Children born during the summer could be allowed to delay entry into primary school, under new plans
A child is currently not legally required to start school until they are five but current rules dictate that they must start in the September after their fourth birthday.
This means that some children are almost a year younger than their classmates.
It is up the local authorities responsible for school admissions to make the decision on which year group a summer-born five-year-old should be admitted to.
But proposals by Schools Minister Nick Gibb look to offer the chance for children born between April 1 and August 31 to begin reception at the age of five.
He has written an open letter to encourage schools and local authorities to take immediate action in advance of the proposed changes.
“The code (School Admissions Code) requires the admission authority to make a decision on the basis of the circumstances of the case and in the best interests of the child.
“It is clear, however, that this system is flawed, with parents and admission authorities often failing to agree on what is in the child’s best interests.”
Parents have the right to send their child to school on a part-time basis before they reach the compulsory school age.
Research carried out in May 2013 found that children born in the summer tend to perform worse academically than those born in the autumn.
An Institute for Fiscal Studies report revealed that the differences were largest soon after starting school, but the gap remained up to GCSEs.
Figures showed that children born in August are 6.4 percentage points less likely to achieve five GCSEs or equivalent at grades A*-C and are around two percentage points less likely to go to university at age 18 or 19.
Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “ATL has consistently argued that early years education needs to be flexible enough to support all children to succeed regardless of the age at which they start school.
“Although some parents will want to delay the start of school for their child, today’s announcement will not solve the problems.
“The increasingly formalised national curriculum and assessment in the crucial first few years of school are the main reasons many parents want to delay the start of school for their summer-born children, so we urge Nick Gibb to modify these to address parental anxieties.
“ATL believes there should be a local partnership approach, with schools working closely with early education and care providers to develop staged transitions to school.”
Starting school can be a huge change for a family especially for your child’s life.
For more information and advice when your child starts school visit: www.nhs.uk