DfE Disappoints and Digresses – Again

IMG_2181Despite the valiant efforts by MPs who fully support the Summer Born Campaign (thank you ,  and ), Nick Gibb MP delivered a disappointing (and for many parents, devastating) response to their questions about when the DfE’s promised new Code consultation will begin, and when the #summerborn postcode lottery will end.

You can read the full transcript here (or watch again here), and the Campaign will publish a full response to the ‘concerns’ raised by the DfE via Mr. Gibb ‘in due course.’

A few links to consider in the meantime however, are these:
*Campaign Does Not Support “2 Bites of the Cherry” for Summer Born Children
*Cost of DfE’s Code Continues: Repeating Reception is the Latest Summer Born Scandal
*Money Talks: Could the publication of SEN costs FINALLY mean Fairness for Summer Born Admissions?
*Vital Link Between Improving Mental Health, Delaying School Start of Youngest Children and Reducing NHS Costs
*Council Cries Poverty While Wasting £££s on Summer Born Admissions
*More Broken Promises – this time Empty Election ones from Conservative Education Secretary
*Investigation of SEN misdiagnosis should include DfE’s role in ‘Correct but Avoidable’ diagnosis of Summer Born children
*Is it all about the (EYE) money, money, money?
*DfE Promised Flexibility but Look what it Chose to Change in the Code
*Education Committee Recommendations Miss the Mark – 2014 DfE Code and Advice ARE the Problem so Why Recommend Further Implementation?
*2014 School Admissions Code Press Release
*Many Ministers have Talked the Talk – Could Nick Gibb Actually Walk the Walk?


18 Responses to DfE Disappoints and Digresses – Again

  1. Rachel says:

    The postcode lottery must end. It is not fair that my summer born daughter is allowed to start reception at CSA next September but other summer born children have not got that option.


  2. Rachel says:

    Postcode lottery and active discrimination is not tolerated normally but that is what currently exists for summer born children who wish to access a full education from legal school starting age. Why should they not be entitled to the same complete education as an autumn born child? Finance concerns re the early years funding are short term- looK at long term costs re Inappropriate SEN and interventions, increased ELSA costs for summer born children. Parents don’t want to apply for two school years they would happily apply once at CSA for reception if LEA allowed these applications automatically.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The is an appalling backflip. I have secured a CSA start but I want to have the reassurance that this will apply to secondary as well.


  4. Rebecca symonds says:

    To be honest this broke my heart. I am lucky in that I got a yes for a CSA year reception start and my son “should” have started school this year. If, like many parents, I had been forced to send him, when he Is still so clearly far from ready, I would be crushed. Those poor children lives will literally be affected with a knock on affect for years and those parents are forced to watch.
    And if taking a child out of school for 1 week for a term time holiday is so awful that DFE/MPs supports spending so much public money on taking it to the Supreme Court how can they justify taking away an entire year from a child??? It honestly baffles me!
    If I had not gotten a yes, I would have left my job, pulled my oldest out if school and home educated them. For their own mental health, future success I would do whatever it took. Tell me @nickgibbmp how does this affect your cost exercise? The only cost is to our children.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hanne Mohan says:

    It makes me so sad that the government doesn’t seem to care about the best interest of our children. I will continue to support this campaign until common sense (hopefully) prevails.


  6. KellyB says:

    The question that needs answering has been avoided. If a child starts school at compulsory School (CSA) age should said child miss 190 days of school because of out dated bureaucratic computer systems… computer says no mentality, that has been allowed to exist in the postcode lottery. What is in that child’s best educational,emotional and mental best interest is being reduced to what makes my job, my paperwork easier.
    I am applying for the second time for a school place. I would rather not have to. It is stressful.I was already forced into applying last year. I have agreement from one headteacher for my child to start at CSA. If We are not allocated that school we will have to start the process of negotiating with the school we do get allocated which year our child starts in. All the our local schools were under subscribed last year and as such we could easily be allocated a year 1 rather than year reception place.
    We also live with the fear that our child will have to miss a year later on in their schooling which would be detrimental in so many ways. I am however wondering if I can ask the council to pay £60 per week of school that my child may miss??


  7. Annie says:

    I am really disgusted with Nick Gibb’s reply and please excuse me if that sounds harsh. My children never took up free nursery spaces, instead I have used a child minder who only had my children and paid the child minder 100% from my own income and didn’t even use the option of childcare vouchers from work. I know many other parents of summer born children who do the same for the best interest of their children, and I found that the extra individual attention of privately arranged, lower child-carer ratio childcare, or the same attention of a stay at home parent greatly helps the child’s development. Yet I had to pay out in excess of one thousand pounds for an educational psychologist assessment and pediatrician examinations, and go through incredible stress and a vicious fight, just so that the government supposedly saves some money whilst other parents have to do the same? Well, they won’t need to save money on my son, as I never used any state provision for him, I also hired a speech therapist privately in order to get the best possible help, and I am working 60-70 hours weeks to pay for all this, with my husband doing the same. And based on my experience, many parents who care enough about their child’s future to even bother to request the deferral and meet up with schools are generally the most caring and eager parents who either sacrifice a career and stay at home to help their child (thereby often not using state-funded early years childcare), or work extremely hard paying higher rate tax, and do their best to provide their child extra educational help, often privately. Yet the government is delaying decisions and tailoring support of deferral requests based on penny pinching, not realizing that many of these children will eventually cost more to the state if they are pushed a year up and end up needing special needs provision. Nick Gibb saying that there is a flexibility in the system already and he is in no rush with the implementation of any changes clearly sounds like he is ignoring the struggle of so many parents who hit a brick wall, and I am very disappointed that we still don’t have a clear path and an expected timeline on resolving this. If anyone organizes a demonstration, I will be there.


  8. Sophie says:

    This is really dissapointing. With a son born in August 2013 I desperately want the option to defer him if we, as his parents, feel it is in his best interests. I don’t care if I have to pay extra childcare if it is the right thing for him to be able to thrive. This is not a decision we will take lightly. The postcode lottery is totally ridiculous.


  9. Sara Hasted says:

    I’m really angry with Nick Gibbs broken promises, we have secured a reception start at CSA for my summerborn, but I am now worried about the future of his education, he could be moved up a year at any point against my wishes! It seems money is more important than the future generation! Short term money saving will cost more in the long term when the children that are being forced to start school before they are ready or by being forced to miss their reception year will need to access NHS mental health services when they are older will the money be available to fix them when they need help???


  10. Gary says:

    Parents of summer-born children have no wish to ‘play the system’ but just want to be able to start their children in reception in the term after they become of compulsory school age (5 years old) if they feel their child is not ready – whether this is in terms of academic, social or emotional readiness.

    The current school admission policy from the Government instructs parents of summer-born to apply for a place for them starting at age 4 and then withdraw this as well as age 5. To clarify parents do not want to do this as they just want their summer born children to start in reception at the compulsory school age of 5 years old, however, many academies and local authorities nationally are going against the letter of guidance from the Government and refusing parents this access stating the child will have to go straight into year 1 instead of reception if they start at compulsory school age.

    Despite this decision having to be ‘in the best interests of the child’ according to admissions policy & guidance, which I’m sure anyone would agree being forced to skip the reception year of education is NOT in the best interests of any child, many parents still face this from admissions authorities.

    As a summer-born myself, parent to s summer-born child and teacher for over a decade I am very well aware of the detrimental aspects associated with being a summer-born in the education system, for example summer-born children are far more likely to be diagnosed with Autism and/or ADHD, perform worse academically than their peers throughout school including up to A-levels, literacy and numeracy levels are far weaker, increased incidents of bullying, social and emotional issues, behavioural concerns, etc.

    These issues are also exacerbated when the child is a premature baby.

    Not only is the comparative age difference between a summer-born child and their peers a major issue but many feel, and it is given significant credence by the wealth of research that has been carried out, that starting formal education as such a young age (there are many other countries where children start later, e.g. at 7 years of age, where they outperform UK children academically) is not appropriate nor does it yield the best chance of success for the child academically or for their psychological wellbeing.


  11. I am thoroughly disappointed with Nick Gibb’s reply. Living in Lancashire I am going to face an uphill batlle to secure a Reception Year start at CSA for my daughter as they are not supportive. Without a change to the School Admissions Code my daughter is going to continue to be the victim if the postcode lottery; discriminated by virtue of her birth month and where she lives. Never mind summer born applications being abused to allow parents “two bites of the cherry” the School Admissions Code allows admissions authorities to abuse the system and discriminate against summer born children.


  12. Anna Francis says:

    Unfortunately politicians will always do what wins them more votes. The government throws money at corporates, giving nearly all employers £3k National Insurance Allowance (none of them need it as long as they make profit), but funding of 15 hours per week 38 weeks per year at approx £4.88, which totals to £2,781 for a handful of children is too much for them. Why is it that so many poorer countries can afford to fund full time childcare for ages 2 to 7? Why raise your own population, it’s so much cheaper to rely on immigration, isn’t it?


  13. Very disappointing especially as I have just had our ‘out of year group’ removed from our EHCP at AR by Surrey County Council. Surely, this is failure to make reasonable adjustment for child with complex need?


  14. happygrecian says:

    Terribly disappointing speech by Nick Gibb. I’ve looked at my 4 year old (born 23 August) every day this term and thought that there is NO WAY she would thrive in a Reception class if she had started school this September. I should know – I’m the headteacher of the school she’ll hopefully be entering in Reception next September!
    I’m getting my head around having to re-apply for a place for her now, and though I know I’m not going to place her in my Y1 class, I am worried about what may happen beyond Y6. Surely no sensible secondary school headteacher would insist she goes straight into Year 8…. but if common sense prevailed uniformly across schools and LAs then there wouldn’t be the need for this campaign would there?!


  15. Cath says:

    Such a disappointing debate. As a parent of summerborn (2013) twins, with headteacher support and in what I think is a reasonably permissive LA, I was hoping to apply this year with some certainty that my boys would be granted Reception at CSA and be able to remain with their adopted cohort throughout their education. Instead, I continue to worry that they may be denied Reception at CSA or be forced to return to their chronological age group when transferring to secondary or should we simply relocate in the future. It’s difficult to make these important decisions on education with so much uncertainty (and even backtracking?) coming from Ministers.


  16. Ellena Outram says:

    I am disgusted that we still do not have a date, when other things are pushed through. When WILL the Government wake up and realise that our children are their future. The ones who will be looking after them in their old age. I cannot see how giving summerborns the same rights ie a re eption class education at CSA will cost any more money. In fact less when taking into account the cost of processing the application, SEN, CAMHS etc. Also we already have the legal right to send at 5, that us not knew, the only difference us an automatic right to reception and not year 1.


  17. Pingback: Stress Spikes as Deadline for Admissions Application Approaches | summerbornchildren

  18. Pingback: MP Requests Update on Cost Assessment – Campaign Suggests Links | summerbornchildren

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