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to ask any Scottish parents of teens who were deferred starting school if the benefits have been significant

(62 Posts)
HottySnanky Fri 10-Feb-17 10:39:12

Am posting in AIBU for traffic.

DD1 has just turned 4 and we cannot decide whether to defer her starting school. She's bright and sociable and independent, so I have no worries about whether she would cope in P1 if she went in August - she'd probably get bored by the end of another year in nursery though. She's also very wilful and stubborn and enjoys pushing boundaries... I know her character is still developing, and that she's just four, and I don't want to pigeonhole her, but I'm just wondering if another year under her belt would benefit her in the long run.

If anyone who had the choice to defer their now-teen dc could share their thoughts and experiences of deferral or otherwise, it'd be much appreciated.


haggisaggis Fri 10-Feb-17 10:48:00

My ds has a January birthday and is now 17 and in S6. He was not deferred.
He was more than ready to start school - the HT of our rural primary went out to nursery to see him and stated he would be ready to start at 4.5. I would say that socially he's been absolutely fine. He has sprouted in height in the last year and definitely does not look young amongst his peers. He appears to be well liked both by his fellow pupils & teachers.
Academically - sometimes I think he may have benefited from being a year older on starting school. He did not struggle at primary but definitely not one of the high fliers. He has managed some fair higher results but he seems to have matured in the last year so I wonder if he had had another year if he would have done better? He has applied to uni for a start in 2018 as we just do not see the point in him going at 17.
He has commented a couple of times that in some classes he is by far the youngest - but it doesn't seem to bother him. His best friend turned 18 before Christmas(he was deferred) so the age difference has not affected him socially.
If I had the choice again though I would probably defer.

trixymalixy Fri 10-Feb-17 10:52:08

My mum always regretted not deferring my sister. She always lagged a bit behind.

booksandchoc Fri 10-Feb-17 10:58:14

Don't have a teen, but we deferred our daughter last year. She has just turned 5 and she's due to start school this summer. It was definitely the best decision. She wasn't ready last summer and is most definitely ready now. I do think she is starting to get a bit bored but I'm going to start doing some writing and reading with her in the afternoons to try and prep her for school a bit.

iveburntthetoast Fri 10-Feb-17 11:00:33

We deferred DD2. Definitely the best decision. I've never heard anyone who deferred their children that they regret doing so, but I have heard from some who put them in at 4 that they wish they'd kept them back. DD is only 7 so I (obvs) can't commment on her teenage years, but I know some people who went to school at 4 and were frustrated when their friends were driving and drinking & they had to wait.

Scottishchick39 Fri 10-Feb-17 11:04:57

My daughters birthday was at the end of January and has just turned 15, if I could do it again I'd have deferred for a year. She was slightly behind in primary school and I think an extra year would have made a big difference. She's just done her prelims and results weren't great but hopefully the shock will give her the kick up the arse she needed.

HottySnanky Fri 10-Feb-17 11:09:42

haggis what will your ds do in the year between school and uni? I think 17 is too young to go to university too. I wish the age for starting school was a year later so that all children are ready by the time it came to start...

HottySnanky Fri 10-Feb-17 11:10:29

The more I read the more I am swayed to defer...

weegiemum Fri 10-Feb-17 11:20:52

We deferred dd1 and ds, both Feb birthdays. I think it was a great decision, and in many ways more important now than then (they're 17 and 15, we also have dd2, 13, who is a Nov birthday so not deferred). They'll both be 18 when they leave school, so not only 17 at uni, like I was, (I have a Dec birthday), just that year older and wiser (ish - I know they're still teenagers!). Dd1 was also a year older doing exams - she's currently in S5 doing her highers this year - as will ds be. Dd2 is choosing her Nat5 subjects at the moment and she seems so young to be making such big decisions.

On the post school thing - its a year older leaving home, which is as good a reason as any. I went off to university at 17 and for the first term had a student card which said "MINOR" on it and I found that really embarrassing! OTOH I celebrated my 18th at uni, which would not have been the same in my hometown!!

The other point at which i see it helping is at secondary transition. I'm a teacher and used to deal with the transition from the secondary side as part of my job. Apart from a couple of memorable pupils (!), the children who struggled most with the practical side of the transition - socially, remembering homework/books/pe kit, just being plain exhausted, were the youngest ones in the year, mainly ones who could have deferred. It made their first few months of secondary rather sad (of course people will come on here saying their child didn't struggle, and I'm not saying its every child, just than when it did happen it was generally a younger child.)

I know a couple of people who didn't defer first time round but have done with their second or more dc.

Hope these ramblings are helpful in some way.

NotLadyPrickshit Fri 10-Feb-17 11:22:10

DD1 is a leap year baby (17 this month & in S5) and was deferred I'm not sure that this has made any difference to her as a teen.

DD2 was a November baby (15 & in S3) but was very small for her age (in 2-3 clothing at 5), was emotionally, socially and academically behind the rest of the children in her year group so was given the extra year at nursery. She has certainly benefited from this as she is still emotionally, socially and academically behind her original year group but on a par with her current year group and is on course for Nat 5 in all subjects.

However, at their nursery deferring was highly recommended if it was available due to Jan/Feb birthdays and few children went to school if they were eligible for the extra year.

DS is a January birthday (9 & in p5) and whilst I would have preferred him to have the extra year like his sisters we had moved areas and it wasn't encouraged due to a lack of a full time nursery teacher - only EYO's in the nursery with a teacher overseeing the overall plans but not actually in the nursery interacting with the kids. However, it doesn't seem to have done him any harm as he is quite bright and currently top of his class for maths, language & science.

It really does depend on the child and I would say the nursery/school and the provisions they make for deferred children.

What do the nursery recommend?

MrsR31 Fri 10-Feb-17 11:24:20

I am a late February birthday and I went to school at 4.5. Although I was a bit on the smaller side, it didn't affect me or hold me back. I did not feel that I was behind my peers and made friends/coped with school and studies well.

I remember my dad telling me that he felt that I was too small to go at 4.5 as I was always tired after school initially, however, it definitely did not hold me back. I passed my highers, went to uni and now have a good job.

My ds coincidently is a late feb birthday and will start at 4.5. I feel that he will be ready as he acts a bit older that his age. He is 2 at present, but everyone is surprised by that as is speech is very good, taller than average and generally brought on by older siblings. Had be have been my first dc, maybe he wouldn't have been quite so far on but I do think he will cope well when he starts.

I think its down to the individual child. The nursery will generally tell you if they don't feel that they are ready to move on and recommend to defer, so maybe worth a chat with them to see how they feel your dc will cope, but ultimately deferring for a year wont do them any damage.

Seeingadistance Fri 10-Feb-17 11:26:13

My son is a December birthday and the plan was for him to defer, but his nursery closed down and he seemed ready for school at 4 so we chose to sent him then, rather than try to find another nursery for a year. At the time my uncle, a retired teacher, did say that although children can be ready for primary school, they can start struggling in the later stages of secondary and if they go on to university because they lack maturity.

DS is now in 4th year and will be sitting his Nationals in May. My uncle was right. Added complication is that DS was diagnosed with Asperger's in P2, but even without that, I can see that he lacks maturity and seems much younger than his classmates. He's still a wee boy in many ways.

After Parents' night earlier this week, I'm now thinking that, well, he was always going to be staying on for 6th year anyway, and if necessary he could do a year at college after that to give him time to mature.

The decision was taken out of our hands in a way, but I would definitely recommend deferring. It's less about readiness for school now, and much more about readiness for exams and leaving school in the future.

MeredithsTequila Fri 10-Feb-17 11:32:10

I had a thread in Scotsnet about this a couple of weeks ago-

DD still isn't 4 and although I think she'd be absolutely fine in P1, we've decided that we are going to look towards secondary and give her more time.

I think its down to the individual child. The nursery will generally tell you if they don't feel that they are ready to move on and recommend to defer

DD's nursery staff think I am absolutely bonkers for deferring. I have heard that politically they are not supposed to recommend deferring as the school have the legal obligation to meet all childrens' needs.

HottySnanky Fri 10-Feb-17 11:33:37

weegiemum that is really helpful, thank you - I'm thinking of the long game, secondary transition and exams.

notlady, her nursery's keyworker says she is ready and have recommended that she start in August. I have to wonder, though, if they are wanting the space. She will be funded for another year, but it's a good nursery class and attached to the school she'd be attending, so it's probably in their interest to free up the space if they can.

HottySnanky Fri 10-Feb-17 11:36:25

Merediths I've been looking at your thread. I have mentioned deferral at nursery and they also looked at me like I was bonkers. What did your nursery staff say to you?

LunaLoveg00d Fri 10-Feb-17 11:40:07

It sounds like you have a nursery problem!!

Under C for E the framework is 3-18, and a school nursery should be finding tasks and activities to stretch and challenge ALL the children, whatever their age and stage. They should not be letting her get bored at all.

I haven't deferred my kids as they are all spring-borns but my daughter has several children in her P7 class who were Jan/Feb birthdays and deferred. In this area it is much less common to send a 4 year old than it is to defer. There are so, so many advantages to waiting and so few to sending.

trixymalixy Fri 10-Feb-17 11:41:10

We deferred our DS and it was the best decision for him. Nursery wanted us to send him and I'm glad we didn't listen to them.

There's another current thread about regretting not deferring.

MeredithsTequila Fri 10-Feb-17 11:45:10

I have mentioned deferral at nursery and they also looked at me like I was bonkers. What did your nursery staff say to you?

They did say that it was my decision but they felt that she was ready, especially as she is interested in letters and numbers and they don't/ won't teach that.

They actually teach very little, plus apparently council policy (hmm) means that they won't interrupt a child's play. So if they don't want a story, they can keep on playing. Thankfully DD likes stories but I don't rate them terribly highly for education. Care is very good though.

myheadsamess Fri 10-Feb-17 11:47:56

My dd is 17 (Dec baby) and we didn't defer although nursery did suggest it. I wish I'd listened. Primary school was fine, no issues but secondary is different. I feel socially she would benefitted from being an older pupil. Academically less so.

Also, don't underestimate how frustrating it is for them to be the last ones to be allowed to do anything 😂
vote in Scottish elections - she was the only one in her year too young
The last one to get her provisional driving licence
Last one to be able to go the pub legally
The whole year were keen to go on a holiday together (small school!) but those who wouldn't be 18 were worried about drinking/getting into clubs etc.

If we had our time again I would definitely defer!

FaintlyHopeful Fri 10-Feb-17 11:49:36

younger DD was deferred due to speech delay and is thriving now in p6. She is seen as one of the more sensible children in the class which she loves. Older DD is quite young for her year and is now in S4. While she is doing well academically, she has found it a bit more difficult socially and has struggled a bit to find her group. She's not quite as sophisticated as her peer group and finds herself left out a bit. I think as others have said, few people regret deferring.

MrsJayy Fri 10-Feb-17 11:52:59

I regret not deferring my Dd she is a Feb birthday and also we discovered she had a developmenntal delay at 7 and it was brushed off as a young p1/2/3 <sigh> . It did affect her in high school till she got to 5th 6th year and she seemed to fit in and click. It really is your decision though more parents deferr now than they did then which imo is a good thing, dd1 was 5.5 when she started school and was more than able

NotLadyPrickshit Fri 10-Feb-17 11:59:34

To those saying that it's frustrating for the kids being the last one to do everything such as vote, drive, drink etc it's equally as frustrating being the first - DD2 won't have an 18th party as she'll be the only one of her friends able to drink alcohol so any party would have to be alcohol free as the other kids will be 16/17 so she's still missing out at the other end of the spectrum.

trixymalixy Fri 10-Feb-17 12:03:23

I never get the argument that they're going to get bored with another year at nursery. What child gets bored of playing?

anonbecauseiwanna Fri 10-Feb-17 12:08:09

My brother is a February birthday and my mum says she wishes she had kept him back - especially as when he was 15 he had a couple of nasty cases of tonsillitis and was off school for a couple of months over all that year. At that point he had the option of redoing the year but vehemently refused.

MeredithsTequila Fri 10-Feb-17 12:09:20

What child gets bored of playing?

My SIL insisted that her child was bored at nursery. Got to school and discovered the school were trialling play-based learning in P1 and there would be no reading books or jotters until after Christmas.

I did chuckle.

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