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.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 15-Feb-13 11:36:01

Don't stress about it, certainly not yet.

My DS1 is a very late July birthday and we were worried about him starting school - he is a dreamer and still very young in the kinds of games he likes to play.
The most advanced maths group and reading groups in his class are full of the July and August born children - he is in both. Socially he probably isn't as aware as some of the older ones, but he has made friends and learnt to slot into the school routine brilliantly.

I am so, so glad that we didn't try and hold him back, because by the time September came he was so very ready for school and he is loving it.

FelizFuturaMama Fri 15-Feb-13 11:52:02

TheDoctrine, good point, I just asked about putting her name down to attend the school and they said to wait until she was two. It does seem rather early for reception, so perhaps it was pre-school, I will pop in to ask. It's a whole new world to me, I definitely need to do my research!

KatherineKrupnik Fri 15-Feb-13 11:56:16

You will apply for her reception place in autumn 2014, I think. Where in aouth Manchester? I know people who have failed to do this in Trafford.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 15-Feb-13 12:01:39

Feliz that sounds like preschool to me.

School is a different thing, you have to apply and then be allocated a place. There is no guarantee that you will get the one you want the most so you have to choose 3 options.

HouseLikeAZoo Fri 15-Feb-13 12:03:00

I have two boys, one born 29th August and therefore the youngest in his school year, the other born 6th September, and the oldest in his. Both are doing brilliantly at school. DS1 (the August birthday) was completely ready to start school at 4, and is now the best in his class at maths (baffles me, as I'm rubbish as maths!). DS2 had some speech problems so it worked out well for him to start school later; he had completed his speech therapy and was classed as "normal" by the time he strolled into school.

I guess my point is that an August birthday needn't be any kind of disadvantage, it's totally down to the child in question. DS1 thrived; had DS2 been born a week earlier, I may have pushed to delay his start purely because of his speech delay. But I wouldn't have known that until much closer to the time. Chill and see how it goes smile

Definitely worth waiting to see what stage your dd's at. I have a 26th August dd who's now in Year 3 and the youngest in her class. She's confident, thriving and one of the more able/advanced in her class in most areas. Being in the year below would have been disadvantageous to her.

thesecretmusicteacher Fri 15-Feb-13 17:11:23

"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."

how do you figure a "block" tiggy? If I apply for a place in Sept. 2015 not 2014, a new 2014 place becomes permanently available to someone else. The net effect is neutral surely?

thesecretmusicteacher Fri 15-Feb-13 17:18:30

so Wales
Scotland
Ireland
Leeds
Bradford if special needs
certain private schools (though we found state more flexible than private)
Does anyone know about Northern Ireland?

Don't think Manchester though. Move to Leeds?

tiggytape Fri 15-Feb-13 17:59:02

thesecretmusicteacher - in many areas the number of applicants rises by upto several hundred additional children per year because of the continually increasing birth rate since 2005 plus a huge jump and rise again from 2008 onwards. Each year group gets naturally bigger than the last even as it is.

Also all English LA's allow children to be held back. They have to by law. But they only allow it in very exceptional cases with documented proof that no other alternative solution would be suitable (1:1 support in the correct year group for example is seen as preferable to being in the 'wrong' year group).
It isn't the case that some LAs allow it and some don't but it is true that virtually all of them are very strict about it and very inflexible in all but exceptional circumstances.

Fuzzymum1 Fri 15-Feb-13 20:22:04

My godson was born 12 weeks early in august when he should have arrived at the end of october. My friend tried very hard to get him held backa year - he really wasn't ready at the time but there was no way that he could start reception with his 'due date' year group. He has struggled to keep up all through primary school sad

thesecretmusicteacher Sat 16-Feb-13 16:50:49

I didn't know they had to allow it - only that they could.

do you know where the bit of law is?

tiggytape Sat 16-Feb-13 17:25:44

Admission of children outside their normal age group must be decided by the admission authority (Admissions Code para 2.17) which has the force of law.

In addition Each LA publishes guidance about children out of year group based on the DfE guidance:

"...pupils should progress through schools with their chronological peer group. The assumption should always be that children remain in their age group and move up with their peers. There is no evidence that staying behind for an additional year leads to improved educational attainments; the argument that staying behind for an extra year will enable the child to ‘catch up’ has no validity.

This means that if there is a request for a child to remain behind for an additional year, there needs to be very cogent reasons for that change. This paper is an attempt to set out some of the circumstances that should be considered by staff if and when schools or parents seek their advice. Note also that there are no circumstances under which a child should be held back for longer than one year......"

and then the guidance about special needs and medical consultation already discussed here is outlined.

tiggytape Sat 16-Feb-13 17:29:04

I think I wasn't clear enough though when I said all LAs have to allow it. I meant all LA's must have a process to consider such requests. They aren't allowed a blanket policy of just saying 'no'

That doesn't mean they allow many or any such requests though, only that they have to give them proper consideration if the parents and medical experts are all saying it is absolutely necessary.

EvilTwins Sat 16-Feb-13 19:22:25

I would'nt worry about it. My twins are July babies, but were nearly 4 weeks early. They did seem tiny to be starting Reception, but are now in Yr 2 and are doing very well indeed - in top groups for literacy and maths, no smaller than others and perfectly able to hold their own socially. They are pretty much at the same level, with everything, as their cousin, who is also in Yr 2 but has an October birthday.

FWIW, DH and I are both August babies (19th & 30th respectively) and have both done pretty well educationally grin

EvilTwins Sat 16-Feb-13 19:23:02

wouldn't not would'nt blush

bebanjo Sat 16-Feb-13 20:31:11

you could always home ed tell your happy with him going in with his year group, say at 7?

thesecretmusicteacher Sun 17-Feb-13 12:38:52

how interesting! thank you tiggytape

Admissions code 2.17 "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...."

What were you quoting from tiggytape? It sounded like a commentary.

thesecretmusicteacher Sun 17-Feb-13 12:45:44

whoahhh, no sooner do you find a bit of law than the government consults on changing it.

Bliss are now campaigning and formulating a response to a consultation on what information is given to LEAs about when premature babies should start school.

go to www.bliss.org.uk

"Share your experiences of delaying or deferring your child's school place".

thesecretmusicteacher Sun 17-Feb-13 13:38:50

Ah, it seems someone in Essex LEA wrote

"There is no evidence that staying behind for an additional year leads to improved educational attainments; the argument that staying behind for an extra year will enable the child to ‘catch up’ has no validity."

This chap needs to meet my child's paediatrician, head, SALT, SENCO and teachers. If I say it, it's anecdote, but if they all said it, maybe it would count as "evidence"?

Anyway, great that Bliss are getting up a head of steam on this important issue.

And also amusing that I can see he's accidentally quoted some things I wrote when campaigning on this issue a few years ago smile

tiggytape Sun 17-Feb-13 15:44:42

I was quoting from Department of Education guidance which is filtered down to each Local Authority to explain how they can make decisions about holding children back and emphasising the assumption that this is very much an exception not the norm and all other avenues are explored first.

This chap needs to meet my child's paediatrician, head, SALT, SENCO and teachers. If I say it, it's anecdote, but if they all said it, maybe it would count as "evidence"?

Yes it would be evidence. If all of those experts wrote in support of your child staying back a year, then you could go to the LA and succeed in getting that granted. You may still face future problems with secondary schooling (being asked to skip Year 6 and go straight from Year 5 to Year 7 for example) but if you stayed living in the same LA and negotiated it in advance, yours is a case that could qualify.

In the overwhelming majority of cases though, either a parent wants the child held back a year just because they're born on August 29th and will be the littlest in the class. Or the child is August born and has some additional needs but not to the degree that these could not be supported in class.
In these cases (where it is basically parental preference and not necessity) children are not allowed to be held back. It has been debated for quite a while - I think TAMBA may have been involved at some time too (twins are often premature). It is a subject a lot of people feel quite strongly about and don't realise how little flexibility there currently is.

thesecretmusicteacher Sun 17-Feb-13 16:27:40

thanks Tiggytape - gosh - I'm a little shocked that the Government has announced there is "no evidence" when it is the Government itself that has failed to gather the evidence because Jim Rose dropped the ball so badly.

All the better that the government has now asked Bliss to gather evidence.

If health professionals were confident that their recommendations to year-defer wouldn't suck them into postcode-lottery politics with LEAs, I think that would be a huge step in the right direction. Sadly we can't expect most parents to have the support of heads because usually the head won't get to know the child until it is too late because they are already in reception, and repeating reception is a different kettle of fish from starting reception at 5.0.

I think health professionals are good at "looking for" suitable candidates - that's what they do all the time anyway. So they are in a good position to spot children who are challenged-but-could-well-catch-up-if-oldest-in-class. And that will include certain premature children, certain children with special needs but, I accept, only a subset of each.

thesecretmusicteacher Sun 17-Feb-13 16:29:25

should add that I still support greater parental choice as in Scotland but let's concentrate on the cases where it is considered most likely to make a really big difference first.......

shushpenfold Sun 17-Feb-13 16:33:01

In 2 English state schools (different counties) a resounding NO.

In 2 English Independent preps and now senior schools (in different counties), a resounding YES....it's the main reason why we moved over.

AWimbaWay Sun 17-Feb-13 16:49:00

Similar experience to Fuzzymum1, my late August born ds (due September) is struggling a little. I'm sure he'll catch up, he's still only year one, but I don't feel he was ready to start school when he did and even now he gravitates towards the older reception children. I see him looking longingly into the reception playground on the way in to school. If I could have held him back I would have.

bananananacoconuts Sun 17-Feb-13 16:58:49

my ds and dd are 25 and 26th of august. neither has had problems academically. dd also fine socially. ds is under review for asd at present so has had a few problems but nothing that could have been better had he been held back a year. in fact i personally think they are lucky that they have so much knowledge compared to their friends from nursery who are a few days younger yet are nowhere near them academically. ds is year 2 dd reception

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