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.

Tiggywunkle Fri 06-Sep-13 12:11:02

I hope no one minds this topic being boosted up but its really a hot topic right now.

I am trying to get my son - July 2010 born - delayed a school year.

I have worked in schools and have seen that a good number of summer born children struggle (conversely some don't) but at various times in school, all the children who needed support in my classes with reading etc. were all summer borns.

We lived in a county until last year who supported the notion for my son to be delayed a school year so that he starts in September 2015 IN RECEPTION, not Year 1 (instead of starting reception in a years time Sept 2014). However we then moved house and our local LEA and school are completely anti the notion. My son does have additional needs but even that wasn't of any help - in fact its been a barrier because the school and LEA say a statement would provide the necessary support. However no statement or school or LEA can address that socially and emotionally my son could do with the extra time to develop to simply 'cope' better at school. He quite simply needs more time to grow and develop.

To cut a long story short, we saw that this "Advice on the admission of summer born children" document had been published by the Department of Education over the summer and for anyone looking to delay a summer born child, this clarifies the position.

To quote:

"Key points
• school admission authorities are required to provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday, but flexibilities exist for children whose parents do not feel they are ready to begin school at this point
• school admission authorities are responsible for making the decision on which year group a child should be admitted to, but are required to make a decision based on the circumstances of the case
• there is no statutory barrier to children being admitted outside their normal year group"

I suspect the posters in the thread above are some of those fab people who have been trying to get clarification on this issue on the Google group and the Facebook group "Flexible School Admissions for Summer Borns", and they are doing a great job of pushing points through a government debate, and asking for help to ensure it is easier for parents to request their child delays a year if appropriate. This debate took place on Wednesday (I have linked to the summerbornchildren.org website because it has the transcript and video there - the video is good to watch) and the Minister for Education are trying to make it clearer to parents that their child can start school at the level to meet their needs which does include starting in reception at statutory school age for a summer born baby. There seemed to be no better way than to start to get this message across than to add this thread which comes up near the top of Google about this topic.
I wanted to update it and say YES it is possible - you may yet have some persuading LEAs that things are changing (hopefully not long term) - but if you want to try, absolutely try - the law in on your side, and hopefully things will become easier as more people apply to their LEAs. The Facebook and Google groups have loads of documents, information and some very helpful people on there.

I have no link with the campaign other than tapping into their fabulous resources, but I commend everyone who has got this far with making it clear that summer born children CAN delay their schooling AND go into Reception NOT Year 1 a year later.

mam29 Wed 06-Mar-13 11:16:16

Im july born and struggled academically had to work hard.
at time never really considered it was maybe fact was youngest born.

Husband was worse 31st august and he struggled had to work very hard and dident sit a levels even though he would have been more than capable.

Eldest is 7 feb birthday currently year 2 4.5 when started I dident think she would struggle but she dident cope as well as older ones feb was cutoff however due to mixed classes in year 1 the younger 15 in year were in r 1 class and surprisingly when they combined in year 2 class and lost the 15oldest to 2/3 class lots of the youngest were ahead academically than the middle ages 15 in 45 intake.

she had been in nursery from 11months and preschool.

I wasent happy with the school so moved her to smaller school where she was in mixed classes for 1st time and shes one of 10year 2 and 20years 1s and think its been good for her for once she doesnt feel at bottom, confidence and has many year 1 freinds and next year shes back with her year group so combines with oldest 10 in her year as 20a year.

Middle child having issues with shes sept 16th shes big for her age and just wants to be grown up like her sister.

she does 1day a week private day nursery since 18months
A lot of her freinds at nursery and preschool start school this september im really worried about her getting bored as think shes would be ready this year even though would make her youngest in the year.

Youngest hes april and thourght about defering him until maybe after xmas hes due to start sept 2015 so he be slightly younger than eldest. discussed with preschool and they say they against transfering and dont think they would allow him to stay if he wnet there.
Not that hes started yet he could start preschool age 2 now but feel hes too young but feel very different about private nursery as they in age groups with seperate rooms and activities and facilities to sleep.

Not sure what im going to do to be honest.
I have to apply before hes 4 as jan 15th deadline hes 4 in april 2015 and starts sepetember thinking will apply see if get place then decide if should defer.

If I could start middle one this year or even after xmas then I would.

Think we need greater flexibility. we have earliest age to start school.

Also some schools have nursery classes which must be very different to preschool or private nursery.

I have an aug born ds now in year 4 - he is immature but not obviously different to other boys in his year group as he is tall one of the tallest in y4. So it is hard to picture him towering over his y3 classmates if he had started a year later. Academically he struggled a bit initially but at the last parents eve was predicted level 4s in SATs which is v good considering.

I am more concerned about his emotional maturity especially as he will start middle school in Sept, where he will be walking to and from school without me and the academic expectations will be more vigorous . I will be reliant on the school to provide good pastoral support for the children and ds because he doesn't look young and small does not always get sufficient allowances made for his age imo.

dd2 is oct born and due to start Foundation at the lower school it will be interesting to see the contrasting experiences she has at school due to being one of the eldest children.

Whether being able to start school with more flexibility or if more allowances could be built into how many hours or days a child attends would be universally beneficial, I am unconvinced. I wonder, to have the world shaped to your convenience when you are young only to be cruelly robbed of that illusion when you left school would that be ultimately worse!confused I think smaller classes with more resources to better support each child accordingly, is more appropriate allowing for the fact that age is not the sole reason some children struggle at school.

DeWe Wed 06-Mar-13 09:29:10

Most schools round here you have to provide a birth certificate. You'd also have to lie to him because at some point he would say "I'm 6 tomorrow" or something and it'd all come out. Then you'd probably lose the school place.

You may have more success at a private school-might be as cheap as moving abroad! wink

madmacbrock Tue 05-Mar-13 17:06:11

My son was born 29th August and it worries me to death about him starting school too early. having read numerous reports saying this is going to be detremental to his future, whenever i raise any concerns i am just told hell be fine or my child was ok. I do not want my son to be ok i want him to be the best that he can and it surprises me that not more of a fuss is kicked up about this. I am not a pushy mum i just want him to be given the right oppurtunities. I feel so strongly about this I am concidering lmoving abroad or even lying about his date of birth, is this even possible? is it fraud? are there any schools who would accept him in the uk?

thesecretmusicteacher Fri 01-Mar-13 17:37:49

sorry to have missed this thread, is it ok to start it up again after a month?

I'd like to join the google group - am figuring out how to. Do I need to just set up a google account?

I have an out of year child who is thriving because he is out of year. It's very much the situation that reallytired outlined - the taxpayers paid for three more terms' nursery instead of a mightily expensive statement of special needs and everything worked out well. Everyone, without exception, has benefitted.

We have confirmation from our LEA that the "offset" will continue through school, but I'm still on the alert because the secondary has become an academy, albeit one that uses the LEA for its admissions IYSWIM. Am exlawyer and think that as I have that written confirmation it would be hard for them to backtrack on it (this is a nice way of saying I plan to hold them to it).

Tiggytape and I talked about the details of the admissions code on another thread since s/he posted on here - can't remember the link now - but the position we got to is that (i) there's no ban no year deferral (ii) you are supposed to have a "cogent" reason to allow children to be placed out of year (iii) one way forward would be to identify those "exceptional" children for whom year deferral is highly likely to make a massive difference. Tiggytape are you around - can you link to it?

The Jim Rose report is lacking in substance - he never really considered the question that Ed Balls had put to him - dropped the ball really, it was so disappointing. He did have the decency to come on to mumsnet afterwards and agree that he had never intended there to be no exceptions to the rule.... my it took quite a few of us to make him say it, but say it he did smile and on this very forum smile

Pyrrah Wed 30-Jan-13 16:26:33

The most sensible thing would be to reassess a year or so in and perhaps have a bit of a mixed class between Y1 and Y2.

I'm an August birthday and while I didn't have any academic issues, I was very much younger emotionally than a lot of my peers and I think this did have a negative effect. My brother on the other hand managed to be a year older - private school plus spent most of one year in hospital so repeated - and I think it was a big plus in his case.

DH and I felt so strongly about not having a July/August birthdate child that we decided to actively not try for a baby between September and January.

stacywright Wed 30-Jan-13 14:09:20

i dont know if this discussion is still going but i am currently in a battle to get m y son a reception place this september instead of a year 1 placement at school and is only 10 days over the cut off. he has social communicatio issues and delayed evelopment so i have repeaated nursery where he is on differentiaded leanring plans and interventions are in place to help him catch up with the other preschoolers who are techniclly a year below him and have all rights to apply for a reception place this september.
i am part of a campaign group on google groups "Campaign For More Flexible School Admissions For Summer Born Children" and we have a facebook page too.
we had a meeting yesterday up london with the Department for Education and what we have established is that 5 is the COMPULSARY school starting age and 4 years old is VOLUNTARY. there is a section in the admissions code which was updated feb 12 that states that reception class is mainly for 5 years olds and those turning 5. august born children turn 5 at no point during their time at school if admitted into reception at 4 years old so there is a LEGAL OBLIGATION to have them into reception in the term aftwer their 5th birthday.

also i can qoute from david laws that the admissions code is not prescriptive and common sense is expected of the local authority to not use it word for word but to apply admission arrangements in a case by case basis with the individual childs needs being put first.

i was given a copy of the new report into statistics hat the dep of Ed did that confirms that not just across the country, but internationally, summer born children on average perform worse than their autumn peers and although the gap in performance is almost closed by university age, the majority of the school key stages show a difference.

it would be extremely advantagous to your child to be admitted to reception in the following year and although your onwt be able to apply online due to entering incorrect date of birth, download and print and return by post an application stating why you are applying out of year and that just by sticking to the statatory starting age , your child should not miss a years worth of education.
is your school supportive? because ultimately it is at the head teachers discretion to allow a child to be out of thier year group in is/her school.

ALSO REGARDING SATS. these are NOT sat by age, but by completetion of the course leading up to them.
regardless of the age of your child, if they have only just finished year 6, whether they are in the right year, up a year or down a year for their age, that is when they sit their SATS. the only thing you cant do qith regard to sats is sit them , then repaet a school year then sit them again.
you only do them once but you do them when your new year group you are placed in does them not when the year group you are technically supposed to be in does them.

for more information please join our google group and facebook group

stacywright Wed 30-Jan-13 13:54:44

i dont know if this discussion is still going but i am currently in a battle to get m y son a reception place this september instead of a year 1 placement at school and is only 10 days over the cut off. he has social communicatio issues and delayed evelopment so i have repeaated nursery where he is on differentiaded leanring plans and interventions are in place to help him catch up with the other preschoolers who are techniclly a year below him and have all rights to apply for a reception place this september.
i am part of a campaign group on google groups "Campaign For More Flexible School Admissions For Summer Born Children" and we have a facebook page too.
we had a meeting yesterday up london with the Department for Education and what we have established is that 5 is the COMPULSARY school starting age and 4 years old is VOLUNTARY. there is a section in the admissions code which was updated feb 12 that states that reception class is mainly for 5 years olds and those turning 5. august born children turn 5 at no point during their time at school if admitted into reception at 4 years old so there is a LEGAL OBLIGATION to have them into reception in the term aftwer their 5th birthday.

also i can qoute from david laws that the admissions code is not prescriptive and common sense is expected of the local authority to not use it word for word but to apply admission arrangements in a case by case basis with the individual childs needs being put first.

i was given a copy of the new report into statistics hat the dep of Ed did that confirms that not just across the country, but internationally, summer born children on average perform worse than their autumn peers and although the gap in performance is almost closed by university age, the majority of the school key stages show a difference.

it would be extremely advantagous to your child to be admitted to reception in the following year and although your onwt be able to apply online due to entering incorrect date of birth, download and print and return by post an application stating why you are applying out of year and that just by sticking to the statatory starting age , your child should not miss a years worth of education.
is your school supportive? because ultimately it is at the head teachers discretion to allow a child to be out of thier year group in is/her school.

ALSO REGARDING SATS. these are NOT sat by age, but by completetion of the course leading up to them.
regardless of the age of your child, if they have only just finished year 6, whether they are in the right year, up a year or down a year for their age, that is when they sit their SATS. the only thing you cant do qith regard to sats is sit them , then repaet a school year then sit them again.
you only do them once but you do them when your new year group you are placed in does them not when the year group you are technically supposed to be in does them.

for more information please join our google group and facebook group smile

losingtrust Wed 28-Nov-12 18:25:06

Why don't you try and get more flexibility about the school day to suit your child which more schools are willing to accept. It would be an admin nightmare to have different start dates but I have known children just doing mornings or four days a week. They were certainly more inclined to be lenient on absences in reception year and would always ring the parent if child seemed tired or off colour. At mine the youngest children started a few days earlier than the older kids to help them settle in in a smaller group particularly important and they seemed to form bonds. I found it better to use a private pre school first with ds as he seemed to be bounding with excitement whereas dd had gone to the nursery attached for the normal two and a half hours and the novelty had worm off. Ironically I thought it would make it easy for her to settle. If I did it again I would not use the school nursery but again different personalities.

Dozer Wed 28-Nov-12 17:54:53

The debate on mn shows that there isn't much support for the kind of flexibility we'd like pmhull. National government won't mandate it, but in theory there is local flexibility. Local govt won't allow it because if there were precedents more and more people might want it and it'd be administratively difficult and possibly more costly.

Your best chance could be a school that's its own admissions authority, like an academy, but you might still run into problems later, eg transferring to high school.

The ifs stats show worse outcomes for young-in-year pupils even having taken account of extra parental input. Parental input can't address the problem.

I don't regard starting reception at 5 to be holding dd back: it would be giving her a better chance to enjoy more and learn more.

losingtrust Wed 28-Nov-12 14:07:23

Incidentally I would be happier if the school age was put back to six instead of four as this would prevent a lot of the issues that summer borns face and then parents could choose whether they used nursery or not. I suspect the issue is that most families have two working parents now although. The extra two years childcare would have killed us but I would have preferred that solution.

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.

BikeRunSki 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.

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!

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 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.

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.

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

My point really Dozer is that the statistics make

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.

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.

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 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

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.

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.

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