An amendment to the School Admissions Code that ensures fair and equal access to Reception class for summer born children starting school at compulsory school age, without penalty.
The changes made to the 2014 Code were actually worse than the 2012 Code, and both have proved ambiguous and open to interpretation. The Code urgently needs clarification such as this:
“Parents who wish their summer born (April 1st – 31st August inclusive) child to join Reception class at compulsory school age must submit an application for the relevant academic year. The application must be treated equitably with children starting school prior to compulsory school age, and the child can remain with that year group cohort for the remainder of their education.”
This is a site for parents of summer born children who want their child to start school in Reception class when they reach compulsory school age (i.e. the start of the autumn term when the child is 5 years old), instead of being forced to enter Year 1 and miss out on their valuable foundation year, or forced to skip an academic year later in their education. It was set up by author and journalist Pauline Hull in March 2013.
Michelle Melson and Pauline Hull are the lead campaigners of the Summer Born Campaign Group. Both are parents of summer born boys who didn’t want them to start school a few months after their 4th birthday, and believed that it was in the boys’ best interests to wait until they reached compulsory school age.
On January 15, 2014, they published their SUMMER BORN REPORT titled, ‘Compulsory School Age in England has been Lowered to 4 through an Unfair and Unlawful Summer Born Admissions Process‘ (also see accompanying press release).
The report contains numerous examples of Unlawful and Unfair Policies and Practices; Evidence of Inconsistency, Contradiction and Errors in DfE publications and Ministers’ statements; an extensive Glossary of Legislation that relates to school admissions; an insightful and detailed Admissions History; plus examples of Parents’ Experiences. Media coverage of the report’s publication can be found in the News section of our site.
Following their numerous submissions of evidence (all on website and final February 23 submission is available here), Pauline and Michelle were invited to appear as a witness during the Education Committee’s Evidence Check on March 4, 2015. Michelle attended and gave evidence on behalf of the Summer Born Campaign.
In 2012, parent Stefan Richter founded the initial Google group that brought together parents who wanted their children to start school at compulsory school age, and together with input from Pauline he worked with Graeme Vousden (from Bliss) and the DfE on the first July 2013 Summer Born Advice (the actual advice did not reflect SBC suggestions). Stefan, Michelle and Pauline have continued to correspond and meet with the DfE and Chair of the Education Committee; importantly, in June 2015, Michelle met with the Schools Minister Nick Gibb.
Parent Julie Thomson started and manages our Facebook group (>2500 members as at April 2015) and together with Michelle, Pauline and other parents, she has been interviewed in the media. Parent Rosie Dutton has contributed to numerous media interviews with her daughter Olivia, and works hard with other notable parents behind the scenes. Michelle also needs special mention for her phenomenal contribution by helping individual parents throughout the country via Facebook and those who have contacted her personally. We hope that this campaign website will also help to get the message out to the wider public, and the media.
Fundamentally, we believe summer born children should be allowed the lawful opportunity to thrive, and not merely cope, at school.
With special thanks also to Dr. Richard House (a chartered psychologist trained psychotherapist and childhood campaigner) Annette Brooke (retired Liberal Democrat MP), Catherine Mackinlay Henderson (for all her work and research on SEN, SSEN/ EHCP cases), our campaign supporters, and the ever growing number of parents in our campaign group who are willing to speak out, support each other, and carry out research and work to support the campaign’s aim.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This website has not been produced or edited by anyone with legal training, it does not seek to give parents advice about admissions, and we encourage parents to contact their own admissions authorities and/or the DfE in order to find out more about their own individual cases. We are a group of parents seeking to better understand education law in order to campaign for fair and equal access to the school curriculum for all summer born children, and not just a fortunate few. Parents of children with SEN can contact IPSEA for free legal advice.