School Admissions Code Awareness by @BlissCharity

Reading time: 3
Freddie McGill Bliss-billboard


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

The issue of admissions, summer-born children and premature babies are subjects very close to my heart. After a month of visiting potential nursery schools for my son @FreddieWM, the current model for school admissions is at the forefront of my mind.

Of the 8.2 million pupils attending 24,372 schools in England, 1 in 9 babies are born premature in the UK, so I will assume that there are a vast number parents who will find the blog post interesting. Of those babies born too soon, many will be born too early and according to the current school admissions code will not be designed to their advantage.

Working at both ends of the spectrum, as a teacher and as a parent, I can safely say, the process of school admissions is flawed. As my son grows older, I look forward to challenging the Department for Education on this, via my blog, as I gather evidence and experience from a parental perspective.

Meet my son Freddie, born at 28+2 weeks gestation.

Frederick Warbrook McGill – 1lb 9ozs – 21st May 2011

Now take a look at how he is doing below and in his blog:

Freddie McGill

My son was born on 21st May 2011. He wasn’t due to be born until 11th August 2011 (at the height of the summer riots) potentially making him an early summer born child. Despite being born 3 months earlier, his growth throughout year one remained in the 4th lowest percentile.

About the school admissions code:

  • The new draft school admissions puts into legislation the Guidance for Summer Borns 2013. This means schools will be legally obliged to consider applications for delaying school entry.
  • The draft code recognises prematurity as a reason why a parent may want to delay their child’s entry, and Bliss welcomes this recognition.
  • The new code will apply to applications made for school entry in 2016/2017. Until then the current school admissions code, which does not recognise prematurity, is in effect. How discriminating!
  • These changes only apply to England. The devolved nations each have their own admissions processes.

Campaign messages:

  • Bliss believes that, as a result of their prematurity, some children will benefit from starting school a little later. They (and I) believe there should be flexibility in the school admissions process to allow this.
  • This flexibility will benefit mostly those children who were born in the summer, when their due date was in the autumn. This means they start school a full year earlier than they would have done had they been born term.
  • Bliss is campaigning for this greater flexibility, and will be responding to the consultation on the draft code, with a response shaped by parent’s experiences and views.
  • Starting school at an appropriate time can make a big difference to a child and their educational outcomes.

Support for parents:

  • Bliss has developed a fact-sheet for parents in England which gives advice about:
    • How to apply for a delay
    • How to tell if a delay would be suitable for their child
    • Whether their child is eligible

This can be found on our website here.

About Bliss:

Bliss is the UK charity working to provide the best possible care and support for all premature and sick babies and their families. They support parents, they work directly with doctors and nurses and they campaign to ensure the needs of babies and their families are always heard.

Bliss Charity

  • Bliss have written a supporting letter which parents can use in their application pack which is here.
  • Parents can look at their webpages for more information about the campaign, and for help and advice here.
  • If parents need more information, I recommend they call the Bliss helpline on 0500 618140. The helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am-9pm

 Further Reading:

The Nuffield Foundation shares a report published by The Institute of Fiscal Studies. This report has highlighted large differences in educational attainment between children born at the start and end of the academic year.



5 thoughts on “School Admissions Code Awareness by @BlissCharity

  1. If you make a big song and dance about this, they should agree. We’ve got a child now in yr4 born prematurely who by birthdate should be in year 5. There is also scope to do a second year in reception. Getting ed psychs to agree is the problem but just ask for it to be referred up to their manager then that person’s manager etc until they agree. Not that you should have to work so hard but why should your child go through school possibly a bit behind his peers when with an extra year he would be typical. Looking younger than the age group helps as that seems to be the ed psychs main concern- that they would stick out at puberty. But there is such a range anyway I think that’s a really stupid argument. Besides- his body is younger than his birthday. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.