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Government scraps changes to school admissions for summer-born pupils

Baroness Barran said the latest data shows the admissions system for summer-born pupils is working better than it was in 2015.

22 July 2022

The Government has scrapped plans for legislation to improve admissions for summer-born pupils.

In 2015, then-schools minister Nick Gibb promised legislation to allow pupils born between April and August to be admitted to reception from the age of five if that was what their parents wanted.

Currently, the decision is left to schools and councils about whether five-year-olds born between these dates start in reception or Year 1.

The Government had also said it would change the law so pupils could remain in the year group they started with throughout their education rather than having to re-apply to be educated outside their normal year group when they start secondary school.

On Friday, academies minister Baroness Barran said that data suggested the system for summer-born pupils “is now working much better than it was in 2015″.

“I am reassured that good progress has been made on this issue and that these improvements suggest the system is now working well,” she said.

“Taking all of this into account, I do not intend to continue to pursue legislation on this issue at this time, but will keep this position under review if the situation changes.”

She added that the latest survey from the Department for Education showed that most requests for delayed entry to reception are approved.

Data from 2020 showed that 22% of councils had a policy of agreeing to any request to admit five-year-old summer-born children to reception, up from 9% in 2019.

“It can seldom be in a child’s best interests to miss the essential numeracy and early literacy that takes place in the reception year,” Baroness Barran said.

Speaking about pupils who had been educated out of year during primary school and had to reapply for secondary places, she added: “Unless there are sound educational reasons to do otherwise, the assumption should be that they will remain outside of their normal year group.

“Children educated out of their year group should not be disadvantaged at secondary transition.”

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