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.