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.
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