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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.

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  8. Sarah Fletcher says:

    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

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  9. Karen Higgins says:

    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???????

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  10. Jenny says:

    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?

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  11. Lyndsay says:

    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.

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  12. roger bell says:

    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.

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  13. Alexandra Lobo says:

    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.

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    • Adele says:

      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

      Like

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