In September 2015, Schools Minister Nick Gibb wrote an open letter to parents, local authorities, schools and admission authorities notifying them that it is necessary to amend the School Admissions Code to allow summer-born children to be admitted to Reception class at the age of five – in line with parents’ wishes.
For decades, research has found that there are large differences in test scores between autumn-born and summer-born pupils attainment at school. The differences are evident at the earliest ages and remain (although less apparent) at high school and further education exam age.
From research, on average, the oldest in the class outperform the youngest in tests of attainment because they are older when they are tested. This is because even when pupils have the same amount of schooling at the time of any test, brain development is greater in older pupils having spent more time interacting with their parents, their family and peer group.
The new policy announced proposals to allow parents of summer-born pupils (covering births from 1st April to 31st August) to have the option of delaying their child’s entry into Reception until they are 5 years old.
Schools minister Nick Gibb was quoted as saying the current system is ‘flawed’ in handling summer-born admissions. His concern was that parents felt forced to send their child to school before they were ready. In his letter he states “we have, therefore, decided that it is necessary to amend the Schools Admissions Code further to ensure that summer-born children can be admitted to the Reception class at the age of five if it is in line with the parents’ wishes, and to ensure that children are able to remain with that cohort as they progress through school.”
Whichever option parents take with their summer-born child, there could be cost implications for the families and schools alike to accommodate this. This does though provide increased flexibility to ensure the child’s best interest is provided for.
To read the full version of Nick Gibb’s letter, please visit:
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