Schools Minister Nick Gibb has announced the government’s intention to give summer-born children the right to start in reception at the age of 5.
The minister has said that the rules must be changed so children waiting until they turn 5 before starting in full-time primary education do not have to go straight into Year One.
In an open letter to schools and local authorities, he asked for immediate action to be taken, in advance of the proposed changes, to allow summer-born children (born between 1 April and 31 August) to start in reception aged 5, if that is what parents want.
A statement released by the Department for Education, said:
“The government believes parents and teachers are best placed to decide what is right for their child, and summer-born children should have the same opportunity to excel at school as their peers - even if that means starting reception a year later.”
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive for the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said:
“We know that there remain barriers at a local level to parents exercising their right to defer entry, and so we welcome efforts to take positive action to address this.
The month in which you are born should have absolutely no bearing on how well you succeed at school, and so it is important that parents are given this option, for summer-born children.
It is important to remember, however, that all children develop socially, emotionally and intellectually at different stages; and there is an important role for childcare practitioners to play here in working with parents to understand what is appropriate for their child.