The Summer Born Campaign has said this before and will say it again – if ALL summer born children are given the AUTOMATIC RIGHT to enter Reception class at CSAge, this will include those children born prematurely in the months of April, May, June, July and August.
And more importantly, it could also help those children born prematurely in the months of January, February and March via the existing provision under section 2.17 of the School Admissions Code (albeit currently underused), which allows for children to be educated in a different year group.
There is also the question of how administration of ‘due date’ would work?
Would children born overdue in September be allowed to start school one year early? What would decide a child’s due date? Menstrual cycle? Scan dates? What would the mediation process be (disagreement is rife in maternity wards on this point already)? What level of medical records would be required as proof? What about children who are not born in England? Would translation services be required to ascertain their due date?
We need to be clear on this, and it needs to be fully thought through; is it really necessary?
We have campaigned on EDUCATION LEGISLATION from day one, and this is what the government has had to listen to.
If Compulsory School Age is to mean anything, parents must have the right to enroll their child in school at CSAge.
At CSAge, how is it any child’s best interests to miss their first year of school – or indeed any other year following that – when schools, councils and the government are so insistent that no child should even miss one day or week of school?
The School Admissions Code is responsible for ensuring a clear, fair and equal admissions process for all children, and this is failing with the summer born postcode lottery.
Stop Postcode Lottery
It is entirely understandable for Bliss to highlight the additional strain on families with children born prematurely, and they should be commended for this, but prematurity is not the only reason for trying to encourage the public or media’s sympathy.
Downs Syndrome, birth injuries, IUGR low birth weight, genetic disorders, chromosone abnormalities, fetal alcohol syndrome, metabolic disorders and maternal infections during pregnancy are all reasons for parental concern too (as is ESL or losing a year of school when moving to England from overseas).
This is where we believe the ‘fix’ focus should lie at this stage, as it will have the greatest impact on the largest number of children.
- Written by author and journalist Pauline Hull