Do parents really have choice?

Jun 16, 2013

“If you choose to not deal with an issue, then you give up your right of control over the issue and it will select the path of least resistance.” ~ Susan Del Gatto

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“Ministers are being urged to ensure parents of summer-born children can exercise their right to a later school start without losing a chosen place.”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22904054

All sorts of Government initiatives have been sold on the premise of giving parents choice for their child, which in practice give power to the authorities and less options for the parents. Choice over which school your child attends just means you apply for a place and indicate your preferences.  It does mean that your child doesn’t have to attend the school closest to home, which happened many years ago, but it doesn’t really give parents any power over the future of their child’s education.

There is plenty of research identifying that summer born children perform less well than their classmates who are almost a year older.  Why is that surprising?  Schools rarely give parents the option for their child to be held back a year.  I had a friend whose son was born prematurely in August with all sorts of health problems.  Developmentally he shouldn’t have been in the year that his birth-date indicated and struggled as a result.

Many parents don’t realise what options they do actually have.  They are grateful when their child is accepted into the school they wanted and accept the arrangements offered.   It is far easier for the schools if everybody conforms, so they don’t inform parents of their choices.

Enabling parents to make informed choices for their child is what’s needed, along with flexibility in approach by schools to accommodate the needs of individual children.




Tags: School, Summer
Category: News

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