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MPs: Review summer-born children school policies

20/03/2015 Joanna
Parents should be given the power to decide when their summer-born children go to school, according to MPs.

The Education Committee wants mums and dads to be allowed to appeal local authority or academy decisions about when their kids have to start school. 

Although a later start is often seen as the best option, the committee heard evidence that younger class members can be subjected to bullying, accused of having special needs or end up in low-ability groups. 

"It was very clear that the month of a child's birth has a measurable effect on their academic outcomes," said chairman of the committee Graham Stuart. 

"Some parents find their summer-born child may be forced to start school in year 1, rather than reception, when the child reaches compulsory school age. Even if parents think their child is not ready, they currently have no right to appeal this decision."

He added evidence suggests the government's current guidance for admissions authorities when it comes to summer-born and premature children is also being routinely overlooked.

Children typically start school in the September before their fifth birthday, but some of these pupils will have to wait the majority of the year before their fifth birthday actually comes around.

Concerns have long been raised by parents that younger children may struggle if they are forced to start school when young, especially in terms of direct comparisons with their classmates.

The committee has made a number of recommendations, including asking the government to consider what steps can be taken to communicate their guidance on summer-born admissions to admissions authorities.

It also wants to see an analysis undertaken to pinpoint which admissions authorities are failing to provide the flexibilities described in the guidance, and assess how a right to appeal a decision regarding a child's year of entry to school might be introduced.

Posted by Theo FouldsADNFCR-2164-ID-801780550-ADNFCR
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