Letter to Primary School Admissions Team: Summer Born Premature Twins

Dear Primary Admissions Team

I am writing after a phone call with a member of your team this morning to discuss delaying entry for my summer born, premature twins.

Esther and William were born on the 24th July 2010. They were born at 27 weeks gestation. Their actual due date was 20th October 2010.

Had they been born on their due date they would not be due to start school until September 2015.

Because of their extremely premature birth they could start school in September 2014 but I do not believe that they are going to be physically and emotionally ready.

Both children but particularly my son are incredibly small for their age. Developmentally they are much more like their peers due to start school in 2015 than those applying for places in the next academic year.

Due to their extreme prematurity Esther and William spent the first 59 days of their lives in hospital and the first 6 months of their life mostly at home and not enjoying the same start to life that a full term baby might have.

Although they have now turned three by their corrected age they are still two. If they are forced to start school in September 2014 they will technically still be three when the term begins and this is just too young.

Esther and William are entitled too and would benefit from a further year in a part time preschool setting before beginning their formal school journey.

You will be familiar with the DFE Advice on the Admission of Summer Born Children published in July 2013.

It states that “There is no statutory barrier to children being admitted to school outside their normal year group”

It also clearly states that there “are no statutory barriers to admitting a child of 5 years to a reception class.”

Reception class is the entry class to primary schools.

As a parent and a primary school teacher I do not believe that starting part way through a year would be beneficial for my children. I think that it would put them at even more of a disadvantage and going straight into Year One completely defeats the point of granting a delayed start.

I would like my children to start school in September 2015 and I would like them to start in a reception class. There is absolutely no legal reason why this cannot happen.

Because of their summer birthday and their prematurity it would mean that technically they would be in the right year and they would be more physically and emotionally ready for all that school entails.

The DfE guidance declares that individual cases should be considered particularly with children born prematurely where they may have naturally fallen into the lower age group if they had been born on their expected date of birth. It should also be considered as to whether delayed social, emotional or physical development is adversely affecting a child’s readiness for school.

The DfE says that parents should discuss this as soon as possible with the schools they are interested in applying for and the local authority. Parents should make it clear that they wish to apply for a reception place a year later than the year into which the child could have been admitted.

I have made my intentions clear through email and today’s telephone conversation and now this letter that I would like to delay my children’s entry to primary school and I would like the opportunity to discuss this with proper consideration given to our individual circumstances and the guidance provided by the Department for Education.

I do not believe that the two schools we are interested in are oversubscribed but before I talk to them I would like to ensure that Kent Admissions will allow my children to start reception year when they are five as the DfE states that they are entitled to do.

I look forward to hearing from you

Yours sincerely

… and now we wait!

10 thoughts on “Letter to Primary School Admissions Team: Summer Born Premature Twins

  1. Pingback: My Summer Born Premature Twins and Starting School | Edspire

  2. Good Luck, Jennie! I hope they show some flexibility in their admissions process, age is more than just a number or a birth date no matter how old you are. Fingers crossed for a positive response xx

  3. I think you are absolutely correct to fight for this and don’t agree at all with the above comment on home-ed there are lots of reasons why children should experience a main-stream school system (imo) – my out-going and sociable eldest child would never have been suited to home schooling.
    He is 29th Aug and luckily (and unluckily) for us started school in Ireland where they have a staggered entry system so started at 5. Our move back to the UK has meant that he has had to jump and miss a year and is now the youngest and struggling in his year. The struggle to get a good school place was enough without trying to have him held back too and now I don’t want to upset him by suggesting although am still considering.
    If I had stayed in the UK I would’ve been writing about this myself because I firmly believe being the youngest puts them at a disadvantage and that’s without the added complication of being pre-mature.
    Best of Luck xx

  4. Just make sure sure sure you have discussed with the LEA what happens when they reach high school age.

    I have heard of prem children being made to skip the last year of primary school to start high school at the year they should have done originally, so ensure if you want them to remain in their corrected year group you get agreement now.

    We didn’t have this conundrum as Joseph was due in August and born in May so I have kept him with his birth year.

  5. A very well written letter! If it’s any help Jake & Ellie went to pre-school from their 3rd (actual) birthday last term for a few hours 3 days a week & were fine. This term they’re going 5 days a week, & loving it. We’ve been using our option of taking them out at 1.30, but they have actually ASKED to stay for a full day, so yesterday they were there for the full day ’til 3.15 & loved it. We’re planning to have them there for a full day every Wednesday, & see how it goes. x

  6. We are in a very similar situation. Daughter born at 28 weeks at end of August 2010 and was not due until November. We have been ‘talking’ to our local education authority since january this year ( Cambridgeshire). They have a policy that allows children to be deferred ( delay school entry) if they are not emotionally or developmentally ready. In reality my understanding is that they do not consider this unless there is evidence/ paperwork that specifically suggests there are causes for concern. Our desire to allow our daughter to go when she should have done is simply not enough for them and not a good enough reason. So the way I see it is my daughter is being accelerated into school. There seems very little understanding of the real issues here by the authorities. I would be interested to see how you get on.

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