Should I defer school for my 4 year old boy?

(34 Posts)
Fayrazzled Wed 22-Oct-08 19:42:03

I know that there are a number of you on here that have discussed deferring entry for your child to reception, and I've read through a number of your threads. The time has come to apply for my son (3 in mid August) and I really don't know what to do.

He is currently at at lovely pre-school but will have to leave at the end of the year as they were assuming he'd go to school next year and they are now fully booked for next year so wouldn't have a place for him.

I'm not so concerned about my son's ability to keep up in reception, although like many little boys he's not keen on holding a pencil and would rather be learning by doing things. However, I'm not sure he's ready emotionally for school. He finds 4 mornings a week at pre-school tough and is very tired in the afternoon. There seems to be such a big difference between him and the girls who'd be in his school year but have just turned 4.

In my heart I think I would rather he deferred his entry to school until he'd turned 5. However, I'd love him to stay at his current pre-school and that's just not going to be possible. Is it worth finding him another pre-school for just one year and then moving him again to school? Or is that just going to be disruptive?

As I understand from posts on here, (thanks lingle!) if we defer his entry he could go into reception rather than year 1- our LEA would allow that, so that's not an issue.

Any thoughts? I can't sleep at night worrying about it. I just wish I had a crystal ball so I could see how he might be in 10 months' time. Thank you.

Fayrazzled Wed 22-Oct-08 19:43:12

Sorry the title should say my son is 3, not 4. He'll have turned 4 in August just before he should start school.

forevercleaningwithmybesoms Wed 22-Oct-08 19:45:14

i deferred 2 of mine for a year, but they did go into year 1.

can you not apply then not take up the place if you feel you get to next sept and he is not ready.

10 months is a long way away and he may well feel up to going then.

Not sure what would be best regards the nursery, mine stayed on at the one they were at and it was fine, but to change then change again may be more of a problem for the child. Don't know.

compo Wed 22-Oct-08 19:45:24

'However, I'm not sure he's ready emotionally for school. He finds 4 mornings a week at pre-school tough and is very tired in the afternoon. '

I really wouldn't worry just yet. You have nearly a whole year, he will change immensely in that time
I would worry in August tbh

harpomarx Wed 22-Oct-08 19:48:37

if you are worried about his emotional readiness rather than his ability to keep up then I would probably not defer. He may be a very different child by next September and will probably start part time anyway, which will help with the tiredness thing.

I think starting a whole year later would be tough as - if he is fairly bright - he may find Reception less stimulating than he would now.

(dd turned 4 in August and has started school this September)

RubberDuck Wed 22-Oct-08 19:48:56

If you defer entry, does that cause problems later on (i.e. at secondary school?). Also, check with your local school as to how they do the settling in.

If you feel your dc isn't coping well in our school, for example, they let them go part time (just mornings, just a few days - whichever is best for the child - the only thing they WON'T work around is the parent's job) until they're ready. They're not too keen on delaying until (say) January as they say that in their experience all the friendship groups are already formed by then, making it much harder for the child to settle, but if that's what you want to do they'll consider it.

Is another option, at least

changer22 Wed 22-Oct-08 19:52:10

We so wished we had this option for our DS (deferring Reception). He is a mid July child and now in Y2 but he is still a year behind. He is big and confident but just young and he struggles academically and socially. I would much rather he was middle of his class which I think he would be if he was in Y1 rather than languishing at the bottom like he is now. He is always going to be playing catch-up and the trouble is he is now realising that other people are 'better' than him.

Fayrazzled Wed 22-Oct-08 20:14:24

Thanks for your all responses. As I understand it, he would start reception part-time (mornings only) until the October half-term and would then go full time. I'm not sure how much leverage I would have with him going part-time for longer.

I know a lot could change in 10/11 months. I guess I need to apply for this year with a view to deciding in April when I would need to confirm his place.

I'm just so worried about getting it wrong. He's a sensitive little boy and I just want him to be happy at school. I wish he'd be born a few weeks later. sad

Fayrazzled Wed 22-Oct-08 20:15:27

Gosh rubberduck, I don't know about deferring now causing problems for secondary school. Is that likely to be a problem does anyone know? Why would it?

forevercleaningwithmybesoms Wed 22-Oct-08 20:34:51

If they defer a year and then start reception surely they would either skip a year at primary school and go into secondary school at normal age, or does it mean he remains a year behind right through and does his gcse's at 17?

That is why mine started a year late but in year 1, they wouldnt allow them to do reception as they would need to skip a year of primary to enable them to go to secondary school at 11.

RubberDuck Wed 22-Oct-08 21:20:53

Yes that's what I meant - the LEA may be flexible about primary school start, but less flexible about secondary school start. Worth checking.

Lilyloo Wed 22-Oct-08 21:27:04

I thought deferred meant they started in y1 so started secondary at same time as peers ?

RubberDuck Wed 22-Oct-08 21:28:19

Lily, that's normally the case, but OP stated that her LEA allows deferred into reception instead.

RubberDuck Wed 22-Oct-08 21:29:16

Argh, what terrible grammar. "... allows children who have deferred into reception instead." There, much better!

Fayrazzled Wed 22-Oct-08 21:52:34

Yes, as I understand it, my son would be able to go into the reception class if we deferred. I know not all LEAS do (our neighbouring one is very clear that it does not, for example.) Rubberduck, I'd need to check about the secondary school position- I hadn't thought there might be problems then.

Forevercleaning, my son would still be 16 when he did his GCSES in the May/June, even if we deferred. He wouldn't be 17 until the August. If we don't defer, he'll only be 15 when he sits them and will be just 18 before he starts university, (should he ever get that far!)

Gah- it's so hard. I wish the whole system were more flexible.

forevercleaningwithmybesoms Thu 23-Oct-08 07:06:22

It would be very interesting to see what they say about the secondary school fayraz - so if you find out do post again.

I know what you mean about doing gcses t 15 though. One of mine is an aug baby and would be 15 too, but he doesnt go to school anymore and is home ed, so we shall just do them whenever!

annh Thu 23-Oct-08 10:22:34

There was a thread here from someone recently who had deferred her son's entry and still gone into reception or whose son skipped a year in primary - can't remember which but the end result was that the child was then entering secondary in a different year to his peer group and secondary said he either had to repeat a year at primary or skip a year of secondary (obv depending on what the original scanario was, which I can't remember). Anyway, the part I remember most clearly was the OP saying that while it was fine for the allowance to be made at primary level, she had no idea that it was going to have to be rectified at secondary level. You might want to check with your LEA what your situation at secondary level is.

lingle Thu 23-Oct-08 16:05:55

Hi Fayrazzled. what LEA are you in? If it's not one of the ones I've identified in other threads, I'd love to know there are some more humane ones out there....

I had a meeting with school nursery teacher and school reception teacher last night and - absolutely terrified - broached the subject to school reception teacher. Reception teacher immediately said that as DS2 is a late talker he's unlikely to be ready by September and she supports our decision to defer by a year then place him in reception in 2010. Hurray! So all we need is the confirmation from the council and we're over the finish line! Nursery teacher said she feels passionately that if a boy is put off learning, he's put off for life and that DS2 needs an extra year in nursery.

Nursery teacher even said that she wished more parents had our attitude and that she would be speaking to a few parents of August-borns about their options. She said she wished people didn't see it as "holding them back".

If either teacher had any idea how much agony and how many MN posts I've been through on this, I think they'd be astonished! They had no idea about the controversy or the restrictive policies of other LEAs, they just thought deferment was self-evidently a good idea for DS2.

As for secondary school... the day he starts reception will be the day I set my mind to making sure there is no follow-on problem at secondary school. But the tide is turning already so I'm confident that in 7 years' time it will be a battle I can win.

good luck with the decision!

lingle Thu 23-Oct-08 19:26:32

Ah, should have added, the reception teacher also said it is nothing to do with how "bright" they are.

Fayrazzled Thu 23-Oct-08 19:30:58

Thanks for your comments, Lingle. We're Bradford LEA, so same as you I think.

lingle Sat 25-Oct-08 15:53:59

Yes same.
According to yesterday's Telegraph, Sir Jim Rose's interim report is out in a fortnight. Bradford Council were waiting to read this before deciding whether to continue their flexible policy.
fingers crossed.

fatzak Sat 25-Oct-08 16:09:02

I'm glad you mentioned the report Lingle as I have been wondering when it would be published. I've been following your threads as DS is August 25th and we are just about to have to apply for him. We are fortunate in that we have a January entry, so he will at least be 4.4, but I really feel that I would like to defer him if at all possible. We're not far from you, Kirklees, but no idea what their policy is on deferring. I think we will apply for the place this year, then see how it goes.

lingle Sat 25-Oct-08 16:21:45

Isn't Kirklees Scotland?

mazzystartled Sat 25-Oct-08 16:23:11

kirklees is yorkshire - huddersfield

fatzak Sat 25-Oct-08 17:36:23

Lingle shockgrin Nowt but a spit away from Bradford grin

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