The Department continues to support the right of parents to decide whether to send their children, including summer-born children, to school before they reach compulsory school age.
The Department has taken several steps to improve the arrangements for parents of summer-born children requesting a delayed start in reception class. The guidance for admission authorities and advice for parents, published in September 2020, is helping to ensure that there is a shared understanding of the duties imposed by the School Admissions Code when responding to requests. The data reflects an improvement in practice, with almost 9 in 10 requests for delayed entry to reception now approved. Guidance can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/921255/Guidance_for_parents_September_2020.pdf.
My noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School and College System, issued a statement for all admission authorities in July 2022 which made clear that it can seldom be in a child’s best interests to miss the essential early numeracy and literacy that takes place in the reception year. The statement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summer-born-children-school-admission/statement-for-local-authorities-schools-and-admission-authorities-on-the-admission-of-summer-born-children-to-school-from-baroness-barran-parliamen.
This statement, together with the published guidance for admission authorities and advice for parents, helps ensure both admission authorities and parents are clear on the options available and have the same expectations.
The Department will continue to communicate with admission authorities through guidance and messaging to ensure that decisions are made in the best interests of the child.