Holding Summer born boy back a year

(97 Posts)
Oopla Fri 01-Feb-13 19:57:55

DS is a July baby and started nursery the sept after he turned 3. I'm thinking of asking his nursery teachers if it would be possible for him to stay another year in preschool.
He has settled ok in nursery but doesn't particularly look forward to going (is a real homebody) and its taking him a whole to get used to the social side of things. In my heart I don't think he's emotionally ready for full days and more structure. Not keen on him being the smallest boy in the class either.

It's a standard state nursery attached to a primary, not sure if they will just laugh me out the room! Can you think of the pros and cons of this idea or any thoughts about it? Many thanks.

TINKERBELLE33 Fri 01-Feb-13 20:15:10

I wanted to do this and was told I could but DD would have to move to reception at Easter and continue through school with her peer group. She has mild SEN and I feel she would be better placed a year below as her emotional development would be equal to her classmates. She is also working at levels approx 1 year below her age. I have just had the conversation with the ed psych about moving her and have been told its not appropriate. I still think this would be better especially as she is bullied by some of her classmates.

redandwhitesprinkles Fri 01-Feb-13 20:18:37

As they have to join school with their 'original' year group in year 1 anyway, I personally think you are delaying the inevitable. However, only you know your son. I will be sending summer born dd in September but she loves nursery.

Oopla Fri 01-Feb-13 20:32:11

Thanks for your experiences. Ah I didn't realise they were so rigid about the date of starting. Presumed he could go back and stay back a year. sad

MorningHasBroken Fri 01-Feb-13 20:34:45

We tried this for August-born, shy, quiet, short, and dyslexic dss in primary. We were told by the school that the councils only allow it in extreme cases, as they have to report results based on age not year group.

Ie a 16 yr old in yr 10 would have to be included in the yr 11's results ( the year they should be in, normally), thereby making it look, on paper, as if that child had failed all exams rather than simply not having taken them yet. Obviously this then reflects badly on the school and LA. Don't know if I've explained that very well!

Private schools tend to be happier to move kids down years as they don't do the same reporting.

As he gets older there could be some stigma attached as kids realise that he should be in the year above, maybe?

FWIW, dss found his feet and has flourished in his proper year group, think they all get there in time.

DomesticCEO Fri 01-Feb-13 20:36:33

Sadly not Oopla sad. We are bizarrely rigidly wedded to chronological age in this country.

I worried a lot about my June born boy but a term and a half in he's fine.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 01-Feb-13 20:38:31

I have a few random thoughts on this, not massively coherent for which. Apologise!

Firstly, you do not have to start your child until the term after they turn five. So whether they laugh or not, they can get knotted.

Secondly, many schools used to follow 'rising fives' system, for many of the reasons you outline. children who used to follow the rising fives system were absolutely fine joining their peers in school later. The 'friendships' argument is unconvincing.

Thirdly, many people say 'you'll have to send him/her in the end so might as well do it now to get hem used to it'. This is an illogical argument, sending a child when they personally are ready is the best thing to do.

Fourthly, technically both settings will be following the EYFS curriculum so it is a social/environment/length of day/etc decision, not a curriculum one.

Fifthly, here in the UK we send out kids to school very early but still have much worse outcomes than other nations. Many other European countries send much later.

Finally, be true to your self. You want your child to be happy. The school does not know your child. You know your child.

Accept a place at your chosen school, speak with your preschool, make your decision later - as you know you can legally defer and not lose your place. And also, which ever way you choose, i am sure you will not damage your child, they will be ok in either setting, it's about what you think has the edge, what you think will make them happiest. It isn't perfect vs. terrible, it is good vs. better.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 01-Feb-13 20:41:01

Oh sorry, I thinking answerered the wrong question - are you talking about moving him down a year group or just deferring his own entry to rejoin his year group later?

If you want to move him down a year group you'll need a strong case and it s unlikely to happen.

Eve Fri 01-Feb-13 20:41:16

I had this issue with my DS now in year 9.

He's sort of catching up educationally now, but wished I could have kept him back a year.

I have mentally prepared for him to resist GCSE or a levels if he needs to due to age.

Anja1Cam Fri 01-Feb-13 20:47:12

Well round here you can hold them back and not send them to Reception as 'rising 5s' but then they'd rejoin their peers in year one straight as 'rising 6s'. Check your local Authority admissions policy theirs might not be as rigid.

However our school (a state school) does have the option of giving them another year redoing reception if they are clearly not ready, this of course is done with full consultation of parents and informed by teachers experience and expertise etc and is probably quite rare. My DD is a July child and she was fine but a boy of nearly the same age (mum and I were in hospital together) was clearly not mature enough and just redid the year and is doing great thereafter. At that age they hardly notice that they have been 'passed over'.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 01-Feb-13 21:04:58

In Enland there is no such thing as rising 'sixes' because even the youngest in year 1 legally have to be in school from September after they turn five. So everyone is in their seats for the whole of year 1, however much of reception they did.

sausagesandwich34 Fri 01-Feb-13 21:19:37

I'm an August baby and only did the final term in reception -in terms of friendships it did me no harm whatsoever
I would worry now about the amounts of phonics they do now in reception, that delaying in year would be more of an issue than it was

tiggytape Sat 02-Feb-13 11:23:02

In terms of delaying his start to reception - this is pretty common and perfectly allowed. You can keep him at nursery and then he will join his reception class at Easter or beyond (so only have 1 or 2 terms in reception not 3)

In terms of putting him down a year at school, this is not a parental right at all and is something that is only granted in extreme (very extreme) cases. Virtually all special needs are catered for in the correct year group for age. If a child is simply 'young' but has no additional needs, the chances of such a request being granted are virtually zero.

There is little or no flexibility in the English system to 'stay back a year' and even when it is granted, it can cause future problems eg being forced to skip Year 6 and go straight to secondary school because the secondary schools refuse to keep pupils in the 'wrong year' for age.

Ponders Sat 02-Feb-13 11:42:25

secondaries do let them go up a year sometimes, though only if born Sept-Feb

of course in that case they do have GCSE results to be counted in the league table for their age hmm

it's not just about league tables though; IME (eldest DC now 30) they have never let them stay down/repeat a year, even before league tables. it's too rigid sad

tiggytape Sat 02-Feb-13 12:23:18

Most people don't want their children to be the youngest in the year though so given a choice, you'd potetially have most parents keeping all the youngest ones down a year.
So the July / August babies would go into the year below leaving lots of May and June babies with all the associated worries and disadvantages of being the youngest in the class and then their parents would not want their children to be the very youngest either.

I know the Scottish system allows greater flexibility but even there it is possible to be born on the 'wrong date' eg all the January and February babies and most of the December babies tend to stay back but the November babies can't because of the ways it is funded. You just get a different bunch of children being forced to be the youngest instead (although they aren't quite as young as English children at the time).
In Scotland, even if people feel they are ready, they still hold their children back a year because so many others do it and therefore their child wouldn't just be one of the youngest but potentially the 'only' youngest one.

lingle Sat 02-Feb-13 17:23:55

My son is late August born and in the year below his default age group. It really has transformed his life chances.
Secondary should (!) honour the arrangement because it was made through the LEA and their policy was to offset year-deferred children. let's hope I don't have to have a fight.
To give you an idea of how important this can be for certain children, I wouldn't change my decision even if it screwed up secondary. That's how vulnerable he was at 4. Everyone involved agreed.

But it's only certain children who "need" this. You can probably characterise them by saying it's a combination of being very immature for their own birth month yet having the potential to progress rapidly if not placed in an artificially overchallenging environment. Ds2 was just about ready to cope with a cohort of children his age and below when he started reception. He wasn't ready to cope with a cohort of children his age and above IYSWIM. And crucially, that's not something the teachers can "fix" or control. They have a bit more leeway to control the curriculum... to a certain extent.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Sat 02-Feb-13 17:27:37

Don't forget there will be one or two other July/August born children in the class and the teacher will be used to working across the age range.

I think the only option is to go private if you really want to keep him back a year. A friend of mine with an August-born DS kept him back and he started reception a year later, but he's at a private school.

sailorsgal Sat 02-Feb-13 18:18:29

It will depend on the child even at private school. I asked for ds but it wasn't allowed but it was for another child. In hindsight I am glad that ds is in the appropriate year. He has really matured and is doing very well in his class.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 02-Feb-13 18:25:25

DS is a late August baby.
He caught up with the rest of the class by the middle of year 1.
He's now in year 8 and doing fine at his huge state comp.

HSMM Sat 02-Feb-13 18:31:28

DD is a late July baby and she's no different to others in yr 9 now. She was happy with her peer group very early on in her school years.

prh47bridge Sat 02-Feb-13 18:39:33

I think most of this has been said already but just to make sure it is clear...

You have the right to defer entry until later in the school year. However, if you try to hold your son back for a full year you will almost certainly find that the school and LA insist on putting him straight into Y1, missing Reception completely. Most schools will already be full in Y1 with children coming up from Reception so you will have a limited choice of schools and will be unlikely to get a place at a popular school. You may be better deferring until Easter if you are concerned. If you want to do this you must apply at the normal time as if your son was going to start school in September.

Even if the LA and school agree to allow your son to start in Reception a year late there may still be problems later on when he transfers to secondary school. Many schools would insist on putting him straight into Y8, skipping Y7 completely.

I note you are concerned that he won't be able to cope with full days and more structure. Reception is generally no more structured than nursery. The curriculum is identical with the emphasis is on learning through play and preparing the child for the more structured approach they will encounter in Y1. And on the full days front, you have the right to request that your child attends part time initially.

Oopla Sat 02-Feb-13 19:01:31

Thank you so much for all your thoughtful replies and experiences.

I think I will have a chat with nursery teachers and ask their opinion also. If there really is no movement on the year 1 start then no I wouldn't want to keep him back to miss the extra time with his peers. Perhaps he will just need extra support from us making a start and a little longer phasing into full days.
We definitely can't do independent/private school grin

I had no idea it was quite so strict!

ilovepowerhoop Sat 02-Feb-13 19:11:28

it's not as strict in Scotland - here you have the option to defer for a year and start in Primary 1 as usual. The cut off dates are different too (end of February) and a child doesnt start school until they are at least 4½ years old. Deferrals for Jan and Feb born children are agreed with no issues and they will get an extra year of the funded nursery hours. Children with earlier birthdays can be deferred too but will need agreement from nursery/LEA, etc as to whether the funding will be provided.

auntevil Sat 02-Feb-13 19:24:41

Oopla my DS3 is a summer baby. I didn't have the same worries as you - although physically he is probably the smallest and he does have some SNs.
What I noticed when I looked on the birthday board when he started is that over a 1/3 of his class were summer babies - June/July/August.
I was quite gobsmacked that there were so many - I expected a fair smattering across the year.

SCOTCHandWRY Sat 02-Feb-13 19:33:23

Ilovepowerhoop- re Scotland, we choosing to delay ds4 entry to p1 until the August after his 5th birthday, ie he will be almost 6 at the start of p1... This is absolutely the decision of the parents, no consent from school or nursery is needed! However it is true that in order to get an extra year of free nursery education, you need nursery or school and councils do try to use this to force parents of sept, oct, nov born kids to start p1 while still age 4, when actually there is no legal requirement for them to start P1 until the August after they turn 5.

OP consider moving to Scotland grin

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 13:21:33

that sounds sensible Oopla,

This isn't scientific, but I must have networked with over a hundred parents who, like me, really really wanted to give their child an extra year.

From those I've touched base with later I'd say only about 5% say that the passage of time has proved that it really was a big deal (either positively like me or negatively for children who weren't given the option).

The other 95% all talked about their children adjusting and catching up.

Nothing you've said about your child is suggesting he's in that 5%.

Of course, for us in the 5%, it remains as big a deal as ever! If you don't feel strongly enough to genuinely, seriously consider moving to Scotland (I would actually have done this) then your child probably isn't in the 5% smile

IrnBruTheNoo Sun 03-Feb-13 13:30:08

DS2 is a late July baby so he'll be starting school in August 2015 (starts ante-preschool place this August when he turns 3yo).

I have a little concern about him being young starting in the nursery/school system but that's only because my eldest is an April born and he is one of the eldest in his class. I'm comparing the situation with what I already know! Which is pointless, because no two children are the same and DS2 may get on fine, even with being the youngest of his peers when starting nursery in six months' time.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 03-Feb-13 15:45:49

Look at it the other way - why should the 1 September kids not go to school early?

There HAS to be a cut-off and as kids get older, the developmental difference diminishes year by year till puberty when the girls ALWAYS outstrip the boys except in Maths until year 12
and then they even up
ready for the hormone fest that is Univeristy

speaking as somebody who went through Secondary school in the 'wrong' year, I'd not wish it on my worst enemy.

Lostonthemoors Sun 03-Feb-13 15:57:56

Talkin were you young or old for your year?

I'm looking at this with great interest as u have a DS who will be 2 in mid July, meaning he'll start the primary school preschool at 3.2 and school at 4.2. I personally would prefer it if school starting age was raised to 5 for every child.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 03-Feb-13 16:10:29

I'm April, but because I'm bright the private selective school were willing to take me into the year above.
SHIT move.
The details would out me and them, but it UTTERLY convinced me that ALL children should go to school with those of their age
BUT SEN / thick kids will need support
AND bright kids will need stretching sideways
well, no shit sherlock
its obvious really
the academic stuff is linked to learning curves (which all even out by year 14)
but the critical social stuff is cohort linked - and MUST NOT be ignored

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 16:12:10

It is Lostonthemoors ...your child doesn't have to attend school but if you choose to send him he doesn't have to start school until he is 5.

Ooopla if it is a nursery attached to a state primary you will need to speak to the head not the nursery teacher.

Feenie Sun 03-Feb-13 16:15:09

In terms of putting him down a year at school, this is not a parental right at all and is something that is only granted in extreme (very extreme) cases.

Depends on your LEA - here children are out of year group all the time, they just started a year later in Reception.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 16:20:48

My LEA will only consider this for children with extreme SEN difficulties and even then it is unlikely

tiggytape Sun 03-Feb-13 16:25:12

I personally would prefer it if school starting age was raised to 5 for every child

The school starting age is 5 for every child.
Legally you absolutely can keep a child home (or nursery) until he or she turns 5 (they just start reception class half way through the academic year and miss a bit).

What you cannot do though is to keep them at home until they turn 5 then put them in the year group below the one they actually belong to. So you cannot decide you want your August child to be the oldest one in the year below rather than the youngest one in the correct year group for his age.
In very, very exceptional circumstances state schools will allow it but it is rare. Even children with complex additional needs are not kept back. They stay in the right class based on their date of birth but get extra help.

Feenie - I don't know where you are but if that is really the case, that children are routinely kept a whole year behind then yours must be the only place that does it and you'll have people flockng!
In England it is so rare that it is virtually unheard of and certainly not granted for people who just fancy it. There has to be overwhelming expert evidence that it is absolutely essential before the LA will relent. And even then it is not always advised because of the implications for secondary education and being forced to skip Year 6 later on.

Lostonthemoors Sun 03-Feb-13 16:27:42

Sorry MrZ I phrased it badly - I want the right for children to start at 5 and move up the classes in the usual way - so my DS would start reception at 5 in the sept and then go to y 1 the following year at 6. I understand now if I keep him back until 5 as July born he'll have to go straight into y1 which I think of as a non-option because he will have missed so much.

Feenie Sun 03-Feb-13 16:28:37

We are one form entry, and have four out of year group atm - it's always been so for the twenty+ years I have been teaching.

Twobuttonsaway Sun 03-Feb-13 16:29:22

My late-August born DS1 started in Reception full time in Sept aged 4 and 2 weeks. A third of his class turned 5 before Xmas, and (particularly the girls) are a way ahead of him in reading and writing as you would expect. That said, he's not really aware of it. The teachers are happy with his progress and socially he's doing fine. The reality was much less stressful than I thought smile

Feenie Sun 03-Feb-13 16:29:34

They don't skip Y6 - they stay permanently out of year group and move up to Y7 with their peers.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 16:38:57

In 20 years I've only had 1 out of year pupil Feenie

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 16:39:43

and they arrived from a different LEA out of year.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 16:40:49

In my LEA they either skip Y5 or Y7 or Y11

tiggytape Sun 03-Feb-13 16:44:24

Feenie - that is very unusual. You probably have more children out of year group in your school alone than some LAs have in their whole jurisdiction!

In most areas it is something a lot of parents want, a few parents think they might qualify for (due to exceptional level of additional needs) and something no parents succeed in getting. Additional needs are catered for in the correct year group no matter how serious they unless a parent is successful in getting medical opinions that say the child must be moved and parental preference does not enter into it. A parent has the right oly to delay starting reception but no right to say which year group they want to belong to.

Whilst I do sympathise, there does need to be a system. For the sake of secondary transfers and exam entry and admissions fairness, it wouldn't be possible for people to shift as they pleased.
For example, some parents would happily opt to send their child in the year that the council added the bulge classes rather than the year that they didn't because then they'd get a desirable school not a rubbish one.

Or parents would all jostle to make sure that their child wasn't the youngest so, in England, parents of June babies would also want to move back a year as soon as the July and August babies had done it and the May babies would feel disadvantaged. Somebody has to be forced to be the youngest. In England it is August babies, in Scotland it is Autumn babies (forced by funding more than laws).

And finally, age is not the only factor. An April born child with glue ear who had no speech or communication for the first 3 years is just as much in 'need' as an August baby with no other issues apart from age. A September born child with severe dyslexia or ASD does not have it easy at school. People imagine that their Summer born babies will go into a class full of September born geniuses and sink when this of course is not the case. There will be children of all abilities at school, children further behind and children streets ahead, children who are born at the same time and children born much earlier but with differing needs.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 16:50:00

I currently have a child assessed as developmentally around 15-18 months hmm

Dd2 is six months older than one of her best friends with Aug birthday, he couldn't read at begining of yrR, now in yr1 she is on turquoise (fine for nearly 6), he is at least two levels above her. It doesn't always work out badly.

aliasjoey Sun 03-Feb-13 17:27:54

DD was born 6 weeks early, if she had been born on her due date, she would have started school a year later - as it is, she's the youngest in her class.

There really is no flexibility in England, if you keep them back till Easter, they miss 2 terms of schooling. However teachers are very aware of the summer-born issue, and should take that into account.

aliasjoey Sun 03-Feb-13 17:30:14

Sorry if that's not clear, I mean the teachers do know and differentiate between the children, and your DS should get extra support.

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 20:54:47

gosh, you are responding to Feenie as if she was making it up. she isn't. Her LEA just quietly gets on with it and it works, just as it has worked for me and changed my family's life for ever.

We've gone so far backwards in the last couple of years since Labour asked for a report on making year-deferment for summer borns a universal right.

TalkinPeace2. I sympathise with your distress about being placed in the year above. But your argument that this means summer borns should start reception at 5 makes no sense. If you suffered by being with children who were at a more advanced developmental stage than you, then you of all people should have some inkling of what those of us with immature summer borns go through.

and Tiggy tape,
"Somebody has to be forced to be the youngest" is, I can only hope, not something you would have dared say to my face, and not something you would say if you knew my story. Show some basic compassion. These are children like yours we are talking about.

Feenie may remember my story but all I can say is that in the autumn of the year DS2 turned 3 we were advised by our LEA to apply for a statement because of DS2's language delays and suspected ASD (do you know how hard people fight to get these?) and send him to reception in his default year. But because we instead put the correct interventions in place working in partnership with the school in the nursery setting, the next big meeting we - when DS2 was 4.10 and due to start school at 5.0 - lasted five minutes. We opened the meeting. We asked the SENCO how things were going. She said she felt he was now ready for the demands of reception. We all paused and looked at our watches. The head said "that was a good judgment, waiting until now". Then we all went about our business.

Then DS2 started reception in touching distance (just!) of his new peers, despite being older than them by a whole ten days, found a best friend, and, crucially, engaged in those everyday jostling crude interactions that boys had and so slowly developed the skills he had missed out on.

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 20:55:27

sorry talkinpeace - 4 not 5.

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 20:57:28

The saddest thing among many sad things is that when we finally hauled the man responsible for cutting off the possibility of summer-born deferment on to mumsnet, he admitted that he had never intended there to be no exceptions.....

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 21:02:24

And can you imagine if, at that meeting when DS2 was 4.10, the SENCO had said "he's ready for the demands of reception now - so we'll place him in Year 1".

When the rule-changed was first threatened, the nursery nurse was so disturbed she said "we wouldn't do that to him - we just wouldn't".

I think those who insist on rigidly lack belief in the potential of certain children with delays to overcome them.

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 21:04:29

sorry - didn't realise the "some child has to be considered unimportant because that's convenient for paperwork" argument could still make me so angry.

OP - there is nothing in your post to suggest your child won't thrive in his default year.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 21:08:13

I don't think anyone is responding to Feenie as if she is making it up just pointing out that her LEA is unusual

MerlotAndMe Sun 03-Feb-13 21:16:27

My son couldnt even hold a pencil at barely four. being in ireland it was my choice to hold him back. i dont know how boys like my son would cope at just four. he would have been wandering around the classroom, not motivated to do anything just becauseveverybody else was doing it. it took him til 5 to get to that point.

Coconutty Sun 03-Feb-13 21:17:44

DS1 is in the year below his 'correct' age, he was born at the very end of August and he has totally thrived, I really believe that he will do so much better than if he had been in the year up.

He agrees and is in year 10 now. Private school, so quite common for kids to be out of year, some up some down depending on the child.

christinecagney Sun 03-Feb-13 21:22:38

I wonder if we are in the same LA Feenie... I'm a Ht and I have out of year group children, not often but sometimes and it's really not a big deal to organise. Secondary schools honour the arrangement and apart from a few extra phone calls around admissions time it's all quite straight forward. Key thing seems to be that the Ht is willing to take full responsibility for the decision i.e not blame the LA if it doesn't work out!

takeaway2 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:23:02

In my DS's reception class there was an extra child in there who they/he referred to as big boy X (because there was another X but he's the little boy X). This big boy was called that because he was physically bigger than everyone but turns out he also theoretically belongs to the year 1 class above.

Apparently he didn't attend a lot of reception year (don't know actual reasons) and so the school has allowed him to spend half his time at year R and the other time in year 1. Since January, he's moved permanently to the year 1 class.

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 21:29:57

Mrz: the language used was "if that really is the case".

TalkinPeace2 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:34:29

Lingle - you misunderstand me.
I jumped the year at the END of primary - I missed most of old lower 3rd and is now year 6
I was in a class with girls 18 months older than me - which when they hit 17 was a nightmare

I totally support cutoff dates because they give clarity.
DS is 27 August. One week later and he'd have been the year below.
Thank goodness he was not.

ANY good school has differentiated learning so that all pupils thrive
stop being precious about your summer babies till you knoe the makeup of the whole class

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 21:35:07

It's so lovely to hear that Feenie's LEA still just quietly gets on with it

(especially as it is next to mine smile)

I have never ever heard any Scottish poster wishing they had no choice.

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 21:39:51

Talkinpeace - I understand that you jumped a year. That does sound horrible and unwise.

The question of whether a small child should be allowed to start reception at 5.0 is not best considered by testimony about the very different problems you encountered.

Goldchilled7up Sun 03-Feb-13 21:44:20

I'm also concerned about this, and wish I could defer a year. My july born son is smart but very immature emotionally. What are the differences between nursery and reception classes, is it just the longer days or the curriculum?

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 21:44:28

gosh, "precious" really wasn't very nice.

It makes me realise just how lucky DS2 and I were to be in the school we were with the head and nursery manager we had.

Our problem was treated with compassion by my peers - guess I was lucky there too. You can trust me that at that time no-one feared DS2 might outshine their own child by being ten days older..... (except maybe the head who remained determined to believe in his capacity to progress despite the depressing meetings with outside experts).

Lostonthemoors Sun 03-Feb-13 21:54:18

The 'precious' comment is a bit unkind.

I don't think many people want the hassle of trying to fight to hold a child back unless there is a real issue.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:55:16

the vast, vast bulk of the population have bugger all choice in this matter.
Hence the schools are geared up to cope.

My son was four years and one week when I first dropped him off in Year R .
He was a baby.
Now he's a year 8 neanderthal the same height as me and being young in his year is no longer an issue.

Parents worry about it for no reason and to no good end as its a problem that will go away on its own.

tiggytape Sun 03-Feb-13 22:23:51

and Tiggy tape,
"Somebody has to be forced to be the youngest" is, I can only hope, not something you would have dared say to my face, and not something you would say if you knew my story. Show some basic compassion. These are children like yours we are talking about.

Lingle - Yes I would say it to anybody's face. And perhaps you wouldn't speak to me in that tone if you knew my story - I say that as the mother of a Summer born DD with numerous medical and other conditions that affect her life to such a degree that frankly even if she was held back 3 years it still wouldn't help solve some of them! Even now she is years behind in some areas and that will probably never change so I do have a great deal of compassion in such areas....

The OP wasn't talking about children with profound additional needs. Her child has no issues beyond being the youngest in the year and she fears that is a disadvantage. No special circumstances other than that.

So I stand by my comment that yes somebody has to be forced to be the youngest even if their parents feel it is unfair. In England it is August babies. In Scotland it is Autumn babies and in very rare cases (private school and Feenie's LA they make exceptions) but even then there has to be a reason.

There is argument for flexibilty on grounds of additional needs but if you gave every single August baby the option to stay back for no other reason than that they didn't want to be the youngest, all of them would stay down and make the May and June babies the youngest instead.
Then they would feel it is unfair and fear disadvantage and want to stay back a year and so on.
Just like in Scotland where virtually all February and January babies stay back by choice and Autumn babies suddenly are forced to be the youngest in the year. So yes somebody in any class has to be the youngest even if it is agreed that being the youngest is not ideal.

lingle Sun 03-Feb-13 22:35:57

goldchilled - depends on the school but essentially they will do all they can to "shelter" him right up to reception and even into year 1.

Tiggytape, you obviously agree with me as you say "there is argument for flexibility on grounds of additional needs" so let's leave it there.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Sun 03-Feb-13 22:45:26

There are 30 children in a class.

There are 12 months in a year.

So there are 2.5 children per birth month in the class on average i.e. 5 born between 1st July and 31st August ie one sixth of the class. It's not one "young" child in a sea of September-borns. I think our school also balanced the classes so each had a spread of birthdays, though obviously not possible with one-form entry.

Teachers are well aware of the need to allow for age along with allowing for parental circumstances, additional needs (supported by SEN provision where required), children's temperaments etc. it really is something they can handle and the variation due to age may well be much less than that due to the other factors listed.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Sun 03-Feb-13 22:46:06

They=the teachers.

tiggytape Sun 03-Feb-13 22:55:06

lingle - I do agree with that yes. Technically that exists already though (in theory at least) because LAs can agree to hold a child back if an expert asserts that it is necessary. In practice though it is very rare and hardly any of them will agree to it.

It certainly won't happen for children just because they are young and flexibility for those children would just force the June babies to be the youngest instead. There is no cure to the whole youngest in the class problem for children with no additional needs or for children with additional needs that would not specifically benefit from 1 year extra in nursery. Nobody wants to be the youngest but along the line somebody has to be.

Goldchilled - the main difference can be a much longer day (for some children not used to fulltime daycare or nursery) and slightly more stucture. Mainly it is still learning through play and exploring and socialising and all the other stuff they do at Pre School and nursery. As lingle says - this approach extends into the first term of Year 1 in many schools too.

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 07:16:32

Over half of my current class were born between the beginning of June and the end of August. I only have 4 children who were born before Christmas and 2 of those have "extreme" SEN.

Farewelltoarms Mon 04-Feb-13 09:56:20

I agree with all those who have pointed out that there are so many variables in educational outcome and birthdate is only one of them. And, frankly, in comparison to the influence of socio-economic background it's pretty negligible. Even by posting your worries on a forum like this, you're showing yourself to be involved and interested in education which gives your dc's a massive advantage that I'd argue outweighs the (genuine) disadvantage of being summer born.
In my ds's class the three very low achieving children are all born in September. Other factors have outweighed the advantage of being older (though one is vg at football...). Had they been born a few weeks earlier they'd have been in the year above and you could argue that they would have been good cases for being held back a year given how poorly they are performing even in the year below. But I can tell you with certainty that their parents would never have argued for that, they'd have been totally unaware of the issues. If you give parents a choice, you immediately discriminate against children whose parents are less interested or aware. Then you end up with an even wider range of ages (the eldest being born in July but held down, the youngest born the following August but not held down).
Most parents don't even know about this summer born business. I remember talking to one mother who was furious that her september born daughter wasn't going up to reception with her (slightly older) friends and how she couldn't afford the extra childcare costs that this led to.
ps caveat - I do think there should be exceptions when the EDD of premature babies falls in the later year.

Farewelltoarms Mon 04-Feb-13 09:57:49

Oh and another ps - half of my daughter's class are born in the June, July and August. Your child will not be alone.

tiggytape Mon 04-Feb-13 10:36:39

Farewell - DD's class falls like that as well. Some years it seems that the September babies are totally in the minority and I agree birth date is just one thing that affects potential outcomes. One of the arguments against parental choice (quite aside from problems it would cause) is that parents who could afford an extra year paying fees would be more likely to opt for it than those who couldn't and relied on free daytime childcare. If there is flexibility, it has to be based on need which is theoretically what exists already albeit with such high degrees of professional evidence required that hardly anyone qualifies.

For example in Scotland there is nothing to stop November babies being kept back too (the Jan and Feb babies can stay back pretty automatically which forces the Autumn ones into becoming the youngest in the class instead) but they don't get the funding - so whereas the Jan and Feb babies can have free nursery places for a whole extra year, the November babies would need their parents to pay.

Most people wishing to hold their child back have a desire more than a need to do so eg concerns over immaturity levels that are totally appropriate to a child that is only 3 or 4 years old or concerns that any Summer born is statistically disadvantaged and the wish to avoid this even if there is no specific reason to think their own child will suffer.

lingle Mon 04-Feb-13 10:45:51

I think what we're getting to here is that

- yes there's a huge question mark about why we start so early in England. But meanwhile...

- it's entirely legitimate to be concerned about summer-borns as a population. The statistics are on your side. But statistics tell us nothing about a particular child, and, as farewell says, the very fact that a parent expresses concern suggests that the child falls in the "well supported" group, and this is (statistically again) to be a bigger factor in their life chances than birth month.

- schools are aware of the issue, to an extent, though some are better than others. If you're worried about your August born despite them being fairly typical for a child of their own birth month, then good strategies include: (i) going for mixed entry schools - this gives teachers a chance to subtly shelter your year 1 child in a mixed reception/year 1 year or, alternatively to shelter your year 2 child in a mixed year 1/year 2 year so they get a bit more time to blossom and (ii) go for a school that is very very confident about teaching around the individual child rather than getting the statistics looking good - so avoid any culture of boasting about all the children reading by the end of reception or anything like that.

- once we get to children with additional needs, it all changes. Year deferral will be of no benefit to some children with special needs whatsoever. But for some (probably characterised by having immaturity plus the potential to veer back towards typical development levels, including those who have had a development pause and some premature children) it can be life changing. My son is in that category, as I and my head will testify till we are blue in the face. We've saved the taxpayer umpteen thousands by just giving him time. He would have had a statement had he gone at 4. He needs no intervention at all having gone at 5.

- as Feenie and the ht from her LEA have testified, it's just no big deal administering a school system that allows parents like me, on expert advice, to start their child at 5.

- the solution is to just get on with identifying the children for whom this could change everything - perhaps 1 out of 100 summer borns, pop them into their true peer year rather than their default year and then just forget about it and reap the rewards for the child, class and society. No-one actually disagrees with that - even Jim Rose whose reports led to the rule change.

AntimonySalts Mon 04-Feb-13 10:54:06

Another alternative... I didn't send my summer born DS to school until Year 1. So he was still in the right school year. I felt he would benefit far more in every possible way from another year at home with me instead of starting Reception at just-turned-four. When he started in Y1, he was massively ahead of the other children in terms of reading/writing/maths/general knowledge - which meant that he could spend the year making friends. It is a private school, though - so I don't know if this is possible with state schools?

Lostonthemoors Mon 04-Feb-13 11:38:13

I'd like to thank the op for starting this thread. I had no idea things with this absolute and rigid or that private schooling was a way to avoid the rigidity. Both worth knowing.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Mon 04-Feb-13 13:58:52

Antimony, I think in state school you would need to start them
In the summer term of reception or you would lose the reserved place and be applying in year 1 when classes are often full.

Oopla Mon 04-Feb-13 14:00:45

What a Can of worms!
Really interesting reading so many different opinions smile

I have a friend who has 3 children all born in September, I often wondered why it was planned that way, she strenuously denies the school year issue grin

AntimonySalts Mon 04-Feb-13 14:08:47

It's a shame there's no flexibility in the state system. Deferring places at private schools can be tricky too, in that they could fill them three times over with people who want their children to start in Reception. We did register our DC for this particular school when they were babies, and kept in regular touch with the school so they knew we were committed to sending the DC there in Y1. This communication probably helped, as they would have had no trouble filling DS's space. They were also very good about accommodating DD half way through Reception when she insisted on going to school. grin

Oopia she probably just had three very merry Christmas/New Years!

teacherwith2kids Mon 04-Feb-13 20:02:56

I have taught a year-deferred child - developmental age of c. 18 months in Year 3 adjusted, Year 4 real, actual development per year of less than a month for a gain in age of a year (so falling 11 months further behind in every year older they become IYSWIM). That is the only time that I have taught a child out of their correct year

Tbh, the transition to secondary is a non-issue, as the child will transfer into the Special School system at that point (is in mainstream primary for sibling and cultural reasons).

Like Talkin, I 'skipped' Year 7 in the transition between primary and selective private secondary. Academically absolutely brilliant. Socially an unmitigated disaster (though being an ill-clad, church-mouse-poor geek may have had as much to do with that as the age factor!).

mentallyscrewed Mon 04-Feb-13 20:09:49

My now 6.5 yr old ds is a July born and I wanted to hold him back but as the others have said he will eventually have to skip a year forward to be in his correct year at some point.

He struggles - he is still doing work expected of a reception/year 1 but we have since found out he has various SEN and things are being put in place to help him.

Also the reception year really is learning through ALOT of play (I work in a reception class for one day a week)

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 04-Feb-13 20:15:50

Our DS1 is a late July birthday and struggled socially and with groups at preschool initially.

DH and pondered holding him back a year, but because he would have had to go straight into year 1 we decided against it.

As it turns out, the final 1.5 terms at preschool he came on leaps and bounds - they worked really hard with him - and we were totally happy about sending him in September. He did a slightly staggered start, and went full time at the beginning of October.

Despite being one of the youngest he is in the top5% of his class academically, he has made friends and loves school.
We absolutely couldn't be happier.

fossil971 Mon 04-Feb-13 21:41:19

OP, somebody has to be the smallest boy in the class. If it wasn't your DS it would be some other kid with that label. An average class of 30 will have a spread of birthdays through the whole year (to state the obvious), the teachers have to teach to accommodate all their levels.

DS is a very late August birthday but I was impressed by the personal attention he had from school in not being pushed until he was ready. Reception class is very similar to playgroup in lots of ways. Have you actually been to the school and talked to the reception teacher or seen the classroom?

DS does have his issues and some are immaturity related I guess, and he's physically small, but really you have to find some compensating advantages and work on those.

ewaczarlie Mon 04-Feb-13 21:55:59

I was worried about aloof this too as my DS is late August. Nothing I can do about it though so have just rolled with it. If its a problem later in school ill deal with it then (go private, tutoring etc). Was also surprised how many of his class mates are July/ August born (and how many managed to squeeze in before DS to be the youngest!

alanyoung Thu 07-Feb-13 19:12:51

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue, there is no law that children have to attend school; only that they have to be educated.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 07-Feb-13 19:33:01

Yes,of course you're right, I just said school because the OP seems to be thinking school not HE.

birdseed Sat 23-Feb-13 22:43:34

Oopla - this time last year I had a very shy small july born boy 3 year old and I worried myself stupid about him going through to reception and was keen for him to drop a year so that he would be able to grow in confidence rather than always be the small shy boy.

A year on and he has done well and is much more confident and he is a happy boy. A big sigh of relief all round. I would still rather that he wasn't one of the smallest and youngest and that he could have had more time at home/preschool but it hasn't been nearly as bad as I feared.

The things that have helped have been:
- choosing the right school environment (2nd time lucky, this one is much more play based and the teachers very friendly and welcoming to the children in the mornings).
- A few shorter days - he finished at lunchtime 3 days a week to begin with and now 2 days a week and then will go full time from next term. It has really helped him settle in as he too is a real 'homebody' like your son and I think he would have found it really tough with full time from the start both stamina wise and without the extra emotional support on the days he finished early.

I hope that it all goes as smoothly for him in september as it can.

Oopla Sat 23-Feb-13 23:24:38

Really glad it's worked out for you birdseed, thanks for your experience smile

A few weeks ago he tried to join in with two girls who were playing just as we arrived, they didn't want him to play and he spent 3/4 hour on the floor dejected ! It's hard because obv I only see brief snapshots of his behaviour when I drop off and collect but he's often wandering around alone or being rebuffed by groups of bigger boys.

Days like that I just want to scoop him up and bring him home hmm

Since I first posted this thread have been watching ds carefully and he is coming on leaps just lately, have to remind myself that sept is a whole 7 months away!

We're meeting nursery teachers next week and hoping to talk about how they think he's doing and see if we can gently phase him into full days as you've done.

mummytime Sun 24-Feb-13 09:20:13

I would be complaining to nursery that they are not doing more to help him play with the other kids. That is what Nursery is for!
I would also talk to the reception class teachers as soon as you know he has a place, and discuss what strategies they will put in place to help him integrate.

birdseed Sun 24-Feb-13 20:47:18

Oopla. I hope it goes well for your DS.
They can change so much in just a few months so fingers crossed he will have come on in leaps and bounds by sept. And even if he doesn't seem quite ready in sept he may be doing much better a few months on, so don't despair.

spottyhankystripysocks Sun 24-Feb-13 21:24:20

My dc's class (tiny private school) has 4 children in the class who should be theoretically in the year above. My dc is latter half of year and "young". This has a huge impact socially. Personally I think children should probably not be in a formal setting until 5, but that out of year children should be on a very exceptional basis.

Talkinpeace Sun 24-Feb-13 21:59:34

your teeny 4 year old will, before you know, it be a huge stinky teen like my baby is now
let them fit in by being in their right year
they will find their own friends
making kids "stick out" is THE mortal sin of parenting.

spottyhankystripysocks Mon 25-Feb-13 09:33:54

I am not sure if my post was completely clear - my child is young in year, is in the right year - but there are others who are much older (deferred) in the class. Socially they are light years ahead. Although I agree with Talkinginpeace re making kids stick out (incidently I was also put up a year at school - despite being a June birthday), the tone of the post is a bit off -if you are going through this for the first time, it is completely understandable why you might be concerned?

bananasontoast Thu 28-Feb-13 17:48:41

There are lots of parents who would like to start their summer borns in Reception the September after their 5th birthday. The system is however, inflexible. See the google group "Campaign For More Flexible School Admissions For Summer Born Children" a group for like minded parents you wish to delay.

Missbopeep Fri 01-Mar-13 11:46:16

My son was a mid August birthday- he started school at the easter before he was 5. What I did do was hold back his nursery education and kept him at home until he was 4 so he had only 2 terms at nursery Sept- Easter before he started school.

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