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School Starting Age

Volume 605: debated on Monday 25 January 2016

14. What progress the Government are making in giving summer-born and premature children the choice to defer starting school. (903214)

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his work in supporting and campaigning for summer-born children. Subject to parliamentary approval, we have decided to amend the school admissions code to support summer-born children to enter school in the reception year if their parents decide to defer their start at school. We are now considering other, consequential changes to the code, including whether the due date rather than the birth date of premature children should be used for determining when they will begin school, and we will conduct a full public consultation in due course.

I thank my hon. Friend for his hard work in ensuring that the Department is listening to the campaign. Is there any chance he could provide a timeline so that parents who are planning their children’s future can do so with some security?

I understand my hon. Friend’s impatience to secure the legislative changes, but it is important that we consider the other changes we need to make to the school admissions code at the same time as making changes to the rules regarding summer-born children. The work is ongoing, and we will begin the consultation in due course.