Premature and summer born children will be allowed to start school later, to help them avoid difficulties in later life.

Merton Council has agreed to change its admissions procedure to allow parents of summer born children to defer their entry until they are ready, after complaints that the process was too difficult.

Several concerned parents had contacted Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, who held an adjournment debate in Parliament and proposed that summer born children should have the right to defer their school start date.

The Minister for schools, Nick Gibb, agreed with the proposals, and Mr Hammond has since written to Merton Council asking that it implements the changes.

Mr Hammond said: "It is fantastic news that Merton Council has agreed a more flexible system for summer born children.

"This will mean that summer born and premature children can start school when they are ready, helping them reach their full potential.

"I would like to thank parents in Merton and across the country who have been fighting for these changes, they would not have happened were it not for their dedication."

A Department for Education study last year suggested that children born in the summer months may have long term development issues and difficulties with education, which can lead to issues with confidence and bullying.

The changes mean that parents would have more of a say in deciding whether or not their children are ready to begin school.

The council has agreed that it will take a more open approach to applications from parents to defer their child’s entry to school, with a presumption that such applications will be approved.

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