SUMMER-born children will no longer be forced to miss a year of schooling following a government promise to change admission rules.

Parents have praised proposals by schools minister Nick Gibb that will let them choose which school year their child starts in.

He said the current system was not working and no child should be forced to start school before they are ready.

Children usually begin at reception in the September after turning four, but for those born between April 1 and August 31, parents often feel it is too soon.

In this case, by law the admission authority decides if the child should go straight into Year One aged five, which the minister said often results in “parents and the authorities failing to agree on the child’s best interests”.

Stuart and Phillippa Murphy fought for a reception place at Launton CoE School for their five-year-old daughter Poppy after authorities suggested she goes straight into Year One.

Last year the pair chose to hold back Poppy – whose birthday is on August 17 – for a year to start reception aged five as she had only turned four just days ahead of the start of term.

Mrs Murphy said: “A year ago Poppy would not have been ready at age four years and two weeks – not emotionally or socially. She would not have been ready mentally to learn.”

The parents wanted Poppy to start reception this month, but in line with the national admissions code, Oxfordshire County Council decided against the deferral.

Mr and Mrs Murphy fought against the decision, concerned that Poppy would miss out on “vital reading and phonics learning” and were offered a reception place a week into the school term.

Mrs Murphy, 34, said: “Common sense has prevailed. As a parent we know what is best for our children.

“The key is flexibility for parents. Not all summer-born children want to start later. It is all about readiness.”

The Government intends to change the rules but is calling for “immediate action” from schools and local authorities to give parents the choice.

Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said: “I actually think as long as it is the parents’ choice it is a very good idea.

“Some summer-born children are ready to start school and others are definitely not. It needs to be parental choice.”

A public consultation on changes will be held before being put forward for parliamentary approval.

Co-leader of the Summer Born campaign Pauline Hull said: “ It is not right for any summer-born child to miss any year of school but it’s certainly not fair for those in Liverpool or Hampshire to have better rights and access than those living in Kent or London.

“Unless these changes become a mandatory requirement in law, this scandal of forcibly missed school years will continue.”