My son could be labelled ‘naughty’ because of summer-born policy fears Northamptonshire mum

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The mum of a Northamptonshire four-year-old said parents should have the final say on when their summer-born children enter primary school.

Faye Sturgess, from Earls Barton, withdrew son Theo from admissions to primary school this year, fearing that, with his fourth birthday falling in July, he would be significantly behind the older children.

She applied to Earls Barton Infants School to have him start in reception class in September 2016, but has been told he must enter Year 1.

Mrs Sturgess - herself a summer-born pupil as a child, and who has two boys born in July and one in May - said: “Knowing Theo better than anyone, I can see he’d be far better off entering through Reception class. Otherwise he misses out on the basics like phonics.

“However far more weight is given to the what the prospective school thinks. At the moment Theo is nothing more than a name and date of birth to them. How can they decide?”

The debate was recently opened by schools minister Nick Gibb, who gave his own opinion that parents should be allowed a greater say in delaying primary school admission for their child.

Mrs Sturgess said: “There’s lots of evidence to suggest that children who are are behind in their development are labelled ‘naughty’ because they are simply nine months younger. That can stay with them through school.”

At the moment it is the headteacher of the prospective school who decides on delayed admission, based on information from the likes of the child’s pre-school.

A Northamptonshire County Council spokeswoman said, depending on the reason for the requestm doctors and nurseries share the decision-making with the school.

She said: “Under our recently-revised admissions code, parents can now request that their child starts school later than their normal age group.

“However, requests are only agreed if the reasons for the deferral are confirmed by an appropriate professional and by the headteacher of the school where the child has been allocated a place.”

Earls Barton infants School declined to offer a comment.

Northamptonshire’s summer born policy can be found at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/admissions