Good Schools Guide Advises Women to Avoid Conceiving Summer Born Babies

Good Schools Guide picThe 2013 edition of the Good Schools Guide warns women:
So avoid getting pregnant between July and November inclusive!

When the Telegraph’s Economics Correspondent Peter Spence tweeted his concerns about a potential middle-class advantage of planning a child’s DOB, it reminded me I’d read this while looking for alternative Surrey schools when our son was facing forced Year 1 entry at CSAge.

But what’s perhaps more interesting in the context of Education Committee Chair’s comments yesterday (“admissions decisions need to be made in the best interests of the child, not administrative neatness“) is just how vulnerable the education ‘system’ is to admin processes trumping children’s best interests:

The Good Schools Guide suggests, “The obvious remedy for this disadvantage is to allow those younger children who seem to be falling behind to drop back a year. This practice has never been popular in the UK, and was made particularly difficult by the government’s former practice (only abolished in 2005) of reporting schools’ GCSE and A-level results as if children who had been held back had failed all their exams, so that senior schools (conscious of their position in the league tables) became extremely reluctant to accept them.

Ten years on, and some parents of summer born children have still been told by schools that this ‘reporting’ issue will impact transfer to secondary – and the Summer Born Campaign is aware of head teachers at secondary schools who have warned of and actually refused a summer born child entry to Year 7 from Year 6 because they ‘belonged’ in their chronological age group of Year 8.

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14 Responses to Good Schools Guide Advises Women to Avoid Conceiving Summer Born Babies

  1. Nick says:

    We’ve got it in writing that each year this will be reviewed and there’s no guarantee that he will stay in the year group that he starts in which is the term after he’s 5 in Reception ~ such an unfair, insecure system for a child and their family.

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  2. maggie may says:

    I’ve been told by my local authority that my son will skip a year when going to secondary school. Also been told that he will DEFINITELY go to year 1 if wanna send him “out of cohort” . So stressful and just ridiculous. If it’s compulsory after 5th birthday why is it such a head ache. Parents knows what’s best for their kids not LA or Heads.

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  3. Mrs B says:

    Very supportive head at our local infant school would support us in entry to reception at CSA if we apply to our lea. Not prem, or additional needs just a normal 2 yr old at present who is due to start school next september. (Late august born). Sadly email from local secondaries said would have to consider carefully not correcting her ,( and thus missing a year of education,) if she did not have a statement of special educational needs… As she could potentially leave school before sitting exams. The secondary is an academy so no right of appeal with lea and therefore the situation is a huge gamble and not a real choice at present. When applying to secondary school you would not only have to be lucky enough to find a school that would support not ‘ corrcting’ school year in your area but also be lucky enough to then be offered a place. The current situation is more about luck and individual schools opinions than a true equitable system across all schools.

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  4. happygrecian says:

    This is appalling. You would think that secondaries would want to do everything they could to enable their students to do well when they get to GCSEs. I’ve been a primary head for 17 years, and in that time I’ve encouraged parents to move their child back a year – one child who came from South Africa, age 7, with no formal education, another two born in August and two months prematurely. Got to say, though, that in all three cases the LA and secondary schools were quite OK about it.
    Got a girl at the moment, born Aug 10th, been in hospital a number of times with a serious chronic condition, and with low immunity so not been to preschool. By age she could start school in 6 weeks, although she’s still only 3 now, but mum would prefer her to start in Sept 2016. I’m quite happy to support that, but LA being quite stuffy about it (e.g. “What if she decides to leave school at the end of Y10 and doesn’t take her GCSEs?”)…

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  5. Charlotte says:

    I spoke to a Head Teacher recently at a primary school near to us just outside Norwich, Norfolk. One of his main concerns when thinking about accepting my August born three year old daughter into Reception at CSA was that she would leave school early without doing her GCSEs.
    As part of the Education and Skills Act it is law that children have to stay in education or training until they are 17 so she would not be able leave school having not done her GCSEs. As a parent why would you ever mention to a child taught out of chronological age group that they could leave school early – “Oh by the way, I fought so hard to get you into Reception class at csa so that you were not disadvantaged by your date of birth but hey if you fancy, you can leave school before doing your GCSEs, how about that?”
    I went to High School 1988 – 1992 in Suffolk with a friend who was taught out of chronological age group, she was August born, it never occurred to her or any of us that she could leave school without doing her GCSEs. In fact, we didn’t even realise at the time that she would have been in the year above if taught in her chronological age group, there are a thousand more important things to think about at that age.
    In the last couple of months that I have been researching this topic within Norfolk I have experienced several Head Teachers, that don’t have an understanding or want to understand the situation around the admissions of summer born children. It appears this may be the result of a belligerent Admissions Authority wanting to maintain the administrative neatness of the past.

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    • happygrecian says:

      Yes, the “but she might decide to leave school when she’s 16” is a ridiculous argument, but still the first objection that an admissions officer made when I was discussing the issue a couple of days ago.

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  6. Tina says:

    We were told that while we are able to apply for 2 schools in our area whose Heat Teachers said Yes (and only those two schools), there’s a concern re secondary admissions and we’d need to re-apply for a deferred entry then. Exact quote: “Some concerns were raised over the effect this may have during the Secondary Transfer application process. However the Med Soc panel unanimously agreed that the request could be considered for the entry into Reception class only in accordance with the admission code. The admissions arrangements and previous correspondence clearly outline that a similar request will need to be sought during the secondary transfer application process.”

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  7. Julie Thomson says:

    Whilst my son’s headteacher is happy in theory for my son to stay with his current cohort this is largely dependent on agreement from a secondary school. I have been advised to contact secondary schools when he is in Year 4 and in the event they do not agree his current school want to start “catching him up”.

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  8. ellena outram says:

    Hi our daughter has been granted admission at the correct age ie csa yr r HOWEVER this agreement is only for one school. If we move her we will need to reapply. We have been told in writing that she may have to loose a years education when she transfers to secondary. This is a constant worry but we hold faith the Government will eventually do the right thing and protect her full education rather than penalise her for starting at lefal school starting age.

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  9. Kelly says:

    Although we’ve been lucky (after a massive fight with our local authority) and secured at reception place at 5, We’ve been told that if we change schools, move or at secondary school our Son could be forced to join his correct chronological year group. We won the first battle I just hope that we don’t have another fight on our hands in the future. However this is of massive concern for us.

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  10. H says:

    Finally after a huge battle have an agreement for my August born boy with extra medical issues to get access to reception when he starts school. I have asked for confirmation in writing that there is no condition or expectation as a direct result of this agreement that he will be bumped up a year at any point later within the primary school. One school replied readily to comfirm the other has been more reluctant so far to put this in writing altho I have asked again! I was also warned that secondary schools may be a problem! Another crazy pointless battle unless of course Nick Gobb can sort this mess out in the meantime so all children get fair & equal access to an education no matter what month they are born in!

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  11. birchrm says:

    It should not factor in when to conceive, unfortunately it does, let’s hope this will change.

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  12. Pingback: Headteacher Suggests Pregnancy Plan to Solve Summer Born Problem | summerbornchildren

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