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Summer-born and Premature Children

Volume 697: debated on Monday 21 June 2021

What recent progress the Government have made on enabling the parents of summer-born and premature children to defer their child’s school start date. (901509)

We published guidance in 2020 on the delayed admission of summer-born children to a reception class where that is what parents want. In May, the Secretary of State issued a statement to ensure admissions authorities take these decisions in the best interests of the child, and we will legislate when parliamentary time permits.

I thank my right hon. Friend and the Department for their continuing support for my campaign to recognise the need for summer-born children to have that flexibility. He rightly says that the Department will legislate as and when is appropriate, but can I urge him to speak again to the Treasury to point out that it would be one of the most effective ways of levelling up and creating levelling-up opportunities? Will he meet me to discuss what the Treasury’s response might be and what more can be done to ensure that legislation is brought forward?

Yes, of course, I would be delighted to meet my hon. Friend. Summer-born children who defer entry to school by a year continue of course to be entitled to a childcare place before they start school, so the costs will depend on the number of parents who choose to delay entry and the need for childcare. However, I should say to my hon. Friend that, in the surveys we have been carrying out with local authorities, the vast majority of requests to delay entry and to return to school in reception rather than year 1 are granted by local authorities.