘Wait until CSAge and even if your request is successful your child will have to be bumped up a year at the earliest opportunity or made to miss a year during their primary or secondary education – or denied access to the grammar school system’)?

We hope he does.

As we have maintained for more than two years now, there can never be any truly valid excuse from admission authorities and schools to deny children access to their Reception class year, and to a continuous curriculum thereafter (and there is no evidence to support this practice either; only evidence against).

Written by Michelle Melson and Pauline Hull

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This entry was posted in CAMPAIGN UPDATES, EDUCATION COMMITTEE EVIDENCE, MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT, THE DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Education Minister Nick Gibb to Review Summer Born Issue at ‘Earliest Opportunity’

  1. Sounds like a very productive meeting. Let’s hope it all translates into a simple, fair system for all of our #summerborn children!

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  2. Emma Barnett says:

    Fingers crossed he can sort this mess out! And hopefully in time for my 3 year old who is starting at CSA next year and currently being forced to miss Reception. Well done Michelle!

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  3. RDutton says:

    This is great news to hear. I think there are lots of parents who share his concerns. No child should be made to miss a year of education. Let’s hope this brings about the change needed for summer born children to finally have automatic access to reception at compulsory school age. It would save a lot of heartache for many families and their children.

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  4. Gemma Adams says:

    I just hope real legislative changes occur as previous verbal assurances from the dfe have just left us with a postcode lottery

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  5. Lauren says:

    Fingers crossed that we can finally get a simple and fair choice for summerborns!

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  6. Louisa34 says:

    Sounds like a really productive meeting, as a mother of a child who started reception at CSA I dread the secondary school transition in case he’s made to skip a year there. Let’s hope it’s resolved to ensure all children have fair access to education.

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  7. Lorraine Janes says:

    Great news. Parents should be making the decision when their children start school not being forced to send a just 4 year old by someone who has never met them. Am personally hoping this is sorted by the time I have to apply for my soon to be 3 year old sons place in October.

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  8. Amanda Smoth says:

    Well done Michelle and Pauline. Lets hope he really can sort it, once and for all.Thank you so much for all your campaigning.

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  9. KateP says:

    What is disgraceful is that currently some LEAs are sacrificing children’s potential because they can’t be bothered with the extra admin. In fact they are wasting taxpayer’s money by forcing parents to jump through hoops, in some cases make multiple appeals when parents are simply asking councils to abide by existing legislation and guidance. I really hope this is sorted out soon although it is too late for my family maybe others can benefit.

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  10. nicola szarowicz says:

    Let’s hope something changes soon.

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  11. Helen says:

    Sounds promising! Fingers crossed he gets this sorted out soon (and they don’t continue to make things worse and worse)

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  12. MIchelleM says:

    What a fantastic campaign. Well done all, I hope all your hard efforts will benefit many many summer born children. Fingers crossed this meeting is the start of positive changes.

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  13. Carrie says:

    Great news, all children need to start when they are ready, parents know their children best. Having the whole year in reception and all that play base learning is so important, better all children receive this at the best age for them rather than summer born’s missing it because, rightly, parents choose to opt out.

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  14. Helen C says:

    Please please please let’s hope this issue gets sorted out soon so that our Summer born children will be entitled to automatic entry to Reception class at age 5 and 7 full years of Primary education. Let’s end the discrimination and give our children the best possible start in life.

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  15. sjouce says:

    Great news! Let’s hope this brings about the change that our children are entitled to.

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  16. birchrm says:

    Huge thanks to Michelle for her hard work in order to secure this meeting. Let’s hope Mr Gibb’s review provides us with the outcome we are all waiting for; the right of parents to start their children at CSA in reception without the threat of possibly being made to miss a year of education further down the line. What we really want Mr Gibb is ‘parental choice.’ The choice to start children in reception ‘early’, at age 4 or ‘on time’ at CSA with the guarantee that children cannot be forced to miss a year of their education. To give parents this choice and this guarantee would end the problem once and for all, making the system fair for all children. It should be so simple.

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  17. Srg says:

    Finally some is listening! Well done Michelle and everyone working so hard to raise political and public awareness. The children cant speak for themselves and their future but their voice is as valid as anyones, over life changing decisions made on their behalf.

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  18. Vicky whitlock says:

    lets hope this review happens soon – my soon to be three year old should be starting next September – I hope he doesn’t have to!

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  19. kelly w says:

    Great progress in a worthy battle. Well done to all involved.

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  20. Amy says:

    This is great news, let’s hope it leads to positive change and enables parents to act in the best interests of their children.

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  21. Elena says:

    I would love to see real flexibility for the parents to choose when to send their children to school. Not the fake flexibility, which under the current system forces the families to apply to start a year ahead of CSA, because of the fear they will be forced to skip reception or the real possibility of missing out on a place altogether because there will be none left in Year 1. Still, i am hopeful.

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  22. Rachel Beirne says:

    Fantastic news. Parents of summer borns should have the flexibility to do what is right for their individual child without the postcode lottery that currently exists.
    Hopefully this will lead to fair and equal access across the country for children entering reception at compulsory school age and remaining with that year group for the rest of their education.

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  23. Charlotte says:

    Brilliant work Michelle and Pauline. My August born daughter has recently been refused Reception at csa by Norfolk County Council, the council and the school are now actively promoting by child missing the whole of Reception and they really do not appear to have any concerns that this will have a negative impact on her schooling, how can this be in a child’s best interest? I wonder when the ‘earliest opportunity’ will be, too late for my daughter almost certainly.

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  24. Nick says:

    I hope he brings in clearer guidelines so there’s consistently across boroughs with the parents views/evidence being the strongest evidence required. I would also hope for some more solid guarantee that my child will get to stay in his CSA year group for his school life. As it stands now, it will be reviewed every year ~ how is that fair, stable and equal to access for a child’s education?!

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  25. Claire says:

    I look forward to a swift resolution to this ridiculous situation for summerborn children, so that families can apply for Reception at CSA without fear of their child being forced to miss a year of education. Summerborns deserve their 14 years of education like all other children!

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  26. Annabel Hodgson says:

    Hoping we soon see an end to the postcode lottery of chance and luck regarding the summer born issue.

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  27. EO says:

    Oh wouldnt it be lovely if he means it/can do it. Full education at CSA. We won our battle once, about to embark again and my stomach already knots at the thought. Fingers crossed. Well done Michele.

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  28. Pingback: Many Ministers have Talked the Talk – Could Nick Gibb Actually Walk the Walk? | summerbornchildren

  29. Pingback: Prematurity Is Not The (only) Point – Legislation Covers All Summer Born Children | summerbornchildren

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