Starting Reception a year late Summer Born

(36 Posts)
threelittlerapscallions Fri 06-May-16 10:52:18

My 5 year old is home ed at the moment as she didn't settle in at school (and we only got the far away school anyway!). Now she has a chance of getting in to the school we want but I think she is a late developer and much more suited to starting in reception in Sept than in year 1. I will ask the school about this but has anyone done this with their child and how has it worked out?

NynaevesSister Fri 06-May-16 11:05:32

There is a FB group dedicated to this with lots of people who can help you.

compulsory School Age (CSA) is the term after they turn 5. For a child born between 1st April and 31st Aug that is the September of the year following. It is your right as a parent for your child to start at CSA.

However.

It is currently up to the admissions authority for the school whether a summerborn child is admitted into Reception or Year 1.

So you need to apply to the admissions authority to start your child out of cohort if you want her to do Reception. In fact, parents have always had the right to request this.

What did change in the Admissions Code 2014 was that the admissions authority now has to consider the application based solely on the parents request. Some still ask for medical support for your request, and don't seem to know the rules have changed.

I will find you links for all these and post them. If you go to the FB group you can find out which local authorities are happy to start Summerborns in Reception at CSA and which ones are obstructive.

Artandco Fri 06-May-16 11:07:25

I wouldn't start her in September in reception if she is already 5. My son is just turning 5 and in reception, he's one of the youngest in class. However he would be bored doing reception year all again and needs the challenge of year one.

Playduh Fri 06-May-16 11:11:48

Watching thread with interest. Looking to start DS in 2018 rather than 2017 and already there are people ending up in the DM with their best sad faces because the council has vetoed their decision.

hazeyjane Fri 06-May-16 11:12:11

In what way do you consider her a late developer?

My Ds is in year 1 and I see a whole range of abilities and development amongst his class.

I think though that unless there are reasons such as developmental delay or speech delay, that the admissions authority wouldn't agree to a reception entry (although this varies from area to area)

NynaevesSister Fri 06-May-16 11:19:56

Flexible school admissions for Summerborns FB group:

www.facebook.com/groups/121613774658942/

Admissions Code 2014, the relevant parts are Section 2, parts 17, 17a and 17b

Advice on the Admission of Summerborn Children:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/389388/School_Admissions_Code_2014_-_19_Dec.pdf

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/389448/Summer_born_admissions_advice_Dec_2014.pdf

That's the legal side. In terms of whether you should start them out of cohort, that really is down to you. Some may tell you that your child will be bored or will be bullied when the kids find out that their birthday is a year older than them. My feeling is that a good school will manage bullying effectively regardless of cause and a school that doesn't will have greater problems than just this.

Likewise I don't see why a child born in July will be more bored than a child born two months later in September. I would expect a good school to be able to engage a child regardless of their ability. Also while a child might be academically advanced they could be emotionally immature, and lacking development in other ways. Learning at primary is about more than reading and maths.

What you may find is that because the rules haven't changed down the line YET (this is expected but not in the pipeline as yet) when it comes to secondary school you will have to apply again for your child to start in year 7 and not year 8. At this point, it is up to each school's head teacher so you need to get a yes from every school you put on your application.

It may also affect your child if you are in a grammar school area as the 11+ is age dependant.

However it is not an issue for GCSE or A Levels as these are not age dependent.

tiggytape Fri 06-May-16 11:23:23

All councils by law have to consider any such request. They cannot just have a blanket policy of saying no to everybody.
However that is a long way from saying they have to agree to all requests.

And most of them won't agree unless there is a specific reason for the request backed up by medical or professional evidence. Most councils won't agree just because parents feel the child is less mature when there is no specific issue to point to.
They are also even less likely to agree if they think part of your reasoning is wanting the chance to get into a more convenient or better school than the one allocated originally

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 06-May-16 11:28:46

Are you talking about this September?

How has the chance to admit her to the preferred school come about?

Mayvis Fri 06-May-16 11:51:33

When did she turn 5?

I'm assuming the school has offered a place in their current reception year?
Is their new intake reception class (starting this September) full?

FWIW, my child is 5 and approaching the end of year one now. She was definitely one of the less mature ones when she started and probably still is, but has settled in well, her confidence has grown, she has a good relationship with her classmates and is doing very well academically. I worried a lot in reception year but she has flourished in year one.

NynaevesSister Fri 06-May-16 11:58:11

TiggyTape that's true the council or admissions authority where it differs doesn't have to agree without the backup of medical evidence. However they cannot refuse to consider a case. That is they cannot specify that they will not consider a case unless there is medical backup.

They have an obligation to consider on a case by case basis, and this needs nothing more than the parents request. They also need to take into account the head teachers opinion. So getting a yes from the head first helps.

Using this to try to get into a better school is a common accusation but it really isn't a good gambit. If a school is oversubscribed the year you apply in cohort it is going to be just as over subscribed the following year and being allowed to apply for reception at CSA doesn't give you any priority.

frankly if the OP has a chance of getting into her preferred school I am guessing it is off the waiting list and that this would be for reception now, going in to year 1. It is likely that if she wants to start in Reception in September she will have to reapply as an in year transfer, wait to see if the admissions authority approves her application to start out of cohort, and then hope a place comes up on the waiting list.

tiggytape Fri 06-May-16 12:05:10

However they cannot refuse to consider a case. That is they cannot specify that they will not consider a case unless there is medical backup.
Very true. They cannot have a blanket policy to say no to all requests.
And they must assess each case on it's merits - medical evidence or no medical evidence.

However on the basis that most parents want the council to not only consider their request but to also say yes to it, presenting a good case is important and, with most councils, a case is viewed as being stronger if it has some sort of professional backing.
It isn't a prerequisite to being considered but it is often, in practice a prerequisite to getting the answer you want.

PatriciaHolm Fri 06-May-16 12:05:53

As previous posters have said, it's up to the admissions authority, but in many areas it's very hard to achieve.

The other problem will be that even if you do get it agreed, you are then faced with finding a reception place as a late admission, which unless you require an undersubscribed school, will be hard. At this stage, the LA can't just say ok, trade this place in yr1 for a reception place at the same school; it doesn't work like that. It would be a new, late application.

NynaevesSister Fri 06-May-16 12:49:59

TiggyTape they can't have a blanket no policy but surprisingly some still do. There are cases where, for instance, the LA has said no at the start as they only allow deceleration where a child has a statement. The campaign has challenged a lot of these over the last year and many councils that issued a blanket no with medical support have now accepted they need to hear each case.

Letters from nursery, and a supporting Headteacher, have been enough in many cases.

And there are local authorities that simply see the parent's request as enough to grant permission.

tiggytape Fri 06-May-16 13:31:11

I know that there were problems with some councils saying blanket no's to everyone and I agree that that's not acceptable. It is good that it was stressed to them that they must give proper consideration to all requests and hopefully that due consideration is now the norm everywhere or soon will be.

I don't however agree with the automatic granting of all requests for every single child born after March 31st whose parents want them to start a year later where no particular issue exists. It is still fairly at the moment but, were it common, it would have knock-on consequences for children born just before the new deadline (eg prem children due in June but born in March), children whose parents cannot afford to defer, August 4 year olds who become the youngest in class by nearly 17 not just 11 months, admissions numbers and processes etc. But that's a whole issue.

tiggytape Fri 06-May-16 13:32:31

I've skipped words. It should say:
fairly rare
and whole other issue

Witchend Fri 06-May-16 13:56:50

I think the issue the OP hasn't considered is that she's been offered a place (I'm assuming) in year R presently, going into year 1 in September.
Firstly, I'd be surprised if it's a popular school if they don't want her in now, or certainly this half term, otherwise they will offer the place to someone else.
Secondly, I think the OP is assuming she can accept that place and the school will just put her dc into year R and all will be fine... but they can't just do that (infant class size etc.)

I also agree totally with Tiggytape on the issues of allowing all children to defer, and that's from the point of view of having a summer born boy who would have been much better deferred.

BlackbirdSingsInTheDeadOfNight Fri 06-May-16 15:23:05

DS1 is autumn born but was born extremely prematurely. At the end of Year 2 we made the decision to move him back a year, because we had tried him for three years in his chronological year group and it just wasn't working, even will full-time 1:1 support. We moved areas to a new school so that he was starting afresh rather than watching his friends move up without him.

I am pleased though that we tried to keep him with his chronological cohort, and gave it a chance to work. Moving him down became a necessity rather than an option, because we knew it was tried, tested and not working out for him. Yes he's autumn born rather than summer, but has various special needs due to his prematurity.

Obviously this is a slightly different situation to that of the OP, but I daresay that we had similar questions to as ourselves when making the decision. Was moving him back a year really in his best interests? What was he going to achieve in a younger year group that he couldn't achieve alongside his chronological peers? Would moving him back be better for him academically AND emotionally AND socially? After a lot of thought, we and his new school all agreed that the decision was for the best (and our LA agreed too, albeit rather sulkily!) - and he is now thriving and very happy. But we did have to go into a lot of detail regarding why the decision was in his best interests.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 06-May-16 18:05:15

That was my assumption witch end. If the OP wants a place in reception, then she's left it very late. Even if the council agree, then I imagine she will have to make a new application for the year she wants and will have to hope it is undersubscribed.

threelittlerapscallions Fri 06-May-16 18:53:25

Thanks for replies everyone - no place offer and not even decided if we want to put DD in school for the foreseeable future so definitely in no rush to get a place for September!! It was just a hypothetical question as a friend was mentioning she wished her daughter had been in the lower year as she is young for her age and August Birthday.

Thanks for the facebook link will check it out.

NynaevesSister Fri 06-May-16 19:19:18

TiggyTape the government guidelines already make provision for premature babies. From the DfE's guidelines for admission authorities for summer borns:

"In addition, as a consequence of being born before their due date, a child may fall into a different age group than if they had been born at full term. When considering the circumstances of the case, admission authorities should take account of the age group the child would have fallen in to if born on time."

So a child with a due date in April but was born in. February would be considered Summerborn.

At the moment all children have the right to start at CSA in Reception EXCEPT Summerborn children (the definition of Summerborn are those children born in the summer term. Because Easter moves, the DfE specifically defines Summerborns as those born from the 1st of April).

That is unfair. There needs to be some flexibility. There is a lot of research that shows the majority of children diagnosed with learning barriers such as ADHD, dyspraxia, ADD etc are born in the summer. Allowing parents to use their own judgement and start their children when they are ready would potentially save schools from having to provide scaffolding that is required at the moment simply because the child isn't old enough.

tiggytape Fri 06-May-16 19:35:13

There needs to be some flexibility
Absolutely and the guidelines already allow for that. There will be cases where it will genuinely be in a child's best interests to be educated outside of their expected year group.

However it is quite a leap to go from there to "allowing parents to use their own judgement and start their children when they are ready" in the sense of allowing every child born after March 31st to be in the year below purely on the judgement of their parents they seem quite young for school (i.e. where there are no concerns about additional needs or significant delays).

Partly that's because parents aren't always the best judge - all 4 year olds seem very young to their parents. Even ones that seem academically ready are often still tired in the afternoons or unable to do zips or prone to throw enormous and immature tantrums. That's normal at 4 but a lot of parents worry the rest of the class will be so much more advanced (even though nearly half of them will probably also be summer borns and even some of the the ones who aren't will possibly have learning disabilities and additional needs or delays too).
And partly it is because there are impacts these decisions would have on everyone else were it a free for all and everyone had the right to just choose what suited them best. It cause direct problems or disadvantages for other children needlessly.

NynaevesSister Fri 06-May-16 20:06:58

I don't agree that it would disadvantage other children. I do think that admissions authorities need to ensure they consider each on a case by case basis as that is the law at the moment. And frankly that isn't happening.

I really can't see every parent taking this option. There are local authorities that implemented this free for all approach for 2015 admissions. It is too early to tell what impact that has but so far there isn't an indication that parents are rushing to take this option up. Anecdotally it would seem that parents in areas with over subscribed schools who get a place for their child are very reluctant to give up that place without a very good reason in case they don't get a place the following year.

Parents who live in areas with heavily over subscribed schools are also too worried to take the risk preferring to go in waiting lists and defer start in the hope they get a place.

However that is just anecdotally based from decisions that parents have been making on the FB group I posted, following offer day.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 07-May-16 06:37:32

I think it will have an impact on others, maybe not immediately, but over time. In Scotland the ability to defer is well established and very few of the younger ones in our cousin's school didn't defer, so the 'summerborn' effect does shuffle down. For them it is the Sept/Nov ones who become the youngest. It could be an Edinburgh phenomenon but those who can defer do. It means that most of those starting school are already five, whereas the legal minimum is 4 1/2. Of course Scotland doesn't have the oversubscription issue.

Not that it would put me off if I felt it was right for my child to defer, but over time I think that the demographics will change.

NynaevesSister Sat 07-May-16 08:43:33

In NZ, where I grew up, the CSA is 6 but parents have the right to send their children aged 5. And they literally do just that - off to school on your fifth birthday if it's a school day.

I think it is more the fact they are being pushed into school at age 4 here in the UK. It's just too young. CSA might be 5 but it's just not possible to wait that long for most people. If they don't get into reception they risk not getting into the schools they want.

NynaevesSister Sat 07-May-16 08:45:20

Also Reception is considered a crucial early years foundation. If it's that important why is it ok for Summerborns to miss it and go straight into Year 1?

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