I don’t mean to be the party pooper, but I’ve noticed something concerning (albeit perfectly fixable) in the DfE’s announcement today. Technically, we’ve been promised something we already have within the existing 2014 School Admissions Code:
The Schools Minister’s open letter says, “We have, therefore, decided that it is necessary to amend the School Admissions Code further to ensure that summer born children can be admitted to the reception class at the age of five if it is in line with their parents’ wishes, and to ensure that those children are able to remain with that cohort as they progress through school, including through to secondary school.“
Section 12 of the Code clearly states: “The Code has the force of law, and where the words ‘must’ or ‘must not’ are used, these represent a mandatory requirement.”
The word “can” is not mandatory, and any loop hole in the legislation will lead to the continued postcode lottery for parents applying to the admissions authorities that disagree with the government’s position.
That said, the Summer Born Campaign believes the Minister’s concerns are genuine, and this is exactly the type of scrutiny that will be needed when the draft Code is published.
We simply do not trust the admissions authorities that continue to make decisions in the interests of ‘bureaucratic neatness’ instead of the (obvious) best interests of the child.
As the sayings go, “the devil’s in the detail” and “it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings“.
Written by author and journalist Pauline Hull