Has anyone succeeded in getting their August baby to start Reception at five?

(69 Posts)
FelizFuturaMama Wed 13-Feb-13 21:47:48

My daughter was born a week early on August, 27 and I am keen for her not to suffer the well documented disadvantages of being the youngest in the year. I want to delay her entry to school for a year, so that she starts reception when she is five rather than four. I know I can defer her starting but can't find any advice if I don't want her to miss a year of school. I would really appreciate guidance on how to go about requesting this from others who have been successful. I know this is much easier in the independent sector, but that would be a real stretch for us financially.

FelizFuturaMama Wed 13-Feb-13 21:48:46

PS My daughter is 18 months at the moment, so the sleepless nights over this have started early in our house!

monkeytennismum Wed 13-Feb-13 21:57:33

I haven't done this but I just wanted to say have a good look around at your local schools. Being a summer baby doesn't necessarily lead to disadvantage.

My DD is a late July baby and started reception after just turning four. But at her school they split the classes (1.5 form entry) by age, so for reception and Y1 she will be with all the youngest children in her year group. Although they teach to the same curriculum and outcomes, the delivery is altered slightly between the two classes e.g. they do all their structured teaching in the morning in the younger class, leaving the afternoon for mainly play-based activities. DD is thriving.

Also, many schools allow you to defer entry to January.
HTH

adeucalione Wed 13-Feb-13 22:25:28

Yes, I did this. I contacted the LEA first and had to be persistent because they really tried to fob me off. Eventually I spoke to the Director for Education who confirmed that the decision is entirely at the Head's discretion. I contacted two schools, and one was willing to do it - he said that most requests he received were for children with September birthdays to start a year early, so we were a refreshing change.

DS went through primary school being the oldest in the year of course, and I had to explain the situation every now and again to a new parent, but it worked well for him - as he moved up the school and gained confidence he started being picked for all the sports teams, lead roles in school plays etc. and achieved well academically.

There was some anxiety about what would happen when he transferred to secondary school but the HT spoke to the secondary school and to the LEA on our behalf, and he is currently progressing through secondary school without any issues. I didn't want him to repeat Y6, or move up a year later than his friends, but there was a chance that could have happened if the secondary school hadn't been open to the situation.

I suppose then, that it relies entirely on you finding a primary HT who is supportive of your plans.

jojane Wed 13-Feb-13 22:30:14

My dd is a late July baby and I always worried about her not being ready but she was sooo ready for school, it was weird applying and accepting a school place while she was only 3 and she went up for lunch and play at the school in the summer term and was still only 3!!! But she was really ready, was tired after school for the first few weeks but every school holiday she moans that she can't go into school. She's doing really well with her reading and writing and numbers etc, shenwouldnhave got bored doing another year of playschool. I wouldn't worry until your dd is older and you can see how she might cope

tiggytape Wed 13-Feb-13 22:31:36

There's been a few threads on this recently (lots of people in the same boat).

If you are in England then basically, no, you cannot start your DD in Reception a year later than normal purely based on her being young. If you keep her out of school for her Reception Year, she would go staright into Year 1 (and you might have trouble finding a place by then). There is no option to enrol her in to Reception a year late just because you want to or feel this is best.

The only exception is in the case of severe additional needs where a child's consultant or other experts involved in their care writes to the LA to say that the child must be allowed to be moved out of their normal year group. Most special needs are supported in the correct year group according to birth date but sometimes a child's needs are so severe or specific that the LA will allow the child to move back a year if experts say it is necessary.

The good news is, you are not alone. Not everyone in her class will be a grown-up September baby -at least 1/4 of the class will be Summer babies. You can opt for part time hours to build up to fulltime gradually. Or you can keep her out of school for most of Reception and let her join the class after Easter when she is much nearer age 5.

tiggytape Wed 13-Feb-13 22:38:12

One of the recent threads was here with lots of information.

Private schools and Scotland are different if either of those things apply to you. Private schools aren't bound by the same rules and can be more flexible. Scotland's cutoff dates are different so Autumn babies not August ones tend to be the youngest.

tiggytape Wed 13-Feb-13 22:40:54

Just to pick up on adeucalione's point (who may have done this some years ago). The decision is not down to the Head Teacher. It is down to the admission authority. For most schools this is the LA. For academies (who are their own admission authority), it is the governing body.
No H/T has the discretion to offer this now at all and convincing the LA requires expert evidence that it is necessary.

adeucalione Wed 13-Feb-13 23:11:55

It was six years ago, state school, Wales.

tiggytape Wed 13-Feb-13 23:20:06

adeucalione - I wasn't doubting you - sorry if it sounded like that. In England, it is completely inflexible and has been for some time.
There is one LA that a poster mentions on the other thread where they seem to take a more relaxed approach but everywhere else in England, it is impossible to hold a child back just because the parents want to unless you go private.

bellabelly Wed 13-Feb-13 23:40:10

Havent done this myself but just wanted to say that, like you, I was very worried about "the well documented disadvantages of being the youngest in the year". My twins (August-born) are now in Year 1, doing really well. They settled into Reception last year better than I ever imagined possible and they've done so well, making plenty of friends, keeping up with the work (in fact they're two of the best readers in their class) and I'm so relieved. At the time I had to put in their applications for a school place, I thought there was NO WAY they'd be ready for school the following September...

adeucalione Wed 13-Feb-13 23:41:11

Not at all tiggytape, of course things change - and actually I realise it couldn't have been six years ago at all, more like 8.

BonzoDooDah Wed 13-Feb-13 23:48:14

My DD is August and was completely ready for school. I was too and have a Phd -so no harm here either. Wait and see how your DD does and you may well change your mind. It's not necessarily good being odd in your whole year for being a year "behind" everyone else and having to explain all the time either.

clippityclop Thu 14-Feb-13 09:29:31

What well documented disadvantages? My dd born third week in August is in year four and doing really, really well- almost on free readers, doing well in maths etc. lots of outside interests, gets on with it just as her big sister who's the eldest in her year 6 class does. They both went to nursery a couple of days a week before school. Wouldn't've dreamed of keeping the youngest back and apart from her friends. Perhaps we're just lucky, but I think you can always find difficulty if you look too hard.

DeWe Thu 14-Feb-13 10:37:06

I think you're overthinking at this stage, if she's only 18 months. You don't know how she'll be when it comes to it. I have 3 dc. Dd1 started at the right time for her (October birthday). Dd2 could have done with going the year before she could (October birthday) and Ds could have done with staying a year behind (May birthday).
Because they're different Children, and have different personalities they were ready at different times. I couldn't have told at 18 months-I'd have said at that age that dd1 would be more than ready and dd2 wouldn't be ready at all.

In dd1's class there was a boy who was 31st August. He was in all the top groups, loved school and was more than ready to start. The one who struggled with starting school was a December birthday.

gabsid Thu 14-Feb-13 14:06:12

I agree, at 18 months you can't really say how ready your DD will be when she starts school at 4. Some seem absolutely fine and do well, whereas others don't have a clue what's happening and would be a lot better off starting a year later, especially boys.

Research does generally suggest that summer born DC don't do as well as autumn born DC throughout their education, so it is better to be a bit older when starting.

Personally, I am still upset with the inflexibility of the English system which only seems to serve itself but not the individual DC. DS (April birthday and now in Y3) would really have benefited from starting later, he is not summer born, but very immature. It still shows, as he prefers to play with younger DC, he hates reading, writing and maths (despite being average) and generally doesn't take responsibility for HW or anything else. We were hoping he will be OK, but I believe he would have had a better chance starting later - he might even enjoy school now if he hadn't been pushed into formal learning too early.

On the other hand, DD (just 4) will be more than ready next September. She concentrates well, loves being read too, attempts to read and write, sits for ages and draws - her nursery said that they think she will do very well at school. A completely different child who would cope well if she had to start now.

tiggytape Thu 14-Feb-13 14:16:39

I agree gabsid that it is not just Summer babies who might benefit from a later start. Some children are ready earlier than others but if each child started at the point that their parents felt they were ready, the whole system would be a bit of a shambles.
I know it works better elsewhere but, in England, the population is bigger and denser and there isn't a surplus of school places to allow things to be flexible.

Things like admissions would be in chaos. It is bad enough in England as it is with a chronic shortage of school places in some areas - it would be even more stressful and less predicatable if some years there was a whole glut of people deciding to wait an extra year and blocking places for people in the year below who then couldn't get a place at all.
The same would happen again at secondary school where shortages are expected to be felt in a years time. You'd have some truly massive year groups that could not be accommodated. Even normal sized year groups cannot be placed in some areas.

The lack of flexibility is made up for to some extent by the very gentle, play-based approach of Reception, the ability to join the class half way through the year and also to go part time if you wish.

FelizFuturaMama Thu 14-Feb-13 19:43:43

Looking at the feedback on this and the other post plus research on the Internet it seems to be possible if your LEA is willing and after a long battle in a few other cases. We're in South Manchester, so if anyone has experience there it would be good to hear your story.

Thanks monkeytennismum,bellabelly and jojane it's good to hear positive experiences from Mums of summer babies if we do end up having to send her in the 'correct' year.

A couple of the negative stories are below clippityclop, the cleverest boy in my year at school was an August baby so I appreciate this isn't a universal experience, but it seems a shame to be putting DD at potential disadvantage. It's more about wanting her to be happy and confident in herself than wishing her to excel academically anyway.

www.telegraph.co.uk/education/9843971/Summer-born-children-at-bottom-of-the-class-warn-experts-and-parents.html

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/oct/25/schools.education

olivo Thu 14-Feb-13 20:16:39

My dd is the very end of August, and goes to a school similar to monkey, where she is in a class with children with march to August birthdays. She is doing very well academically and socially, although i would never have guessed that when she was in preschool. She is now in year 2 and sailing.

DD2 is less ready, having had a speech delay, she is also August, but I could only see delaying the start as delaying the inevitable. When I look how much she has developed in the past 6 months, I know she'll be ready to give it a go this September.

Maybe arm yourself with some info And make your decision when you see how your DC is in A year or 18 mo.

Btw, I did some statistical analysis on students in a school where I worked, and birth months showed no particular affect on academic outcome at 16.

FelizFuturaMama Thu 14-Feb-13 20:50:58

Yes, you're right olivo I should definitely arm myself with more info and see what's behind the headlines. It's good to know your research was positive. My DH hated school and he was an August baby, she shares his dreamy personality, so I think that's made me concerned. She is very sociable, so hopefully that will help and as you say she could be very different in 18 months, the trouble is I have to put her name down for a place at our local school in six!

TreadOnTheCracks Thu 14-Feb-13 21:06:31

My summer born DD had a delayed start in January, so she was 4 1/2 and this was fine for her. She is year 3 now and top of the class (so don't believe all you hear about it being a disadvantage).

I had to insist as the school was not keen on the idea (they have an empty place with no funding for a term), I think it was the best thing to do for her.

You sound like a lovely concerned mum and I'm sure you will find the best path for your DD. Try not to worry too much.

siilk Thu 14-Feb-13 21:12:16

I have been looking at holding our August born son back a year. I never even realised this was an issue as in Australia, where I am originally from, it is a non issue. We just enrol then at 5.
In Wales, from speaking to the LEA, of my county, it is indeed the Head teacher who makes the decision.

RedVW Thu 14-Feb-13 21:15:23

No advice to offer but experience of three families in same position :

Our two nephews and one niece in the same family all born on 31st Aug and our Neice is one year older than the twin boys. All went to school a couple of days after their 4th birthday and all have done well academically, particularly the two boys who are now 17.

A friend has delayed her fifth child, born in August, going into reception by one year. She fought very hard to get him in reception the following year and succeeded. He too is doing very well - is the eldest in the class and my friend has absolutely no regrets but had to fight everyone to achieve it.

Another friend with her only child delayed her daughter going to school by one year and was forced into year one a year later. Her mother regrets delaying as she was so far behind her peers. Never really caught up at school, now in year 9.

So, different experiences by three different families. If you live in a grammar area (really looking to the future), if your child is in a different year, would they allow her to sit exam - I don't know but might be worth thinking about.

FelizFuturaMama Fri 15-Feb-13 11:23:20

Really interesting to hear so many different responses and learn from your experiences. It seems like I'll have to wait to see how she's doing nearer the time and act accordingly.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 15-Feb-13 11:28:38

Feliz, if you are in the English state school system, putting her name down at the local school in six months' time will make no difference to her chances of entry when you make the formal application for Reception. Do you Mean putting her down for pre-school?

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