Question re: the summer-born children starting school

(62 Posts)
PMHull Fri 23-Nov-12 21:23:43

Has anyone succeeded in delaying their summer-born child and starting RECEPTION (not Year 1) until after they've just turned 5?

I'm not interested in starting a debate about the necessity of doing this - mainly because there will always be anecdotal cases of 'my son started school three days after he turned 4 and he took his GCSEs aged 10' - I'd just really appreciate hearing from anyone whose local council and/or MP supported their parental choice.

Thank you.

BooksandaCuppa Sun 25-Nov-12 10:12:44

Sorry that second para should have included '...once they've started school'

Yes, I managed to get the Council to support my application for DD1, born in July, to stay at nursery school for another year.

In the end, after lots and lots of discussion with the primary school, she had short days until January.

Mindingalongtime Sun 25-Nov-12 12:51:23

There is some very useful and interesting information on this site:

www.myschoolgate.co.uk/blog/view/your-rights-deferring-your-childs-primary-school-place/

The primary my children attended had both a younger age child (dob 6/9) in the reception class and over age 31/8.

They both went to secondary school with all of their peers so the younger child was only just 11 and some children had turned 12. The younger child is a top lawyer and has excelled all the way through school and uni.

It can work for both, just depends on the HT and LA.

LeeCoakley Sun 25-Nov-12 13:32:51

I know a girl who was born on 30th August, whose actual EDD was in November. She was immature compared to the rest of the class and when she left school at the end of year 2 she was the perfect example of someone who would have benefitted from repeating a year, especially as she would have ended up in her 'correct' year by doing that. But I don't agree with parents deciding which year their child should start, it would have to be in agreement with the school and other agencies. What would happen to the children who couldn't get a place in reception due to a large number of deferrers?

NamingOfParts Sun 25-Nov-12 13:50:51

One of the big advantages of getting the children in on age but then 'managing' the pupils through the groups after that.

Our experience in the Netherlands was that pupils were held back if repeating a year would be of benefit. There wasnt a process of passing each year. There is a difference in my opinion.

Having 3 DCs we managed to cover all the bases of being the youngest in the year (DC1), held back a year (DC2), being proposed to go up out of group 1/2 a year early (DC3).

The thing was that the system worked for each child.

incogneetow Sun 25-Nov-12 16:03:40

Ds1 started school the term after his 5th (summer) birthday.
He started play group late (because he didn't like it at 2); and at 4 did just 2 hrs per day at a nursery with a "free choice/unstructured" nursery.

But he went straight in to yr1, skipping reception. (He'd learned to read at home, though had done very little writing.)
The first term was a bit bumpy as he came to terms with the amount of conformity required at school, but he soon settled in.

Fast forward 10 years and he's currently on track for A* in all his GCSEs. I'm pleased we didn't/weren't able to hold him back a year at age 5.

PMHull Sun 25-Nov-12 17:30:48

incogneetow This may be the only option available in the end, and it's good to hear that you've had a good experience. Thank you. :-) Unfortunately, this doesn't take away from the fact that there are still summer-born children who fall through the cracks and don't end up reaching their full potential (possibly) because they began school too young. I've heard (or read about) so many people say they wished their child hadn't started school so young because of problems later - or just at the time of reception and/or year 1.

I can understand the point made by some posters here - that in the end 'someone has to be the youngest', but my point is that if we tried better as a society to have more children starting together at a similar 'developmental age' rather than simply the September 1st cut off, it could be better for everyone. I know of two children whose parents think they would have been happier starting school a year earlier (they were both September-born babies) for example, and that they suffered boredom while 'waiting' another year of pre-school.

As for the argument that by deferring my son one year, I would be taking a reception place away from another child, I'm afraid I don't accept this as a reason for not allowing it. So much of getting a place comes down to so many factors anyway (families moving to the area or closer to the school, or numbers of siblings in a particular year group etc.). Yes, my son would take a Reception place that 'could' have gone to another child in one year, but in the previous year (the one he was 'supposed to be in', that place would have gone to someone else.

anniebunny Sun 25-Nov-12 17:41:04

A little boy at my kids' school is having another year in nursery this year instead of starting reception. He was born prematurely in August. School has mixed year group classes (admission of 40 per year) so he will go into the reception/yr 1 class next year, then the year 1/2 class the year after then rejoin 'his' year for year 3. So it IS possible.

Personally I have June born twin boys who were/are very young for their age and really struggled in reception-HOWEVER they have now caught up (year 6)and are doing really well and I don't know how they would have coped with jumping up a year if they had spent another year in nursery. Even in mixed year classes the work is set for each child based on which year group they fall into.

So I have mixed feelings about keeping kids back for a year (or moving them up a year)unless there is a clear plan for how they will rejoin 'their' year or for what will happen when they move up to secondary. We shall see what happens with the little boy that I know!

NamingOfParts Sun 25-Nov-12 18:09:06

I dont see why there is a need for a pupil to rejoin 'their' year unless at secondary unless they are emotionally and academically ready. If this can be managed through primary then I dont see why that should continue into secondary. It is only the artificial requirements of age based assessment - SATs which forces this.

If you think about it, the August birthday child is only a month older than the September birthday child who is in the year as of right. When our DS was held back a year he was in effect only held back one day as his birthday falls on the day before the cut off.

NamingOfParts Sun 25-Nov-12 18:12:24

shouldnt continue

perhaps I should have done an extra year at school!

I thought the School Admissions Code 2011 was supposed to give parents the option, especially as the report that triggered the Code was specifically about summer born children? Did I get this wrong?

tiggytape Sun 25-Nov-12 19:43:45

Parents have the right to defer entry until after the child has turned 5 and the school have no right to stop this. So for example, a parent can insist their Summer born child starts after Easter and the school cannot take thier place away or have a blanket policy that everyone must start in the September.

What parents have no right to insist upon however is placing a children in the 'wrong' year group for their age.
So with a child born August 31st, parents can delay their entry into Reception until they are very nearly 5 years old but they cannot insist the child start in reception the week after they turn 5 (because that isn't their correct year group for their birthday).

tiggytape Sun 25-Nov-12 19:44:46

The right to defer only lasts in Reception until the child is 5 or the end of reception year. If you defer beyond that, the child must go straight into Year 1 and your place is not held for you - you have to reapply.

prh47bridge Sun 25-Nov-12 20:06:34

The Admissions Code gives parents the option of deferring entry until the start of term following the child's fifth birthday but it does not give parents the right to have their child start in Reception a year late. If parents choose to defer for a full year the school is not allowed to keep the place open for them. It is therefore likely that any parents who delay entry for a full year will find their child going straight into Y1 and will have a limited choice of schools.

The Rose Report was about the primary curriculum in general, not just summer born children. In considering summer born children the report cited research that suggests deferring entry on the grounds of date of birth, language delay or social factors is a questionable response to the issues surrounding summer born children. At the time of the report some schools would not allow summer born children to start school until January or April. The report was of the view that this practise disadvantaged the children affected. The primary recommendation to help summer born children was to allow all children to start school in the September following their fourth birthday whilst giving parents the right to defer until later in the year or opt for part time attendance. It did not recommend that parents should be allowed to put their child into Reception a year late.

prh47bridge thank you for the clarification, although seems to me that it's two separate issues; deferring which is covered under the School Admission Code and then the Council policy of whether to keep children in an age related group or not. I know that a friend in a neighbouring area, one of her children was held back a year (probably extenuating circumstances) but he was given a statement, whereas when they moved to our area, he was put into his age related group.

One of the interesting aspects from a developmental stance about summer born DD1, is that she puts so much more effort into her school work. Being one of the youngest she has felt the need to prove herself, but as a result is happy to ask for help, ask when she doesn't understand something, and is doing very well. smile

losingtrust Sun 25-Nov-12 22:50:38

I noticed with two summer born children that they work hard and I probably worked harder with them for them to catch up. The school also helped a lot and the younger ones caught up by year 5/6 and became the added value kids for the school. It does depend on the school and I could not have held mine back. Statistics are dangerous things because they make you assume the worst. The top stream at ds school has a large proportion of summer born in fact all the summer borns I know and none were hold back. I realize this is anecdotal but I think the statistics sometimes make parents push harder to gef the best to avoid the pitfalls. Summer borns may struggle in pe though due to size.

prh47bridge Mon 26-Nov-12 00:15:22

ilovemydogandMrObama - Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. The Rose Report specifically considered the option of allowing parents to put their child into Reception a year late and rejected that option. That was part of the context for the comment in the report regarding research into deferring entry which I mentioned in my last post.

Dozer Mon 26-Nov-12 20:06:15

That doesn't make sense losingtrust! Statistics are better than anecdotes.

OP am in similar situation with DD2 and agree with many of your points, but think the reality is that there is little prospect of change (see the recent thread on MNabout michael gove's comments about premature babies and deferring to the due-date year). For those of us in England, there is no choice to start reception aged 5 in the state sector.

I know of several DC from wealthy families in private schools "out of year", but suspect that should they have to move back to state at some point the local authority would require them to skip a year to go back to the "correct" year, which would obviously be difficult.

losingtrust Tue 27-Nov-12 12:36:13

My point really Dozer is that the statistics make

losingtrust Tue 27-Nov-12 12:42:16

Sorry damn iPhone. My point was that the statistics can cause people to worry and assume that they should hold their children back otherwise they will fail but in reality parents can do a kith themselves. Knowing the children are likely to be behind means you can do extra work to help them catch up. It does not lead to an unwanted outcome for the child. It is good to know but no need to do anything as dramatic as holding back a child which most schools would not allow but to do more work with the child. Statistics show potential outcomes but not predetermined outcomes and are not case specific. Better to be known though and allowances made.

PMHull Tue 27-Nov-12 20:43:59

I think the phrase 'holding a child back' is not how I would describe what I would like to do, although I can see how it is viewed that way by others. I just want to wait until my child is mature enough / ready for school - to move him forward at his own developmental pace instead of prematurely.

And it's not just about being worried about the longer term overall academic outcomes for summer-born children either - I'm more interested in my son's experience of his reception year. I know that he would enjoy it far more aged 5 than he would age 4, but yet a rigid system discounts that, and says 'oh, he'll be alright; he'll cope'. Everyone else manages ok.

Except they don't - I'm talking to various mums at the moment (all with children in reception year - both at school and at after-school activities) and they talk about how tired their chidren are or how their behaviour has got worse (more tantrums etc.) since they started school.

And this is not an issue of teaching skills either - I've had one teacher on facebook take my preference to delay starting my son quite personally, as though I was somehow not trusting enough of teachers' ability to be able to differentiate effectively in the classroom. This is about more than ABCs and 123s - it's being flexible enough to allow naps as needed, having one-to-one affection when wanted, feeling safe and comfortable in a home environment (along with outside activities with other children of course, e.g. toddler groups) and generally not being so 'structured' in a school setting - when he's barely 4...

I think that perhaps this doesn't make sense to lots of people because the norm today is for many children to be in structured settings from very young ages. Four years-old probably sounds quite old! But I'm not criticising that choice, I'm just saying that I wish the education system would accommodate ALL parenting styles and choices, and not just those that support or encourage school or nursery entry at what I feel is a very early age - for my child.

prh47bridge Tue 27-Nov-12 23:45:19

My October born child was tired and had more tantrums once he started school. My (now grown up) daughters who didn't start school until they had turned five were tired and had more tantrums once they started school.

Reception follows the same curriculum as nursery. It is about learning through play and making a gentle transition into school, preparing the child for the more structured approach that starts in Y1. It has far more in common with a nursery than with most people's picture of school.

PMHull Wed 28-Nov-12 07:58:30

Thanks again everyone. I hear what you say about nursery, but as I say, I don't send my children to nursery. That's not my choice.

I also hear what you're saying about all children being tired, and I would agree - my September-born child is more tired - but she's not having more tantrums or showing signs of real distress or being overwhelmed/unhappy. The latter is how some of the women I've talked to describe their very young boys - anecdotal, yes, but a view upported by many early-learning specialists who say that boys - in general - are starting school too young.

In Canada, children don't start school (reception/ kindergarten) until they have actually turned 5, and parents are even given the choice to differ their equivalent of summer-born children (actually winter-born over there due to different cut-off dates) for a further year.

I think we're just set in our ways here in the UK, and as I keep saying - I'm not criticizing what the majority seem happy doing, but I am criticizing a system that does not allow the flexibility of something different.

My post was looking for others to contact me if they'd succeeded in deferring their child for one year - into reception. I think I've learned that there are very few!

BikeRunSki Brazil Wed 28-Nov-12 08:07:49

My window cleaner did it! We have long chats about our kids as his DD is only a week older than DS, but it is the week of 31 Aug - 7 Sept. He didn't feel that his DD was emotionally mature enough for school this year, and she has been very ill and still sleeps for 2 hours in the afternoons. He put his case to the Council, who accepted it but are encouraging him to do simple learning things at home. I think she still goes to pre school too. She's skipping reception and will join her peers in Class 1 in Sept.

losingtrust Wed 28-Nov-12 14:00:46

I believe some schools only do mornings for the first half term to settle the kids in better which may suit better. I suppose the difficulty with the argument is that many children are at full time nurseries from ver young ages for long hours and stop napping when they go to pre-school. I know you don't agree with anecdotal but I would not generalize about boys and girls. My ds loved going to school from day 1. Never had tantrums and made friends straight away with many kids including the older one. My dd found the social side harder but I changed to a child minder with her for that reason as I knew from a very young age that she found being sociable harder and was much happier in smaller groups but that is more down to personality. Both are summer born and I have had a different experience with them both. However both are mature for their ages as teachers have told me and therefore there could be a September child who also struggles socially and therefore schools would have to allow for these children to delay starting too if circumstances permit. As many have said reception has the same environment as nursery and the teachers switch between them both and there were plenty of cuddles and quiet places for children to rest if they got tired.

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