DD born on cutoff date and I want to hold her back - advice please(102 Posts)
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DD was born at 9pm on the 31 August, so is therefore due to start school this September. I really strongly believe that this is going to be totally wrong for her. I know that each child is different and some with that birth date are going to be ready, my DD is definitely not one of them! My son is also an august baby and he was young but ready for school and has coped ok. My DD is very young for her age, her speech is only now coming together, she didn't say a word until she was 2.5 and now speaks ok but is still quite far behind other children her age. She really struggles to settle into new places or situations, it has taken her nearly a year to get the hang of nursery and only now is happier about going in. She has a little circle of friends, all of whom will be starting the September after (2014). I desperately want her to start reception that year too rather than this year. I know she doesn't have to legally be in school until she is 5 but then she would miss reception and have to go to year one, which I also don't want her to have to do. I have a meeting with the headteacher tomorrow morning to discuss the situation and I know he is going to try and tell me that cutoff is final and I have no choice. I am going to really fight my corner on this one though, so if anyone has any advice they can offer me tonight I would be grateful, so I can go in fully armed tomorrow!
Hi OP, this can and has been done, although not always easy. Check out the googlegroup "Campaign For More Flexible School Admissions For Summer Born Children".
Bliss I know have been hammering away at the cause for prem babies for a while (thankfully?! I had my prem baby due slap-bang in the middle of the year at least so didn't get hit by it!).
I have taught two out of chronological year group children in the past - one independent sector so minimal fuss (what school's going to quibble about an extra year's fees after all?) and one in the state sector - who'd done their nursery year but was obviously really floundering in reception so repeated reception and then progressed up the school with that cohort as her peers (by the time I taught her they were in the upper reaches of KS2 and there was no sign of bullying or anything going on - indeed I don't think it had even dawned on half of them that she wasn't the same age as them - but they couldn't half be an oblivious bunch at times bless 'em!). Her parents then had the second hurdle to jump though - the fight to get her secondary school entrance delayed a year so she could continue on with the cohort she regarded as her peer group - LEA took a good while to consent to doing that as I recall and it was quite an anxious time for mum and dad (and all at the school who were very fond of her).
If it's any consolation one of my school friends was one who missed the cutoff for the next year by about 10 minutes - and we fought out for top place in tests and anything academicr bitterly all the way through school!
This is an area where the current Admissions Code is open to interpretation. You can read it as implying that you can insist your child starts full time from day 1 but it could equally be read as allowing schools to insist that younger children start part time. Unless someone takes a case to the LGO or to judicial review we won't know for sure.
Dolly, I think the law now would allow her to start full time from day 1 though you would have to argue it out with the individual school as all use different ways of staggering start dates.
The inflexibility works the other way too - DD is a 31/8 birthday - her brother is 15 months older than her. From Day 1 that he started school she wanted to go to school and was going to be in Miss X's class (she was!). She was so ready for school and would happily have gone full time from day one but she had to do half days until half term, no choice whatsoever. Yet a friend of mine's DD who was a July birthday was given the option of half days or full time at another school. I don't know why you can't be given options as standard rather than each school having different rules.
Tiggy - autumn borns in Scotland have the choice to delay, 100% the parents choice, a child does not need to enrol for primary 1 until the August after their 5th birthday, ie they can be rising 6 at entry to p1.
This does not affect funding to the school place, only to the optional "free" nursery places in the years before school entry. You may be denied funding for the nursery year if you decide to send your autumn born to school at 5 3/4, but a school can't stop you choosing to start p1 at that age - as all the council entry info do point out!
Our October born will be starting at 5 3/4. If nursery funding is refused, that won't change our decision
You would think so, thereonthestair. My friend tried to get her DS started in his age corrected year group, but met hurdles and opposition every step of the way. She was also told that, even if they allowed her DS to start the year later (when his EDD was) that she would have to begin the process again when he was in Yr5 to stop him having to go straight from Yr5 to Yr7 in secondary. In the end she allowed him to start reception with his actual age cohort
Slightly off topic, but I think it's actually quite straightforward with prems, you draw the line when the due date was. Traditionally we correct the dat so there is an actual and corrected age until they are 2. But there is a lot of discussion about changing that to correct until they are either 5 or 7. The more prem the more there is an argument so the 24/27 seeker should have more options, not less. Personally I think it is absolutely imperative, prems have quite enough to cope with as it is, pushing them to school when they are in fact 3 months too young by conception ( and remember a lot of development does take place antenatally) is bonkers! And there are quite a lot of campaigns on this by bliss and others. As there should be!
Yardarm, schools legally must allow children to attend part time until they are five.
My experience of this issue is from an SEN point of view, where to start school out of the correct year group if summer born would be really useful and often developmentally delayed DC coped really well given this chance. It used to be the norm for DC from the special pre school that my DS attended.
It all changed with the Infant Class Size law. If a school was fully subscribed they couldn't, by law, offer a place to a DC in the 'wrong' year group if it then took a place from a DC of the correct age. If a school is undersubscribed the school can take the decision to teach a DC in the 'wrong' year group if logistically possible. You would still have to accept a place in the correct year, and either start in the summer term then drop down in the Sept, or defer the year and start in the Sept. Very risky, because if the school happens to be full that year, your DC would have to go straight into Y1. Doubly disadvantaged, very young and with a year's less schooling.
You may still get a problem at secondary, some DC have gone from Y5 straight to secondary because the secondaries won't take them out of year.
The only way to guarantee a place in the year below is if you manage to get a Statement of SEN where professionals have advised that a year delay is essential and this is written into the Statement. I wouldn't think your DD would get this.
actually Peanutbutter only - I was pondering this earlier. Have dd (July) and then ds1 and ds2 who are both early September (ds2 on the 1st). DD had a circle of friends who all went to school at the same time. She was fine, settled well and has always more than kept up with her cohort.
DS1 gravitated to the slightly older children and they started school a whole year before he did. He was intensely bored by the end of preschool (although emotional maturity wise it was good that he started at 5, academically he could have easily coped with being the youngest in the year above) and year 1 was no better than reception.
I tend to make a note of the age of the children ds2 plays with at preschool, and have a slight heart sinking at the fact that he (having 2 older siblings and being desperate to keep up with them) also gravitates to the older children who will be starting school this September. He is noticeably less interested in the children who are younger than him.
While I do believe that he will benefit from being the eldest in the year in some respects (his speech should have improved and I'm hopeful for successful potty training by September next year ), there are disadvantages in terms of the long year after the others have gone and him adjusting to them not being there any more.
My friend's DS was born on 31st August, but was 8.5wk early. His actual due date was 31st October. Despite developmental delay and various recommendations, he started school at 4yrs old (and a few days). He is now Yr1 and he is coming along really well.
My own DD is late August born (my friend and I were in hospital together!) and now in Yr1. DD struggled to settle in nursery; she found any change unsettling and literally cried at every drop off.
I will be honest; I was completely worried about her starting school. We moved in the July before her starting school, so we also had to change schools. We found a lovely village school - our catchment school - and the HT was very approachable and amenable to DD's possible needs. She said we could defer until spring/summer term, DD could do all mornings or 3-4 full days per week - she even said we could 'play it by ear' and work together to find the best solution for DD.
As it was she ran in on the first day, with a quick look back and a 'bye mummy' before disappearing into the class, and she has been like that ever since. She is also ahead in terms of educational achievement; she has been streamed into the Yr2/3 class with a couple of her cohort and is currently on 2b/c/b for reading, writing and numeracy - expected level of achievement at the end of Yr2. Physically, she is still much, much smaller than the rest of her class and she can appear clumsy. But we take her to gymnastics and swimming - activities she enjoys, but that also improve her strength and co-ordination.
If you had asked me 2yrs ago, I would have told you that I wish I'd just kept DD inside for a few short days longer. If you ask me now, I'd tell you that she is positively thriving.
Tiggytape is right; you need to focus on the options you have, rather than mull over those you don't. I completely understand how unjustifiably unfair it seems, but there has to be a cut-off somewhere. It just so happens that the cut-off makes our DC the very youngest.
My daughter, starting school in January and being the only one in her class to do so, has not been disadvantaged socially. The other children were all curious about 'the new girl.' It did help that about half of the class had been with her in pre-school, but her current best friend is a girl she did not know before and who had started school in the September.
As has been pointed out by others - schools have a responsibility to cater to all the children in a year, not just the oldest.
I'm happy that my August-born child is in the right year, and know it she will be OK. I have a bit of experience of what it is like to be the youngest in the year myself - my birthday is in August. I have not done too badly for myself! I had a degree by the age of 20, owned my own house by 21, and married at 22. Most of the older children in my year have still not caught up!
Tiggytape is right, you have the right to defer entry until they are 5 but then they have to go into the correct year for their age. So rather than miss Reception altogether you could defer until after Christmas or Easter. My DD (July birthday) started after Christmas and was fine by then.
A friend of mine managed to negotiate mornings only for the first half term for her August DS, but our school would not have allowed this for funding reasons.
But I will say that Reception teacher friends of mine say that it's more of an advantage to have more time in Reception even if they are very young as it gives them more time to get used to the school environment, systems and expectations gently before Year 1. Also there are two very young 4 year olds in my DD2's Reception class and they seem to be thriving. Don't forget that schools are used to dealing with this situation and I am sure they will do all they can to make it work.
I know it is frustrating but I think you have to mull over the options you do have, not the ones you don't
The LA will confirm what the H/T has said because the system just doesn't cater for any flexibility in this matter except in exceptional circumstances.
The buddying idea sounds like a good one no matter what start date you pick and the H/T can say what he likes about missing phonics but you have the absolute right to keep DD at nursery until Easter or Christmas. I am sure you won't be the only one to do this. Or you can opt for part time hours. Normally the more formal teaching elements are covered in the morning and afternoons are more play based so you could decide to build up gradually.
And as others have said, DD will not be lost in a sea of 29 September born children - many others in the class will be born June - August too, many (regardless of Birthday) will be immature or even unready, many will need a lot of time to settle, many will need a bit of extra help.
"She has a little circle of friends, all of whom will be starting the September after (2014). "
I'm trying to look on the bright side for you .... it's suggesting she's not "lost" socially, that's she's on a really good trajectory already..... so perhaps the head thinks she will be ready...?
but actually my real opinion is exactly the same as Labelledamesanspatience's ...... once a policy is made, children are remade to fit the policy.
other options are a 1.5 form entry school. They sometimes "shelter" younguns by having them in the "younger" of two mixed-aged classes - it can keep them with younger peers until they get to KS2. This was an absolute lifesaver for a little girl who started reception at 4.0 in our school. She was in reception, then "pure" year 1 (but all the younger ones) then in a mixed year 1/2 class (where she wasn't always the youngest).
something to consider....
"I wonder whether there are any parents that worry that their September-borns are disadvantaged in any way? Are they bored of Reception by the end of the year and therefore learning slowing down? Just a thought."
My youngest is September born and unusually the only Sept born child in his year of 45, which has a very high ratio of summer borns. Due to my work needs he was in a nursery from age 9 months. By the time he started school he had effectively had 4 years of preschool. Having older siblings he expected school to be different to nursery and was very disappointed to find reception very much the same as nursery. He hated reception and was not much better in years 1 and 2. Only this year (3) in a mixed year 3/4 class has he finally started to enjoy school and regained his desire to learn.
I think at this point you have to accept that she is going into the 'right' year. Reception class must try to cater for all children in it, with those born late August equally representative of the year group as those born in September. As someone else said, 1:12 children (on average) will be August born. Hard to accept though that your child may have been 'better off' if born a little later. I wonder whether there are any parents that worry that their September-borns are disadvantaged in any way? Are they bored of Reception by the end of the year and therefore learning slowing down? Just a thought.
cold the absolute best thing you could do now is to accept that she's starting in September and I promise you that there will be other little ones just like her...not quite ready.
They will be well used to this...the teachers I mean and they will know all the tricks to help DD settle.
I would start her in September because it is very true that the others will have formed bonds by January and DD will ot have changed THAT much over three months that it is worth considering holding her back.
We have a DD in the same position but exactly a year older and is the youngest in her year by nearly 3 months!
We were told unless we could provide a educational psychologist report with evidence from nursery as to why she should be allowed to defer she would not be allowed to defer. We visited the school before we put in our choices then once we knew she ha a place we went in again and had a meeting with the reception teacher and head. We were advised that although we have the legal right to defer her until she turns 5 they strongly advise that she started with her peers. We initially agreed a Jan start with a her doing 1 day a week as forming social bonds at the beginning is one of the most important things about reception and they didn't want to to be an outsider in the January. The change in DD from the April to September was huge, she started with her peers in the September at her insistence that she wanted to go to school, after further discussion with the class teacher and head we agreed she would do 'nursery' hours (5 mornings) for the 1st half term and then 3 full and 2 half days until Jan when she would start full time.
In the first half term DD wanted to stay at school more, first for lunches and then she realised she was missing out when kids talked about the htings they had done the previous afternoon. Slowly she asked to stay more and more and by the October half term she waned to stay all day. She has thrived, we still have the option to bring her home on Wednesday afternoons but she strong objects and I have only once had to force it because she was exhausted.
Coldfingers, of course all the stuff about being bullied is rubbish! For the sake of 3 hours.
That merely an attempt to justify jobsworth inflexibility.
It is one of the most annoying things about working in education; realising that paperwork and policies are far more important than children.
Does she/you know anyone who would be starting in her reception class? I think in your position I would either send her part time (half days?), or delay her start until Easter. To assuage any possible social problems with being the new girl, I would do playdates with any of her classmates I could!
I know someone who held her June born child out until Easter, she settled in reception fine. I'm sure she would have settled anyway, but she did have a very good friend in the class she was joining which perhaps eased her in a little.
Thank you for all your responses, I met with the headteacher today. He was very helpful and nice about the whole situation but said there was no way that she would be able to be held back a year. I am very disappointed. He did however give me options, such as hold her back until easter term and then start, start her part time in September or after Christmas. Buddy her up with an older child to boost her confidence in playground etc. All of which are fine but really not what i wanted for her. I called the LA this afternoon to confirm this is the case but couldn't speak to anyone today. The HT said part time and not starting until Easter then hold more problems socially that she won't have made friends and done phonics etc with all the other kids and will be the new girl when she does start!! Argghh! all so annoying for three hours off the cutoff. All this stuff about being bullied if she is another year group or held back etc is just ridiculous in my opinion. If she had been born three hours later no would blink an eye at her starting in that year.
I also think the system is mad and unnecessarily inflexible. My late June dd is doing fine in Yr1 now but everything would have been so much easier had she had an extra year to mature a bit.
As for the argument where to draw the line with premature babies, I'd suggest using the actual due date as a guide. To me sending a 13 week premature August born child into school is nothing short of inhumane and I would have fought like a tiger to delay a year.
The English system sucks. In Scotland my dd should have gone to P1 in 2004, instead I deferred and she went to P1 instead in 2005 with her friends from nursery having missing nothing and being the eldest in the year. It's sad that the Government will not consider looking into changing it to the Scottish way.