Should summer-born children start reception at age four or five?

Should children born in the summer be able to delay the start of their education?

Should children born in the summer be able to delay the start of their education? - Credit: Archant

Parents of summer-born children could soon be given the right to choose which class their child goes into under reforms to the schools admission policy.

Children generally start primary school the September after they turn four but parents can opt to hold their child back until the term after they turn five - meaning those born between September and Christmas would start in January, and those born between January and Easter would start in the spring. Summer babies can start the following September, but will go straight into Year 1, cutting their education short by a whole year.

Parents have been campaigning for change, so that those with children born between April 1 and August 31 can opt to start their children in Reception the following September, meaning they are five when they start school, not four.

This will effectively delay their education by a year but allow them to progress through all seven years of primary school, and ensure they get the grounding that Reception class offers.

Some, however, argue that this simply transfers the problem and means those born between January and Easter will then be the youngest in the class and will be competing with contemporaries who are nearly a year older.

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Yesterday schools minister Nick Gibb said admissions rules would be changed allowing parents to delay the start date if they felt their child was not ready for school, and still allow them to enter in Reception class.

A consultation is now being launched on the issue, with changes having to be approved by parliament, but the Department for Education is keen to push the new rules through as soon as possible.

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