Nursery recommends my son is held back a year

(95 Posts)
SLMummy Mon 11-Nov-13 22:16:55

My little boy has just turned four and at a recent parents evening at nursery, his key worker recommended that he should be held back a year before starting school. She said that while he was spot on academically he still has issues concentrating and listening, especially if in a larger group. He also needs work with some of his fine motor skills She's also under the impression that he's quite shy, and although i'm not sure if he's like that at nursery, he definitely isn't outside of it.

I took her advice and they're now going to liaise with the local school to assess whether he is ready for not. It would be great if he could go to school with all his friends and I'm looking for advice on what I can do to help get him ready. Of course if the school also recommends that he stays back another year then I'll follow their advice, but I would still like to know what I can do to help develop his motor skills (i already have a few ideas), help improve his concentration and get him interested in learning. If anyone has any tips or has been through a similar situation, your input would be much appreciated smile

Foosyerdoos Tue 12-Nov-13 07:06:08

In Scotland this is very common. I was advised this for my dd but chose to send her to school. The issue was more emotional immaturity rather than academic.

I do not regret my decision now but she did have some problems in the middle years of primary school when she did not keep up with peers in terms of emotional / social maturity.

She is now in secondary school and she is doing great with lots of friends.

SLMummy Tue 12-Nov-13 08:07:35

Thank you all for the advice so far :-)

I live in Scotland, and I do understand that a lot of children defer. I will go down that road if the school agrees with the nursery, but as I said in my first post it would be nice if he could go to school with all of his friends. plus, his birthday is in September so he'd only be a month off 5 if starting school this year.

I was shocked initially, he's never really had any issues socially or emotionally outside of nursery. Concentration issues yes but from what I gather (and what I thought before) that's totally normal for his age.

Thanks so much for that big list of exercises. We do quite a few of those things already, although I've only had a wee skim through, but it's definitely nice to have more to build on :-)

hazeyjane Tue 12-Nov-13 09:16:10

I didn't know that Scotland has that system, in that case the advice from English parents is a bit irrelevant!

Very jealous that this isn't so standard here!

Hope you feel happy with whatever decision you make.smile

InkleWinkle Tue 12-Nov-13 09:34:31

Can you defer for a Sept birthday? I thought (unless SN etc) you could only defer Dec / Jan / Feb birthdays.

Disclaimer: maybe just haven't come across it.

unlucky83 Tue 12-Nov-13 10:06:56

I have two February DDs in Scotland...for both it was recommended to defer ...(cut off in Scotland is 4 by the end of February - not August)
DD1 could read - so emotionally she struggled a bit -but academically it would have been mad to not send her...
DD2 was more of a debate - but I realised if I ever had to go back to England (family reasons) the fact they had been deferred wouldn't be taken into consideration ...potentially they could go from P6 to Secondary - or worse IMO last year primary to second year secondary...
I think it is the norm to defer - both my DDs are the youngest in their class - and there are several children in their classes that are more than a year older than them... and it's especially true for boys...(a lot of boys in the class below DD1 were older than her)
Someone I know with a Jan child who is now 19 said not deferring was hardest at the other end of the school - final exams etc..
And two girls who have gone on to private schools from state - one Jan and one Oct were both made to defer and repeat a year -the Oct one had to do the last year of primary again ...
I think maybe you are better to defer unless you have a very good reason not too ... I think because so many children defer it weights the class too much the other way - and for DD1 80% of the children who hadn't deferred were March/April birthdays anyway ...
(Actually I think unless there are real severe difficulties the option shouldn't be there at all - which would solve the problem of children being 'too young' - often they are too young because the others in the class are much older - if that makes sense - the work would be aimed at the younger age group -but that's just my opinion)
Sept is right at the cut off - (Sept - Dec needs a formal recommendation (which is easy to get) - Jan, Feb just need to parents to ask) - also I don't think the decision has to be made until next summer - I had a place for DD2 at the Nursery and School - didn't finally decide till June!
Your DS could 'catch up' greatly in the next 9 months ...
Good Luck ...and don't worry too much...I would say there is probably nothing much wrong with your DS ....

CecilyP Tue 12-Nov-13 12:48:20

You are allowed to defer if your DC has not reached 5 by the start of the autumn term, but whether they will get another year of funded nursery education is another matter entirely. So that is something that OP also needs to check. I know my LEA only allows this for January and February birthdays with, possibly, a bit of discretion for children with exceptional needs. But OP's DS sounds like an ordinary little boy who is in the middle of the year age-wise. Another thing to bear in mind is that a deferred September born child will have reached school leaving age in Scotland the year before they take their first public exams.

stargirl1701 Tue 12-Nov-13 12:53:30

I would recommend listening to the nursery. I am primary school teacher in Scotland. I have yet to meet a parent who regretted deferring their child in P1.

There is no other point at which you can defer. I have worked with 3 families who regretted not deferring and tried to defer into S1. All were refused.

Take this opportunity. Make sure your child is truly ready for school.

RosieLig Tue 12-Nov-13 17:15:51

I would defer if you can . We didn't and I regret not doing so with my end October birthday son.

Foosyerdoos Tue 12-Nov-13 17:34:45

My nephew had a Jan birthday and did not defer and then ended up being kept back a year in primary 3. I think this had a much worse effect than he would have had if he had had an extra year at nursery.

ercoldesk Tue 12-Nov-13 17:42:11

We deferred DD3 (no issues) and don't regret it one bit. As it turned out she ended up in a composite class from P2 anyway, but it really was great for her. In P1 when it wasn't composite you could really tell the ones who could have deferred but didn't. I was surprised at the difference. It does seem to be levelling out now with them though (P5).

MerylStrop Tue 12-Nov-13 17:50:50

OP I think you are doing the right thing to wait and see what the school say.

Would he begin in August/next academic year? It's a little while away, and a lot could change - do you have to commit to a decision very soon?

FWIW two sets of friends of mine in Edinburgh chose to defer (one to the extent of a year in private/Steiner school) as they felt it best for their own children. I understand P1 is more "formal" than reception here in England. I'd wait a bit to decide, if you can - there is a big difference between being only just 4 and nearly 5.

I wish we had the option of deferring. DS2 was born in May and whilst not the youngest, he is very "young". He surprises me by what he is capable of sometimes, and his concentration is good but I am 100% certain he would benefit from another year in nursery.

NonnoMum Tue 12-Nov-13 18:03:40

Hi again, OP. Now that you've identified as being in the Scottish education system, rather than the English one, I take back my earlier post.

I think it would be the wrong thing to do in the current system in England but take advice from someone other than me re- Scotland...

We deferred DS, but he is a Feb birthday. We don't regret it for a second - he would have struggled so much if he'd started school last year.
We weren't initially sure if we were going to defer him, so we applied to both school and re-applied to his pre-school nursery.
He's now in P1, and doing well.
Good luck and do what's best for your child. smile

unlucky83 Tue 12-Nov-13 22:14:15

stargirl - I have to disagree - like I said I know personally 2 children who have deferred later than P1 ... one P4 and the other repeating P7...
And I was told by more than one HT although easier to defer starting P1 that it would be possible for me to defer my DDs in the future if necessary ..(although socially more of a problem for the child if remaining in the same school)
I think no-one should defer -the system -so P1 - should be geared towards the age of the children when they are supposed to start (like reception in England) - or the starting age be raised ...
eg my DD1 - bright and a fluent reader - not pushed academically in P1 - deferring was unthinkable - however socially she struggled - but her social/emotional development was not helped by being surrounded by children more than a year older than her....
Even DD2 - who it was a tougher decision for - I think she would have struggled repeating a year of playgroup ...or nursery...doing the exact same things again just with different children ...hardly stimulating and there is no real alternative...
(but the main reason was the lack of consistency with the English system which led me to not defer her -but (as her teacher has said) she has no problems now in P3 -academically or socially...)
A problem with not deferring - a non academic child -one who does not wish to do higher education - will not be able to leave school until they are 16 - I know of one boy who had to just repeat the same subjects from the previous year with the lower year until he turned 16 and could leave in January...

Euphemia Tue 12-Nov-13 22:31:22

I think no-one should defer -the system -so P1 - should be geared towards the age of the children when they are supposed to start (like reception in England) - or the starting age be raised ...

Could you rephrase this please? I'm afraid I can't make head nor tail of it! smile

SLMummy Tue 12-Nov-13 23:00:44

Thanks again for all the brilliant advice everyone, it has given me a lot to think about. I'll be having a chat with the nursery manager tomorrow to find out a little more about the school assessment and then we'll see what happens.

Those of you with children who have deferred due to social and emotional development, could you explain a little more about that? My son is an only child and before I had him I wasn't around small children very often so I'm not entirely sure what is meant when I'm told he needs development in these areas.

scarlettsmummy2 Tue 12-Nov-13 23:15:39

One thing to bear in mind if you choose not to defer- there will most likely be children who have been the year before so there can be a gap of fifteen months between the oldest and youngest in the class. In terms of emotional maturity this is significant, and also from an academic point of view. Check with the primary school how they deal with this range of levels. In my daughters class they have been grouped by ability from pretty much day one.

What swung it for us was my SiL's advice. She's head teacher in a large secondary school and said to us when we dithered about DS1's school entry: "Don't just think about whether you think he's ready now, consider how things may be like for him when he is older/a teenager. He could forever be amongst the youngest in his year or amongst the oldest."
I am glad my boys are amongst the older of their respective years.

Of course every child is different, but it has been shown that boys often benefit from an older school start, both academically and emotionally/socially.
Personally, I don't see the rush to get them through school as quickly as possible - childcare costs are an unrelated issue IMO.

I am totally biased though grin - I grew up in Germany where standard school starting age is 6 (like the rest of Europe, except Switzerland where it's 7), so I can just about cope with 5+ year old children going to school. 4 year olds are babies... wink

prettybird Tue 12-Nov-13 23:41:14

I too am Scottish and don't know anyone who has regretted deferring their child.

I do however know someone who regrets not deferring their Jan/Feb child and who is still really struggling and the school is struggling to cope with him in P3. In her case, the nursery hadn't been particularly supportive of deferring him even though most of us who knew him would have thought he was an ideal candidate for deferral. Wonder if the fact that she was/is a single mum so was keen for him to start full time school with his older brother was a factor

The Scottish system gives you an option that is unavailable in England. Think about it seriously if the nursery is recommending it.

prettybird Tue 12-Nov-13 23:58:48

BTW - ds is a September baby and if I'd felt he wasn't ready I'd have been happy to defer him (even though I'd have had to pay for the extra year of nursery as he wouldn't have been young enough to get it "as of right").

As it is, he is at the "young" end of the year (now in S2) and copes well - but a month or two younger I'd have definitely deferred him as he is not as streetwise as some of his peers and I love him for his continued sweetness smile

unlucky83 Wed 13-Nov-13 00:21:51

Sorry Euphemia - to rephrase - not sure if you know the Scottish system?

Current system - if a child is 4 before the 28 (29th) Feb they start P1 (school) the following August at age 4 - that is unless they turned 4 between 1 Sept - 29 Feb then they can defer a year - and start P1 the next Aug at age 5 (almost 6 for a Sept child). For Sept - Dec that needs a recommendation but for Jan/Feb the parents can choose to defer.
At the moment teachers almost always recommend deferring - ie your child could start at 4 in August - but it would be better for them if you deferred and they start at 5. Reason often given is that the child is not ready for the more formal P1 setting...

So why not say you can't defer but that there will be a less formal P1 - more suitable for 4 year olds (like reception in England).

Or change the starting age to 5 - effectively everyone is deferred.

Would stop the huge age differences in classes ....in England you might have a child who turned 4 on the 31st Aug and a child who turned 5 on the 1st Sept in the same class - but you won't have the situation where for a month or so after Christmas DD2 will be 6 (almost 7) and 25% of her class will have turned 8....

And, at least IME, the preschool education is not really geared towards deferring - just involves repeating a year with younger children...so 3.5yos with 2.5 yos .. following the same 'curriculum'. At that age a year is a pretty big difference...

Deferring, as can be seen from the OP, is often not well understood - seen as your child being behind etc. But actually it is pretty much the norm...
So as I said in a PP unless you have a very good reason not to - defer...

Euphemia Wed 13-Nov-13 07:17:48

I'm a teacher in P1 in Scotland! grin

I just couldn't make out what she meant, with all the hyphens breaking up the text.

Euphemia Wed 13-Nov-13 07:19:09

Sorry: what you meant.

Will read later - off to try to teach P1! smile

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Nov-13 07:38:15

Unlucky, I am struggling to understand your posts.

You cannot usually defer a year in the state system after the chance at P1. Private schools do allow this but LAs do not. In 15 years of teaching, I have only known one deferred placement out with N/P1. It is very common to defer at N/P1 and there will be 1/2 children in most classes throughout Scotland that have deferred entry. Jan/Feb births are generally advised to defer but any child born after Aug can consider it.

prettybird Wed 13-Nov-13 08:05:38

Deferring is easy in Scotland (as the word suggests: it's about deferring starting school). Repeating a year is not, which is what your option is if you choose not to defer and realise too late that you made the wrong decision sad.

In the state system, you would then to have sufficient issues that the educational psychologist is both involved and recommends it sad. Even then, the presumption is against doing so, even if everyone acknowledges the child should never have started school, so they'll try and keep the child with his original class. sad for everyone involved: the child, who gets a reputation is a troublemaker, the child's parents who keep being called into the school, the child's classmates who are disrupted by someone who wasn't ready and the teachers who have to cope with the child.

It's not my child but I get so angry on behalf of the mum that she was so badly let down by the nursery.

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