Head urges parents to think about what age their kids start school

Shelagh Morpeth, centre, at Millfield Primary School.
Shelagh Morpeth, centre, at Millfield Primary School.
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A Wearside headteacher is urging parents to consider their child’s school starting age after changes to the regulations.

Shelagh Morpeth, headteacher at Millfield Nursery School, explained that changes to the law mean the parents of summer-born students can now defer their child starting school until the following school year.

Until the recent changes, all parents could prevent their child starting school until they were five.

However, when they did they would still join their academic year class, meaning not only would they be a lot younger than their peers, they would also miss reception year.

Now, the change means any child born between April 1 and August 31, can start school when they are five, but will join the reception class.

Mrs Morpeth said: “I don’t think the new rules are being widely publicised enough, so I want to make sure parents of summer-born children know they now have this choice.

“In my nursery there are six summer-born children and four of their parents have decided to send them to infant school the following year.

“They have told me they are very relieved because they know their child isn’t ready for school.”

Mrs Morpeth said summer-born children often find it difficult to catch up and even those who do well, might not be fulfilling their true potential.

She said evidence shows that the majority of the very high-achieving school-leavers have birthdays in the winter months, from September onwards.

Mrs Morpeth said: “Summer-born children do not do as well.”