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Statistics reveal "postcode lottery" for summer-born children

By Rachel Lawler 
 
Girl in the sun - summer born children delayed school entry
Children born in the summer months still face uncertainty if their parents choose to delay their admission to school, according to research by the Department for Education (DfE).
 
Making a case
The DfE said that out of 92 local authorities surveyed, 60% said that parents would need to make a case as to why their child should be allowed to start school aged five instead of four.
 
Just 10 local authorities have a policy of automatically agreeing to any requests for delayed entry while 23 said that parents needed to present “very strong evidence” before this would be allowed.
 
Changing attitudes
The remaining 56 local authorities all said that parents would be expected to present a case to support their decision, although they all said that they were more likely to agree to these requests now than in previous years.
 
Overall, 1,750 requests to delay school entry were made in 2017 – this has almost doubled in the past year, up from 916 in 2016. A total of 75% of these requests were granted in both 2017 and 2016.
 
Non-statutory advice
In 2013, the DfE took steps to clarify the government’s position on delayed school entry. It published non-statutory advice and made it clear that “there are no legal barriers to children being admitted outside of their normal age group”.