Pre-school Education: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th June 2021.

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Photo of Richard Fuller Richard Fuller Conservative, North East Bedfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the impact on children of different local authority policies on school age start dates; and what he plans he has to amend the school admissions code to enable summer-born children to start reception at age five where that is what their parents want.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Local authorities do not set policies on school age start dates. Compulsory school age is the start of the term following a child’s fifth birthday. Admission authorities must provide for the admission of children in the September following their fourth birthday, but it is for parents to decide whether to send their child to school before compulsory school age.

For summer born children this means that they do not need to start school until the September after their fifth birthday. It is then the decision of the admission authority whether to admit the child to Year 1 or, at the parents' request, to Reception.

In May, the Department published the results of our latest research surveys of local authorities and parents into the delayed admission of summer born children to school.

It remains our intention to legislate, when an opportunity becomes available, so that summer born children can automatically be admitted to a Reception class, where that is what their parents want, and remain with that cohort throughout their education.

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