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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.

112 Responses to Home

  1. Nicky Taylor says:

    http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2015/09/stephen-hammond-mp-the-changes-we-need-to-help-summer-born-and-premature-children-succeed.html

    things are moving in the right direction, but everso slowly… fingers crossed for real progress after 10 October…

    Like

  2. Alison says:

    Hugely supportive of this campaign. We are parents to three summerborn children, two of whom are premature twins born in August. We have fallen foul of the postcode lottery having recently relocated from Bristol to Lancashire. Had we stayed in Bristol we would have experienced no problem delaying our children and for them to start school in Reception Year. However, we now face the battle of dealing with Lancashire who are obstructive on this issue. It is extremely disappointing that this lottery is allowed to occur.

    Like

  3. Ciara says:

    Thanks so much for your campaign. As a mother of an August born living in a borough (Bromley) where “computer says no” to deferring I am desperate for the government to end the postcode lottery and hand the decision to the parents who know their child best. There can be so many reasons why a summer born is not ready for school and with the increase in demands on children at a younger age it really is time to see Nick Gibb’s recommendations made statutory so they can no longer be brushed aside.

    Like

    • Adrienne Shaw Reeves says:

      Can you tell me what you mean by computer says no? What have the council told you?

      Like

    • Janine Darwin says:

      I have been told by Warrington Admissions that my child will not be deferred unless he has a ‘medical condition. to support his deferral…. how is this right?

      Like

  4. Katherine says:

    It’s so important that parents are able to make the choice that they believe is in the best interests of their child. Our son was born on 30/8/13, just two days from the cut off. We are currently applying for him to start in Reception when he reaches CSA, as we don’t believe that he will be ready socially for school a couple of days after he turns 4. We are fortunate to be in an LEA which is open to requests. However, it shouldn’t be a fight for parents to get what is best for their child, they should be supported by the government, LEAs and schools, and the only way to do this is for it to be in the legislation, to prevent the current postcode lottery.

    Like

  5. Jennje says:

    This is such an important issue and one that has enormous repercussions for children forced to start formal schooling before it is developmentally appropriate. We need clearer guidelines from the DFE to ensure all children’s needs are addressed.

    Like

  6. Rachel Burnell says:

    My summer born daughter is one of the lucky ones at the moment- she has a CSA reception place confirmed. But at transfer to junior or secondary school if they are academies or if we move to a different LEA area there is no gaurentee she will not be forced to miss a year of her education.

    At present there is no certainty regarding her future education.

    The amendments to the admission code need to take place. Everyone knows there is a problem with the current system and it is ridiculous that this is not being resolved and that across the country there is inequality re summerborn children’s access to a full education starting with reception at CSA.

    Like

  7. E O'Neill says:

    I am adamant that I know my child best and should get to decide when he starts school. He is a happy boy but is still very young emotionally, regularly struggling with his emotions, not yet toilet trained, napping during the day and sleeping well at night. His birthday is right at the end of August and this will have an impact on him greatly initially and continue to do so throughout his school journey. I want him to start school in reception out of cohort by 6 days so that he thrives at school rather than having to just cope and catch up with his peers. At activities such as rugby tots the difference between him and the rest of the boys 6-12 months older is significant and he struggles to interact and control his emotions.
    It needs to be every parents right to do what they consider to be best for their child and start school in reception if summer born, out of cohort a year later and not have to face a battle and post code lottery with LA.

    Like

  8. a says:

    We have been so lucky to have a wonderful forward-thinking school and lea on board (west Sussex). We have deferred our little boy born 23rd aug 2012 (no SEN or development delay) to start in Reception aged 5. All parents of summer born should have the same opportunity as us.

    Like

  9. Amy Turton says:

    I am very supportive of this issue

    Shocked at the postcode lottery which is currently occurring. Where some children are being allowed to start in reception at CSA with ease and others are being forced to miss a year at school

    Stephen Hammond MP has done a great job of pushing this through and plans to hold an adjournment debate on this issue on 10th October

    Like

  10. Anna says:

    As parents of a little boy born on the afternoon of 31/08/2014 (so missed the cut-off by a handful of hours) this campaign is a hugely important issue for us. I am just hoping that a consultation date can be agreed & that legislation will be in place before he has to go to school.
    It is important that every child has the right to reception at CSA, & allowed to remain with that cohort throughout their educational lives. The current postcode lottery is unfair, & needs to be uniform throughout the country.

    Like

  11. Sally says:

    When I was first doing my primary school application for my son (born summer 2016) I was told by my borough (Lambeth) that sending him to reception at compulsory school age would be impossible as I had missed the deadline and would need proof from a medical professional that he was not ready. I was so disappointed and thought I’d be forced to send him to school before he’s ready. I’m so glad I found this group as actually the process in Lambeth went fairly smoothly and I didn’t need specialist proofs. Now my son is starting another year at nursery where he can mature and play till he is 5.

    Like

  12. Alessandro Rutigliano says:

    I truly hope there will be some definite progress made on the 10th October. The postcode lottery and the battles parents of Summerborn children have to face just to give their kids a fair access to education are unbelievable.
    The school system is failing these children and it’s gambling with their future and their mental health.

    Like

  13. Katherine says:

    It’s been a year now since Nick Gibb promised a consultation and changes to the admissions code, and not only do we have no changes, but we heard Justine Greening in the Education Select Committee betraying the fact that she knows little about the situation by suggesting some children are more summerborn than others… The fact is that children who start school at compulsory school age should not be disadvantaged by being made to skip reception, and that is as true for children born in April as August.

    Like

  14. V. Twin mummy says:

    This current postcode lottery seems so unfair. Why will I probably have to send my twin boys to school when they have a speech disorder and can’t communicate with anyone other than themselves and me to school soon? Especially when the n h s queue for a speech therapist is so long? How can be in their best interest to go to school without having time to develop there social and emotional intelligence and independence? All they need is more time to develop. What is so unfair is the postcode lottery. Why should I be able to delay in some counties and not others.

    Like

  15. Sarah Rushworth says:

    As parents of an August 13 boy we are just starting our battle to delay his entry to reception until 2018. It will be a battle, but it shouldn’t have to be.. As his parents we should have the flexibility to be able to send him to school starting in reception at CSA if that is what we deem to be in his best interests. The changes to the admissions code need to be made to end the unfair postcode lottery which exists for so many summerborns. I just hope there is a timescale given to the changes promised a year ago after the debate on 10 October

    Like

  16. Eleanor says:

    I am so grateful to this campaign for making sure I understood the wider aspects of this campaign. While I knew my 31 August born son did not have to start school until the September after he was 5 I was not aware of how this effects (or doesn’t effect) things like SATs. My Local Authority had many concerns around the impact of him starting later but with the help of this group I was able to give them the correct information and overcome their perceived barriers. My son is now thriving at school as opposed to merely coping, which I believe without a doubt would have been the case if he had either started reception st just 4 or been forced to miss reception and start year 1 at just 5. We need to help more parents understand their rights but, more importantly, push for the changes to be made to the system to ensure all children are given the best start possible without a postcode lottery or a battle.

    Like

  17. homewoodmaths says:

    I am a teacher and a parent of a summer born child in Kent. We fought our county council to allow our daughter to enter Reception at CSA as we firmly believe that parents should be given the right to decide, based on their own child’s needs, whether they should start school at just 4 or just 5. We have found a school that has taken her into Reception at 5 years and 10 days old. However, this school is a 25 minute drive from our house (we live within walking distance of 5 schools, that we were unable to get her into) and is therefore not an ideal situation. If the law had been changed in time then we wouldn’t be faced with a 2 hour commute each day and we could have our daughter at a school in our community. It is a sad state of affairs that parents are still waiting for the Admissions code to be changed. With education becoming more pressurised and academic it is even more important that the code be changed-and FAST.

    Like

  18. laura oakley says:

    Also the parent of an August 2013 boy and trying to make contact with admissions to get a clear picture. The school I wish to send him to agrees with me and are being supportive but I know that Swindon council are ‘sticking to the old guidelines’ and are not particularly keen on a reception start at CSA. I really don’t understand the problem either – The school are happy, the pre-school is happy and we’d be happy so what is there to make a fuss about at the council? All I want is an easy way to indicate that I would like a CSA reception start for my tiny boy!

    Like

  19. It is appalling that in some areas of the country a child can be forced to miss a year of school simply for starting at Compulsory School Age (CSA). I live in Lancashire and Lancashire County Council are not supportive of all application for Reception Year starts for summerborn children at CSA. For me this means that my daughter could be forced into Year 1 at CSA against my wishes. Furthermore, this would deny her a place at our local school alongside her elder brother since the school is oversubscribed and no Year 1 place would be available. All because I want to exercise the statutory right not to send her early.

    Like

  20. Mel says:

    This is a wonderful campaign offering vital support & advice to help parents of summer born children navigate the often all too complex admission systems surrounding reception start at CSA….We need the code to change now; no more misinterpretations by admitting authorities, no more summer born children disadvantaged because of where they live, forced into school too soon for fear of missng reception, no more uncertainty & heartache for their families and no more time and energy spent battling obstructive LA’s instead of enjoying our young children. It’s deeply unfair and certainly not in the best interests of any child.

    Like

  21. Jazz says:

    We have 2 summerborn children. 1 has been granted a CSA reception start with some discussion needed. Even this was stressful and unnecessary. Now we have to worry about ‘missing a year’ at any point even though we know that could never be in his best interests and also worry about securing his younger sibling a CSA reception start.

    It shouldn’t be a postcode lottery, it shouldn’t be a ‘those who are pushy or vocal or list reams of research’ get agreed. It should simply be a parent requests it and that’s it.

    No second bites of cherries, no wrong terminology (it is NOT delaying or holding back or starting late) and no excuses.

    What baffles me is summerborn a starting at CSA are less likely to be misdiagnosed SEN (so less extra support needs to be funded) and are less likely to struggle (so school results will be ‘better’)…why do schools or LEAs even think of saying ‘no’…a power trip? Fear? Just do the right thing by all children and their families.

    Like

  22. J Warrington says:

    My summerborn son has started Reception at CSA. It has been up and down but cannot imagine what it would have been like if he had to have started early at age 4. Thank you all for your time and efforts to campaign for this important right. My heart aches for all the 4 yr old summerborns who may be having a dreadful time now trying to conform to something they are just not physically ready for. And for all those whose natural love of learning has already been crushed due to being forced to do too much too soon.

    Like

  23. Sammy J says:

    Hi all my. My august born started last week. He also has PDd diagnosis. He has had two accidents and they have reduced his hrs to 1 per day already saying they cannot meet his needs when things should have been in place. I wanted to defer him fr a year due to speech delay too and social interaction delay but East Sussex cc wanted poof he should be deferred. Already having nightmares etc-this is wk one!!!! I’m o upset and worried about my ds. It’s heartbreaking – I was a summer aug born too – history repeating it self

    Like

  24. Wiki Daniels says:

    Making my first steps at finding out about how to apply for a CSA start in Reception for my summer born son. I’ve so far found the process rather confusing with three conflicting bits of information from the same council. I’m finding it quite stressful already. Parents should have the right to decide what is best for their children and there should be a clear system in place so that they don’t face an uphill battle. Thanks to this group for all the information they provide and the support that they give. I wouldn’t know where to start without it!

    Like

  25. Hannah Marie says:

    My son was born on 29th August 2013. He have global development delay and soon to be diagnosed with Autism. There is absolutely no way I’ll be sending him to full time school in less than a years time when he’s just turned 4. It seems as though the government are dragging their feet on this one and postcode lottery obstacles now. I hope my sons intended primary school listens to my concerns and I don’t have an uphill battle on my hands.

    Like

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  27. Michelle says:

    I have a summer-born on the way, does anyone have any advice on what we can do as individuals to help lobby? I have drafted a letter for my MP but would like to do whatever I can to help. Thanks

    Like

  28. Juan Riera says:

    I fully support your campaign. We have a june born child who is being raised as bilingual. I’m very anxious he will not be emotionally, cognitively and socially ready to join mainstream education aged 4 and 3 months and especially when handling two languages. It is just too young, and especially with how primary education curriculums have changed over then last few years, it would be too much pressure for such a young child. Starting a year later, aged 5 and 3 months, would be a far better start for him, better emotinally and cognitively prepared for it and with more developed social social skills. Starting a year later it would not mean my child would not continue to receive learning opportunities and stimulation via nursery provision and us. We are his parents with his best interest at heart. We want to see him thrive and to enjoy his education. So let us decide when it will be best for him to start mainstream education. The research is now out there and speaks vomules. I really hope the government moves this on quicker.

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  31. Emma says:

    Does anyone know if progress was made last October?

    Like

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