Oldest or youngest in year?

(44 Posts)
LazyLondoner Wed 29-Jan-14 10:12:40

If you could choose whether your child was the oldest in their year or the youngest which would you prefer? My summer born DD is due to start school this September but I have the choice to delay a year so that she is the oldest rather than the youngest if I wish. My instinct is to do this as there is lots of evidence about summer borns being disadvantaged but now several people have commented that it can be just as difficult for children who are oldest in the year and get frustrated as they are much more able than their peers. Argh! Any advice from parents of autumn born kids who are the most able in their class - is it a problem?

bigTillyMint Wed 29-Jan-14 10:18:13

I was the oldest in my year, DH was the youngest in his. DD is very near the youngest (end of July) in her year.

I don't think it has caused any major difficulties for any of us, but that is just our personal experience.

FWIW, even if you did delay her entry to school, she will have to be put in with her correct year group when she starts as that is the law for state schools. That means that she would have missed out on all the "schooling" that the others had while you kept her at home.

I am not sure if this true for private education though.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 29-Jan-14 10:19:49

my daughter is the oldest in her year, she was only 48hrs and 10 minutes into this school year and to be honest she would probably have been better as the youngest in the year above. Confidence wise I think perhaps being the oldest has been a bit better for her BUT she has a lot of extra pressure on her from being the oldest, partly self imposed but partly because the others say things like 'well you are the oldest so you should be able to do it' and if they beat her in things they rub it in saying 'I am younger than you' so that upsets her. She is very bright and does find the pace of things incredibly slow and she gets frustrated at the immaturity of some of her classmates (not necessarily the youngest ones - just some children are more immature).

She is often ready to move on both academically and in other ways but can't because the class aren't ready.

I think to be an extreme is difficult anyway whichever end of the scale you are.

If your DD is bright and confident then I wouldn't delay I really wouldn't. You are holding her back. What about when they get older and she is a year below with doing things?

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 29-Jan-14 10:20:26

bigtillymint - private schools are allowed to admit a year later I THINK

roslet Wed 29-Jan-14 10:26:11

Both my children are summer birthdays. Academically I'm not concerned about them keeping up with the rest of the class, but I feel like they get less childhood than they would if they were autumn babies. My son is now in Year 1 with little time for play, whereas his nursery friends who were born a few weeks later are still having lots of play and fun in Reception. Also, my son doesn't like being one of the shortest boys in the class.

LazyLondoner Wed 29-Jan-14 10:46:21

Thanks for all the replies. Really don't know what to do! I think nonickname is right that either way is not ideal. I do feel like she needs another year of playing but am worried about what will happen later on if she's the oldest and getting frustrated like nonickname's daughter.

I'm lucky that at her school if I choose to delay her she can start in reception and doesn't have to go straight into year one

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 29-Jan-14 11:41:29

Whereabouts are you OP? Rules for deferrals vary between area to area. I would say deferring where this is unusual would worry me more than deferring where many children do and system is set up for it (eg Scotland). Also as others have mentioned private schools can often be happier to defer than state schools.

LtGreggs Wed 29-Jan-14 11:43:24

I looked in to this - we're in Scotland and have option to defer, I have two DC with Jan & Feb birthdays (end of Feb is school year cut-off here, so it's the equivalent of having July/Aug children in England).

LtGreggs Wed 29-Jan-14 11:45:33

And I always post too soon!

Evidence for academic outcome (and sporting success actually) is slightly weighted to deferring. But so much depends on the individual child.

We have send both DC in 'correct' year. Due partly to others deferring, each child is the youngest one in their year, and class ages range by about 15 months.

Both are doing fine and we are happy with our decision (they are still primary school)

PlainBrownEnvelope Wed 29-Jan-14 11:52:25

I have one September born and one August born. To complicate things more, I also have the option to use an international school which has a jan-dec year, meaning they would both be 3rd quartile. I made the decision to leave them both in the correct year and use the British system. My logic is that ds will almost certainly benefit from being the oldest, and with dd, who will almost certainly be the youngest, if the option to defer is there now ( independent ) it always will be so she can always repeat down the line if I feel she needs more time.

The evidence is in favour of oldest in the year but that says nothing about an individual child so you have to look at their maturity ( social skills in particular) and make a call.

legalalien Wed 29-Jan-14 11:57:49

One small point worth thinking about if you think your child might turn out to be sporty - some sports (e.g. league football, club cricket) require children to play in teams based on their age as at 1 Sept rather than their school year. So if you defer your child they will end up in a situation where they may not be able to participate in eg club football in the same team as others in their year group. Not a huge deal, but it does crop up. (Not an issue for school sports activities as far as I know).

The law is changing. A child has to be placed into their chronological year unless they will be disadvantaged by missing Reception. We are currently in discussions with our LEA about coming out of year group and deferring her place BUT she will join Reception not Y1.

DD1 is late summer born with significant development delay,but even I she didn't have the development delay I think I would look at options for her. Not all summer borns will struggle, but those who are not socially and emotionally ready should be able to defer to reduce impacts on self esteem and confidence.

As for my feelings about formal schooling at just four years old - think its bloody madness.

gleegeek Wed 29-Jan-14 12:08:07

I would defer!

I have a youngest in the year dd and she just seems less ready for life than her peers IYKWIM? She is now in Year 6 and still is very quiet and lacking in confidence. She is doing fine academically tbh but gets upset if she does struggle with work. She is never picked for school sports teams - the majority of children picked are Autumn born (I know this because they were split according to age at infant school). She still plays with Sylvanians/has no interest in fashion/pop stars/boys.

She was in a mixed older Year1/ younger year 2 class and still plays with her younger friends and is just more comfortable with their level of development.

I know there are always exceptions to the rule, but she thrives whenever she is the eldest for a change. She is dreading going to Secondary in September and would happily do another year at Junior school...

I envy your being given the choice!

Seeline Wed 29-Jan-14 12:17:35

My DD is one of the youngest in her year (very end of July) and academically I have never had a problem as she is bright and mature for her age. She was really ready to start school when she did. However, I do feel sorry for her sometimes. She is now Y5 and has realised she never has a birthday at school, Her birthday during the holidays mean she finally reaches the next age, goes back to school in September and some of her friends are already a year older - again! She is never the oldest at anything eg Rainbows she actually left before she was 7 to start Brownies as her birthday fell in the holiday. I was reading another thread recently about a DS who was learning to drive a year after his friends, and would only legally be allowed in a pub 3 weeks before going of to uni.
I blame the parents grin

DeWe Wed 29-Jan-14 12:24:44

The problem is you have no idea long term which your dc would be better.

My ds is June. And he's young for his age in a lot of ways. Through reception and year 1 I would have said if I could have delayed him starting a year, or even 18 months, I would have.

However he's now year 2 and has started to flourish. He's very much one of the crowd, in the top groups and pushing the top of those in maths in particular. I can now see if i had been able to delay him, it may have been better in reception, but I think he would now be very bored-and his behaviour would reflect that-and it's easier to deal with "young boy behaviour" in reception, than "bored boy behaviour" in year 1+.

Floggingmolly Wed 29-Jan-14 12:40:23

The oldest in the class doesn't actually equate with being the most able, you know hmm. Neither does the converse apply, necessarily.

JammieCodger Wed 29-Jan-14 12:56:23

DD1 is oldest in her year and DD2 the youngest in the class, if not the year (late July birthday). Having the two of them two years apart in age but only one year apart academically really highlights what a difference it makes. DD1 has faced none of the issues that NoNickName’s daughter has, and I would say that there are no negatives to being the eldest. She’s always been quite academically and physically advanced for her age anyway, but there’s been no extra pressure on her just because she’s a couple of weeks older than some of her friends. She does get frustrated occasionally when members of the class are messing around, but that’s got nothing to do with age. And she doesn't get bored because her teachers have always ensured she (and everyone else in the top group, of varied ages) has been challenged.

But I think the younger one has suffered for being a year younger at every stage, whether that’s been going away for her first residential, being less physically capable (a year can make a big difference at infants) and just emotionally more likely to respond to pressure with panic. And then there’s the fact that I think we start formal schooling far too young in this country anyway and that an extra year’s play is always going to be a good thing. Defer defer defer.

potterpaint Wed 29-Jan-14 12:56:38

Mine is the youngest. She started late (January rather than September). She got very tired in reception and Y1 (unlike my winter-born who took school in her stride). However she is a sensitive child, so that might have been the case even if she was older.

I would have chosen her to be a youngest rather than an oldest. She is academic and is still top/among the top of her class. I think she would be incredibly bored if she was a year below. She's grown-up for age so tends to play with the older ones in her class in any case - she is also tall, so she looks older than half her class too.

All in all, I think she would have struggled a lot in the year below. The only disadvantage that I can see now (y4) is that she struggles with sports sometimes (she's not a sporty kid). Also I would quite like her to try for a scholarship - as she is up against older kids, I don't think she will have the chance that she would have had competing as the oldest. Neither of those things would have outweighed the boredom factor, I don't think.

siblingrevelry Wed 29-Jan-14 13:48:50

My first child is Feb born so no huge issue there, middle child is very end of August (currently in Y1), toddler is Oct so I'll eventually get to see all ways!

I used to worry most about my middle child, and looked into keeping him back as I worried he was starting too soon, but my experience of him and talking to other parents with kids at either end of the scale, is that now I prefer to have a youngest than an eldest (I'm September too).

I believe he is being (gently) pulled along by older peers, whereas I have seen older kids (more so in pre-school to be fair) being held back.

I also believe birth place is a key factor too, in that him not being first born 'negates' some of the issues with being youngest in class.

And I also imagine that if you're the type of parent who is aware of the research on any possible disadvantage then you'll ensure (naturally or deliberately) there isn't one.

BoysRule Wed 29-Jan-14 13:54:42

My DS started school last September and has an end of August birthday. I think if I had the option to defer him with him starting in Reception I would have seriously considered it. He is doing really well at school but there are things that he just hasn't had as much time to develop.

In particular fine motor skills - we did a lot of playdoh, big painting, etc from the age of 2 as I knew this would be an issue for him. However he still struggles with writing and hasn't decided on left or right hand yet.

Social skills - he has made brilliant friends and is confident, however, he still finds it very difficult to resolve conflict or cope with being told off. Purely I think because he is still developing these skills which are focused more on in pre-school (he only had a year of preschool whereas a lot of his class had two years).

AnswersToAnything Wed 29-Jan-14 14:32:55

DD was desperate to start school (summer birthday) but as others have said, it does mean you get less time with them. There are some kids still at her pre-school that are older than her, which always freaks me out a bit.

It depends a lot on the individual child.

PiqueABoo Wed 29-Jan-14 14:57:14

Flip a coin. In most cases I suspect you'll only be sure about the correct choice several years later.

There were early issues, but we didn't have a choice and with hindsight summer-born Y6 DD was best left with her 'chronological' cohort. She'd be a monster as the oldest in Y5.

One of the biggest problems we've had in terms of age and DD-moaning is with Rainbow/Brownies/Scouts [local guides is a bit rubbish] where they move up to the next stage based on birthday i.e. all her friends from her school class 'moved up' way ahead of her. Similarly for several things within the Brownies stage i.e. she was the last to do Adventure One(?), be a sixer etc.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 29-Jan-14 15:01:41

I was august born and always academically ahead. My dd is one of the youngest in reception and well ahead in her reading etc.

Some people say it's harder for summer born boys as they are generally less ready. Don't know if there's any truth to this but I certainly observe that my 2 yr old son is slower at talking and more boisterous than my dd was. So maybe he would suffer more if he were a summer born reception child. Who knows !

lainiekazan Wed 29-Jan-14 15:05:21

Both dcs (premature August birthdays) have been top of their years academically. However, ds is about to do his GCSEs and is royally stuffed afterwards. You have to be 16 to work in a shop, volunteer, join a youth camp... everything. He is going to be stuck here with me for 3 months!

FruitBasedDrinkForALady Wed 29-Jan-14 15:17:55

DD is early June and I've decided to keep her in montessori until she's 5. For me it's not so much about her age starting school, it's more that I want her to be the 15 year old surrounded by 14 year olds rather than 16 year olds. My own birthday is July and I was 4 starting school and although it was fine, I would have prefered to be older, especially finishing school. DS is late July so he'll be 5 starting too.

AbbyR1973 Wed 29-Jan-14 15:58:31

I think it depends entirely on the individual child. Ds1 has November birthday, to be honest he would have been better off being born in August and being younger in the year. He's currently in year 1 working with the year 2's in a mixed year 1/2 class. I was told in the September 1 year before he started school that he was ready for school and nursery didn't know what to do with him because they'd never come across a 3, nearly 4 year old that could read before. In September the year 2's will move up to the year 3/4 class then I don't know what will happen to him.
DS2 is about right with a very late April birthday, happily floating along just above the rest of the class but not so far ahead he's out of sight.
DB1 was end of August and would probably have been better off being September although he's done very well for himself. DB2 was October but started school a year early and remained with the academic year above his chronological year throughout. He did extremely well and didn't cause him any problem being so much younger.
Think therefore it's down to the personality and individual characteristics of the child. As a parent only you can judge.

caz05 Wed 29-Jan-14 18:25:49

My son is a July baby and one of the youngest I his year. I never even thought about deferring and looking back I sometimes wished I had as it seems the school use it as an excuse (my son was diagnosed with dyslexia at 7 but until then it was always brushed off with comments like he is young in the year, he will catch up eventually etc) but I don't honestly think I would have done. I believe if you defer the year they will miss out reception and have to start in yr 1 so they would have missed out on all the fundamental basics of starting school and adjusting to school routine etc and also would have missed out on making friends (although they soon do make friends anyway). My second son is a June baby and will be starting school next year and even with my previous concerns I won't be looking to defer the start of his education and he will be starting at 4.

I think you need to contact you your local educational department and see what the rules are about deferring as I believe councils can be different from county to county

LazyLondoner Wed 29-Jan-14 19:16:54

Hmmm. Lots to think about....still not sure what to do but interesting to read all your different experiences

hells456 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:24:51

My son has an early Oct birthday and loves that he is bigger, faster and stronger when it comes to sports. He also loves that his is the first birthday in the class and feels that it is very special. Academically he is average, very much a middle of the curve type boy. We have no concerns with him at school. Personally, I loved having an extra year at home with him.

My daughter was born in late July and we had the option of delaying her as she was extrememly premature and we could have used her Oct due date as her birthdate to begin school. We didn't delay her as she was mentally ready for school and her nursery friends were going up.

She has turned out to be a very gifted child and it scares me how clever she is. However, she is very tiny and rubbish with anything physical. Part of me thinks that she would have benefitted from being in the year below because of her size. Even now in Year 8 she is head and shoulders shorter than the next smallest child and we struggled to get her a uniform that fits. The rest of me thinks that she is happy and it wouldn't have made any difference because she is still smaller than the year below anyway.

I don't regret sending her at the right time purely because she had the best teacher in the world for Reception and Year 1, who left the school shortly afterwards. That amazing teacher set her up with a love of learning and a huge amount of confidence, which has had a very positive impact on her.

ChocolateWombat Fri 31-Jan-14 09:39:00

Being the oldest in the year cannot really be a bad thing long term. You may find or feel that they were ready for school earlier than when they started, but this is not a big problem. You can do things at home to keep them stimulated. A good nursery or pre school will meet their individual needs. This being ready, but not in school is such a short phase. The advantages of being socially older and perhaps academically older last throughout school. It is rare to find children who are 'losing out' by being oldest once in school. Life and childhood are short, so having more time at home before starting school is no bad thing. The fact you are almost a year older when finishing school is no bad thing either....there are many years to be an adult.
I totally appreciate that there will always be summer borne, most people don't get to choose and many summer burns are both socially and academically ahead and not disadvtaged in any way. IF you have a choice though, I would avoid it, just because there is more chance of the youngest children being behind socially and academically. However, not something to think exhaustively about, because for most this passes very quickly. For some though it doesn't.

littlemiss06 Fri 31-Jan-14 10:00:03

I have twins that made it into the school year by 9 hours, they were born two months prem on the 31st august, initially you could see they were much younger but by year one they were doing amazing, caught up really well and have now left school with a load of brilliant grade GCSEs so to be honest it didn't really make a difference to them, I also have a child December born who is doing equally as well and an april born child who is struggling a lot and really quite behind now, so I don't think it always matters on when they were born

AbouttoCrack Fri 31-Jan-14 10:09:59

My son is July and the 2nd or 3rd youngest in his year. I wish I had had the choice to hold him back a year. Hes in Y6 now and he was diagnoised with Aspergers last year and also struggles with attention issues.
I remember speaking to the HT about it when we went to visit the school and her brushing off my concerns as PFBism. Of course when a Rec teacher told me a few weeks after he started school they had 'concerns' with him not being able to pay attention for long - I brushed it off as "WTF do you expect - he's only just 4 years old FGS". (not in those words!) THis is why I wanted him held back. ...anyway - it was too late by then.
His literacy is poor, but his maths is OK. Socially, I wish he had been able to stay back a year go gain a little bit more confidence. Also his year group are not particularly nice. Lots of fighters!!. The current Y5 are much nicer than our Y6.

caz05 Fri 31-Jan-14 11:29:38

I put my son on the waiting list first and then when a place became available I filled out all the required paperwork. It all happened very quickly and easily. I am not sure you can Fill out the paperwork until a place at your chosen school has become available as technically they don't actually have a place to move to yet but call your local eduction department in the county council and see. Mine had loads of information online and they where very helpful when I spoke to them. Good luck with it all and although if all seems daunting at first it really isn't once you get into it

notjustamummythankyou Fri 31-Jan-14 18:08:26

I think it depends on the individual child too. My Ds is only just 4.5 and is in reception. He is an August born and there is just one child younger than him in the entire year.

I was very worried about how he would settle in and, tbh, all my fears have been unfounded. He has settled in very well and with confidence, has made friends easily and coped with the social 'mores' of school. Most of his friends are Autumn born, so he certainly hasn't been sidelined because of seeming younger. Academically, he's doing fine - for eg, his reading group includes children right across the age range and is probably a good average. His writing really did start from scratch which I expected, but this side of Xmas he's catching up his peers.

There's so much in the media about summer borns being disadvantaged. Some will be, some won't be, and for the vast majority the playing field evens out very quickly. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. :-)

Onesie Sat 01-Feb-14 00:31:01

It's so much better being older. DS is the youngest and he is physically smaller so tends never to win sports days/PE activities. Despite bring very bright (like every mumsnet child), he would have found the work easier if older. But also generally we (my kids and I) have found the older ones often more confident, bossy, able, powerful, competitive etc.

prh47bridge Sat 01-Feb-14 00:38:32

If you are in London as your username implies (or, indeed, anywhere in England) you need to make sure you understand the situation properly. Whilst you can defer entry for a full year most LAs will then put your child in Y1 unless there is strong evidence of delayed development, so your child would still be the youngest in the year. Furthermore, by delaying for a full year you would have seriously restricted your choice of schools. You might be lucky but there is a strong possibility your daughter would end up in an unpopular school that may be a long way from home.

OvO Sat 01-Feb-14 00:46:54

Both my DC are the oldest in their years as I'm in Scotland and deferred them both. So both are 15 months older than their youngest classmates.

It's been great for them. They were so ready and able for learning. That extra year just made so much difference in their emotional maturity and confidence. I've no regrets about deferring.

headoverheels Sat 01-Feb-14 00:48:33

DD is third oldest in her year and the oldest girl. She's doing very well academically (she's in year 1), is on the top reading table etc, which I think benefits her self esteem. No sign yet of her becoming bored, and I think this school is good at stretching the brighter pupils.

The only thing that concerns me is that she is v tall for her age and this is exacerbated by being one of the oldest. She towers over her friends and I worry that this will bother her in years to come. At the moment it doesn't seem to be a problem.

notjustamummythankyou Sat 01-Feb-14 02:55:22

I don't really get the logic of deferring: in England the child will simply join its peers in y1 and will STILL be the youngest. He / She will be one year behind everything the class has been doing and social groups will be firmly established.

My August born boy would have seen all his friends go to school and yet he would have been too old to stay at playgroup (and another year would have bored him silly).

It was the right decision for him to go into Yr and just get started really. The pros outweighed the cons.

notjustamummythankyou Sat 01-Feb-14 03:27:57

... and I guess that proves the inflexibility of the system in that apparent choice isn't really a choice at all!

lljkk Sat 01-Feb-14 05:03:47

Success at School is mostly about the social life so it depends where they would fit socially. A child who seemed especially immature better to be one of the oldest; a child who turns out to be mature for age fine to be one of the youngest. Sadly you can't really tell how mature a 3-4yo is going to turn out!

I disagree with redshirting in principle, though, so would try to put them with most usual group.

bigTillyMint Sat 01-Feb-14 06:37:03

headoverheels, I was the oldest and tallest throughout primary school. I don't think it bothered me overly, and did give me a certain level of confidence. I love being fairly tall nowsmile

What happens if you move? Will the new local authority allow the deferment to stay, or would they be forced to skip a year at a later stage to be in a chronological year?

prh47bridge Sat 01-Feb-14 10:51:07

That is a concern even if you stay with the same LA. Some secondary schools insist on putting children into their "correct" year with the result that a child allowed to defer entry to Reception has to skip either Y6 or Y7.

I'm lucky that at her school if I choose to delay her she can start in reception and doesn't have to go straight into year one

Only just spotted this comment. You need to double check this and get it in writing. And don't take the school's word for it. The LA may overrule the school and insist your daughter goes straight into Y1 if you defer.

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