Summer baby school delays: Parents face postcode lottery

Parents who want to delay their child’s first year of school have varying success rates depending on where they live, a BBC investigation has found.

Thousands of families in England with summer-born babies are applying each year amid fears younger children do not perform as well as older classmates.

But while some councils have approved 100% of requests, others have turned down more than half. Campaigners said a consistent approach was needed across the country.

Children have traditionally been placed in school years according to their date of birth with a cut-off at the start of September. This has meant some children born in the summer have been almost a year younger than their eldest classmates when they start in reception.

But parents of children born between 1 April and 31 August are now able to apply to put reception back a year.

Figures supplied under the Freedom of Information Act show 2,243 requests were made to 110 local authorities in England to defer starts to the 2018 school year – 18% higher than the previous 12 months.

Department for Education analysis has previously suggested it is typically more affluent families from white British backgrounds who make the requests, and those in areas where the council are more likely to agree to them.

In a survey in 2017 of 161 families who successfully applied to delay the start of their child’s schooling, the DfE found 47% had a household income of more than £50,000 a year

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Some have a policy of automatically agreeing all requests, while others only agree requests where parents present very strong evidence.

“We think there should be a consistent approach across the country.”

Read the full article Summer baby school delays: Parents face postcode lottery

Have you delayed your child starting school? Or had your application refused? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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