No News is No News

IMG_6842In September 2015, Schools Minister Nick Gibb published an open letter asking for “immediate action” by councils and academies to “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” and in November 2015, the DfE advised that the Code consultation would take place “in the New Year“.

However, with just hours to go before the January 15 deadline for this year’s primary school application round, there is still no confirmation as to when this will be.I spoke to and wrote to the DfE press office at the start of December 2015 asking for an update, and have continued to chase since, but as yet there has been no response.

Given the chaos and inconsistency that remains in play throughout England’s schools and local authorities, ‘When will the Code consultation happen?‘ is one of the most commonly asked questions by parents in our Facebook group.

Desperate for news of a possible end to this postcode lottery, emotions are mixed – the elation of parents whose children have been told ‘yes‘ – their child can enter Reception class at CSAge, and the devastation of parents told ‘no‘ – their child must start school early at age 4 or else lose their first critical year of education…

…and for some, lose any chance of gaining a place in their preferred schools altogether.

  • Written by author and journalist Pauline Hull
This entry was posted in CAMPAIGN UPDATES, THE DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to No News is No News

  1. Jenny Lane says:

    I have not applied for a school place for this year for my 2012 summer born son because there is no way that I am sending him to school this year. The uncertainty about whether the government will follow through with their promise to amend the admission code to allow parent’s to make decisions that they know are in the best interests of their children is extremely worrying and distressing and occupies too much of my time. It is also very upsetting to read of parents who have been made ill with anxiety at the thought of having to send their children to school when they know that they will be too young and not have the opportunity to thrive.


  2. Pooja says:

    I don’t think that people sitting in there realise how important it is
    I have been declined by 3 local schools to defer my August born child. They all are very good in talking big in closed doors but implementation is ZERO.


  3. Raimunda says:

    Not only as a mother of a summer born girl who, I hope, will be able to start in Reception and not in Year 1, when she is 5, but also as an teacher of 15 years and a former university lecturer in Education, with over ten years of academic research in the subject of early education, I am terrified to see this postcode lottery still taking place! No child should be forced to miss a whole year of education! Missing a full reception year IS detrimental in every aspect, as it has been shown by numerous studies and research, the results of which are undisputable. If Reception is not valuable, then why offer it? I do sincerely hope the consultation will bring positive outcome to all parents of summerborn children in this country!


  4. Michelle says:

    Our summer born child started reception class at compulsory school age. He is currently vulnerable to being made to miss a subsequent year, or part of a year by a headteacher or school or another admission authority as there are no provisions in current legislation to protect him. Whilst I have no fear that his current school would ever do this to him, he is particularly vulnerable during any transition, for instance from primary to secondary phase education or if we re-locate within England- which is a distinct possibility.
    I am currently investigating possible re-location areas and whilst there are a few Local Authorities that I understand would not make a child skip a year, due to England’s complicated school structure Local Authorities are not the admissions authority for every ‘type’ of school and this puts us in a difficult position, potentially having to look at contacting what could be thousands of admission authorities across England to try to determine their stance before we decide upon location.


  5. HB says:

    The confirmation of when the code consultation will happen cannot come soon enough. We have finally been told our son will have access to a reception class when he starts school at 4 local schools, after a long & devastating battle with the LEA to get my son what he needs. However school places are so over subscribed where we live it is still a distinct possibility that we will not get a place at any of these. Without consistency we essentially could have another battle on our hands at the 11th hour, pretty much as my son is walking through the gates to start his primary education. In addition to this 1 of our prefered schools is across the border with another LEA, which again, without some consistent line from government leaves us & our sons education open to the arbitrary desicion making that is being allowed to continue. I would ask Nick Gibb to please put an end to the chaos, inequality and lack of regard for our children that is happening due to out dated and I’ll thought out processes without delay.


  6. Natasha Newman says:

    So annoyed we’re still waiting on this! We’ve just sent off our 2011 born son’s school application along with our case for a Reception place at compulsory school age. Such a stressful process and shouldn’t be like this!


  7. Rebecca Symonds says:

    I have been almost 2 months waiting for a response for my application to delay. Despite chasing ive heard nothing. I’m taking up a place ive applied for in “fear” of not getting a yes even though I likely won’t take it either way adding to the over subscription problem taking a place another child could have purely because it’s a lottery rather than a given that I will given a yes. My area has both denied and agreed applications so it really is an unknown. But because they didn’t respond by the cut off date ive been forced into applying for a place. If I get a no then my child will suffer immensely. His nursery haven’t even moved him into preschool yet (which I agree with) even though he’s 3 1/2, because he’s just not ready so he definitely won’t be ready in September for reception! This is worrying and stressful and if I get a no damaging for my child. I wish it wasn’t such a gamble for such important little lives


  8. H says:

    The confirmation of when the code consultation will happen cannot come soon enough. We have finally been told our son will have access to a reception class when he starts school,at 4 local schools, after a long & devastating battle with the LEA to get my son what he needs. However school places are so over subscribed where we live it is still a distinct possibility that we will not get a place at any one of these. Without consistency we essentially could have another battle on our hands at the 11th hour, pretty much as my son is walking through the gates to start his primary education. In addition to this 1 of our listed preferred schools (we have had to chose this one due to lack of places locally ) is across the border under another LEA which again without some consistent line from government leaves us and our sons education open to the arbitrary decision making that has been able to go on. A consistent line from the government is long overdue to stop the terrible and stressful battles many parents like myself are going through and the absolute unfairness & inequality being dished out around the current system.


  9. carol says:

    Postcode lottery is now worse not better which is surely not the desired effect of Nick Gibb’s earlier announcement. What kind of crazy situation are we now in where families are considering moving counties just so they can deal with a more reasonable admissions authority which has adopted the suggested changes. It feels particularly cruel to be promised a change then feel it slip from your grasp as school application deadline passes, while your local authority has done nothing to change their admissions procedures.


  10. Lauryn Douglas says:

    Being a parent of a summerborn daughter who, was directly affected by this postcode lottery I find it heartbreaking that this is still ongoing. We fought local authorities and enlisted local MP support to help us with our August 2011 daughters case for reception class at CSA. I am outraged that the government STILL have not sorted this huge mess out. How can a child be penalised based on where they live?? It’s ludicrous. I find it awful that the admissions application deadline is 15th January and parents still have no answers for 2011 children facing a yr1 start this year or 2012 parents facing being forced into yrR early for fear of missing a year.


  11. amy broom says:

    Yesterday i made the difficult decision to apply for my daughters school place for septemeber 2016. 

    She is a August 2012 baby and Walsall council have refused her a reception start at CSA in 2017. Without medical evidence they refuse to consider it an option. I am truely upset that we are so close to a change in the admissions process and i have had to give up on hope that she could gain another year in nursery rather than fulltime education.


  12. Lucy says:

    We are lucky to have a a yes for LA but I haven’t had a yes from all local schools with their own admission authorities so this time next year we will still be having to apply if we want to sent our children to any of those schools. It is the inconsistency and uncertainly that makes the whole process so daunting


  13. Tina says:

    I have just now sent in the application for (agreed) CSA start in YR in September 2016. I have ‘wasted’ almost 2 years of my time on this, and had to settle for a school almost 3 miles from where we live to get a suitable school at the age set in law. Many local headteachers said no, and I had to look with those who said yes. For us, the toll of daily commute outweighs the start that would have been too early, but I see parents all the time who don’t have the resources, the time, or the energy to fight for what’s right and will be sending their children to school a year earlier than they’d like. It breaks my heart.


  14. Claire Hall says:

    Anxiously waiting to see if we have got a decision regarding Reception place in 2017, after being to apply for a place this year. I had hoped that the consultation would be further down the line so we knew what the future looked like rather than facing a NO from the LA.


  15. Anna Burke says:

    Why should I miss out on nearly a year with my little boy, just because of when his birthday is? Some counties have implemented changes without a fuss, so its obviously possible without causing educational anarchy. I have not applied for a place for my July 2012 boy, because there’s no way he’s going in September.


  16. J Warrington says:

    Why has this not been a priority given the known issues? We had a yes from 3 out of 4 schools (the LA and 3 schools agreed but the fourth is an academy and said no) but other parents have had extreme resistance from their LA and/or have had to fight huge battles to ensure LA’s would act in their child’s best interests. This is not right and.must stop now before more children’s early years are ruined and their natural love for learning is destroyed as a result.


  17. Hester James says:

    My August 2005 child was forced to start at CSA – straight into year 1 (we were overseas when she could have gone to reception) She’s now in year 6 and still struggling – we are now in the process of trying to get a repeat in year 6 which the school and professionals all support, but would not have been necessary if she had been allowed to start in reception. Don’t put other children under this stress! It has been a nightmare 6 years for her, she is immature for her age, AND youngest in class. I have other children who are winter born and the difference is huge. They were so much more ready. This needs to be addressed right now so from this September Children no longer have to start when they are not ready.


  18. Janey Allanson says:

    Once again I feel the government have let us down .
    So much for the proposed changes !
    Until the code changed Bradford council will not budge .
    So unfair less than an hour down the road in Sheffield it is becoming the norm !
    The changes need to happen and fast .


  19. Rachel says:

    This is a confusing situation and very unfair that some are getting a yes, but some are getting a no! This needs to be sorted


  20. Kevin smith says:

    As others have said, in the short-term Nick Gibb’s well intended efforts have made things worse, where in lots of cases LAs or individuals think the whole concept is new and not in force yet.


  21. Aga says:

    We have just sent the application form for our daughter who turned four last year. We decided to defer her start in formal education and were glad we did it as few months later we managed to sell our house (after 2 years on the market) and moved to a different authority. It would be stressful for her to start school in one place and then change everything. Moving home is a big enough change. We now live on Adlington (Chorley – Lancashire). My husband spoke to all three local schools and got very little (if any) support or understanding. The closest we got was an offer of starting YR in April. We sent off the applications but judging from comments of other parents living on the area our chances are slim. Why it is not a problem for Liverpool but it is for Lancashire? Why do we have to go through all the stress and anxious waiting? The first day at school should be a joyful and memorable event.


  22. happygrecian says:

    As a primary school headteacher I can’t see why a headteacher would say “no”. I’ve quite happily said “yes” to a couple of parents over the last 6 months, but in my LA the final say then still rests with some anonymous person at county hall who does not need to justify or explain their decision. There’s also no right of appeal.


  23. Katherine says:

    If anything the postcode lottery gap is widening, as some admissions authorities have taken Nick Gibb’s letter on board and are agreeing all requests for summerborns to enter reception at CSA, while others are steadfastly refusing to make any changes until the new Code is through Parliament and refusing all requests like before. The consultation and the new code must happen soon. There are many parents and children depending on it.


  24. Amy says:

    The DfE must be aware that many LEAs are completely disregarding what Nick Gibb requested of them in September. They need to take urgent action to get the wheels in motion and put a stop to this hugely unjust situation.


  25. gem says:

    Without a change in the law we will always have this messy postcode lottery, its so unfair to children. DfE hurry up with your consultation, we aren’t going away!


  26. Pingback: Postcode Lottery More Pronounced Than Ever | summerbornchildren

  27. nicola says:

    Needs sorting today not tomorrow


  28. FP says:

    The postcode lottery indeed continues. Despite a positive reflection of the most recent summer born guidance in its policy, I am now told by my LA thay I will be sent a form to fill in. This is in spite of a 4-page letter already sent, which is supported in writing by the school. I believe it will then go before the SEND panel when we cite no such issues – just being late August. I am lucky to have the time and written skills to keep plugging away. I cannot imagine how families less fortunate stand a chance in all this.


  29. Wb says:

    We’ve applied for delayed entry for our Summer born 2012 son but not applied for a school place for this September although they asked us to. There’s no way our son is ready or we will send him this September. It’s so stressful and upsetting.


  30. RMBirch says:

    It’s a desperate situation, no parent should be made to feel they are gambling with their child’s education. The pressure is enormous and it is just so unnecessary and would be so simple to change. #amendthesummerborncodenow


  31. Anna says:

    As Gem says – we are NOT going away. This unfair system needs to change, the DfE has acknowledged this but here we are on another Admissions day and so many parents are children are still in the horrible position of being denied a place at their legal starting age.


  32. sfwebb says:

    Surely is the DfE recognised all the proven evidence that a later start to formal schooling is ultimately going to produce better results in children, why can this situation not be removed by simply moving the CSA to a year later? A summer born child who has just turned 5 will have fewer developmental differences than the just turned 4…and if they were all starting Year R a year later it would be in everyone’s best interests?


  33. Pingback: Woking MP Asks About Code Consultation | summerbornchildren

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