Keeping DS down a year at school?

(19 Posts)
snail1973 Thu 03-Oct-13 22:13:38

DH and I adopted DS at a few months old. He is now 3yrs and due to go to school next sept. It has become apparent that he has about a 1yr delay in his speech and language. This combined with the fact that he is an August baby is making us really concerned about how he will get on at school.

I am not actually worried about whether he will settle and enjoy reception, he loves preschool. I am more worried about how he will get on in the years following and I feel he would do much better in the year below.

We are currently exploring whether we could keep him down a year ie. delay him starting school by 1 year and for him to start in reception with the children in the year below his age group.

We are being told this is difficult to do and you need a "really strong case"

Does anyone have any experience of doing this and advice on how we could gather the right evidence for this?
Thanks

Boobybeau Thu 03-Oct-13 23:06:10

I don't know anyone who has managed this as usually if a child is held back until they turn 5 they then go straight into year 1 and skip reception which is even worse IMO. Does your ds see a SALT or any other professionals? They should be able to help you get him a statement so he can have extra support at school. Obviously I don't know the severity of your ds's needs but have you concidered a special needs school? they are a lot more tailored to the individual child

Namechangesforthehardstuff Thu 03-Oct-13 23:59:05

It seems unlikely although you would have 'a really strong case'.

Could you speak with the school about using the pupil premium for the support he needs?

snail1973 Fri 04-Oct-13 11:20:19

Thanks for the replies. I totally agree Boobybeau, there is no point in him just skipping reception. That's not what I am worried about. Its more than he is an Aug baby and on top of that he has speech and language delay. So the poor thing is always going to be lagging behind. And he is only a few weeks older than some of the kids in the class below, so it just feels like he would do better with that year group.

Yes we are seeing a SALT (privately because NHS was taking too long) and she has written a thorough report and is also working with us to help him.

We are also talking to the preschool SENCO and they may put him on an IEP.

I know what an IEP is, but I don't really know what it means in terms of whether that would help our case. Or whether actually the LA would just say if he has an IEP then he can continue with his peer group

And I don't know anything about pupil premium yet. Will do some reading about that one.

Crusoe Fri 04-Oct-13 11:33:49

Hi we were (are) in a similar situation. Our DS is also adopted, August birthday and had a speech delay. We were not able to keep him back a year which is a great shame. Academically he holds his own but socially and behaviourally he struggles a bit but basically it has not been as bad as we feared and the gap is beginning to close a little.
I think if you can't hold him back (which if you are in England I am afraid is quite unlikely) you just have to be very proactive with the school and push to get the support your son might need and do all you can at home to help.
Also I think if you do manage to hold him back a year I am correct in saying he still has to move to secondary school at the right time so you lose out in the end.
Good luck

Kewcumber Fri 04-Oct-13 17:56:08

I know someone who unsuccessfully tried to do this. Sorry not much help.

Namechangesforthehardstuff Fri 04-Oct-13 19:00:27

Ds will definitely be eligible and they will have to account for how they spend the money - it's about £900 pa IIRC.

If I know schools they'll be rather pleased if you put together a plan for what he might need.

It might be better to push for the support rather than follow what is possibly going to be a time consuming and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to keep him down a year. It really doesn't happen in my experience - sorry that that's not great news.

NoPartyDay Sat 05-Oct-13 02:37:40

You are wise to consider the age disadvantage now rather than later, as combined with social disadvantages, you have good reason to consider how you might help put him in a good position to be a confident student at school. Your son is very lucky you are thinking things through ahead of time, and fully on his side, doing what you can to bridge the gaps, where possible.
Perhaps speaking with or lobbying people higher up in the education department would benefit others in the future also in your son's position, to raise awareness that the system is unfair.
Education systems dont remain the same over time, and even if you cant be the first to change things now, being proactive will mean you are the beginning of a fairer education system for all in the future. Whatever happens, your son will have a bright future with your thoughtful support along the way.
I have one son I wish I held back and I have been told by the principal, although he may have challenges ahead with his schooling, he could "be one of those people who go on to study as an adult, after maturing and further developing in the areas needed to pursue higher education."
Being supportive enough to reveal and really encourage his strengths as well as accepting of his weaknesses is our aim. We dont want to pressure him so much he stops loving learning, but do really encourage him when we can
Good luck with everything

The only timer I've heard of someone achieving this (at the end of YR rather than the start though) was with a child who was due to have been born at the start of December but was very premature and born at the end of August. He had various issues which meant that being forced into starting school a year earlier because of his prematurity really was a big problem.
Eventually the authorities accepted the need to put him permanently in a year group as though he was actually born in December. However having the support of the school, because they knew him so well in YR, really helped the family achieve their aim. I think they might have struggle trying to convince people before he was in the school system IYSWIM.

roadwalker Sat 05-Oct-13 09:52:20

I tried to do this but was not successful
Because they all have to go to secondary at the same age, and leave school at a particular age it is not as easy as I thought
I wanted my DD to join a lower group and stay there but that was not possible so all I would have gained was her missing a year of primary

There are other things they can do to support, small groups, nurture group, TA support

Mutley77 Sun 06-Oct-13 12:10:29

I knew of a child who was prem (like MrsCakes) who's parents managed to achieve this.

Do you have any support from your social worker still (or your L.A. adoption support social worker) - I am sure they would be happy to advocate and support you in this regard and could perhaps help you gain access to other professionals who could write letters of support etc?

reindeesandchristmastrees Sun 06-Oct-13 18:14:21

It has been done by a friend of mine but she put together a very thorough appeal and the specialist said in his report that credence should be given to the parents views. This child was prem. good luck

KristinaM Sun 06-Oct-13 20:28:49

Sorry no particular advice

But just to say that this happens all the time in Scotland, where children born in the last Two months before the cut off date have an automatic right to an extra year of funding for nursery and deferred entry into school . Here the date is 28 February as children don't have to start school until the term in which they turn 6, whereas in England it's the term after they turn 5 ( I think) .

And children born in the previous 5months are allowed to request this ( and always get it ) . No reason is needed, it's just done on month of birth.

So the youngest a child can start school is 4 years 5 months.

It's very common, IME there are one or two children who have deferred entry in each primary class.

As I've never heard a single teacher says its an educational or social problem at all. Nor have I heard of any parent who has regretted deferring entry. I know a few who have regretted not doing it.

I know this doesn't help you with your bureaucratic problem but hopefully will reassure you that it will help you child.

lougle Sun 06-Oct-13 22:05:34

Firstly, the admissions code has changed from 2012:

"2.17 Admission of children outside their normal age group - Parents of gifted and talented children, or those who have experienced problems or missed part of a year, for example due to ill health, can seek places outside their normal age group. Admission authorities must make decisions on the basis of the circumstances of each case, informing parents of their statutory right to appeal. This right does not apply if they are offered a place in another year group at the school."

So there is a more reasonable chance of this succeeding than there would have been under the old code.

Secondly, a child who is otherwise developing well is very unlikely to be awarded a statement because of a 1 yr speech and language delay. Statements are incredibly rare (2% of school children, on average, have them) and a child needs to have severe and/or complex needs to be awarded one.

Having said that, your DS may well qualify for 'SEN Support' (the new term from Sept 2014, which replaces School Action/School Action +) if his speech delay is affecting his learning at school.

Swanhilda Fri 11-Oct-13 20:19:07

I know someone who managed this with a non-adopted child. He had a statement of educational need from nursery I think. He is thriving a year below, and at secondary a year below. It can be done. I don't know details, just that it does happen.
I would definitely try and make it happen, as really it is just a technicality that your child is NOT in the year below - a matter of days.

jwpetal Sun 13-Oct-13 10:41:17

dI don't know if this thread is still being looked at but it is completely possible to delay and start reception at 5 for summer born babies whether premature or not. I have done it for my premature twin daughters and am part of a forum of many people who have successfully done so for summer born babies (not premature and not SEN). You can do a search for the group Summer Born Babies through googlemail and facebook.

The DfE has also stated that councils that have blanket policies on delaying children going straight to year 1 is illegal and you can challenge your council on this issue.

this process does not come easy but is doable. it was the best thing we did for our daughters.

maindoors Wed 16-Oct-13 14:01:36

Hi,
I've just posted a very similar question in the Special Needs children forum before I came here for my DS. It's really interesting to read the new guidance from the DfE for summer babies and also the Scottish experience which I had heard of before - which is just so much more humane than this need to pin all children to one date. What's really galling is that it seems everyone else's opinion on what is best for my son's long term education counts more than mine! Grrrr....

Would love to hear from anyone else who has had success making a deferrment....

ooerrmissus Wed 16-Oct-13 14:11:04

Hi

My kids are at a small independent school where they regularly do this; they are able to take a much more flexible view based on the needs of the child. I don't know if this might be an option for you?

HTH

ks9aq Wed 16-Oct-13 20:15:28

In the school I teach in we have had two boys who have worked in the year below, also had August birthdays. One boy had a statement from nursery and started school a year late and went to secondary a year late and as far as I know he is still doing well. The second boy we had started at the right time in reception, but could not cope well in Y1 and repeated Y1 and moved up the school a year behind. He obtained a statement for EBD in Y1/2. He has moved to secondary school this year. The other children accepted it and it helped that both children were born in August.

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