To be worried sick about son starting school to young!

(104 Posts)
madmacbrock Thu 04-Apr-13 22:32:27

I appear to be on my own with this.
My son was born on the 29th Aug, and i am dreading school time (his is only 19mths) This is not down to me 'wanting to keep him to myself a bit longer' but all the research i have read that suggests summerborn children (espesially boys) do not do as well as those born in the autumn. He will be smaller than the others, less developed emotionally, physically and mentally. I remeber the summerborn boys from my school years and they were all 'outsiders'
I realise he could start a year later, rather than a few days after his 4th birthday but would go to 1st year rather than reception, that has issues socially! and also seems pointless as he will still be 'behind' all the way through to high school. does anyone know of anyway round this?
I am concidering moving country to a place where the stupid rule doesnt apply or even lying about his DOB, is that fraud? everyone i speak to thinks im over reacting and that the system has been in place for years and he'll cope! Is it wrong of me to want my child to at least have the opportunity to thrive rather than to just cope and get by? confused

reluctantmover Fri 05-Apr-13 23:12:41

Go into any maternelle in France and you'll see there is a curriculum and it is indeed a school, with a head teacher, with class teachers, where most children attend every day, where the children attend in the same way as children further up the school in the élementaire" (primary) classes or in the same way as the nearby "élementaire". You are not going to see much difference in real terms between Reception class in England and moyenne section / grande section of a maternelle in France, there are certainly far more common points than points which separate these systems. Brits who move to France are often at first quite shocked to find school can start before the age of 3 there.

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 05-Apr-13 23:08:18

I think 4 is too young for many. I've one early October born, who's sailed through most everything and one mid July, who's had difficulties. While many will cope that young, some will not. You just have to be really communicative with the school about your concerns.

My July born has SN too and has been pretty down about himself in school recently. He's started in a self esteem group with the learning mentors at school and has been way more positive since. They've really supported him in school and it's made a huge difference.

Sorry, most countries: aged 5 in Ireland and the Netherlands.
7 in Poland shock. And Lithuania.

Intersting read. Thanks for the link.

Germany starts Kindergarten aged 3.
3 years of preschool education.
Schoolage is 6 - sometimes 7. There is an assessment to ascertain 'school maturity', in an acknowledgement that children mature at different rates.

Don't get me wrong - when I was wee (in Germany), you were considered not ready for school if you still had all your baby teeth grin - I am not sure what dentition has to do with educational maturity hmm.
I went to nursery in the States, aged 3, they had an experimental preschool class, mixing 5 and 6 year olds. This was in the 70s, admittedly.

In your link, Primary Education starts aged 6 in all countries, preschool education 2-3.

I am not sure what the rush is all about, not just wrt to starting school, but also leaving school: a lot of teenagers could do with another year or 2 to mature and figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives.
And as our kids are all going to work until they are 85, I really don't see why we should endeaver putting them through school as quickly as possible... wink

reluctantmover Fri 05-Apr-13 22:59:01

95% of 3 year olds go to school in France, according to wikipedia.
fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89cole_maternelle

reluctantmover Fri 05-Apr-13 22:54:34

Spain, France, Belgium, peuter is more and more common in Netherlands, probably many other countries too, Germany, Italy etc etc, all can start before the age of 5, take a look here, I think you'll find England/Wales are quite late in starting school in comparison to many children in the rest of the EU.
eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/facts_and_figures/education_structures_EN.pdf

reluctantmover, in which European country do children start school between 2 and 3??

OP, I hope you find some reassurance in all the positive stories on here. Do what is right for YOUR child - all the anecdotes in the world do not data make grin.

piprabbit Fri 05-Apr-13 22:17:55

We had to show our DCs birth certificates to the school before they started. And prove we lived in our house. It wasn't a problem or a big deal at all, but then again we didn't have anything to hide.

reluctantmover Fri 05-Apr-13 22:13:17

Sorry if this has already been said but could I correct someone's assertion that the rest of Europe has the standard of 6 or 7 for starting school, this is incorrect.

In many other countries in Europe, children can start at school between the age of 2 and 3, it might be 6 for compulsory schooling but they can and many do take up the offer of free schooling for several years before. It's normal in schools in these countries for children to sleep for an hour or so in the middle of the day, if they are under 5 years old. In many of these countries, children can stay part time but in fact many go full time.

funkybuddah Fri 05-Apr-13 22:13:07

My nephew is late August, one of the brightest kids in his year. Best friends dd shares your DS birthday, again very bright and doing just fine.

They dont have to be at school until the term after they are 5 so you could wait until yr 1 but then he would be even more behind.

reception year is very laid back IMO and just like pre school

jellybeans Fri 05-Apr-13 22:08:55

My twins were early and scraped the year above! They were literally just 4 and were fine although took a while to settle.

sarahtigh Fri 05-Apr-13 21:57:10

oxbridge reference was BBC news 27 february 2013 in politics section

so yes it makes a difference but as liegeandlief said other things are bigger factors a september birthday is not going to compensate for uninterested parents never doing homework etc

in scotland your DS would be 4 yrs 11months and 2-3 weeks when he started school as generally school year starts 15th-20th august, the youngest child in his class would have a birthdate of 28/29th feb so be almost 4 1/2 though they may defer

in scotland if you defer you stay in that year group until you leave school unlike England where at some point you will have to move up a year

PurpleStorm Fri 05-Apr-13 20:46:46

YANBU to worry, especially given that the various research on August babies suggests they do slightly less well.

I worry about this too for my DS (also 19 months) - he was born in mid-August, but 6 weeks premature, so if he'd been full term, he'd be starting school a year later IYSWIM.

But given how inflexible the schools admissions are regarding the cut off point, there's not really any choice in the matter. I'd be surprised if lying about his DOB would work out as well.

I guess the best thing to do is focus on how to prepare your DS for school and how to best support his learning and development.

LiegeAndLief Fri 05-Apr-13 20:31:31

I read a very interesting article a while ago (sadly no link) reporting a meta analysis of academic success. It concluded that by far the most important factor in a child's academic success was his parents' level of education. This was compared to the month of birth, socioecomic factors, OFSTED grading of school.

It has made me worry a lot less about my prem August born ds!

sarahtigh Fri 05-Apr-13 20:09:44

YANBU to be a bit worried as the evidence does suggest that in England where cut off point is 31st august that summer borns do marginally less well there was a recent survey that shown this even in oxbridge entrants that this was true

the is a general average there will be plenty that do fine by siter born end of august did great though she took 2 years to learn to read and within 6 months after that had completely finished whole reading scheme she has MA and academically has done the best in family

unfortunately so many schools have stopped staggered intakes I start at easter as april birthday

shewhowines Fri 05-Apr-13 19:25:04

IME my Aug DS was absolutely fine in reception because it is mainly play based learning. He had a harder time in Yr 1 because they were expected to sit at their desks and learn for quite long periods of time. It was then his age showed and he really hated year 1. After that he was fine.

So don't worry about starting in reception he will be fine. In fact, it is probably the brighter older ones who are most likely to be disadvantaged as they are the ones "held back" from the more formal learning they are ready for.

Firstly, my sister is a late night 31st August baby, and she has done just fine!

Secondly, if you have the money private schools are sometimes more flexible about holding children back/putting them forward a year.

Thirdly, in theory the advantage of having him go straight into your 1 would be that you could cover the reception work 1on1 with him fairly easily, so that he would be at the same stage as the others at school (not behind) and at this age they are very adaptable socially.

Which is all why there's no point worrying just yet, try and relax and wait and see where you are in a few years time.

cece Fri 05-Apr-13 19:24:17

My Summer born D thrived in Reception.

My Autumn born DS1 had a really bad year and struggled with all the play based learning in Recpetion. His behaviour was very poor. Funnily enough as soon as he was in Y1 this improved and has continued to do so with each subsequent year.

dixiechick1975 Fri 05-Apr-13 19:23:42

Some private schools may be more flexible if that is an option for you op?

Not without problems though as he would be switched into correct year if you move into state.

I know there are a couple of children out of year at dd's school (private) inc a mid august birthday.

I am concidering moving country to a place where the stupid rule doesnt apply or even lying about his DOB, is that fraud?

For real? shock

Lara2 Fri 05-Apr-13 19:17:07

OP, don't worry - I have been a Year R teacher for many years and I'm used to very little, young children in school. It certainly isn't just about them coping, but making sure they're happy, settled, confident and making progress that is appropriate for them. I have twins in my class this year, their birthday is 30th August; at the start of the year you would have picked them out as being younger, but not now. They are all the things I mentioned above and I'm actually more worried about some of my older children's progress!
You say your DS is only 19mths, you need to take a deep breath and enjoy every moment of now with him. School will happen and as long as you're calm and positive for him I'm surevitbwill all go smoothly. flowers

Shelly32 Fri 05-Apr-13 19:14:48

Just to put your mind at ease further, my DDs were 7 weeks prem and within a year had caught up in every aspect with 'the norm'.

Shelly32 Fri 05-Apr-13 19:11:57

I don't think you're being unreasonable for worrying a little. Kids do all develop at different stages though and they'll be some kids Dec born who may not be able to absorb things the way your DC will. I wouldn't fret too much. You could help by finding out the curriculum and helping your DC along by covering some of the things in a fun way. My girls are 3.4 and they can hold a pencil, kind of draw a circle, know their ABCs and 1-20. They are desperate to read but that'll come when it's ready to. I wouldn't push your DC past this and wouldn't do anything he doesn't enjoy. Maybe he's doing all this and more but many kids get to primary school and can't do ANY of this. If your DC does struggle, there are plenty of things the teacher and you can do to help so don't worry X

bananasontoast Fri 05-Apr-13 17:20:55

You are right about the research. I have a summer born son too and I also want him to have the opportunity to thrive not just be able to cope. The admissions system has become inflexible after the Sir Jim Rose Report. The new admissions code was meant to be less prescriptive to allow for flexiblilty, but local authority's have gone the other way rather than use common sense.

Compulsory School Age as defined by Section 8 of the Education Act 1996. A person begins to be of compulsory school age when he attains the age of five.

Reception Class as defined by Section 142 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. An entry class to primary schools providing education suitable for children aged five and any children who are under of over five years old whom it is expedient to educate with pupils of that age.

As reception class is primarily defined as a class for 5 year olds, you would be completely within your rights to request that your son starts school at age 5 in Reception.

Check out the google group"Flexible School Admissions for Summer Borns" and the Facebook group with the same name.

It can and has been done. It can be a long process though, so if that's what you feel is right for your son, don't leave it to the last minute. As far as I can remember, for those that has been successful - it has taken around 2 years to get there. Best of luck with whatever you choose to do.

QueenCadbury Fri 05-Apr-13 13:43:12

I haven't had a chance to read all the posts but I genuinely can't understand some of your concerns. I can understand you worrying that he may not be emotionally ready (dc1 and 2 are sept/oct and were totally ready in the fact that they were bored as they'd been stuck in preschool for 2 whole years) but there is not a lot you can do to ensure he has the same chance as everyone else. You could argue that if he starts school a year later then he hasn't been given the same chance as everyone else. All kids develop at different ages and have different abilities and with the right support at home there's no reason why he should struggle academically. Reception is pretty much just an extension of nursery anyway with focus on play and all the early years development stuff. The systemis what it is and whatever you do he is always going to be the youngest and there are always going to be statistics saying that he'll be disadvantaged but they are just numbers and your ds could just as easily not be a statistic.

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