It is hard not to have sympathy with both parents and local authorities when considering the thorny issue of when children born in the summer months should start school.
An investigation by The Yorkshire Post reveals how a lack of clear guidance from the Government seems to created a postcode lottery on the issue of children who would otherwise be the youngest in their year being allowed to join school later and not miss out on the valuable time in a reception class that their peers enjoy.
While some councils are approving all such requests in the wake of a Government announcement in September 2015, others are rejecting the majority of applications. It is undoubtedly a complicated issue, not least because there has to be a cut-off point at some stage, but the figures appear to suggest that local authorities are essentially making policy arbitrarily.
The Department for Education acknowledges as much when it says that it is “carefully considering” how to address the concerning issue of some children missing out on the reception year.
Education begins at home and should be a partnership between schools, children and parents if it is to be a success. While children do develop at different rates, with some thriving early despite being among the youngest in their class and others doing better later on at school, it is clear that there should be a level playing field so everyone is subject to the same rules, no matter where they happen to live.