In September 2015, when the Schools Minister Nick Gibb published an open letter urging admission authorities to allow entry to Reception class at CASge for summer born children, I highlighted the importance of the next School Admissions Code ensuring its legal wording is absolutely watertight: Summer Born Semantics are Not Out of the Woods Yet – Code’s Wording ‘Must’ Be Clear
I was reminded of this again when a parent in the Summer Born Campaign group shared a letter she received from Mr. Gibb a few weeks ago, which said: “I would like to assure you that we want parents who have genuine concerns about their child’s readiness for school at the age of four, to be able to ensure they are admitted to reception at age five. June 28th 2016.”
Yesterday, I wrote to the Minister, expressing concerns about how this might be interpreted to imply that there are some parents whose concerns may be less than genuine, and that someone or something might be expected to assess this.
However, the sentence could also be interpreted to read: “We know that the concerns of all parents are genuine, and we want to ensure that they have unhindered choice of entry age.”
Given Mr. Gibb’s support to date, we trust it is the latter, but what this does highlight again, is how crucial it is to get the Code’s legal wording right.
Especially when we know that there are school heads and council admissions staff who will use any loophole they can to oppose education outside chronological age group becoming the norm, and being accessible to all children in all areas of the country.
Consistency and equality of access to education cannot be achieved if any subjective assessments are allowed to continue.
- Written by author and journalist Pauline Hull
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