In short, when we decided that we wanted our son to begin school in England at compulsory school age and not before, our 'request' for this to happen opened a huge can of worms.... that ultimately led to summerbornchildren.org
Being 'summer born' in England (in legal terms, born between April 1st and August 31st) means, in theory at least, a child can start school in one of two different academic years, depending on whether the parent wants them to commence their education before or at the law's prescribed deadline.
This is something readers from countries like Canada, America and even Scotland might be familiar with, but in England the 'norm' or what's 'normal' is for all children to start school at age 4 - despite professing to be a country with a compulsory school age of 'the term following a child's 5th birthday'.
Most parents who dare to fight for a school start in the September when their child is age 5 often face insurmountable opposition from schools and/or local authorities, and even the 'lucky' ones who do succeed in securing a Reception (Kindergarten) class start at age 5 for their summer born child live in fear of their being forced to 'skip' a year later on in primary school or upon entry to secondary school.
And yes, this really does happen to children in England - and also to children who move to England from overseas with a date of birth that falls within a different 'chronological age group' than the country they've moved from.
In practice, it means these children lose a year of their education, and even children with English as a second language are shoehorned into strictly enforced 12-month teaching 'batches' [September 1st - August 31st]. And should Special Educational Needs money need to be thrown at any subsequent problems these children may face, this approach is still considered preferable to 'opening the floodgates' and having too many children floating around in the 'wrong' year group.
The words unjust, illogical, inconsistent and ideological come to mind.... As do the need for greater flexibility, autonomy, freedom of choice and focus on an individual's best interests...
But wait, in what context have I come across these terms before?
Policy makers too afraid of changing the status quo, too afraid that if they allow a minority of people to do something, too many others might follow; a misconceived perception of what this 'different' choice might cost financially (despite evidence that this choice is more cost-effective in the long-term); and favoring what's 'normal' regardless of the risks and/or outcome for the individual.