Someone told me recently that if I delay my child's start into Reception until, say, January 2014 (he was born in the summer) then the primary school he goes to won't get funding for him until Sept 2014. Does anyone know if that is correct? It sounds a bit harsh for the school to me. Especially if half the class are in a similar situation.
Yes - technically this is correct. The Head count used to take place in April (I think) but has now been moved forward to October so any child not attending in October won't count for funding purposes.
This has no impact on parents. You have an absolute right to defer entry until January with a summer born child but it may mean some schools, anxious not to miss out on funding, push to get everyone to start in September. They cannot do anythign about your decision to defer but they might not like it much.
No that is incorrect - the January date will nolonger apply. Funding from April 2013, will be based on the number of children in the school on the set date in October 2012. This is due to last year's School Funding Reform whereby the January headcount was abolished and the October one brought in.
This is the relevant passage about it from DfE:
"During the consultation period, local authorities queried how children who defer entry to reception classes might be accounted for as they would not appear in the October census and so would not attract funding. To prevent schools with lots of deferred entries to Reception classes being disadvantaged, we will uplift the DSG to reflect the difference in Reception pupil numbers between the October and January counts of the previous academic year. Regulations will allow local authorities to apply this uplift in pupil numbers to all schools with Reception classes, reflecting what actually happened in each school in the previous year."
The worry is that DSG is a grant and is paid back later and is not ring fenced so it is not the same as guaranteed money paid in advance. It has to be clawed back later and may not be as secure / protected whereas the October headcount generates imediate, clear and guaranteed funding per child. This worry may not amount to anything but as far as schools are concerned a bird in the hand....
My understanding is that the DfE have looked at the level of deferment for schools and are in effect giving extra funding equivalent to the average number of pupils that deferred entry. Like a lot of the new funding arrangements this is very much on a suck it and see situation. David Laws as responsible minister for funding has already promised to review any areas of the new funding regime that cause undue turbulence. However what we might call undue turbulence the department may well ignore! This is the schools problem and if you feel your child is not ready for school then you should do what is best for your child. The school will survive, though no doubt put pressure on parents to send their children to school by October.