Numerous media outlets are reporting the Schools Minister Nick Gibb’s comments at the British Library this week; e.g. The Telegraph’s Parents of summer born children will be allowed to start school aged five, minister says
Education Editor Camilla Turner reports that he said, ‘once the Department for Education (DfE) has completed a review of evidence, ministers will instigate a change to the admissions system to ensure that all summer born children have the option of starting in reception at age five.’
Unfortunately, no one appears to have pressed him on how long this is expected to take.
The Telegraph’s Nick Gibb quote reads, “The issue of summer born children is something that we are concerned about…
“I do accept there is a link between the month that your child is born and academic results, particularly in the early years of primary school and that’s why we want to give parents that option.
“So we are looking now at the impact of changing the admissions code will have on the system as a whole and when the opportunity arises we will seek to change the admissions code to give parents more discretion over when their child will start school.”
What many of the media reports don’t seem to have recognised, is that Nick Gibb first promised this to parents more than two years ago, and that the DfE has repeatedly stalled news on a School Admissions Code consultation with the phrase “in due course“.
Parents of summer born children are now understandably concerned that this standard response is to be replaced with a new one: “when the opportunity arises“.
In the meantime, the postcode lottery continues, parents must battle with admissions authorities at a local level, and children are being forced to miss their Reception year of school, or in some cases, made to skip a year of school later on (in order to ‘return‘ to their ‘correct chronological age group‘).