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
… and now we wait!