If you follow our blog then you will be aware that we applied to defer our 3 year old son Teddy a Reception start until the term after he turns 5 (compulsory school age), which for him is September 2018. Lots of local authorities are rightly open and agreeing to allow the parents the choice of when to start their summer term born 4 year olds in Reception, so these children would have just turned 5 the September of their entering school.
We are for now living in Lancashire and we have a fully supportive head teacher at our local school and a supportive nursery. As parents with older siblings at school we have always had a good relationship with the school, as has my husband in his role as a volunteer parent governor, and we couldn’t have asked for more with their support towards this request. Nursery also have been brilliant; after several chats and a letter of support they were very happy to continue caring for Teddy up until July 2018 when he turns 5 at the end of the school term.
We sent our own heartfelt reasonings as parents to Lancashire County Council as to why he should be given more time to be at home with myself, his sister and my childminding setting whilst also in a nursery provision for 15 hours a week. This is discussed more in our previous post, see the link below.
We heard from Lancashire CC just before primary places were announced. Their decision was as we expected from this stubborn local authority. Like others in this area it was a ‘no’. We feel that they are just in a corner of ‘them and us’, and they are backed into their corner of stubbornness in wanting to keep denying parental choice and are keeping this stance. Our correspondence gave us the choice of accepting a place for Teddy for the intake of September 2017 or re-applying next year for a Reception start, which will be decided by the school and their attendance levels for that year, thus running the risk of Teddy missing Reception and being placed into Year One.
We spoke with our headteacher who was surprised by their decision, and feeling more determined than ever we have opted to reapply for September 2018 for a Reception place.
We have high hopes that the government can move towards a consultation and stop the postcode lottery of summerborns by making it a nationwide parental choice. However now with another general election added to brexit these such parliamentary issues are put on a back burner it seems.
With relocation of our family in the near future we have no firm idea whether we will be applying to our local school in LCC or indeed another school and LA somewhere else, therefore not having a definitive answer until spring/summer 2018.
In our eyes having to miss Reception and being placed into Year One is not in the interests of any child. Who knows what we will be up against next year with our current local authority, or maybe another one with a similar viewpoint who fail to comply with requests of change from MPs, education professionals and parents. We feel that we have only just started our small battle.
For now we prefer to be positive in the fact that we have a supportive school on board for next year, and that if we have moved by September that we will by chance be in a forward thinking, open LA who believe it’s the parents’ right to choose. For now, our summerborn journey continues……