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To defer DD starting school

(35 Posts)
Procrastinatorswife Tue 02-Aug-16 10:43:54

DD is 2 but I realise that I need to apply for her school place this Autumn, as she will turn 3 at the very end of August.

My reasons for wanting to defer are that she is only a couple of days off the year below and was also an early baby. She has a significant speech delay and there is a history of dyslexia in the family and all the signs are that she will have it too. I have some experience of working in primary schools and have seen how some children really struggle. I know a lot could change by September 2017 but she's showing no sign of being ready.

I also believe that we put too much pressure too young on children in this country anyway. It is mainly transition between reception and year 1 that worries me! Rather than just starting reception. She is going to start a school nursery this September and I've no worries about that. I think that she needs to be given enough time to sort her speech before she is pressured to read and write.

However I have been looking at our local council policy and it seems that although they have to consider it ( since 2014) it can't be guaranteed that there will even be a place for her... And she could end up missing reception all together. Also they don't guarantee that she will not be made to miss a year later on. A lot depends on the head teacher's opinion and the school were she is starting nursery have said that they would consider it if it's in DDs best interests. However it is unlikely that DD will get her school place at this school (we are outside the catchment) but we chose it anyway as it is the best for Speech and Language locally. Our nearest school is an academy chain one which does not have a good reputation for SEN and has not even replied to my emails requesting information.

Does anyone have any experience in negotiating the new (post 2014) rules, especially in Surrey?

davos Tue 02-Aug-16 11:34:35

Not all councils let you defer and do reception. Or can even say they have to start secondary in the correct year.

A friend of mine considered it, but discovered that when her Dd went to high school she would have had to miss year 6. She didn't want her Dd to have to leave her friends and start year 7 with all new people.

I think it's a personal decision.

My Dds birthday is August. She thrived at school. Despite being the youngest and smallest (still is the smallest) she absolutely loved school and has done really well. She is going into year 8 in September. She is in all the top sets and does extremely well. She has even become great at sports.

Deferring wouldn't have been the right thing for her. But no one can tell you what is the right thing for your Dd.

davos Tue 02-Aug-16 11:37:22

Oh and my Ds is going into year one this year. The transition has been good so far. From what the teachers say it's not all sit down learning, not even mostly.

It's a little more focused learning but still a lot done trough play and activities. Perhaps you need to look for a school that suits you. Not all schools are exactly the same. I do love our school because they do focus on the children.

Seeline Tue 02-Aug-16 11:37:34

Are you in England OP?
Because if so - aren't you a year early. My DD has a late July birthday, but had just turned 4 when she started school. Young yes, but not that young. And if it helps, she was completely ready and loved school from the start, so things may change.

Procrastinatorswife Tue 02-Aug-16 11:43:41

Seeline - yes I am in England but will be applying this year for next. And I think that 4 is really too young anyway. Most other countries wait until 6 or even 7.

Seeline Tue 02-Aug-16 11:47:56

Ah - she turns three this August. I see.
All kids are different though - see how much she changes in the next few months.

lljkk Tue 02-Aug-16 11:50:42

Reception is play based and has to be oriented towards kids who are 4yo.
How many weeks premature was she?

davos Tue 02-Aug-16 11:50:56

Which countries are you comparing to?

It was my understanding that most countries that start school later than us, still have an equivalent to our early years learning.

cece Tue 02-Aug-16 11:55:37

I know about Surrey schools - well a few in my area. But not about deferring a year. Is she severe enough to warrant professional input such as SALT. I do know of a school with a speech and language unit for children with an EHCP.

maisiewalker Tue 02-Aug-16 11:57:07

I am a Reception teacher in Surrey and this year had a girl out of year (she turned 5 in the August before she started). The main reason was sp and Lang delay. Her mum approached us around the time of application. We talked to the pre school and speech therapist and it was agreed she could defer but it didn't guarantee a place at our school - just that she could apply for a Reception place a year later.

maisiewalker Tue 02-Aug-16 12:02:29

She didn't have an EHCP by the way but wouldn't have been considered on age alone.

EssexGurl Tue 02-Aug-16 12:11:58

I agree you need to check the rules. In my local authority if you defer reception, the child goes into Y1 at the correct age, they are not held back a year.

Going into Y1 not being able to read / write in the way the school like would, to my mind, be more damaging than starting having just turned 4.

My DS has just finished primary. He was the youngest in his class and is still one of the smallest. I did speak with the school about reduced hours but they did staggered starts anyway so he wasn't full time till after October half term.

He has just passed his SATS and done phenomenally well - with no tutoring like the majority of his class mates.

Do your research before making your decision. And remember - a year is a long time. Your child might have come on in leaps and bounds and be a different child in 12 months.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 02-Aug-16 12:14:02

Remember to not only check out primary schools but also secondary schools. I have heard that some primary schools will accept deferrals (ours doesn't) but there isn't any secondary schools that do. This they miss year 6, which is far far worse.

Pengweng Tue 02-Aug-16 12:17:32

I wouldn't try and defer unless the council could guarantee that she would be able to continue with her year group the entire way through and not be skipped a year somewhere. My DTs start reception this September and turn 4 in a few weeks, i think they will be fine academically but one i feel will struggle emotionally. Not a lot i can do about it though apart from support her.

What i would do is apply for the correct year and then if you feel she isn't ready then as she is an August birthday you can defer her entry until the summer term. This way the school have to hold the place open for her and it gives you and her a bit more time if needed. If she doesn't start by the summer tern though then she would lose her place for the following year (Y1) and you would end up having to apply for a Y1 place which most likely would be nearly impossible due to infant class size rules. You are also entitled to start her part time if you so wish, the school must allow you to do this. You might find that a combination of starting part time and getting to know the rules and routine of school plus her friends while working on her speech at home may help.

It's a difficult decision and i know you are just trying to do the right thing for her. xx

Procrastinatorswife Tue 02-Aug-16 12:22:05

Thank you for the replies. Yes we do have SALT input already and I agree that deferring her to go straight into year 1 would be incredibly damaging. I am just trying to find out as much as I can about our options.

LittleReindeerwithcloggson Tue 02-Aug-16 12:22:55

Another option is to put her in school mornings only to start off with. Friend of mine did this with an August baby until Easter. Deferring and then staying a year behind is possible but not guaranteed. Another friend of mine had twins - one born just before midnight on 31st August and one born after midnight so on 1st September! Council originally said they had to start a year apart but eventually let the eldest one start with the youngest one and stay that way. That was a very unusual situation though!!!!

littlepinkmouseofsugar Tue 02-Aug-16 12:27:59

In case you are not aware, there is a fab Facebook support group for parents with summer born children who are researching/planning on delaying school til their child is over the age of 5. There will prob be other parents on there with children in Surrey schools who may be able to help as well.

IMO it is more the massive leap to year 1 (and beyond) with the new curriculum that is more or an issue for the younger children, rather than adjusting to reception.

Dowser Tue 02-Aug-16 12:33:30

My son was an August baby. He started school when 4 and 4 months. Despite being able to read, emotionally he was way too young.
We started my grandson in school when he was 5 and 4 months.
Much, much better.

Procrastinatorswife Tue 02-Aug-16 12:35:20

Little pink- thank you, I'll look it up. It's exactly this leap I am worried about. It's become so much more pronounced in recent years. It's the academic side of things that concerns me - she's very sociable and confident.

NuttyMcAlletun Tue 02-Aug-16 12:37:36

Sorry, I am confused: I thought children were due to start school when they turn 5 in the UK.

She will be turning 4 at the end of August 2017, so she doesn't have to start school until the following year?

Could someone please clarify, I am getting lost confused

Procrastinatorswife Tue 02-Aug-16 12:39:51

Nutty the cut off is 1st September... So my DD is due to go a week after she turns 4. As it will be the year in which she turns 5. Legally she does not need to start till 5... But this may mean missing out on the reception (introduction) year.

cherrypez Tue 02-Aug-16 12:46:04

Watching with interest as DD is an end of August baby. I'm a secondary school teacher and I'm very wary of the implications when they get to us of being held back.

NuttyMcAlletun Tue 02-Aug-16 12:46:52

thanks, it (kind of) makes sense. I suppose there has to be a cut off somewhere, even if it means finishing the school year before you even turn 5.

I agree with you, they are far too young to start even reception, let alone year 1. Good luck, hope someone can give you practical advice you need.

EllieHandMeDownBaby Tue 02-Aug-16 16:49:29

There was talk last year of changing the School Admissions Code to address this specific issue. Essentially the changes would be that Summer born children could defer entry for a year as long as they started the term after they turned 5 (latest).
They would start in Reception (not Y1) and they would stay with that cohort the entire way through schooling, so no missing out on a year at any stage.

Obviously with the recent government shake up this position might have changed but here are the links. It might be worth tweeting Nick Gibb about it?
Our son is August-born so I'll be paying attention to this over the next few years!

wornoutboots Tue 02-Aug-16 16:57:40

my son has significant speech delays. He starrted school nursery in january. His speech has improved so much in the past 2 terms, I can't even think how to thank them enough.

from only ever putting two or three words together, he's today said a whole sentence! Something I had feared he wouldn't ever do.

Wait and see how much she changes in the next term or so at nursery, apply for her school place then you will have the option in september

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