Nursery recommends my son is held back a year(95 Posts)
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
State or private school?
It's very, very rare for pupils to be placed outside their age cohort in the state sector (not actually illegal, though). Is the nursery worker the SENCO, and does she have any experience of placements outside of normal cohort? Or might she be just shooting from the hip?
Where are you? In England as I understand it a child can only be held back a year in severe cases. They could skip reception and join yr1 assuming they could get a yr1 place but to actually formally be educated with children a year below them is very unusual.
Scotland seems to be completely different though.
oh and concentrating and listening are skills lacking in an enormous number of children much older than that (according to my 6 yr old and her complaints about her classmates!)
Marking my place as we are pushing for similar and have some advice
It's another ten months until he's due to start school, and a lot of things can happen in those months!
In terms of what you can do to improve the skills specified by the nursery: fine motor skill: modelling with clay/plasticine, colouring, playing with Hama beads. Concentrating and listening: read to him more and ask questions about what he's just heard and/or anticipate what comes next, or provide an alternative ending; go to storytimes at places like the local library (if you have one)
Delaying a year has been discussed with ds, but he is disabled and will also be young for his year ( July born). As periwinkle says it is not an easy thing to do, and I am hoping he will be able to start in sept with a statement at a slu.
I spend a lot of time at preschool with 3/4 year olds who will be starting school in sept and see a wide range of abilities and levels of concentration!
Can't see why fine motor skills would be a good reason. My DS would never pick up a pencil before starting school, by half term he was writing sentences.
Is the nursery attached to the school?
We had this at private school in Edinburgh. Didn't defer and so far my daughter has been ok, although there is a noticeable difference between her and the children who are a year older.
Here is a fantastic list of exercises to help improve fine motor skills c+p from another thread.(warning it's very long!)
Do you mean this list?
This is a fantastic list I copied and saved from a post by mrz Hope it inspires you!
Fine Motor Skills
Things to remember:
Upright working surfaces promote fine motor skills. Examples of these are: vertical
chalkboards; easels for painting; flannel boards; lite bright; magnet boards (or
fridge); windows and mirrors; white boards, etc. Children can also make sticker
pictures; do rubber ink-stamping; use reuseable stickers to make pictures; complete
puzzles with thick knobs; use magna-doodle and etch-a-sketch as well. The benefits
for these include: having the child's wrist positioned to develop good thumb
movements; they help develop good fine motor muscles; the child is using the arm
and shoulder muscles.
Fine Motor Activities
Moulding and rolling play dough into balls - using the palms of the
hands facing each other and with fingers curled slightly towards the palm.
Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.
Using pegs or toothpicks to make designs in play dough.
Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel by holding
the implement in a diagonal volar grasp.
Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling them into balls. Use
to stuff scarecrow or other art creation.
Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super
Using a plant sprayer to spray plants, (indoors, outdoors) to spray snow
(mix food colouring with water so that the snow can be painted), or melt
"monsters". (Draw monster pictures with markers and the colours will run
Picking up objects using large tweezers such as those found in the
"Bedbugs" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes,
small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.
Shaking dice by cupping the hands together, forming an empty air space
between the palms.
Using small-sized screwdrivers like those found in an erector set.
Lacing and sewing activities such as stringing beads, Cheerios,
Using eye droppers to "pick up" coloured water for colour mixing or
to make artistic designs on paper.
Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, then gluing the balls onto
construction paper to form pictures or designs.
Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons, without bringing them to
the edge of the table.
Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements.
Playing games with the "puppet fingers" -the thumb, index, and middle
fingers. At circle time have each child's puppet fingers tell about what
happened over the weekend, or use them in songs and finger plays.
Place a variety of forms (eg. blocks, felt, paper, string, yarn, cereal,
cotton) on outlines
Match shapes, colour, or pictures to a page and paste them within the
Using a screwdriver
Locking and unlocking a door
Winding a clock
Opening and closing jars
Rolling out dough or other simple cooking activities
Washing plastic dishes
Sweeping the floor
When scissors are held correctly, and when they fit a child's hand well, cutting
activities will exercise the very same muscles which are needed to manipulate a pencil
in a mature tripod grasp. The correct scissor position is with the thumb and middle
finger in the handles of the scissors, the index finger on the outside of the handle to
stabilize, with fingers four and five curled into the palm.
Cutting junk mail, particularly the kind of paper used in magazine
Making fringe on the edge of a piece of construction paper.
Cutting play dough or clay with scissors.
Cutting straws or shredded paper.
Use a thick black line to guide cutting the following:
A fringe from a piece of paper
Cut off corners of a piece of paper
Cut along curved lines
Cut lines with a variety of angles
Cut figures with curves and angles
The following activities ought to be done frequently to increase postural muscle
strength and endurance. These activities also strengthen the child's awareness of
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking
Clapping games (loud/quiet, on knees together, etc.)
Catching (clapping) bubbles between hands
Pulling off pieces of thera-putty with individual fingers and thumb
Drawing in a tactile medium such as wet sand, salt, rice, or "goop".
Make "goop" by adding water to cornstarch until you have a mixture similar
in consistency to toothpaste. The "drag" of this mixture provides feedback to
the muscle and joint receptors, thus facilitating visual motor control.
Picking out small objects like pegs, beads, coins, etc., from a tray of salt,
sand, rice, or putty. Try it with eyes closed too. This helps develop sensory
awareness in the hands.
Establishment of hand dominance is still developing at this point. The following
activities will facilitate midline crossing:
Encourage reaching across the body for materials with each hand. It
may be necessary to engage the other hand in an activity to prevent
switching hands at midline.
Refrain specifically from discouraging a child from using the left hand
for any activity. Allow for the natural development of hand dominance by
presenting activities at midline, and allowing the child to choose freely.
Start making the child aware of the left and right sides of his body
through spontaneous comments like, "kick the ball with your right leg." Play
imitation posture games like "Simon Says" with across the body movements.
When painting at easel, encourage the child to paint a continuous line
across the entire paper- also from diagonal to diagonal.
I also have a busy finger box basically one of those plastic fold out workboxes for craft with lots of compartments
1. Pegs –
You need pegs of different sizes, clothes pegs, small bulldog clips, stationery clips etc. Get the children to use one hand only at a time. I usually get them to peg about 10 pegs of different sizes onto the sides of a gift bag. They might put them on with their left hand and take them off with their right.
They can also try squeezing the pegs between the first finger and thumb (on each hand) then the middle finger and thumb and so on.
2. Elastic bands –
Elastic gymnastics! – Start by putting 2 elastic bands (the same size) around the thumb, first and middle fingers, ask the child to open and close the fingers. Then add another 2 elastic bands and so on. The more you have on, the harder it is to move your fingers. These exercises help to develop the muscles which make the web space when writing.
3. Beads –
Get beads of different sizes and thread. Ask the children to thread some beads onto their string. The smaller the hole obviously the harder it is to thread. Develops hand/eye coordination.
4. Ball bearings and tweezers –
Put the ball bearings in one little box and ask the child to try and pick one ball bearing up at a time with the tweezers and place in a second small box. If this is too tricky try using Hama beads and tweezers.
5. Floam / Playdough –
These products are great for squeezing and rolling which provides necessary sensory feedback and helps to develop hand strength. Ask the children to squeeze the dough and roll it with the palm of their hand.
6. Doodle board –
The Doodleboard is just a way of children practising handwriting patterns or letters without having to commit them to paper. Provide some patterns and shapes to copy.
7. Gummed Shapes –
Give the children a sheet of plain paper and ask them to make patterns or pictures with the gummed shapes. Just picking up on shape at a time, licking it and then sticking it down all help to develop hand/eye coordination and the pincer grip.
8. Hama Beads –
Hama beads are good for pincer grip and hand/eye coordination. The children have patterned sheets to copy and peg boards to put them on.
9. Lacing cards –
Also good for hand/eye coordination. Just give each child one card to lace.
10. Bean bags –
Give a child 4-5 bean bags and place a container about 3 feet infront of them. Ask the child to try and get as many beanbags in the container as possible. (Hand/eye coordination)
11. Chalk and blackboard –
If you can, try and wedge the blackboard between two tables and provide the child with a piece of chalk in each hand. Ask them to draw the same pattern with both hands at the same time on both sides of the board. This helps develop bilateral movement.
Allow the children to draw patterns, shapes and letter shapes on the blackboard. The chalk gives sensory feedback and sound simultaneously.
12. Stencils –
Children can use the stencils to make a picture. Helps develop pencil control and special awareness among other things.
13. Feathers –
Ask the children to try and balance a feather on different parts of their body. This helps to develop balance and coordination.
14. Handhugger pens –
Hand hugger pens are the triangular shaped pens. These help the children to establish a better pencil grip.
15. Tissue paper strips –
Place the child’s palm (at the wrist) on the end of a strip of tissue paper. Ask them to only use their middle finger to get the paper to scrunch up under their hand.
Repeat, but this time place the side of the child’s hand on one end of the tissue strip and ask them to only use their thumb to scrunch up the paper and bring it under their hand.
These activities really help to develop the hand arch, web space and muscle tone of the hand.
16. Stickers –
Children love stickers. Just peeling them off provides an opportunity to develop fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination.
17. Peg boards –
These can be peg boards where the child has to place pegs in the holes, maybe copying patterns.
They can be the boards with plastic pegs already on where they have to stretch elastic bands between them to make patterns.
I wouldn't give one person's opinion so much weighting. I would follow your gut feeling here since there is no significant reason why he shouldn't start school.
I've delayed my dc starting school so have gone through this process. From reading your post I got the impression you were a little surprised by what the key worker said and would really like your ds to start school with his friends. Follow your intuition. You know what is best for your ds.
Doesn't sound enough to hold back a year. Dig deeper and if he is to be kept back then get the support they require.
AFAIK he needs to be SEN to be held back, at the very least. Find out what the school's concerns are in detail.
Sorry to do another copy and paste (not so long this time!)
This is from one county's guidelines
Where a parent wishes to defer entry to September 2014 but enter in the Reception class, out of the child’s chronological cohort, a fresh application must be made under the Co-ordinated Primary Admissions Scheme for that year of entry. This is called delayed entry. Such an application must be supported in writing by an educational, medical or social care professional independent of the family, demonstrating a serious detriment to the child if he or she were not to be admitted into Reception in September 2014. For there to be a detriment to a child by being admitted into his or her chronological Year Group, the LA would expect very exceptional circumstances to be demonstrated.
So he hasn't been diagnosed with any disability/SEN, yet at this point, still nearly a year before he would start school, someone thinks that he will not have the motor skills and concentration to cope with it when he will be 4 years 10 months? I am really astonished by that. Not, by the way, that children who did have a disability or SEN would not be able to start school with their peers...just that if there was something like that in the offing it would at least be an explanation. In my experience it is typical just-gone-4 yo behaviour/ability level to be still working on motor skills, have trouble concentrating etc! The fact that they've said he is 'spot on academically' make it even stranger.
I would ask many more questions about this and get more opinions.
In our school the kids who really are not ready get the chance to repeat the reception year, on the advice of the reception teacher and with agreement of the parents. It is pretty rare. But all 4 year olds start reception.
Our local authority puts 'held-back' children straight into year 1, purely based on their date of birth. And as others said, it is a long way to the start of the school year 2014 so deciding to hold in back (if such a thing was possible for your chosen school) now could be a hasty decision to make?
If this is in England...
I think the nursery worker is completely out of order.
Holding a child back a year is extremely rare, and can have huge consequences with funding later on in the child's school career (i.e might not be able to do post-16 courses etc).
If your child has just turned 4, then he will be one of the oldest in his year and at a massive advantage. So much can change over the next few months...
In fact, not only is the nursery worker out of order, I think s/he is misguided to the point of being unprofessional. I'd complain.
It seems like very odd advice to me. My DD is also shy st school (though not at home) but there are months and months until he starts reception and he'll already be a year older (more or less) than the summer-born children...
We're in Scotland and I know quite a few children who have remained in nursery for another year, particularly those with January, February birthdays.
Hello OP, you said the key worker at your ds nursery?
Do you know what qualifies this person to be able to assess this?
Are you in Scotland, OP? If so, I would try not to worry too much about your DS deferring. The mums (of boys particularly) I know who've done this have all been very pleased with the end result of delaying school.
I think it's not at all uncommon for January and even December birthdays to defer in Scotland.
I would explore it a bit more with your DS's nursery, and talk to school as you've planned. But if they do recommend deferring, then please try not to worry. I've heard only good things about the outcome.
(If you're in England, then I have no idea, sorry!)
I agree that this kind of thing shouldn't have been raised yet, there is a long time before the next school year.
I would have a look at mrz's list that has been posted (its fab, I have used it for my DD) and not stress too much.
It's perfectly normal for kids in reception to not have a long attention span, or have problems listening at 4. I would be concerned with a school that have raised these issues so early tbh. (I am in a reception class once a week).
If you are in Scotland, please take the nursery's advice and defer him.
I teach P1 and I have several four year-olds in my class who are just not ready to be at school. They are struggling, more with the mental energy needed to get through a day of learning than anything else.
I'm in Edinburgh. My dd was born early making her a January birthday. As a nursery nurse, dh thinks the moment she was born it was in my head to defer her starting to school.
She returned to nursery for the extra year and emotionally and socially, it was the best thing I ever did and I don't regret deferring.
She's now 13 and in S2. She is bright and often receives good remarks for her work etc. She was on the ball as a 4 year old but emotionally everything was an issue and socially she can deal with situations that causes her friends a year younger to have a melt down.
In all my years of working in Education, I have never met a parent who regrets deferring but I have met many who regret not deferring.
I think many of my factors to defer were Dh and I are December birthdays. I struggled all the way through school. Dh sailed through primary but when he moved to secondary, he was placed in a class with only one other boy and he didn't like him and he switched off. His mum and dad have said seeing our dd having an extra year and the benefits she has gained from it, they wish it had been an option for them.
It's a difficult decision but one that needs careful consideration.
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.
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 :-)
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.
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.
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 ....
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.
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.
I would defer if you can . We didn't and I regret not doing so with my end October birthday son.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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...
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!
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.
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 - 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...
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.
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
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...
I'm a teacher in P1 in Scotland!
I just couldn't make out what she meant, with all the hyphens breaking up the text.
Sorry: what you meant.
Will read later - off to try to teach P1!
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.
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 .
In the state system, you would then to have sufficient issues that the educational psychologist is both involved and recommends it . 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. 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 on behalf of the mum that she was so badly let down by the nursery.
I deferred both of my boys. They both have November birthdays. Nursery didn't recommend deferring I just thought they'd be better off. (They also got the extra year of nursery funded no problem)
They are both by far the oldest in their years but this has been a big positive. They have been really ready for everything school has asked of them. They made more friends by staying on with nursery and went to
P1 with these new ones quite happily so I wouldn't worry about wanting your DS to start with his pals that he has now.
I really am in two minds about the whole deferring thing. In northern Ireland, where I am originally from, about a third of my daughters current P1 class would now be in P2. This isn't a major issue, except for the fact that there is a noticeable difference in what the children are able to do. Plus, it also means that children effectively do a year less in formal education, as they can leave at the end of fourth year, and many start university at 17.
I have great sympathies - I was in exactly the same position as you two years ago. We decided that this was not a great answer for our child as it would have knock on consequences further on in my dc's education. My dc has seen an occupational therapist and the SENCO has together with the occupational therapist devised a plan.
Things I would suggest: short fat triangular crayons and pencils and the set of books called "write from the start" and playing with puzzles/snap/card games
My dc has improved massively. I am very glad I did not defer, however reception was a rocky ride. YR 1 is much much better!
Please PM me if it would be helpful
Apologies as I've only read the last page!
The knock on consequences in Scotland of deferring would be all good imo. It is quite normal, it means a child is older at transfer to high school and if going to university it means your child would go at 18 rather than 17. The benefits are long term as well as immediate. I so wish I had been able to defer mine!
Plus I know very well-educated and informed parents who have appealed to allow their children to defer when nursery have said they are ready for P1! There are well known benefits to being among the older children in the cohort.
Regarding the social development, I was told my son was not sociable in nursery and I found it upsetting as it came as a shock- he was fine outside! A few years down the line and he has a good few pals and is a quiet but happy child. There seems to be a template of a the ideal outgoing child and if you are quiet it is pointed out as an issue.
I wouldn't defer. Play the long game! DC develop at different speeds and don't always fit the mould when it comes to assessment time. I have DC with summer birthdays (in England) so young for their year. They catch up and their social skills develop at school. They are now at super selective secondaries and have lots of friends, one is more outgoing than the other. Read with your DS and do lots of group activities outside school. Good luck.
In Scotland onebanana there is a specific issue which is important to me (but maybe not OP) and that is that compared to England they will have one less year at secondary school. My son will be doing GCSE equivalents at 15 and A level equivalents at 17 (Advanced Highers) and then entering 1st year undergrad at 17. I think that puts him at a disadvantage compared to English students.
I have been told by two different state HTs (change of HT between my DDs starting) that they can defer at any point ...it is not easy and has social implications but, if necessary, it can be done.
Stargirl - you have come across one case so that proves it can happen.
(pretty No reason to believe a child repeating a year is a troublemaker . You can 'defer' starting P2 by repeating P1)
My use of hyphens is because I know I can be very wordy, it is an attempt to stop my waffle obviously not working well .
Euphemia (sorry! I did look up thread to see if you were in Scotland etc, but just missed your post) and Stargirl
You understand the system as it is. I can see and have experienced a number of problems with the current system.
You end up with classes with big differences in age.
I have been led to believe that the majority of children who don't defer struggle more socially/emotionally than academically. The social aspect can not be anything but exacerbated by the discrepancies in age.
IME 'Preschool education' is not particularly well integrated with school system for children who are deferred.
My view is that either the format of P1 is changed. So it is more informal and more suitable for 4 year olds. But parents aren't allowed/encouraged to defer (except in really exceptional cases).
Or keep the current format and make the P1 starting age 5 for all children. And preschool education extended/rearranged to take that into account.
With the system the way it is at the moment - I would recommend deferring (unless you have a very good reason for not doing so).
I have not deferred my DD (for various reasons explained earlier).
As a parent I found it a very, very difficult decision to make.
And for both it was my (or rather mine and DPs) decision. The school had no problems with them not deferring but also said, in general, they do better if they defer.
As I said for DD1 - academically no problems, but struggled socially. (In S2 now doing ok)
For DD2 something I was thinking about from birth. (In P3 now, doing fantastically well).
The having to relocate to England thing was what finally stopped me deferring DD2. It would be a massive upheaval for them anyway compounded by effectively missing a year of school. The realisation of possibly needing to relocate came from a sudden illness and death in my family coupled with a friend's DM being diagnosed with a slow degenerative terminal illness[ sad].
How does your son feel about it? One of our DCs has a November birthday and I did think about trying to defer him as although he was bright he was immature and couldn't sit still for two minutes. He had been put into a year group by the nursery though and was well aware that everyone else in his group was going to school next year. He would have been bored and upset if we had made him repeat a year and so we sent him off to school. He was immature and it was raised at each and every parents evening for three years. He is doing fine now that he is older.
OP - my eldest son has a December birthday and I just assumed he would start school at 4 and 8 mths and didn't appreciate there was an option. The nursery teacher took me aside and asked me to consider deferring for a year and I was most put out!! My son was clearly very bright. However at nursery he was very frustrated when he couldn't do motor skill things same as the other kids - basics like using scissors and fiddly things. He hated having to sit down and preferred running around and was losing confidence in himself and his abilities and couldn't do the same as those almost a year older.
I deferred him and he started school at 5 yrs and 8 months. I cannot emphasise enough how this was one of the best decisions I've ever made. He was joint oldest in the class and about a third of the class was also deferred. Having that extra year allowed him to thrive.
He is now 19 and undertaking a very academic course at a top uni (sneaky boast!). He says it was definitely the right decision and there is no question he preferred being one of the oldest in the class to being one of the youngest. He was able to start driving ahead of his friends (he found this important!) and he started uni after 6th year when he was approaching 19 and much more able to deal with being away from home. He is a very able, confident young man and I can't say for sure he would be this way if he started school a year younger.
Do not take offence at the advice - like I did.
Could tell you about lots of people I know who didn't defer and wish they had and I don't know anyone who regrets it.
unlucky83 I don't like the deferral system here for the reasons you point out.
A further problem as I see it is that it entrenches class disadvantage. In a poorer area I lived in few Jan/Feb birthdays deferred but in the wealthier area I live in now parents of Nov/ Dec birthdays appeal to get a further year's funding to nursery.
Not meaning to say that a non-deferred child is a trouble-maker - but that in some cases they can get the reputation as such, especially amongst other parents who only ever hear about the child disrupting the class.
The boy is actually a very sweet kid (I only know him socially) but there was no way he was ready to sit down and concentrate at school (even now he can barely sit still ) His mum has often been asked to take him home and the Educational Psychologist has been involved. His mum definitely got the impression that unless the Ed Psych agreed, he wouldn't be allowed to repeat the year. To be fair, they did say to give P2 a go, as he might then be frustrated at re-doing P1. But the longer he stays in the class, the more difficult it will be for him to change class.
Even within this area the better qualified the parents the more likely they are to defer their children, so you have a child with that educational advantage given a further age advantage so I feel really sorry for the child who is 15 months younger in age in the same class.
I agree TeacakeEater, it is not good to have such inequalities in education. Maybe there is something to be said for reducing the number of deferrals.
Seems to me that the inequalities aren't in the education but being being born to parents who aren't 'better qualified'???
Don't think the answer is to reduce referrals but to increase them - surely!
cloutie I think that's a problem with deferring - that preschool isn't set up to deal with it very well.
They spend a year in Nursery (or Playgroup) with one peer group, most of them move on and the deferred DC repeat Nursery (doing the same curriculum as the previous year, at the same level to accommodate the new intake) and have to integrate into a new peer group (who, where we live at least, will have already been at playgroup together for a year.)
(I purposely kept my DD2 in touch with both year groups, so she would at least recognise some of the 'new' children if she was deferred)
Bigstylee I also didn't appreciate how common it is to defer and also felt offended when it was mentioned for DD1. I think that is a problem too, that parents don't know it is not an exception but the 'norm'.
I regret not deferring her at one level, but then felt I didn't have much choice. She could read fluently. To make it clear how well just looked up her reading test result from the end of P1 (so just under 5.5yo) and her reading age was 11. I think that would have been the same more or less if she had deferred. She did a lot of independent reading, don't think the (bloody) Magic key (grrrrrrr) improved that much. Starting school with a reading age of 11+ .
In this area actually I don't think there is a social inequality . We are a mainly 'naice' area. The school is smallish and teachers know the children and their families. Thinking of DD2s class, all the children from the less 'privileged' backgrounds, who are eligible are deferred (about half the total deferred number). But I do appreciate that is down to the school more than anything.
Pretty I was not saying I thought the child was a troublemaker! Just it was sad that they were being labelled as one purely for behaving in an age appropriate way. (No doubt being compared to children 18 months older than them in the same class )
I come at this from 2 angles - as a mum and also as a teacher.
We deferred dd1 and ds, both February birthdays, so they started school at 5y6m, and I have never regretted it for a second. There was no academic or developmental reason for deferral, and pretty much everyone did it as a matter of course. I think it's becoming more common, they both had a great extra year in nursery and loved it. Looking ahead, it means moving up to high school at 12.6 as well, which I like, and not leaving school at 17. The shame of a student card that said "minor" on it for a term at uni was awful! Also, many gap year type things need you to be 18 (I don't think gap years had been invented when I was that age!).
Dd2 is a November birthday, we didn't defer and I sometimes wonder if that was the right decision, but in the end I think we did the right thing.
From a teacher's point of view (secondary, and at one school I was doing transition work in my guidance role) I saw a huge difference in boys especially between the deferred and the non-deferred. In S1 if a pupil didn't do/bring homework, forgot resources etc it was so often a non-deferred boy who could have been. Not every time but I actually made a note of it for transition planning. It does seem to even out by S2, but some had a fairly rough start to secondary due to this (although obviously there could be other issues at play.
I know very few teachers who didn't take the deferral option if they could.
Deferral is so common in my dc school as to be the norm. Dd1 is in secondary now and has had the same wee gang of friends since about P4. All of them are in S2 and are 13, all will be 14 between February and April.
And seeing how ds has matured even in the last few months, makes me glad he's in P7 not S1.
Someone made the point about moving. There was a chance at one point that we would move to London (we didn't). One of the reasons against it was that I called the LEA (is that right?) and explained ages and levels and there was no flexibility at all. Dd1 and ds would have been forced to jump a whole year of primary school with no possibility of this being changed for anything. As our children would also be transitioning into a different language (Gaelic medium -> English) (with which they would be given no help) we felt this was probably too much to ask of them. So if there was a chance you'd ever move to the rest of the uk, then that might be a reason not to defer. Otherwise, I find it hard to think of a downside!
weegiemum that is probably why I feel so strongly about it.
I felt powerless really to do anything but not defer for DD2. I know I am putting her at a disadvantage. But less of a disadvantage if we did (God forbid) have to move down to England. (My biggest fear was P7 to S2 - IMO that is a massive jump).
And the death/ friend's DM's illness all happened whilst I making the decision, it seemed like fate.
I think the system needs changing!
We live in a grammar school area - 11 plus would be difficult if you were in a different year group
I think the system works really well if children who are advised to defer do so. The chronological age gap isn't an issue from a teaching perspective.
I deferred my dd1 (Jan birthday) no problem. She has SEN so always planned to. However dd2 is a November birthday and unless advised to we'll probably not defer. But we will see as she's only 2 now!
I have heard from many reliable sources that in Edinburgh deferral of Sept- December children is not encouraged anymore. Jan/Feb still ok I believe. Having said that though a friend's daughter (Nov birthday) was refused a deferral although SEN and started P1 in special ed, whilst other children with birthdays Sept-Dec in her nursery class were granted deferrals. It was implied that the deferrals were granted as the catchment primary was oversubscribed.
If deferral is likely at some point during school life then socially the earlier the better.
In Edinburgh you still need to sign on at your catchment school in November, whilst applying for a deferral. Deferrals are granted/denied around March/April.
I agree with bigstylee - the emphasis should be on increasing awareness of the option of deferring, not of cutting it down.
You read the angst of English MNers about when they should have a baby so that they avoid the September cut-off, the problems of children who are not (or will not) be ready, whether they should skip Reception and the studies that have shown that disadvantages of being (English) summer born continue . You rarely read of such angst amongst the Scots - primarily because of the flexibility inherent in the Scottish system.
Just because some people might move to England is not a reason to change it. England has always had a different education system with different exams and different ways of doing things, including have to do SATs
and they have to suffer Gove . People might move to Sweden or America (if you want a specifically anglophone country) - should we align our education to be compatible with theirs?
I would rather increase the age at which kids started school. If all kids started school after their fifth birthday then every kid would get a full two years of nursery education. If parents were given the option to defer then not all would take it, resulting in some kids still starting school at 4.5 whilst others were more than a year older than them. Also, not all nurseries will advise on whether or not to defer. I know of a private nursery that was very reluctant to say whether or not kids were ready to start school.
Pretty - it isn't just about moving to England ...as you see I have a number of issues with it...with preschool education not being compatible, a deferred child having to change peer groups etc etc.
And ultimately putting the decision into the hands of the parents...who may or may not make the right decision for their child, based on a number of reasons, some of which may not be in the child's best interest.
Current trend is to defer but from what I can make out in previous years it was much more difficult and the trend was not to defer.
Therefore (without valid reasons) I would stay with the trend and defer.
(Purely because if you don't your child will be in a group with quite a large percentage of the other children more than a year older)
There are conflicting reports on the pros and cons of deferring/not deferring. In ten years time not deferring may be the preferred option.
I stick with my view, that the system could and should be improved.
BTW I know a Scottish mum and a primary teacher who tried to plan her pregnancies to have March born children...
I have March-born children and was v glad not to have to make any kind of active decsion - if DS1 had arrived on his EDD 2 weeks earlier, I would without a shadow of a doubt deferred him.
As he wasn't and turned out to be a clever cookie we considered asking for him to start school in the previous year's intake - see my above post. We considered it for about one split second as emotionally and socially he was not ready.
I agree that parents, much as they know their children best, are not always best placed to make the decision re deferment as there might be other considerations at pley, not just the child's best interest, such as childcare costs etc.
When I started school, early 70s in Germany, every child got assessed. Which sounds good, until you add that if you had not started changing your dentition you were not considered 'school ready' . What on earth teeth were thought to have to do with any level of maturity affecting school is beyond me.
For me the key thing that I miss in the English system is flexibility. Different children will always need and thrive with different things.
I had never considered that my children would not just continue going in to whatever year they are in if we moved to England... That's it - we're staying put!
Also, just a tiny semantic thing: it jars with me to call it 'holding a child back'. It is more 'allowing them more childhood' 'continuing maturation' 'giving them time to develop' - it's not restraining an impatient racehorse, biting the bit, impatient to get going (some kids maybe, most at 4 will quite happily keep going to nursery).
Equally, I am not sure that I'd worry too much about nursery 'curriculum' 'what they learn' - surely they should have fun, learn to play/share/take turns, play outside, do some role-play, plant some plants, put some butter on toast etc etc??
I don't get the rush to formal education.
Nursery is 2.5 hours of preschool education and as such has a curriculum. It has to prepare children for starting P1. Make sure they know things like their colours and how to count to 20, etc. There will a level of repetitiveness, with no extra information because it is all new to their new peers.
But it isn't just educational, it is the social aspect too - things like the transition into school.
Eg my DD's primary nursery a few weeks before the summer term ends they start visiting the P1 classroom. The P1s go into Nursery, the Nursery children go into P1. The Nursery children get allocated a buddy from further up the school. The buddy's visit the Nursery a few times.
What happens to the child that is being deferred? Either you keep them off or they do all these things, experience the general excitement (and maybe trepidation). And next year they are back in Nursery, trying to fit in and make new friends in a group that already know each other and maybe their best friends have moved on to P1.... (or what I've seen more than once become best friends with another child that has deferred and then struggling to mix with the rest of the group)...
Nursery curriculum is Early level CfE. As is P1. The experiences and outcomes are the same.
So children are taught the same things in ante-preschool, preschool and P1?
Why then bother deferring? They are the same thing anyway...
I think the Early Level of CfE is described as preschool to P1 - 'or later for some' or similar
The Early level has to accept that ante and preschool education isn't compulsory. Therefore the first level is end of P1 - it could hardly be the start could it?
And children that haven't attended preschool (or some with SN) may not attain Early Level by the end of P1.
We'll have to agree to differ.
I'd much rather have the flexibility of the Scottish system where there is an overlap of ages allowing for individual children's readiness than the rigidity of the English date driven system
and apparent disregard for the fact that children differ in their developmental readiness
Ds' nursery followed a two year programme of activities to allow for the fact that some children (whether or not they were deferred) might be there for two years. Only those children actually going to primary school made school visits - the others stayed at the nursery. And anyway, the kids at ds' (council) nursery went to 5 different primary schools (4 state, 1 private) so there were only two kids that went to ds' primary school. Good nurseries are actually quite adept at coping with children going to different places - and having transition visits on different days.
By the way - ds went to his catchment primary school but one that didn't have an attached nursery. His nursery didn't have an attached school which is why there was such a variety of destinations - but there are many primary schools in Glasgow (and no doubt Scotland but I will admit to not having checked) that don't have attached nurseries.
Socially, dd was 9 months younger than the group of girls in her class. She struggled to mix with them but the friends outwith school she was the eldest and had very few problems.
Emotionally, I walked to collect her from nursery one day. She tantrumed the whole way home because I hadn't brought the car. Other mums who had just collected their P1, couldn't believe it as she had never done this before.
Fast forward to being 12, moving to high school, the transition was very easy and she settled well. Can tolerate people in her year group without it turning into the huge issue that her friend a year younger does!
I also wanted her to sit her exams at 16 rather than 15. Though in P7, they reckoned she could have sat Standard Grade English and get a 1.
Nurseries with transition to P1 usually work in different ways. A lot of them will only take small groups for transition and doing activities with P1. That way not all children will realise anyone has gone and won't be involved. My dd's nursery was very sensitive in this respect and I have passed it on to other nurseries when I have worked in them.
Before they go to P1, we check they can recognise their colours, numbers, shapes, can confidently use a pair of scissors and hold a pencil correctly. A good nursery will provide a wide range of activities which you can learn something new all the time. Even I learn something new in topics despite having been in nurseries for over 20 years. We spend time observing the children and taking their lead over what activites we can offer and how to extend them.
Many nurseries have a plan such as the usual festivals and seasons but then extend what they observe meaning that no year at nursery is always the same. We've recently been doing forces after a child brought a magnet in and the interest which grew from the one magnet.
It's something to think long and hard about. Speak to all the relevant staff. Have as many meetings with the nursery staff as your feel you need. Our old Head teacher used to say "well you know your child!" meaning it was your choice, but when she spent a term at another school they interpreted it as "No you can't!"
The reason for deferring is pedagogical. It is not the experiences and outcomes.
Can't that be defined as 'of benefit to a teacher?' (ok then - and or education ).
I agree we will have to disagree. I have been in the should I/shouldn't defer situation twice and I hated it. So I do have strong feelings. And I have had dealings with other parents in a similar situation who have also struggled.
I think the academic outcome is less important than influences on a child's emotional development and feelings of self worth. And I can see pros and cons of deferring/not deferring on that.
Then it all evens out in the end anyway. I feel the most important thing in life for DCs is to be happy and content. Whether that means they work canning beans in a factory or as prime (or first!) minister, as long as they have enough money to not to have to worry about it, fine.
I know from personal experience that you can relatively easily go back to education as a mature student.
And I know how preschool works quite well - and I agree nurseries do a fantastic job and there is variety. I like the child led learning aspect, but there can only be a certain level of variety.
Transition I know depends on the Nursery set up etc -(indeed DD1 went into P1 from a private Nursery) but in the four nearest 'villages' the situation is as I described. In fact there is a set pathway through various groups etc. Leads to a good community feel and it means that children (and their parents) start to form bonds and friendships with their peer group from birth. (It also can mean that 'new' children whether that is at the start of P1 or though out the school can find it more difficult to 'fit' in).
One thing about the benefits of the flexibility of Scottish system I have got from this thread is that who benefits is entirely arbitrary, very much dependent on the inclination of the parents rather than anything specific about the maturity or lack of maturity in the child. So you may well get a mature November born who was perfectly ready for school at 4.9, deferred until 5.9 if his parents think it is a good thing and want their child to be the oldest in the class, while a very immature February born may start P1 at 4.6 as his parents have never thought of doing otherwise. It must make teaching P1 harder than it might otherwise be.
Not sure what the answer is, but I started thinking deferring was a good thing, but now I am not so sure. Perhaps the starting date has to be fixed but older, with a degree of flexibility for specific needs, or perhaps P1 should be more play-based like the English reception.
I was under the impression that January and February born children could be deferred simply at their parents' request whereas November and December born kids had to have some kind of agreement from... <ahem> somebody official? Sorry to be so vague, I don't know which agency gets involved, but I don't think it is just up to the parents for the 'older' younger children IYSWIM.
Good grief, now I am confusing myself...
You are correct, Pacific. DS is. November baby but held back and additional funding provided by the council due to probable ADHD and autism.
Pacific, it is the funded nursery place that is likely to be automatic for January and February borns, and extending that to December and November children will depend on more official approval. However, any parent can defer if their child is not 5 at the beginning of the autumn term if they are not taking up a funded place, say, they don't go to nursery or are at a private nursery.
It's automatic that Jan/Feb birthdays get funding. Usually deferral forms for them need to be in by the end of February.
For an autumn born child there is no guarantee without good reasons for councils to fund an extra year. Usually the nursery staff would write a report, but if they don't feel they have reasons which would secure funding it can be difficult to write a report.
My friend's middle child is October and he was deferred. The nursery teacher showed his mum her report and said, "Please remember that it is a very negative report and may hurt your feelings!" But my friend said it made her realise how much help he was really needing.
Ah, thanks for that, so it boils down to funding. Money, of course, silly me .
My 2 older dc are feb born.
I never filled in any "deferral form"
I just didn't register them for school??
(Which for ds and then dd2 - our 2 youngest - was scary as we had to go to the catchment school and run the wrath of the scary lady in the office who 1. Totally thought we were ker-ayy-zee for not sending our dc to her school and 2. Took huge delight in telling us our dc would never get in to the Gaelic school we'd chosen).
Weegiemum, the nursery teacher took me through to the deputy head and I signed the form and they filled the rest in for Edinburgh Council.
I also had to register her for school as that would guarantee the funding for nursery. Then I returned a year later to register her again.
SLmummy do you agree that your son needs to work on his fine motor skills and has problems with his concentration?
I've found that nurseries attached to private schools seem to prefer children to have two years at nursery and as such, they almost automatically stream children into different groups regardless of age. Consequently if your child has only been at nursery for a year then the nursery will suggest deferring.
My ds' nursery said he couldn't write any letters and wasn't good at concentrating. Yet at home he was writing 3 and 4 letter words unaided. There was something about the nursery environment that just didn't work for him. Plus they had automatically put him in the younger group when the class split into different activities.
We decided not to defer and ds loved school much more than he did nursery. Ironically in P1, he even received certificates for his beautiful handwriting!
I've had friends who deferred and it was exactly right for their dc. I've other friends who deferred and their ds was bored by another year of nursery and constantly missed their friends who had gone on to school.
I'm not sure that the current Scottish system does make sense. Ds' class ended up with an age difference of 18 months between the oldest and the youngest in the class and I don't think that does benefit the class.
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