About Us

Pauline Hull – Lead Campaigner and Website Editor

Michelle Melson – Lead Campaigner and Strategist

Rosie Dutton – Media Spokesperson

Our Aim:
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.

Our Website:
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.

Our Campaign:
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.

Our Work
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.


9 Responses to About Us

  1. psw260259 says:

    Although I am not a parent of $ year olds – I am a grandparent of 3 year olds who will due to their late August birthday be starting school in Sepotenmber. I thought readers of this blog might like to read my blog about this.http://pennysplacechildminding.com/2012/08/27/it-is-just-not-right/


  2. Pingback: DfE Mumsnet Mystery | summerbornchildren

  3. Nareen khan says:

    I am mother of a summer born boy. Zakariahs birthday falls on 25 August and he has just turned 3years old. I work in early years and have a degree in early years development. I was overjoyed with the news last week that summer horns can go into reception when they are five. However, not so easy when I contact Birmingham city council or the neighbouring Solihull council! Both advised that if I don’t apply this year for his reception place starting September next year then I may risk not getting a place for him if the law isn’t passed!!! Both teams in school admissions said they were unclear as what to advise as they knew as little as I did! Really confused as we want to move house for better schools but really don’t know what to do now…move now…move next year???


  4. I am currently writing about this problem for my University Dissertation. I am attempting to gather information about the controversial policies that surround not only the early start age of 5 but also the implications that this poses for summer born children on development and learning. This website/reports have been an excellent source of information for me and allows me to make a solid argument that this truly is an issue and needs to be rectified. I have become a strong supporter that there should be no penalty to a child just because of their birth date and there is huge amounts of evidence that it can create a disadvantage in the first years of education. If anybody has any relevant source that might help me write my dissertation or for any other purpose please feel free to email me at: pennicott666@hotmail.co.uk


  5. Ria Whittington says:

    Amazing work all!! X


  6. Louise Brooke says:

    Hi, my son was born on the 31st August and in sept I will have to apply for his school nursery place and then the following year his school placr. Is there any articles or support that you can help me with to put together an appeal to defer him the year? I in Solihull, West Midlands.



  7. Pingback: Still No Word from DfE on Summer Born Children ‘Losing Out’ | summerbornchildren

  8. Howard Perry says:

    Keep up the good work there is so much ignorance about this issue even amongst so called child welfare experts such as Nursery Schools ,Council Education Depts and Cafcass officers. If I can help in any way please let me know. I would also like you to support raising the school start age to 7 like several other European countries.


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