I have been campaigning on the need to allow summer-born children’s parents the right to defer their school start if that was appropriate for the child. After several meetings the then Minister wrote to local education authorities issuing a change of guidance . This has resulted in change in education authorities and in 2020 1.2% of summer-born children deferred their entry which represented 88% of the requests.
However, the Government did not put that guidance into legislation and a number of constituents have raised with me their concerns about summer-born children’s position as they will enter secondary school in the next few years. The issue being that some authorities put children, who had deferred the start of schooling, into Year 8 not Year 7 to re-join what would have been their cohort had they not deferred.
Some time ago I had suggested that this could be rectified in the new Education Bill and I recently met with the Minister responsible for the School System, Baroness Barran MBE, to raise this matter with her and her officials.
We agreed that The Minister would write to local authorities with responsibility for schooling around the country issuing further guidance to ensure that summer-born children are able to begin primary school at age five and are able to stay with their cohort from primary school at secondary school. This guidance should remove any problems and ensures that children do not have to move from year six to year eight when they move schools.
I attach a link here to the text which was sent to local authorities: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summer-born-children-school-admission
I am proud to advocate for the rights of summer-born children – and it is good news that local authorities have been receptive to the advice from the department. I am hopeful that this guidance with receive the same level of acceptance as the previous and negate the need for legislation. However, I shall be carefully monitoring the situation and will seek legislation if local authorities do not comply.
Should any local parents have concerns in Wimbledon about this matter please do not hesitate to contact me directly.