New plans to allow parents to delay children’s school start date

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Parents could be allowed to hold their children’s school start date by a year following a government study.

Children are allowed to go to primary in the September following their fourth birthday, but official figures showed that by the time they were aged 11, August-born children were 50 per cent more likely to be labelled “special needs” - meaning that thousands of teenagers could be placed in this category when they are merely young for their year group.

A study by Stanford University found that “a one-year delay in the start of school dramatically reduces inattention/hyperactivity at age 7”.

Aside from the unfortunate mis-labeling of youngsters, there’s no concrete evidence of any improvement in terms of exam results, but this hasn’t stopped parents from “redshirting” their offspring - named after the US practice of keeping players out of a sports team for a year to mature.

Recently, schools minister Nick Gibb said that children born between April and August would be allowed to go into reception a year later if their parents felt they were not ready for school. The Department for Education is keen to have parliament approve the changes to the rules as soon as possible.