WINCHESTER MP Steve Brine highlighted parental choice as a key reason for backing moves to allow summer-born children to enter education in reception at the age of five.

Mr Brine, whose son William started school this week, has been campaigning on the idea for a number of years.

He highlighted the fact that parents know what is best for their children over when it is right for them to start school.

The late-night debate last Monday came hours before Schools Minister Nick Gibb confirmed the government’s intention to give summer-born children the right to start in reception at the age of five.

Admission rules are set to be changed so children born between April 1 and August 31 cannot be forced to go straight into year 1 if they wait to start school until they turn five.

Mr Gibb has written an open letter to encourage schools and local authorities to take immediate action, in advance of the proposed changes, and allow summer-born children to start in reception aged 5 if that is what parents want.

Mr Brine said: “This is good news indeed, and I was delighted to be able to voice my support in the House in the debate even at nearly 1am.

"Time and again local parents have discussed the matter with me, and a parent of two little ones myself I have always been very supportive.

"Quite rightly, a full consultation will now be carried out and I look forward to seeing this returned before us in the House.”

Mr Brine had previously raised this issue in the Parliament, when two local parents approached him with their own concern.

The then-schools minister in the Coalition Government, Liz Truss, said at the time: “We are absolutely clear that parents should be able to say to a school, ‘We want our child, who is aged five, to enter reception’, if they feel that this is in the best interests of their child.”

Mr Brine added: “It is good news indeed that we have been able to progress the idea from the last Parliament into what will now become tangible legislation.”

He is keen to gather more evidence from local people, and constituents can contact him via and 01962 791110.