Summer-born children can delay school entry by a year

Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

The parents of children born in summer will get the chance to push back the start of their primary school education by a year.

Schools will be ordered to let children born between April 1 and August 31 to begin reception at the age of five under the proposals issued by Schools Minister Nick Gibb.

Describing the current admissions rules as "flawed", he said the changes would "ensure that no child is forced to start school before they are ready".

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said parents can feel pressured to send their child to school before they are ready. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Children usually start school in the September after they turn four, but summer-born pupils have often been placed straight into year one after missing out on the reception year altogether.

Mr Gibb has written an open letter to encourage schools and local authorities to take immediate action in advance of the proposed changes, which will need approval by Parliament after a consultation.

Mr Gibb said the number of parents who request their child is admitted out of their normal age group is small, "but for these parents the issue will have serious implications".

The proposals were criticised, though, by a leading teaching union, who said the announced delay "will not solve the problems".

Hopes that the delayed school entry could boost exam performances of summer-born pupils was dismissed by an academic, who said "the evidence does not suggest that this will 'level the playing field' for summer-born children".