Ten months ago (a significant amount of time in a child’s life, and a whole primary school admissions cycle that left hopeful parents once more distraught and disheartened), the Schools Minister Nick Gibb published an open letter announcing the DfE’s proposed changes to summer born admission rules and asking “councils and academies to take immediate action.”
His letter, and the accompanying DfE press release, set 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.”
Of course they already ‘can‘ do this, but the 2014 School Admissions Code provided them with the loopholes they needed to refuse, and so the postcode lottery got worse.
More recently though, there have been concerns from parents that communication from the DfE is not always as helpful or supportive as they might expect, given Mr. Gibb’s vehement support in his September 2015 letter, and it is on this point and others that I have written to the Minister and DfE today.
My colleague, Michelle Melson, has also written a letter to Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Committee, to ask whether there any plans for them to further consider this issue or to make contact with the Secretary of State for Education and establish when the promised School Admissions Code consultation will be published.
While there may be valid reasons for a Delay, the Summer Born Campaign is witnessing increasing levels of Desperation and Despair in some parents, and continued Disadvantage for many summer born children.
It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly four years since I first realised that by virtue of our son’s birthdate he would be penalised for starting school on time, and it puts into perspective just how long parents have been waiting for a much needed change to the law.
- Written by author and journalist Pauline Hull
I am one of the many parents who feels like they have been waiting a lifetime for this ‘immediate action’ to happen.
It’s now too late for my daughter who is 4 in a month, I only hope that my son who is 2 in a month doesn’t have the same problems.
So much unnecessary worry, problems and difficulties to force children in to a system when they are simply not ready and not in their best interests.
Thank for for highlighting the issue once again.
It really is time for Nick Gibb to decide if he wants a reputation as “a man who can” or as a “man who might once have, but didn’t.”
Completely agree. The change from reassurance to disinterest from Nick Gibb and DfE is hugely disheartening. 10 months is an enormous amount of time for a child (almost a quarter of their life at this stage!) and who knows how many parents will have to helplessly watch their children be miserable and fall behind as they start school this September, just because they live in an area which refuses to follow the spirit of the Admissions Code until the law forces them.
I am hugely disappointed in Nick Gibb.
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Our son’s school in Milton Keynes have refused to even arrange a meeting with us to discuss our request for delayed entry! We have now rejected our son’s place in reception for 2016 and hope the Admission Code will be amended by next year.
I am so saddened that after such long awaited reassurance & guidance from Mr Gibb in his open letter, some schools and admissions authorities are still able to be completely belligerent in the the face of his intentions. Vulnerable children and young families are still left open to the bullying and mal administration that my family faced during our battle to simply access a full education, the same as everyone else, for my August born son. We had the most terrible & unsavoury battle for simply asking for what we and our sons medical team knew he needed & what the law allows. In the end we “won” …but this should never be about winning this should never be about battles…. Are our future workforce not worth more than this? Is the education of our young not worth more than this? There is now continued inequality ….Some authorities have listened & decided childrens life’s and education are worth more than whatever agenda they have, but many still wish to use these children as a pawn in their battles …to make some kind of stand, or some kind of point about something I cannot even begin to imagine can be worth the damage it does to our youngest and most vulnerable children. Please Nick Gibb lets close these loop holes now and force these dinosaurs to start putting the children in their care first not forcing them into boxes that undermines their education.
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