Start school aged 6 or 7

(42 Posts)
strokey Wed 11-Sep-13 23:09:32

www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10302249/Start-schooling-later-than-age-five-say-experts.html#dsq-comments

I am THRILLED to read this. Mine are due back on the 23rd and Ive been feeling really torn about my 5 year old going into year 1 as he didn't go to reception, but 5 is the compulsory school age.

This has made up my mind to register him as home educated.

All children are different! The problem is, it's very much a one size fits all education. I don't think there's any way around that either in mass education.

mistlethrush Fri 20-Sep-13 13:15:45

DS read the first Harry Potter book to himself aged 6 - we were taking too long reading the next chapter to him so he did it himself. He was SO ready for school nursery at 3.5 - mostly play but they started their phonics there and the start of numeracy. He's summer born too. Starting at 6 / 7 would have driven us all completely round the bend.

To everyone who thinks children should be able to read fluently at age 7, in order to love books. My DD is eight and a half and has severe learning difficulties. She can't read or write but LOVES books! I read them to her all the time. She also listens to audio books. She tells me stories and I have to write them down for her. She also has a good idea of how stories work. I know that it would be a lot easier for me if she could read her own books, but I'm just saying it doesn't have to hold a child back. If they can't read, they can still develop a strong love of books, and I'm hoping that'll help her to read when she's ready. smile

storkey- have you checked out the home ed section on here? There are loads of really lovely home ed mums who will be happy to help with any questions you have about HE. I home educated my daughter for 2 years. I took her out of her small private school, as she was going down hill and was very unhappy. She has severe learning disability, but is interested in everything! I put her into school at age seven and a half. It was a really tough decision, but I'm now glad I did. She has a full time one to one lady, and many friends. If I can't get her a place at a suitable SN's school when she's 11, then I intend to home ed her again. smile

MortifiedAdams Thu 19-Sep-13 19:56:16

OP if you plan on HE til seven, then it would be mean of you to not teach your dc to read, write and do basic math.

In my opinion, you are duty bound to teach him up to a level that will facilitate his.move into mainstream school.

BrokenSunglasses Thu 19-Sep-13 19:28:36

I agree more flexibility is needed, even if it were just within the system we already have. There are a lot of just turned four year olds that have started full time this month, with that being their only option unless their parents go completely against the grain.

There are also a lot of four year olds that are all over the place at the moment doing just mornings, just afternoons or a random combination of both, when they are ready to go full time.

There is definitely space in most schools to improve induction procedures so that they fit children rather than schools.

I think that basically the system needs more flexibility. Dd1 was not ready when she started at 4.5, ds is not quite 4, but every day he asks when he can go into reception as his friends have just started. He reads at least 3 reading books a day, can count to 20 in English and French and can do simple arithmetic. He is ready to learn, dd1 wasn't. She has now caught up with the children who are like ds is now - it's not that ds is a genius and she isn't, he wants to learn, she didn't, she just wasn't ready at 4.5. She spent the first two years dragging against the system, still not too sure what the long term impact will be emotionally as she still reminices about life when she could just play.

In Scotland at least you can delay children, so most of them are approaching 5 before they start. Ds would like even more flexibility and Sept starters to be able to start early if they are ready! I am pleased he is around for a bit longer but he is getting frustrated.

MrsDibble Thu 19-Sep-13 11:11:52

smile

MrsDibble Thu 19-Sep-13 11:11:31

My nearly 5 year old was desperate to start school and seems to be really loving it so far.

So I wouldn't have been pleased if she was not able to start until later. However, I accept all children' are different and more choice might be helpful.

They do seem to be learning through play at her school, though, at least in reception. They have a number of activities set out in the classroom and the children can move around choosing between the different learning activities. They do have some time learning all together, but some of this time seems to involve things like dancing to music. :-)

lollylaughs Thu 19-Sep-13 08:56:45

This is how it is currently in SA. They start formal schooling in January of the year they turn 7. A lot of times, they don't start until the following year, the year they turn 8 as those with birthdays in November or December are essentially a year younger. This has to be motivated though by the pre-primary and education department. There are some instances where a child starts earlier, but this also has to follow the same procedure.

Pre-primary is not classed as formal schooling, and only some primary schools have an pre-primary class. Usually this is a class at crèche or day care. It is encouraged though. I have read that within the next few years all pre-primary classes will be linked to a particular primary school.

Having had one child start school in UK at age 4 and one child start schooling in SA at age 6.5, I personally feel the system here is better as my ds was most definitely not ready emotionally at age 4 to start school.

We pay school fees for state school (but this does depend of the type of school in your area, this is a whole other thread) so financially there is no pressure to send children sooner as pre-school and school fees are about the same.

BrokenSunglasses Thu 19-Sep-13 08:38:12

The majority of children in reception and Y1 cope well with it. They like the activities on offer and they learning they do, they don't just sit at desks listening to a teacher ramble on about things they have no interest in all day.

I think the children who don't cope with it are the minority, and it's up to the parents of those children to do what they have to do to adjust things for their own children.

tooyoungforschool123 Wed 18-Sep-13 23:47:33

My daughter has entered year 1 of primary school as is so unhappy with the more formal learning . She is a summer born. 27th August 2008.
She started reception in April and enjoyed the play based learning. She really needs this reception time now too. There seems to be too much of a jump to formal learning in Year 1. This particularly doesn't suit my child.
There should be a choice for such late summer born children to start reception from age 5. If she had been born 4 days later school would have worked for her. She would be starting reception now.
I am seriously considering taking her out of school for a year to home educate.

giveitago Wed 18-Sep-13 14:19:11

ds has just started junior school. He now sits at a desk. He never had one before. Prior to this is was learning through play at his infant school.

Fine by me. He's an only child. I work. I cannot home school (why would I want to?). My ds got alot from going to nursery (and private nursery before 3) - so much more than I could have given him.

I just don't get the problem. Really don't. I don't understand the so called rigours of early year education as I've seen zero. I've seen toys and no desks.

Ds did no reading or writing at his state nursery. Is this not normal?

mam29 Wed 18-Sep-13 09:31:23

sweeden sounds fab.

im trying to teach my kids these practical things least

forgaing and cooking.

took 7year old b&q diy class she loved it sh was nervous to see jigsaw in her hand.

all mine love gardening

TheLeftovermonster Tue 17-Sep-13 22:40:25

The weird thing about primary school is that it starts with too much too soon, and then, towards the end, is way too relaxed.

cory Mon 16-Sep-13 22:36:48

I know afussyphase. I used to be a tax payer in Sweden. Didn't grudge the money in the least.

Though to be fair, the childhood I described was before subsidised nurseries.

afussyphase Mon 16-Sep-13 13:03:55

And have you all heard about how they fund CHILDCARE in Sweden? Makes me weep with envy. Full time places for ~100 Euro/month. Parents who stay at home compensated at commensurate rates.

This would massively help women who want to do so remain in their careers. It would hugely reduce the earning gap between men and women. It would keep people off benefits who can't earn enough to cover childcare.

Start school later? Sure. But right now this would have a big impact on many families, preventing many parents going back to work for another year.

cory Mon 16-Sep-13 08:40:50

When I started school in Sweden at nearly 7, we did start by learning the alphabet. Of course a couple of us had already taught ourselves to read before then: in a literate society you can't stop someone who really wants to.

However, I do not think even the children who hadn't done this, even the very gifted ones, had spent the preceding 6/7 years being frustrated or unhappy because they "weren't learning". The way we saw it, reading books was one (albeit very enjoyable) part of all the learning you were supposed to do when you grew up. There were so many other fascinating things you had to learn too; and they were all valued by the society we lived in.

As a 7yo I was also expected to know:

how to bake a cake without help

how to do basic sewing and embroidery

how to do woodwork and basic carpentering, using a hammer and saw

how to swim and understand about basic life-saving

how to fish and gut a fish

how to keep safe in the woods and what to do if lost

how to ski and skate

how to fix lunch

how to do basic foraging and bring back berries for jam making

how to recognise plants and herbs around our house and know which ones were edible, which were poisonous and which were protected

how to prepare a wall or other structure for painting and how to paint

how to do basic gardening

My db who was more into technical things also had a good grasp of basic electrics and mechanics by this age, fixing domestic appliances around the house.

If any DIY was being done about the house, I would be expected to join in; I helped out in the kitchen; I even did some of the laundry.

Of course some of these things were dependent on where we lived, but most of them (baking, using hammer and saw) are the kind of things that could go on in any household, however urban; they were the things that grown-ups did and that made you feel grown-up.

The British system, it seems to me, rests equally on the (reasonable) assumption that learning to read English will take longer than learning to read a phonetic language and the (unreasonable) assumption that all the learning children can profitably do comes out of books.

A child who thinks he isn't learning if he is cooking family supper but only if he is doing worksheets has got that idea from somewhere.

MsMarple Sun 15-Sep-13 21:59:42

Just from personal experience, I think formal learning introduced too soon can be damaging. My son had a great time in reception - he thought he played all day, but somehow learnt to read pretty well, and lots about space/dinosaurs/farms etc too. Now after a few weeks in year 1 he doesn't want to go to there anymore, and is resistant to things he associates with learning and school. So, whereas in the holidays he was often writing bits and pieces (of his own volition) now he tells me he doesn't like writing and wouldn't even do a birthday card when I asked. I wish they could continue the early years approach into year 1, and 2. From what I see they do learn things, and also get to play creatively and have fun.

It makes me a bit sad to think that some 5 or 6 year olds could be bored of playing!

insideoutsider Sat 14-Sep-13 19:20:59

I think it works well in other countries because they have a better educational structure that works in the later stages. If the UK changes early education, everything later - from age 7 till 18 and beyond would have to be overhauled to achieve the same results as those other countries.

Pixel Fri 13-Sep-13 22:44:34

Well, maybe you are right about 'laborious' but do you think that could be the teaching methods rather than anything to do with the age they start? My sister and I could both read before we went to school and so could my dd who started at 4.5. There were no 'lessons' just plenty of exposure to books and reading (my mum got me my own library ticket at 2 to stop me being upset cos I wanted hers and I just carried it on with dd smile) and it seemed to come very naturally. I don't see how I could have stopped her learning until the age of seven without a book-ban!
I know children learn at a different pace and not all of them find reading easy but I still can't see how they can get to seven and be completely ignorant of the basics, so surely when they start school they would all be at different stages? Wouldn't that make it harder for the teachers?

bugster Fri 13-Sep-13 19:25:41

inside and pixel I used to think as you do. I live in Switzerland, the children were born here, and school starts at 6 or 7, depending on when in the year their birthday is. Before school they go to kindergarten which does involve some learning aims but they are about social and emotional development and pre-reading skills, not actually reading. Having been to school in England from just 4 I thought the Swiss approach was crazy at first but having experienced it with my children I think it's good. My older daughter would have been ready to start formal learning at 4 or 5 but delaying that for 2 years was no problem for her, she had fun doing other things. When she started school it was incredible how quickly she started reading books, compared with what seems to be a long and laborious process in England as far as I can make out.

My younger daughter is in kindergarten and loves playing, formal learning at 4 would definitely not have been for her.

ivykaty44 Fri 13-Sep-13 19:05:15

So if it means that starting formal education at 4 years old has a detrimental effect on their later education and holds them back rather than propelling them forward, why would that be unfair?

If children that start formal education later are doing consistently better at the end of their education why would that be?

Pixel Thu 12-Sep-13 23:13:06

Me too insideoutsider. Seven seems awfully old to not be able to read fluently. They should know the joys of getting stuck into a good book by then.

insideoutsider Thu 12-Sep-13 19:50:15

Gosh. By age 7, I expect my kids to be able to read proper books and write proper letters and add up proper money like I did at their age. When mine went to reception at age 4, they were more than ready for it - as well as most kids in their class.

IMO, asking children to play till they are 'ready' at 7 is so unfair to them.

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