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August born son - private option and deferment?

(21 Posts)
Clare123 Sun 05-Sep-10 20:22:46

My son is only just 3, and this time next year he will be going to school. I can hardly bring myself to think about it - he is so young! He is lovely but very lively, very vocal and can be slightly hyper/boisterous (although he seems to be calming down all the time!). We can afford to go to an independent and defer for a year. Would you? Has anyone done this?? How did they get on?

Clarabel22 Sun 05-Sep-10 21:08:16

I have had this dilemma. Our August born son (just turned 5) is very immature for his age and earlier glue ear affected his social development so that no way was he ready for school. We sent him to a lovely prep school with a superb nursery attached and instead of starting reception last year he stayed in the transition class of the nursery. He is starting reception this year so effectively back yeared. Having said that, I have another 7 year old son whose birthday is in July and I wouldn't consider it appropriate for him. It's all about the individual child.

You need to be aware of the long term implications though of back yearing. Transition back to the state system may be problematic as they generally cannot cope with this situation and often insist the child goes into the "correct" year group, i.e. going up a year again. If you have grammar school in mind, again they will test the child for their "correct" year which obviously makes it harder to get in. If you think you will be in the private system through to secondary school then you should not have a problem - they are generally fine with back yearing.

You may be worrying unnecessarily though. Is he at a nursery? If so they might give you an idea how he compares to his peers. I wouldn't rush to do it just because he has an August birthday. You need to judge how mature he is and whether you think he'll cope with school routine, etc.

I have soooo done the right thing for my boy though, despite having dozens of people telling me he would be fine and that the school makes allowances for summer borns. You know your child best, just go with your instinct and keep your options open.

Clare123 Sun 05-Sep-10 21:13:04

He is starting preschool this week and I am going to see how he gets on. I have looked at a lovely prep (that he might go to anyway if we don't get into the two nice schools we like).

What did the prep say about deferring for a year? I thought about doing the same - moving my son to the prep nursery full time next year.

Clarabel22 Sun 05-Sep-10 21:26:31

I think it has really helped sending him to the nursery at the prep school as they have been able to prepare him for reception (which is just down the corridor). You may find that year when he would have been in reception, that a typical preschool is not enough and the prep nursery bridges the gap nicely.
They were very happy to defer him and felt that was where he should be for the duration. There is the option to put him up a year at some point if he catches up but we will only do that if we have to, i.e. to help transfer to state secondary. I suspect he will end up going to a private secondary.

Lougle Sun 05-Sep-10 21:34:39

Clare123, I think you might be surprised to see a change in him after a few weeks of preschool. My DD2 is 3.0 (Aug 12th) and has been going to preschool 2 sessions per week since February.

I am glad that I sent her at 2.6, as her older sister was at preschool which I thought would help her settle. In the end she didn't need her there at all. But I have seen such a change in her in just the last month or two.

DD2 is suddenly an inquisitive, intelligent, questioning little girl. I can really see why they start Early Years funding at 3 (DD1 has severe SNs, so although DD2 is my second born, I am discovering developmental norms for the first time).

Give him a few weeks to settle at preschool, then think again. I honestly think his developent will explode, and the thought of starting reception won't be quite so scary.

Saracen Mon 06-Sep-10 00:13:20

You could accept a Reception place at a state school and defer his entry until later in the Reception year, perhaps Easter time. Or miss out the Reception year and then take a look at how your son seems, and decide whether you feel he'll be best off going into Reception or Y1 in 2012.

Plenty of children are not ready for Reception at four, but are ready to join their "age peers" in Y1 at five.

I home educate, and many of my friends are using home education as a way to delay school entry. In general, even if their children seemed unready for school at four, they drop them into a class with their age peers at six or seven with no problem. Many four year olds are just very active and not well suited to school. That doesn't mean they will be less able than their peer group in the long run.

TheNextMrsDepp Mon 06-Sep-10 00:22:21

Agree with Saracen. As an August babe he does not legally need to start school full time until later in the year (I think it's Easter - the term before he turns 5). Reception is regarded as a continuation of Early Years (i.e. preschool) so they are not obliged to be there full time until they turn 5; he can stay in preschool. But he can then join his age peers.

GiddyPickle Mon 06-Sep-10 08:11:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prh47bridge Mon 06-Sep-10 11:04:26

Legally your child does not have to start school until the start of the term following his fifth birthday, i.e. September 2012. However, if you delay until then the LA and schools are likely to insist that he goes into year 1. Most schools will already be full so you will have a limited choice of primary schools for him. I would therefore strongly recommend that you don't defer for a year.

However, you do have the right to defer entry until January or Easter. Contrary to GiddyPickle's comments, this right IS automatic as it is enshrined in the latest Admissions Code, which has the force of law.

Having said all of that, Reception is about learning through play and preparing your son for "proper" school. If he is going to nursery, Reception will just be a natural continuation. If you defer entry until later in the year he may find it a little harder as those who start in September will already have formed friendships, although this is unlikely to be a huge problem as such things are fairly fluid at that age.

GiddyPickle Mon 06-Sep-10 12:58:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GiddyPickle Mon 06-Sep-10 13:14:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prh47bridge Mon 06-Sep-10 14:01:19

GiddyPickle - the way the last government handled it left the situation thoroughly unclear. The Admissions Code says that the right to defer came in immediately but the guidance talked about the changes coming in from September 2011.

The main change is the right to an education for your child from the September following his/her fourth birthday. Whilst most LAs were providing that already a few were insisting on delaying entry. This change definitely doesn't kick in until September 2011.

At the same time as making this change, there was a minor tweak to the wording of a clause in the Admissions Code changing it from giving parents the right to request deferred entry (which allows the school to refuse the request) to the right to defer (which means the school has to comply). I suspect that someone at the DCSF thought that this was just a minor clarification whereas it is actually quite a significant change, hence the confused guidance. Whatever the guidance says, the current Admissions Code came into force in February and is clear that this provision came into force at the same time.

If your friend feels strongly about it I would recommend complaining to the LA and, if that fails, taking the case to the Local Government Ombudsman. As the Admissions Code stands the school had no right to refuse her request.

Clare123 Wed 22-Sep-10 14:34:11

Thanks for the information, I am going to see how he gets on, but I just don't want him to start too early when he is not ready. He can be quite a handful, which is generally getting better all the time. I am aware that if he starts before he is ready, he may well not have the maturity to follow rules/ listen/ sit still and get into trouble, therefore making school a negative experience. Its madness really to think at 4 years of age there is such high expectations. I really like the nursery he goes to and will be talking to them about this once he has settled.

Clare123 Wed 03-Nov-10 20:40:55

I am going in to talk to a prep school about this tomorrow, to see what they say/suggest.

RedSuedeShoes Wed 03-Nov-10 23:02:19

In general I would say defer especially if he is quite boisterous and may seem immature amongst his peers. Or send him to an all boys school where they are more used to boys' quirks! grin

You do need to think long term though. Can you afford private school long term as there may be a problem with year groups if you have to move him to state school. Then there is the academic issue. Now I'm sure you don't care what uni you want your son to go to but in general if you are putting him down a year it will right off a fair number as he will sit his exams a year later.

Go with your gut though and what will make you and he ultimately happy.

vixcut Sun 07-Nov-10 22:58:07

I've got two summer boys - one July and one August - and live in Oxfordshire which only has one intake, in September. What are anyone's thoughts on benefits/disadvantages of this. They're both only wee now so it's not an issue just yet but I don't understand why Oxfordshire has decided on just one intake. This means both will start school just after they're 4. My other question is - what's the rush? Loads of other countries start their kids later and don't seem to have a problem.

Kewcumber Sun 07-Nov-10 23:07:19

it really depends on how good school and reception teahcer. DS (4) goes to our local state shcool and I (having volunteered in reception) wouldnt have any concerns about any child starting there are any age/maturity. It really is very like nursery and the range of maturity between the childrne is startling. From reading and writing and the size (to me of 6 year olds - mostly the girls) to tiny and barely able to draw never mind write! They all seem to really enjoy themselves and they are seem to be progressing at a sensible pace.

There is no rush but (IMVHO) deferring until yr 1 is a really bad idea as they are more likely to even further behind their peer group and freindships will already be established.

I would be less inclined to go private around here with a late birthday child because they start full days almost immediately (state schools do half days - ours until after Xmas) and they start himeework very quickly too, ours apart fom reading books and practising letters don;t start formal homework until January.

So as I said really down to the school/teacher.

Saracen Mon 08-Nov-10 02:12:44

From 2011, all state schools in England will have to offer school places to children in the autumn after their fourth birthday. However, it is also clear that parents have the right to defer their child's school start until later in the Reception year if they prefer, without losing the school place. Parents also have the right to choose part-time school until their child reaches compulsory education age in the term after their fifth birthday.

vixcut, if you feel your children will be too young to start school just after they turn four, there is no rush. If you want some activities to join in with and other children for them to play with during the daytime, you could join a local home education group. There is plenty going on in Oxfordshire: http://www.ohed.org.uk/ Many home ed groups welcome families with preschool-aged children who want to talk through their options.

I don't agree that waiting to start school puts children at a disadvantage. That assumes that children won't learn and mature outside of the school environment. I also think people worry too much that their child will be left out socially if they start school later than their peers. Nobody worries about this at nursery, where children join throughout the year. If parents plan to move house, everyone reassures them that children are adaptable and will make friends. Particularly at four or five, children can be quite fickle about their friendships anyway: it isn't likely that they've made friends for life at this age!

My daughter started school considerably later than most children do in this country, without any previous formal education. Because she was old enough for it, and hadn't had her confidence dented by being asked to do things before she was ready to do them, she had no trouble academically. Far from excluding her, the other children were all curious about the "new girl" and eager to be friends with her. Neither she nor I had any anxiety about her school start, because the time was right for her. That would not have been the case when she was four.

Kewcumber Mon 08-Nov-10 11:47:27

"I also think people worry too much that their child will be left out socially if they start school later than their peers." - I could equally say that I find people worry too much about their child not keeping up because of their maturity. My son was massively premature and was significantly delayed for years as a result. He started pre-school at 3 barely able to talk. It really wasnt a problem for him as it was handled well by the pre-school.

I think it is more down to the shcool/teacher than the child.

SkyBluePearl Fri 12-Nov-10 14:02:08

With mine I just did mornings only at school till thier 5th birthday. Perfectly legal

peteneras Fri 12-Nov-10 17:07:36

My daughter was born on the last but one day in August. We sent her to a state nursery/reception/Yr. 1 primary (same) faith school without giving it a thought in the ‘correct’ year. Not a problem that I can remember. She was the only one from her school to get into a highly selective local grammar school (with one or two other equally selective grammar options to spare) in the secondary transfer. Having just turned 20 last August, she’s now in her final year at a Russell Group university.

As for my son, although born in January and thus entered school in the correct year, he was accelerated one year after primary Yr. 1 and was therefore underaged throughout primary school. When time came for secondary transfer, I had a lot of problems persuading grammar schools to allow him to sit the entrance exams. State schools are notoriously unbending and/or unwilling in diverging from the norm, giving all sorts or reasons such as ‘immaturity’, ‘unable to cope with the older children’ etc. Later I discovered the problem with funding was the main reason. After threats of legal challenge, they ultimately gave way and my DS passed all the tests and was offered places in various grammar schools. In the event, we did not need the offers as he was quickly snapped up by a top public school with a full scholarship.

I would say, therefore, don’t defer if you can help it. Kids are remarkably adaptable in all sorts of situations. Just give him all the encouragement and support. They take the cue from you, the parents. By entering in the ‘correct’ year group you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle in later years especially when it comes to state education.

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