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When to start school

(45 Posts)
Frozengeranium Wed 22-Nov-17 08:59:11

This child is not ours yet. Just future planning.

He is May born, will come home in January. He is currently 3, will turn 4 May 2018.

With good enough reason children can be held back from school for a year if they are summer born.

We would therefore send him into YR in September 2019 (?), I think? To give him 18 months at home. He’ll do some nursery from September 2018.

Does this sound right? So the year he is in reception class he will actually finish at age 6?

Also, any views if anyone got through that garbled mess?

JustHappy3 Wed 22-Nov-17 12:40:06

I think that sounds fab. Just focusing on attachment at the start will pay dividends in future.
My birth child is delayed - usually about 12-18 months behind his peers. I wish i had held him back at the start - it's so hard to do (socially fpr them) once you are into tje system.
I don't know anyone who has done it who regrets that choice for their kids.
Def get the nursery hours sorted - you will need the respite!

Frozengeranium Wed 22-Nov-17 12:50:22

I think so too. Apparently he’s super bright and active so I’m a little concerned about it but hopefully will be able to keep him occupied enough at home.
I’m thinking 15 hrs at nursery from next sep?

Monkeybrains2017 Wed 22-Nov-17 13:31:10

I’ve PMed you. The delaying Reception part is easy, you don’t even need to give a reason - you can just defer. The delaying Nursery I’m less sure about (although may depend if you are using a school Nursery or private Nursery) as he should (if there were no other factors involved) be in school Nursery now.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 22-Nov-17 13:56:42

I assume you are in England/Wales.

If you want to delay reception by a year I think you need/may wish to get it in writing that he can stay delayed throughout schooling up to and including, if necessary 3 years in the 6th form.

If he is 'super bright' and you live in a grammar area you need to understand any implications of having been delayed a year (we're not in a grammar area so I don't know anything about that).

If for any reason you change your mind re delaying then the deadline for primary applications is 15th Jan 2018. If you decide to go for that then you can delay taking the place up in Reception until Easter.

I have no idea how any of this fits with nursery places.

I can see why you want to do this for attachment, but if he is super-bright, and as he is also in the 3rd quartile for ages (so not the youngest) I have a slight concern that if he is age-mature (which he might well not be) he may find it harder to make friends later with kids younger/less developed than him.

It's really difficult as you don't know him yet! A possibility could be to go for correct year group place but defer until Jan start. That way you'd have a whole year at home?

Otherwise, back to my first point, get it in writing that he can stay deferred for the whole of schooling, not just primary.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 22-Nov-17 13:58:51

... all the above notwithstanding, my Autumn born AD2 would have been better being a year deferred ...

Monkeybrains2017 Wed 22-Nov-17 14:51:53

The law changed last year and you can defer entry and this will carry through to the end of formal schooling, so you are ok on that front! I know the SW will be encouraging a long period at home but you also need to think about his needs for formal education. He may well be ready for Reception in September 2018 with a gradual introduction eg mornings only for a while?

Frozengeranium Wed 22-Nov-17 14:53:07

Thank you all so much for the responses.
We’re not in a grammar area, so at least don’t need to think about that.
He’s physically little for his age but apparently his communication and comprehension are advanced for his age (I’m guessing this will all level out at some stage but it’s important to point out where he’s at right now).

I’ve just been told there is a chance we could keep him home that extra year but put him straight into Y1 from nursery? Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts?

Thanks again

UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 22-Nov-17 15:07:18

I wouldn't jump straight from nursery to year 1 unless you have been doing formal phonics and number work with him.
You may also have trouble getting a place by doing that. The LAC/Adopted status will put him pretty much top of priority lists but won't automatically allow him to break the size 30 class limit, I don't think.

I'm going to tag @prh47bridge and @admission who are very helpful admission experts just so they can check the collective advice here is right wrt admissions. smile

Monkeybrains2017 Wed 22-Nov-17 15:13:10

I would not advise Nursery to Year 1 jump! Depending on the school Year 1 may be very formal compared to play based learning of Nursery and Reception.

prh47bridge Wed 22-Nov-17 15:30:59

Someone called!

If he turns 4 in May 2018 he would ordinarily start school in September 2018. You have the right to defer until later in the year if you wish so that he starts in January or after Easter. If you choose to do this you would apply for a school place starting in September in the normal way then, when you've got the offer, tell the school that you are deferring entry. They don't have any say in the matter. They have to accept your decision and keep his place open.

He must start full-time education in September 2019. You can delay until then if you wish. However, Monkeybrains2017 is wrong. The law has not changed. If you delay until then it is up to the admission authority whether he goes into Reception or Y1. All that has actually changed is that the admission authority must consider each case individually rather than simply implement a blanket policy. Some admission authorities are fairly relaxed but many will need clear evidence of developmental delay to convince them to allow your son to start in Reception in September 2019. If they say they are willing for your son to delay entry by a year in this way make sure you get it in writing. You will then have evidence if they try to do something different.

Similarly, it is not the case that the deferral is guaranteed to stay with the child through to the end of formal schooling. The government has talked about making this change but has not actually made any changes to the relevant law or the Admissions Code. If your child does start Reception in September 2019 you may find that local secondary schools insist that he skips Y6 or Y7 to get him back into the "correct" year group. It may be that the government will finally have got round to this in the next 5 years but the current silence from the DfE on the subject suggests that they may have quietly dropped the idea.

Note that the curriculum for Nursery and Reception is identical with the emphasis on learning through play. In most schools Reception is pretty similar to Nursery. The main difference is that Reception will normally prepare children for the more formal schooling that starts in Y1. On that point I agree with Monkeybrains2017 - a Nursery to Y1 jump can be a lot harder for the child than the transition from Reception to Y1.

UnderThenameOfSanders Wed 22-Nov-17 15:50:57

Thanks prh . I thought it important the OP got 100% correct admissions info as well as the views of adopters on what might be best for the LO. smile

Monkeybrains2017 Wed 22-Nov-17 15:54:33

Ok I stand corrected but have experienced it from the other side professionally where it was very straightforward. Must be different for different authorities. As a teacher, I disagree that a Nursery and Reception are essentially the same. I think from experience of teaching both they are very different. However once again every school is different. Good Luck to the OP with whatever you decide and apologies if my info was wrong.

prh47bridge Wed 22-Nov-17 16:19:18

I disagree that a Nursery and Reception are essentially the same

Just for clarity, I don't think they are essentially the same. They are often similar but they are definitely not the same.

Many parents think that Reception is the start of formal school. It is much closer to Nursery than they think. From the average parent's point of view Reception and Nursery are pretty similar (provided the Nursery is properly following the EYFS curriculum). From a teacher's point of view things are somewhat different.

Frozengeranium Wed 22-Nov-17 16:26:01

Wow! Thank you so much cakebrew That all makes it much clearer.

All of our local primaries are under subscribed bar one. That one would not have been my first choice for our child anyway (religious reasons) but rates as outstanding (all the rest are good).

I’m going to arrange meetings with them all and see what previous families have done etc. And the views of the schools.

It might mean that I don’t use our chosen nursery and just defer YR until the Easter. I’m also going to ask if we can have a half day through Y1.
If he’s ready he could do some YR half days from January too I guess. I’m just hoping to find a school that will be really flexible with him so close to placement.

I think he might feel different enough without having to catch up a year when he’s hitting puberty.

I don’t know if I’m meant to be applying by Jan 18 for a place. I’m guessing I should or maybe his foster carers will do that in their area and transfer his place to our local school (same authority).

Anyway, thank you everyone again. Sw made it all sound far too easy. grin

prh47bridge Wed 22-Nov-17 16:49:26

I’m also going to ask if we can have a half day through Y1

He must be in full-time education from September 2019. Part-time before that is fine. That is your choice. The Admissions Code is clear on this point. Don't let the school tell you otherwise.

As for who is applying, you need to check that out with your case worker. Someone must apply by January 15th if he is to start school before September 2019.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 22-Nov-17 16:49:54

I personally wouldn't wish to rely on schools being undersubscribed as you never know what may have been happening wrt birth rates.

I'd be very tempted to ask your SWs and the LA to perhaps liaise to try to ensure that if placement is after 15th Jan it can still be counted as an 'on time' application. No idea if that is allowed.

Year R half days should be doable. Most schools seem to do the formal learning in the morning. Year 1 is nearly 2 whole years after placement so you may well not have any need for them by then.

Really you want a school that sounds like it will be flexible to different children's needs, and then you know you'll be able to work with them going forward.

Good luck!

gabsdot Wed 22-Nov-17 16:51:34

I live in Ireland where it's a bit different. Parents can choose themselves whether their child starts school at 4 or 5.
However I would be inclined to keep him home with you for the extra year. He'll have so many changes in his life without starting school as well. Plus it'll be good to have the extra time to facilitate attachment.
Good luck

Frozengeranium Wed 22-Nov-17 19:12:07

Thanks again all!

will keep working at it. It’ll help keep my mind of them being in care through Christmas sad

Alljamissweet Wed 22-Nov-17 22:08:56

Haven't had time to read the whole thread so forgive if I repeat earlier posts.
I wonder if you are thinking about 15 hours nursery, would it be appropriate for lo to do mornings only in reception class...
We have a summer baby, now in year 2 but they have coped really well, - not particularly bright either but has socially developed and formed good friendships.

B1rdonawire Wed 22-Nov-17 22:30:52

If he is placed with you in January, you may likely find the child's SW insists you apply for a school place for Sep 2019 - at that stage you won't have the adoption order so the LA will still have responsibility, and will want assurance his education is being secured.

That said, by the time you get to Sept a) you can always defer, and b) you'll probably have the AO so will have a lot more autonomy.

I think you original plan of an extended time at home and nursery, followed by starting school in reception a year "late" has a lot to recommend it. You can expect quite a bit of regression after placement so I'd ignore the comments about "being advanced" at the moment - he may be, but your instinct is spot on that his need will be time to build security and trust in you.

Once you're in the school world, flexi-schooling is an option (basically part-time school, part-time home ed) although it does affect integration into class and friendship building etc. For now, I'd visit the schools, talk to the SENCO and likely teacher if you can, ask them how they adjust for fostered and adopted children, and how they adapt their behaviour policy. Should give you enough to know where has the resource, depth of expertise, and attitude that you're hoping for. Good luck!

Italiangreyhound Thu 23-Nov-17 01:09:05

OP my son (by adoption) is summer born and was due to go to primary school just 4 months after joining us, we persuaded school to allow him to start part time after Christmas and full time after Easter or whatever we decided.

We could have held him back but in the end we took some advice from adoption Ed Psych and that is what was recommended and it seems to have worked well.

My only advice here is that you wait until your little one is with you before making any definite decisions. Just see how it goes.

"I’ve just been told there is a chance we could keep him home that extra year but put him straight into Y1 from nursery? Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts?"

Personally, I would not have wanted my son to go straight from nursery to Y1. It's not just the academic stuff but the making friends, getting used to stuff. What I was told is when they all start together there is a lot going on (not spelled out by maybe general confusion, upset, worry, etc etc, where are the toilets, what do I do etc etc.) By allowing my son to start later some of that was ironed out (I hope) so the atmosphere was calmer. My son only had to worry about himself and any angst he had (luckily he did not) although still one or two children were in tears at drop off time etc.

I think if he had started with all the others there would have been a lot more upset and this may have upset him. Because he was/is a 'summer baby' I had no hassle having him in part-time. He was still quite sleepy in the afternoons and actually no one questioned (to my knowledge) his doing part-time to begin with. It's worked out fine, so far, but at the end of the day it is all a judgement call for you as a parent.

I'd say go slowly, you can always speed up.

Good luck and Congratulations.

thomassmuggit Thu 23-Nov-17 10:08:36

If you're in England, then with a May birthday, you can now just delay Reception entry, with no detriment, and no big jump straight into year one. You need to have the school on board, though.

Oversubscription isn't an issue, because it's a normal, not in year, admission, and LAC are the top priority.

If you're pre-adoption order, then I'd consider putting in a school nursery instead of reception. Social workers won't notice the difference, and then you can apply for a reception place for the new year in the normal round of admissions.

I would always delay. I don't know anyone who has delayed and regretted it. It's virtually impossible to 'hold them back' later on.

Even grammar school areas are being pushed to accept that summer borns are being allowed to start later.

The other concern is that they would achieve statutory school leaving age before GCSEs are taken, possibly, however everyone has to stay in education or training until 18 now, and I've never known a kid get great GCSEs purely because legally they had to stay in school, and conversely, if a kid of that age wants to not engage with school, and not attend, there's not much you can do, whichever side they are of 16!

This is the guidance to discuss with school:

prh47bridge Thu 23-Nov-17 13:57:17

If you're in England, then with a May birthday, you can now just delay Reception entry, with no detriment, and no big jump straight into year one

As I have already pointed out that simply is not true. You clearly have not read the guidance to which you link. It is still up to the admission authority to decide whether the child can enter Reception a year late.

To quote from the guidance, "Where a parent requests their child is admitted out of their normal age group, the school admission authority is responsible for making the decision on which year group a child should be admitted to. They are required to make a decision on the basis of the circumstances of the case and in the best interests of the child concerned."

Some admission authorities take a relaxed attitude and accept any request. Many will only allow a child to be admitted late if there is evidence of developmental delay.

Even where the admission authority agrees to allow the child to enter Reception a year late there is no guarantee that local secondary schools will allow the child to stay in that year group. They may insist that the child skips Y6 or Y7.

thomassmuggit Thu 23-Nov-17 16:43:18

I imagine it could vary by authority, ours there really isn't an issue at any level, as long as the school agree. And developmental trauma (being adopted, plus whatever happened before they were adopted) is reason enough.

My experience is that, albeit in our LA, with a summer born child, there is no issue if the parents want to delay it.

Ultimately, yes, it's up to the admissions authority. But with a summer born, former LAC, they'd have to be pretty sure it's in the child's best interests to start 'on time', and I think that would be hard to argue, in the case of former LAC. Schools, at least the ones most people try to choose for their kids, know how hard things can be for LAC and former LAC kids, and want to help.

The guidance is pretty clear, if it's in the child's best interests to start reception late, then the authority, while having the final say, should allow that.

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