Also see: 2014 SUMMER BORN REPORT / Press Release
The Campaign for Flexible School Admissions for Summer Born Children (Summer Born Campaign for short) has been put together by parents, carers and professionals who believe that a summer born child should be allowed to start primary school, in Reception class, aged 5.
Compulsory school age is the beginning of the term following a child’s fifth birthday.(1) Reception class is an entry class to primary schools providing education suitable for children aged five and any children who are under or over five years old whom it is expedient to educate with pupils of that age”(2) The law says it is the duty of parents of every child of compulsory school age to “cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude.” (3) The law says there should be”regard to the general principle that pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents, so far as that is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure.” (4) EU legislation states that in all actions relating to children, “the child’s best interests must be a primary consideration.” (5)
Yet parents of 4-year-old children who have not reached emotional, social or academic maturity and readiness for school are being forced to enrol their child a whole year earlier or have their child’s education entitlement reduced by one year with obligatory entrance into Year 1.
This is NOT in the best interests of the child and the current ‘system’ needs to change.
(1) Section 8 of Education Act 1996
(2) School Admissions Code 2012 (citing Section 142 of the School Standards and Framework Act (SSFA) 1998)
(3) Section 7 of Education Act 1996
(4) Section 9 of Education Act 1996
(5) European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 24, Clause 2)
The situation across England is very mixed, and in some areas, parents bounce back and forth between schools and local education authorities trying to establish what the child’s rights actually are. Evidently, the government needs to provide greater clarity, but in the meantime we hope that this site will provide examples of where the system is working well, and how other schools and LEAs can help ensure that admissions decisions are based on the best interests of an individual child, and not based on perceived administrative issues.
A large body of research and evidence supports the choice of delaying a child’s start into school, and while we completely respect the decision of other parents to enrol their child in school aged 4, when they feel they are ‘ready’, we believe that flexibility is needed to allow those who are not ready to wait a further year.
Fundamentally, we believe summer born children should be allowed the lawful opportunity to thrive, and not merely cope, at school.
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I have applied for summer born deferrment for my son but have been told it’s highly unlikely with Leeds city council unless he has special needs!
I am disgusted that as a parent I am forced by the council to send him to school at 4
You are not forced to send him to school at four. He can start in Year 1. If Reception had been deemed an essential year, it would have been called Year 1 in the first place when they brought in theh National Curriculum. The part of the Reception year when a child is four is simply an optional extra. I realize that Reception is an even gentler introduction than Year 1, but there is not such a difference.
It’s about the years that follow that as well though, there might not be a great leap between nursery and reception but there is between reception and year one, which is why many parents push for CSA start in reception so they have an extra year before going into later years
Local admissions authority says yes to deferred entry but local school says no. I thought the point of a central admissions team was to ensure against discrimination if any kind???????
Well I got a no from Brighton and Hove council 😕 I have sent the council all the legal stuff saying they need to tell me how my son starting in year 1 would benefit him as per the school admission code. She just replied with the same email saying it has been declined and didn’t reply to any of my questions, and said there was no Appeal so his application to start school is going ahead. She even said the head teacher of the school said no, but we have asked the head via email and she hasn’t even heard from the council. The first she knew about it was the email saying our request had been declined. I have 3 children, 2 of which go to the school. I also work at the school too. So all of this is really upsetting.
So now going down the complaints process, any advice? Or ideas?
My summer born little boy coped fine and was happy in Reception but found the transition to Year 1 very difficult. He was not ready to leave behind educational play and sit at a table all day. He would have benefitted in many ways from an extra year in Reception but this was not an option, although I would have worried about how he would have felt watching all his friends move up and him stay in the same group.
Children in Year 1 do not “sit at a table all day”.
One solution to assist all SB children would be to move the date for school entry to the 31st March in each year. Children who attained the age of 4y prior to 31st March would enter school in the September that year. The academic calendar would remain the same. This solution would present a Reception Class problem in year one of implementation with fewer children in reception but would resolve it’s self quickly and give SB children about half a year of maturity prior to school.
I’m so happy that that wasn’t the cut-off when I was a child. It would have been so boring to stay at home or in playschool another year.
We are going through this right now. My son was born in the last few days of August, 2015, and the LEA and school have decided that he is not allowed entry to reception in any other year than 2019. We feel as if people are talking to us as if we’re mad. Everyone we speak to, very professionally and officially, urges us to realise that the school is set up to ‘cope’ with young 4-year-olds at school. We’re told he’s ‘perfectly normal’ for his age as ‘as able as any of the other 4-yesr-olds to cope with school at his age’. But I don’t want him to cope, or manage, or middle through. I want my child to thrive, to enjoy, to revel in education the way I did, as an October child, who was tall for my age group, ran fast, understood things. Because I was one of the older children, I now realise! I don’t want to steal an advantage over any other children, but I want my son to be ready for this next phase of his life, which spans the rest of his childhood and beyond. Right now he hasn’t got a clue what’s going on. We felt defeated the other day and I started to tell him he would be going to school with the older children, soon. He didn’t even register what I was saying, he was off to find a car he’d been thinking about all morning at preschool and couldn’t wait to find. We have just moved into a village in West Sussex. My eldest (age 8) got a place at the local school. I have 6 and 5 year old girls who are still at school in Brighton (10 minutes drive away) so drop off and pick up is a real juggle. When I realised we may HAVE to send my son to school aged 4, logistics of drop off meant I considered sending him to the Brighton school, merely because I can get him there on-time, rather than the village school that we want all our children to go to ultimately. When I spoke to the, very business-like head-teacher in the village school and told her of my plight, she implied that she may be able to help get my two daughters into the Village school, if I accepted the place for my 4-year-old son to go there, because I’d have two children at the village school, she mentioned the ‘fair access protocol’ to do this. But she’s fobbed me off with this carrot before, and I now believe she just said that to put me off pursuing my aim to delay my son’s entry to school. And I’ll admit, I was briefly tempted by the idea of all of my children being in the same school, finally putting an end to the nightmare school run we’ve had since January. But a sleepless night reminded me that my partner and I have always been very clear about this; we do not want him entering the school system age 4. He needs to do a reception year, and we want him ‘delayed’ or whatever the terminology is. We don’t agree on many things, but on this we’ve always been united. It seems cruel, and arbitrary, to make us send him a whole year before he has to go. It makes no difference to anyone’s life except our own, and our son’s, when we send him. We are happy to put our finances and career (my career) on hold until he is ready. If he had been born a couple of days later none of this would have been an issue. It seems the world has gone crazy, but we’re the ones who are being made to feel as if what we’re asking is wrong. You speak to friends and many are sympathetic but others think you’re causing a fuss, ‘someone has to be the youngest’ a friend (with a February daughter age 14 who has thrived) said to me. Well I’m not willing to take that gamble with my son’s life. We are willing to have him educated in a different county if it means he can enter reception age 5 there. It will be such a shame for us as a family, because it will mean 6 years of driving like crazy to school pick up and drop off at two different counties, but it’s worth it, to ensure he doesn’t spend the first year of his life in a state of bewilderment. I’d be very happy to hear from anyone who has any tips on how to take things forward with West Sussex LEA. We currently still have a place reserved for him to start in 2019, but don’t want it. Do we decline and keep him in preschool here and apply again in 2020? Will the seriously tell us he has to enter school in year 1? Would they genuinely think that was in the best interests of the child. Or would they penalise us, because we have been formally told that we either have to choose reception age 4, or year 1 age 5, and because we’ve had an official letter stating it, would they say that we made that choice and refuse to educate him from reception, even though he will not have had a reception year? I’m very confused but adamant he will not start school at his far too tender age.
I am so glad I came across your post, your situation as yours is so similar to mine.
My daughter was born the end of August 2015 and she is only 4 years old. I requested that my child start in a reception class when she is 5 but the school declined my request. So I either accept the place for reception this year or face her having to start in year one in September 2020. My daughter has been at nursery for 2 months and they want me to remove her from her nursery setting and put her into full-time reception now as the year has already began. I really don’t see how that can be in the best interests for my child. So my daughter and your son are developing at the same rate and yet they want us to place our children into full time school before they are ready.
I cannot let my daughter start school when she is not ready and with older children as you said before. Our children are developing in 30 – 50 months as where the children already in reception are working at 40 – 60 months I see this as very unfair and gives our children a whole year of catching up to do.
In nursery she is with her natural peers of her own age and this is where I would like her to remain.
Even now after my complaint they still declined. I haven’t given up though not yet. I am currently in the process of complaining to a Local Government Ombudsman to see if they can over turn the decision as I have already spoken to solicitors and the DfE and they tell me that the law is behind the parents but it is the Local Authorities decision but my right is to complain to the LGO and so I’m going to.
Is there any updates to your problem as I’d love to know how far you’ve got x
I am a summer born child and I work in a minimum-wage job for the council and I was born in August. Two of my friends born in september are school teachers! Another one works in IT. Another one of my friends born in september bucked the ‘trend’. I never had the extra support at school and I was put in sets at the age of 13. If i was born a week later I would have been a top achiever in my class. Birth circumstance dictates destiny; its not all down to hard work.
Since my last post…
I have now secured my child a place in a reception class rather than year one.
Parents of summer born children please don’t give up the fight. It took me 18 months. Its a long road but the right decision was made in the end.
If I can be any help to anyone going through this, I would be happy to help you if I can.
Could you please help me. I’m really desperate to find a way because the school which my older daughter attending now, decline our request for my summer born son.
I’m so sorry to hear that you have been declined a place for your summer born son. This happens much to often.
Following your decline letter have you made a complaint to your Local Authority/Council?
I’m not sure if you aware of this but there is a website: summer born children – advice for parents – Gov.uk, this has alot of helpful information.
Compulsory school age and paragraph 2.17A was my focus as it coincides with each other perfectly.
Does your son attend nursery at the moment?
Are you wanting to place your son into full time school at compulsory school age in September 2021?
I am happy to help you in any way I can. I know how stressful these times are but it’s about time council’s and schools start to accept the fact that this is our parental right.
Hi Adele, Many thanks for your swift reply.
My son is attending Nursery. Last November and at the same time that I was applying for a place for the reception through the GOV website, I have sent a letter to the first school of our choice where I believe my son will be given a place by the local authority. My older daughter is attending this school at year 1.
I have received an email from the school earlier this week saying that delayed entry to the reception is not in the best interest of my son and hence they rejected the request but they advised me to wait for the council to see if they have given a place in their school.
I’m not sure if I have to make a complaint now and perhaps send a letter to the headteacher or just wait for the council.
I believe the local authority and admission authority for the above school is the same because it is a community school.
Thanks for your advice.
No problem, I’m glad I could be of some help to you.
It sounds as if you are in the same sort of position I was and the same sort of time scale.
As the school you are applying for is a local authority school you will need to send the letter you have submitted to the headteacher of your preferred school to the local authority also. I would do this right away as section 2.17A states that “admissions authority must make a decision on the basis of the circumstances of the child concerned”. I love this section and we will refer to this section alot of times.
This means that they will take into consideration the views of the headteacher but he doesn’t get the final say, it is for admission authority to make that decision but it must be made in the best interest of the child concerned. Keep an eye on that as they tend to miss this out in decline letters, it is a very important and cannot be missed by the admissions authority.
Ask admissions for their email address and try to keep all correspondence via email that way you will have time logs and proof.
I would try and do this before national offer day as they could argue that they haven’t had a supporting letter with your application, but don’t worry about that I never submitted mine until March time either.
If they decline then you should ask them for their complaints procedure, by law have to provide these details.
It is really good your son is at nursery, it may be worth talking to them and asking them if they would support you in writing a letter for admissions.
I’m here if you need any more support.
I wish you and your son all the best.
Summer born daughter born at the end of August 2015, started reception in September 2019 and year one September 2020, she’s thriving and enjoying school despite being the youngest in the year. It’s a really tough decision to make will they be ready for year one and able to cope? For the decision making process we asked her nursery about her milestones & being school ready. Although she was at a nursery which wasn’t school run to begin with come September 2018 we transferred her and she’s been with her friends since then, which helped a lot too. Don’t be worried to explain your concerns to your child’s teacher also, ours has been very supportive. Ultimately you know your child best and it definitely should be your decision 🙂