Steve Biddulph
One of the world’s best  known parent educators, and a retired psychologist.
What the Summer Born Campaign is asking is simply for all summer born children to be allowed access to the same full, uninterrupted, curriculum as other children, regardless of whether they start school early or on time.  To do otherwise infringes their human rights. This really must be remedied, or a significant cohort of UK children will go on having a damaging and inferior experience of schooling, with all the life-affecting implications of this.  Parents today are aware and informed and deeply concerned at the anomaly that harms these children merely through the timing of their birth.

Dr Richard House, C.Psychol., AFBPsS, Cert.Couns. Educational Consultant and Campaigner; Fellow, The Critical Institute (TCI); Co-editor, Self and Society: International Journal for Humanistic Psychology; Formerly Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood, University of Winchester
I’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of this campaign from the outset. Not only is the Summer Born cause one that everyone with an interest in children’s health and age-appropriate development should support (and all the research evidence supports this view), but the campaigners themselves are amazing people – extraordinarily competent, articulate, selflessly voluntary – and most important, totally dedicated to supporting parents and families struggling with the self-serving bureaucratic intransigence of the current system. PLEASE lend your active support to this campaign’s noble aim of changing that disreputable system decisively for the better.

*Early Education (The British Association for Early Childhood Education)’s second resolution following its September 2013 AGM reads:
Since it is now well established that summer born children are too young to benefit from the greater formality of most reception classes and are disadvantaged throughout their school lives and beyond, we call on the government to require head-teachers of all state funded schools, and local authorities to enable parents of summer born children to choose to delay for a year the start of schooling and that these summer born children enter the reception class and can stay in the cohort where they are oldest in the class throughout their schooling. This requirement would apply to children born in May, June, July and August.

*Early Childhood Action (
Manifesto reads:
Children who are born prematurely can be placed at a disadvantage if  they are legally forced to enter school based on birth date rather than  expected date of birth. There needs to be much greater flexibility in  the school-entry framework for a number of reasons, including the  importance of every child having the necessary time to achieve emotional and social readiness for more formal learning. All children should have the right to have their school starting date deferred at least until  the legal date of entry, and without losing any of the rights accorded  to other families. Parents also should not be pressurised in any way to  bring forward school commencement before statutory school age.

*Save Childhood Movement (Campaigns)
The movement was launched in April 2013 and consists of a growing collaboration of individuals and organisations that share a deep concern about societal values and wellbeing and the current erosion of natural childhood. It has a particular interest in how modern culture impacts the values and mindsets of children, especially in the early years. Its first major campaign was launched in September 2013 and achieved both national and international attention.

Pre-School Learning Alliance (
Chief Executive Neil Leitch comments on BBC Radio Tees, with his permission to quote on this page in support of our campaign:
I have a massive amount of sympathy for parents of summer-born children.  In reality, although flexibility is there for parents, it is difficult for parents to access. To further compound this many schools and local authorities convey mixed messages to parents.
The harsh reality is that summer born children are at a disadvantage in the current system; evidence clearly shows this. Summer born children are three times more likely to be perceived by their teacher as lagging behind in subjects such as reading, writing and maths, they struggle at sports, are more likely to be bullied, and are less likely to attend university. These disadvantages have an impact on the life chances of these children. Any suggestion that summer-borns will at some point ‘catch up’ is not supported by evidence.
There seems to have been a massive move in the last few years to try and push our children into school at a younger and younger age and formalise their education. This appears to be driven by cost; the Government invests less in early years than many of our European counterparts and the Governments solution appears to be to ‘warehouse’ these children into schools. That’s about economies, it doesn’t indicate what’s best for the child and that does worry me significantly.
The Department for Education has said that there is no statutory requirement for local authorities to adopt this policy – that summer borns must start school in reception at age four or skip a year and join Year 1 at age five.  I think that the Department for Education could go a step further and say that there is a statutory requirement to give parents the choice to defer for the year and allow these children to go through the full education system from a point when they are socially, emotionally and developmentally ready.

*Parents OUTLOUD (


7 Responses to Supporters

  1. Jeni Hooper says:

    The UK is almost alone in encouraging children to start school this early. Children’s curiousity and motivation to learn is a fragile flower which needs room to grow through play and independent learning. By 6 when most children across the world start school, a child will have consolidated the skills that will help them enjoy school. Early education is play-based and children do not loose out by starting formal subjects later at 6 or 7. Equally children get very tired by a full day in school before they are ready which can affect their confidence.

    For further discussion of What Children Need to be Happy Confident and Successful do look at my book


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  3. Craig Reed says:

    After just seeing an article on the news tonight I’m flabbergasted to learn I could have had a choice with my son starting school. He was born on 31 August 2001, 2 weeks early by c-section. The disadvantages continue throughout school even more, starting secondary school my son started on his 11th birthday and some of his fellow students turned 12 the following week. Whatever date, whether it is summer or winter admissions there will always be some children that are disadvantaged and surely this should be taken into account with schooling and more should be done as to grouping to ability and not age.


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  5. Sandra Nardi says:

    As the Founder of Parent Education Consultancy, a teacher of 10 years, tutor, EYFS school consultant with a PGCert in Education, it is evident in all the data across schools I have worked in that as a demographic Summer boys are not in the top percentile of high achievers in KS1. Having 2 Summer boys of my own and supporting parents of children who are clearly not ready to write, it is clearly evident with all the research towards learning through play in the Early Years that each child deserves 5 terms in Nursery without any prejudice of when they were born.
    Sandra Nardi BA(Hons) PGCE PGCert
    Founder of Parent Education Consultancy


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