New DfE Letter from Schools Minister tells Authorities: ‘Take Immediate Action’

IMG_6842The DfE has today published a letter from Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Schools, addressed to all parents, local authorities, admission authorities and schools in England.

Mr Gibb says, “We are going to make changes to admission rules – but we want councils and academies to take immediate action.

His letter and the DfE’s press releasesets out the government’s plan to make a change to the school admissions code.  The change would mean that schools can… admit summer-born children to reception class at the age of 5, if their parents want this [and] make sure the children can stay in this year group as they progress through school“.

Summer Born Campaign response:We have maintained for years now, there is no excuse for admission authorities to deny children access to their Reception class year, and to a continuous curriculum thereafter, simply for starting school at England’s compulsory school age.

We welcome the recent announcement and open letter from schools minister Nick Gibb, and his proposed changes to The School Admissions Code, and we look forward to engaging in the formal consultation process.

Unless these changes become a mandatory requirement, the postcode lottery for summer born admissions will continue.”

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23 Responses to New DfE Letter from Schools Minister tells Authorities: ‘Take Immediate Action’

  1. Pingback: Summer Born Semantics are Not Out of the Woods Yet – the Code’s Wording ‘Must’ Be Clear | summerbornchildren

  2. happygrecian says:

    This is encouraging, but parents of children who are only just three having celebrated their birthdays in August, July, June will be wondering how long this public consultation will take and when LAs will be compelled to change their policies. I can imagine some will be stubbornly sticking to their existing practices until the bitter end, so not much comfort for those of us who have to be making some kind of application for common sense from admission authorities over the next four months…
    Or does anyone think I’m being a little cynical/pessimistic?

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  3. Sarah hall says:

    Gutted. Just finished a conversation with Kent admissions team leader and she has told me that Kent are not changing their admissions policy until/if the code is formally and legally changed (after the full public enquiry) and that they have interpreted Nick Gibbs letter to be contradictory and therefore they are refusing to change their stance. I therefore have to get the head teachers, from the three schools I am applying to, to agree to ‘out of year admissions’ as they are still calling it. These schools refused my request last year- what are the chances of them having changed their minds?
    Hate the fact that it’s still a postcode lottery and that if I lived somewhere else I could be posting a picture of my daughter still being at nursery for a year with a reception place for next year but instead I am faced with a battle on my hands and the prospect of no place for her this time next year.

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  4. Whilst some authorities are being proactive and making immediate changes there are still many who are insistent they will not make changes until they have to ie until the legislation is actually changed. This needs immediate attention and the consultstion process needs to be started quickly to ensure that no child is forced to miss a year of school especially after the Minister has urged LAs to take heed of his intentions.

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  5. Whilst this open letter of intention is most definitely a step in the right direction, as a parent of a 2012 #summerborn I am hoping that this now progresses swiftly to give me the confidence that my request will be straight forward. It would also be useful for further direct communication to LAs to benefit those parents with 2011 summerborns who are still being refused a reception place next September!

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  6. Samantha Bullock says:

    I forwarded by email a copy of Nick Gibbs open letter to Authorities and schools to my local Authority Kirklees to check how they wanted me to proceed with our delay for Reception 2016 at CSA for our daughter. I was hopeful that the actions of Kirklees following Nick Gibbs announcement may have changed and they would be favourable to an automatic delay now. Unfortunately this is not meant to be and they have advised me this morning that at this point it’s a statement of intent and therefore their situation remains the same and I should now submit a written application to delay to Reception 2016 at CSA together with any supporting information before the 21 st Seotember. Very disappointed.

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  7. Chloe Shilling says:

    I phoned Kent County Council to ask about deferring our summer born son who also has a language delay of between 9-12 months. They were extremely unsympathetic and then claimed to know nothing about Nick Gibbs letter at all! They have told me I have to get the head teachers, from the three schools I am applying to, to agree to ‘out of year admissions’ as I would of have to in the old system. What if they say no? or what if they say yes and then I don’t get a place in one of my requested schools. If my son goes to school at just 4 he won’t cope. He still sleeps for over 2 hours in the day and is not potty trained, he is trying so hard with his language but has still got a long way to catch up. He needs an extra year to catch up. If he starts in September he will need a lot of extra support in the classroom (costing Kent County Council even more money) and will still struggle. If he start when he is 5 he is likely to have caught up and be able to make the most of his education with hopefully no extra support in the classroom.
    It is not fair that it is still a postcode lottery and if I lived somewhere else I could be sure our son was having his needs met and a bright future in education in front of him, instead I am worried he will be failed by Kent County Council and will spend his time in education desperately trying to catch up and never reaching his potential.

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  8. Lena A says:

    Another parent of a summer born child here. I do not have any faith in our local authority until they are forced by the statutory laws to act. Their “out of year admissions” policy took over 6 months to finalise last year during which time they were giving unlawful information to parents (that their CSA summer born child will have to join Y1). Only direct changes in statutory documents will force them to act.

    I do want to be wrong though.

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  9. Natasha Newman says:

    I spoke to Suffolk admissions and our local schools yesterday, all still advising that our August 2011 born son will start in year 1 next year missing reception!

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  10. Sandi says:

    I personally think that part of the problem is children going into Reception and Reception is a classroom like any other classroom, in the school. It should be exactly what the word says – reception but it has morphed into a lets-get-them-reading-and-writing-for-school instead of a playing happy environment where the children are basically exploring the world around them, learning to listen to stories, get on with their peers and in that manner, ready themselves for Year One. This would mean that if a child started school at Year One, aged 5 years old CSA, then they would not have “missed” any schooling and in fact, the parent at home, sending their child into Reception a couple of days a week, would be fulfilling the exact role of Reception.
    But can you imagine telling the UK schools they have got it “wrong”…in fact, it is what happens in the rest of the world. The UK is not leading the way – they are completely out of step with the rest of the world on this one. Compulsory School Age is just that – 5 years old. And no parent or child has to confirm to “School Policy” on this one and any school that makes a child actually miss a year of school, should be fined!! Just like parents are when children miss schooling because of them.

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  11. Sandi says:

    conform is the word not confirm

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  12. Helen C says:

    It is fantastic that Nick Gibb is taking action to encourage admissions authorities to act immediately but unfortunately it seems that many are still ignoring his request. I really hope that the government and the Department for Education act fast in amending the code. Parents are currently being refused requests for reception entry at CSA for their 2011 and 2012 born children and the amendments cannot come soon enough for these parents.

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