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Going full time at 4 yrs and 3 weeks. Not ready!

(76 Posts)
Clare123 Sun 02-Jan-11 22:23:10

My ds will start school September after having his August birthday. Our borough is requesting all
children start in September. I spoke to the local
school which he will going to, about possible part
time, but the head made it very clear it is not an option she would like to consider.

The problem is my ds is not ready, he is bright, but struggles holding a pencil and had NO interest in letters or numbers. He counts to about 13. His concentration is still very limited, but most worryingly he says things like "I'm not good at drawing/counting etc". I worry his self confidence is just going to drop even more when he is with 5 years old who cab do all those things!

We do have the private option and can afford it. What would you do? Any advice/opinions?

thisisyesterday Sun 02-Jan-11 22:28:21

i would register him to start in september.

come september I would inform the school that he WILL be going part time for as long as necessary.

he does not legally have to be in school until he is 5 (and not even then if you chose to home ed!), and they cannot force you to put him in full time before then.

llareggub Sun 02-Jan-11 22:31:54

There's still quite a long time until September, so plenty of time left before you need to worry about it. By the time the summer ends, your DS might be completely different.

My DS starts in September and he'll turn 5 in October. He has changed so much in the last 6 months, both emotionally and physically.

Does your DS go to pre-school at the moment?

blowninonabreeze Sun 02-Jan-11 22:31:58

Its quite a while until September, I'd register him and re-asses things closer to the time.

IME with the private sector they'd be even less inclined to allow him to start part time.

FlamingoBingo Sun 02-Jan-11 22:32:35

Well there is no legal basis in saying children must start full time education before the term after they turn five, so the council is operating outside of the law to tell you that - and they never have to actually go to school if you don't want them to.

Would you consider home educating for reception year and seeing how ready he is in a year's time?

I know that my oldest two, although both very bright and confident, wouldn't have been ready for school at that young age. In fact I think my oldest was only ready once she reached 7, but she's decided to stay home educated which is totally fine by me smile

If you think that early schooling could cause problems for your DS, then don't send him yet.

mercibien Sun 02-Jan-11 22:39:50

My DS turned 4 mid August and I kept him back until Jan,that was 9 yeas ago and I don' regret it. He is still a bright articulate lad but continues to struggle with pen control.
In my view many boys are not ready to sit still and learn until about 7
Legally your child needs to be in education the term after his 5th birthday but schools prefer to fill their sausage machine with funding, rather than meet indivual needs.If you feel your son is not ready, he is not ready.
He will be in education for a long time,6 months or so will make very little ,
difference in the long run .

good luck x

pooka Sun 02-Jan-11 22:40:17

This makes me soooo angry. angry

We are in the lucky position at the moment that our LEA allows full time entry in September and in January - so if your child is born 1/9 - 28/2 they start in September and if born 1/3 onwards, start in January.

However, the new push means that all local schools are now giving parents the option of starting in September regardless.

All well and good - parental choice and all that.

HOWEVER, they tried 2 years ago to change the system boroughwide to all children starting in September. Because it suited the schools financially and was easier as a system for the LEA to deal with. Massive lobbying from the nurseries and pre-schools and from parents too resulted in the Sept/Jan system being retained.

Since people are now being given the option, I've met loads of parents with August born children who are concerned that it they don't send their child in September, they will be one of only a handful if that who are missing the first term of Reception, and so would send in September to avoid being left out. What I can envisage happening is the LEA declaring that parental feeling has changed and getting the single date of entry in that way. Which then removes choice because you have a system where ALL children start in September and it is hard to be the only parent saying "hang on - my child isn't ready at just 4" and keeping them at home for longer or negotiating a part time start.

I wish wish wish wish we had the Scottish system here in England. Should be able to defer entry properly i.e. start at just gone 5 instead, but still in Reception. Or send at 4 if you feel your child is ready.

There's no choice really if deferring a place to the term after 5th birthday means missing Reception year entirely and going straight into Year 1 with an established year group.

pooka Sun 02-Jan-11 22:44:34

DDwas born in July. She started at 4.5 - because we have the January entry. That was plenty early enough for her. I'd say she was just about ready.

DS1 started on his 5th birthday, in September. He would not have been ready before. Was reading fluently but emotionally and in terms of holding a pencil or wanting to make marks on paper is was definitely not mature enough/ready. Saying that, within about 3 weeks of starting school he was writing with some confidence (though not as confidently as dd when she first started). Also he has coped brilliantly with friendships and routine. But he would not have done had he started when he was only just 4.

DS2 was born on the 1st September While that's OK for him, his cousin is 10 months younger and I hope that he will still have the chance to start in January if that is what would suit him better.

prh47bridge Sun 02-Jan-11 23:19:36

The problem with delaying a year as some suggest is that your child will then go straight into Y1. Schools will not hold a place for him so your choice of schools will be severely restricted. However, you do have the option to delay until later in the year. The school may try to refuse but under the Admissions Code they have no choice (and nor do LAs). They MUST allow parents of children below compulsory school age to defer entry until later in the school year. You could therefore apply for a place for September but delay the start until January or Easter.

Clare123 Mon 03-Jan-11 09:06:37

Thank you all for replying. I am going to apply and see what how he develops. One option is to move him to a Pre prep, for a couple of terms with smaller classes and more attention, until the Easter??? It has made me so cross as he is so little and we should not have to worry about letters and numbers yet....I know he will do them in his own time, but he isn't given that time!!!! Stupid beurocrats!!!!!!!

roisin Mon 03-Jan-11 16:11:36

Clare123 - what is the LEA? Do check as to what rights you have.

In our County parents have the right to defer til Easter for summer born children, if they want. It is not the HT's decision. They have to keep the place open for you til Easter.

fwiw my ds1 is a July birthday. He started full-time school age 5+1 month, straight into yr1 with a class of children who'd done a year's full time formal education. (He'd done 2.5 hrs per day montesori-type nursery approach, with no formal writing and had taught himself to read at home.)

Within 3 months in yr1 he was flying academically and is still doing brilliantly at school. (He's 13 now!) I knew he wasn't ready for school at 4 and am so pleased he didn't do reception. (Though the reception curriculum is better now than it was then.)

SlightlyTubbyHali Mon 03-Jan-11 16:15:11

Are you in Egngland? Isn't the schools admissions code being amended to allow parents to defer to later in the school year (once their child has a place and subject to the age 5 cut-off)? If so, get him a place and then let the school know when he will be starting.

FWIW, my DD is a summer baby and started school last year. While some of the children are nearly a year older and are clearly more developed there is not such a dramatic range of abilities that she feels left behind. It's not been all that bad.

PandaG Mon 03-Jan-11 16:15:52

I am pretty sure that legally from this Sept you as parent has the choice of when to start your child, up to the term after they turn 5, and if you choose to start before that it can be part time.

I work in a pre-school and this is cerainly the information we are giving to all our parents.

singarainbow Mon 03-Jan-11 16:27:21

Clare, my DS was in the same position last September. He ws 4 a week before he started. We fought to have him on just mornings to start, and they fought back.

In the end it was only the fact that he had weekly speech therapy that made them change their minds.

Over the course of the term he has increased his time, and from weds he will be full time.

I must add though, that when he started he would refuse to even make any marks on paper with anything, and was really underconfident and like you, I was worried it would make him feel even less confident, but now he loves drawing, and writes his name confidently, so I can see the benefit of school, (someone else may be able to get them do things they wont do for parents!)..but think gradually increasing his time was right for him.

I think you should fight if thats what you want, you know your child..good luck

Clary Mon 03-Jan-11 18:05:37

Clare, believe me when I say there will be plenty of children in FS2 who can't count to 13, can't do letters or numbers etc.

I have helped in FS2 a lot and the range is massive, but teachers are IME well aware of possible issues for very young starters and do all they can to make it easier - very play-led curriculum etc.

Speak to school about yr concerns and see what they suggest. Concentrate with DS on skills such as toileting, coat on and off, eating lunch etc, also social skills. Please please don't worry about the drawing stuff etc.

I think you will be surprised at how much he comes on in 9 months.

FWIW my DS1 started in Jan as part of the last intake in our LA to have a split start; it really was not good for him and he spent all of reception (it seems to me) playing catch up.

EvilTwinsAteRudolph Mon 03-Jan-11 18:12:58

My DTDs are July born, but were a few weeks prem so should have been August. This time last year, I was in your position - could not see at all how they would be ready for school, but having to go through the applications process. We found a (state) primary we were very happy with - it's quite large, but still is very caring, with a lovely atmosphere and lots of measures in place to help Yr R children settle in. Right up until their 4th birthday, I fretted about how on earth they would cope with school - they seemed so tiny, and whilst they were quite bright with good vocal communication skills, they were still babies to me.

However, in the summer before they started, they seemed to become, quite suddenly, much more mature, and when they started in September, they leapt in with such enthusiasm and confidence that I was taken by surprise. They are now desperate to go back on Wednesday, and whilst they were tired towards the end of term (bed time has crept earlier and earlier...) I am completely confident that sending them at the beginning of Yr R was absolutely the right decion - not academically, but socially and in terms of their emotional development. FWIW, they have a friend whose birthday is August 29th, and she has been absolutely fine too.

Just wanted to put a different spin on things.

nickschick Mon 03-Jan-11 18:14:30

This was how I felt about my ds1.

Except he could barely talk,eventually he started school (not in Sept though blush,he wanted to go to school because his friend was there so he really started in mid November .......I was lucky the headteacher allowed him to just do mornings and being so young he did used to have a sneaky cuddle from the teacher just before lunch.

Well this carried on for about 3 weeks and then one day the teacher phoned me up and said hes having such a lovely day shall we see how he goes?,so I did collected him at 3.15 all anxious.....he roared out of school happy as an elf.

His language soon picked up and he soon found his 'place' sometimes our dc do things that we cant imagine them doing quite so young.
put his name down and try thats all you can do.

nickschick Mon 03-Jan-11 18:15:02

happy as an elf??? how twee do I sound blush

granted Mon 03-Jan-11 18:19:44

Disagree entirely with the others. My DD2 and Ds were similar ages when they started in Reception, but far younger when they started school - only just over 3 - as their school has a nursery class.

Reception is NOT just about learning letters and numbers - it's about learning how to socialise, how to sit still and concentrate, how to join in with other kids...all things that your ds is ready for but needs to learn by being in that situation. If he starts a term late or later, he will simply be an extra term or more behind the other kids, making it even harder for him to settle in successfully.

Re letter/number skills, ay half-way decent teacher will know that these skills vary hugely at that age and will provide differentiated learning, so that the same class can happily accomodate both children who barely recognise (let alone can write) a letter, and others who are easily reading and writing.

Of course it's more stretching for the younger ones, but that is a huge advantage, in my opinion.

My DD1 was one of the oldest in herclass, and has always been at a disadvantage as a result - the work has always been too easy.

Both of my younger two have loved being among the youngest in their classes. My DS was only a tiny bit older than yours when he started in reception this year, and his reading and writing skills were correspongingly low. But he'slearnt loads, is having a brilliant time, and I cannot imagine how cruel it would have been to have deprived him of the opportunity to make this progress, just because I believed he wouldn't be up to it.

Your son has months to make progress in - and I doubt he is uniquely dim or immature. He will be within the normal range for the school, which is why the school thinks - quite reasonably - that you are over-reacting by suggesting he will struggle.

Have more confidence in your child - it is precisely these low parental expectations that the child picks up on, and which duly become self-fulfilling.

Your ds will be fine - unless you've chosen a sink school, any half-way decent school should be able to accomodate his needs just fine.

mrz Mon 03-Jan-11 18:29:28

Speaking as a teacher and mum to two summer borns, every child is different and birthday month isn't a good guide to how well they will cope in school. Some of my September born (already 5 when they start) pupils have struggled emotionally and some of the just 4 (August birthdays) take to it like ducks to water.
OP there is 3/4 of a year before your son is due to start school and young children change so very quickly please don't worry for 9 months.

FlamingoBingo Mon 03-Jan-11 19:03:12

That's rubbish, granted. Children of 7, for example, are far more ready to learn to sit still and concentrate than they are when they're 4. They don't need a whole year of full-time schooling.

And they certainly don't need to go to school to learn how to socialise!

Do you think that humans all sat around ignoring eachother for the millenia that we didn't have mass schooling!? hmm

KATTT Mon 03-Jan-11 19:22:15

Why not put him in the year below - if he was 3 weeks younger he would be. Instead of always trying to catch up he'd have the advantages that a September born has?

I persuaded my local authority to do this - you need to find out their policy on 'teaching children out of year'. Summer born is a good reason. (Falling behind, incidently, is not).

If you go private being in the 'wrong' year is much more common and acceptable for children on the cusp. So he'll have a whole year to get ready to start reception.

If you've got the money, getting him to be the oldest in his year, in a private school has got to give him the best chance at enjoying, thriving, succeeding.

Clare123 Mon 03-Jan-11 20:04:39

Katt - this is what I am thinking! It does mean we have to see private education for his whole eduction, quite an investment, but one in which we can probably afford.

Grant - my problem is a 4 year old boy SHOULD not have to sit still and concentrate, when he is not ready to. He is brilliantly active and enjoys learning, but is just not ready to have a lot of rules. It just seems madness.

I am going to speak to our LEA, and look around the private schools.

nickschick Mon 03-Jan-11 20:07:50

KATTT I disagree on everything youve said,sorry.

Geberally no LEA would allow a child to be in a year younger class-they do allow this I think in Scotland but only in certain circumstances,In England the rule is a child must be in receipt of education the term following his 5th birthday,if you have an August born child this means they start at 4.

If you decided not to send your dc that year thats ok ,but when you did come to send him perhaps the September later he would be in a year one class not reception.

And private schools arent always what people assume they should be.

nickschick Mon 03-Jan-11 20:10:31

Clare they dont have to sit still its all about learning through play its a focused learning for pleasure they spend a larhe part of their day at play and learning'teaching is a gradual process.....most children in reception class adore their teacher and really thrive on the routine of school.

The rules are on a level that a child of that age can understand and accept and probably not much different to rules he already adheres to in regular life.

I totally truly believe that some of the reception classes in the worst schools are the happiest safest place in the world.

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