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Starting school age(Ireland) all opinions greatly appreciated.

(21 Posts)
indiana7 Sat 28-Feb-15 20:59:37

Hi all, I am just wondering from all mums with school going kids if you had the option would you send them later esp if child was bright.
I am in Irleland & my dd is v bright, in Ireland the majority of kids start school before 5. My dd is Jan born so would be 5.7 starting school. she is very bright & socially very confident. However all the evidence points to starting later is better down the road for secondary/uni. I know in the UK the ruling regarding school age is different but here in Ireland they can attend if they turn 4 before the sept they are due to start but need to be in primary education by the time they are 6.
My dd is v tall for her age & due to her language skills is mistaken for a lot older than what she is so if I start her at 5.7 will she stick out like a sore thumb & as she is quite bright will she get bored?

anothernumberone Sat 28-Feb-15 21:01:55

I have a January born too and started school at 4.7 as will the December born. Most secondary schools now do transition year and round our way it is no longer optional. I think finishing at 18.7 is late enough.

Mindgone Sun 01-Mar-15 23:13:05

Both of mine started school the September after their 4th birthday, June and April birthdays. Youngest is about to turn 18 and finish school, they have both done extremely well academically. I think that there are many more variables which would make more of a difference to academic achievement, than age of starting school. Just my personal opinion though smile

cartoonsaveme Sun 01-Mar-15 23:22:27

If she is ready start her. At 5.7 she should be more than ready ?

MMmomKK Mon 02-Mar-15 01:54:51

DD1 is quite bright, and despite being one of the youngest in her class, was at the top of her class consistently, from Reception on. She is now nearly 8.

If I had a choice, though, I'd keep her back a year. Both so that she is one of the oldest in the class. And, so that she started school later.

Most developed countries don't start formal education for kids before 6. Before 6yo kids best learn through play, which nursery schools provide best. And there is evidence that earlier start is not beneficial for long term academic results.

Your daughter will not get bored if she started school at 5.7. She will develop at her own speed, schools are equipped for dealing with kids of varying abilities.

You are lucky to have a choice!!!

Unexpected Mon 02-Mar-15 13:41:34

I am Irish but don't live there so my current knowledge of the system is gleaned from nieces and nephews currently in Irish schools.

If your daughter is ready for school at 4.7 I would send her. Starting school later is common in continental Europe but the reception (or equivalent) class is then made up of children who are all older but still of similar age to each other and who are doing age-appropriate work. I think if your daughter starts aged 5.7 she will be in a class with children who range from her age down to children who have possibly recently turned four, so a difference of almost two years. It's all very well to say that teachers can differentiate but that is a huge age range to teach, especially as Ireland doesn't seem to have the same rules relating to limits on numbers in a class. One friend's daughter is taught in a class of 34 and that seems to be nothing unusual!

MMmomKK Mon 02-Mar-15 13:57:53

If I were you - and if it were possible - I'd try to talk to the school and understand how they approach class size/ different age groups in the same class.

If the classes would have kids ranging from 4 to nearly 6, then I WOULD definitely not want my 4yo there. Confidence means a lot in this age. Being bigger gives kids confidence, so if your kid can be the biggest in the class - everything would be easier for them.

Their hands would be more ready to write. They would spend a couple of months learning to read, rather than a whole year at age 4. They would be more popular, etc.

There is no benefit of starting earlier. Look at the results of other countries, starting at 6, or even 7 (Finland). By 11 they are comparable OR better than the UK ones.

MillyMollyMama Mon 02-Mar-15 14:28:00

My DD didn't spend a whole year learning to read in Reception!!! She brought her first books home after 3 weeks. She is an August birthday. I do wish everyone would realise children are different. Some are very clever and some take a lot longer. The curriculum and teaching should be adapted so no child is bored! All should be set targets to improve. Age is not a particular issue if the child is making good progress in line with their ability. A good teacher will differentiate work so they get reading books and do maths that is appropriate for progress to be made.

Flywheel Mon 02-Mar-15 14:38:24

I am in Ireland and I would say that the average age for starting school is around 5 with ages typically ranging from 4.5 to 5.5. If your daughter starts at 4 she will not be the youngest in the class (unless the particular school has a cut off date, but it is unlikely to be that early in the year). IME the 5 year olds starting school tend to be late spring and summer born kids. I would expect your daughter would be absolutely fine at 4.7, although it's worth speaking to the school in question to get their perspective.

Saracen Mon 02-Mar-15 14:43:00

I don't know how it works in Ireland. Is your choice:

Send her early or send her late, but she joins the same set of children regardless?


Send her early to be among the youngest in her class, or send her late and she'll always be among the eldest in her class?

Whichever way it works, I think it is unfortunate that parents are expected to make predictions about what may benefit their future teenager when the child in question is only four!

Unexpected Mon 02-Mar-15 14:58:19

Saracen you start in reception (called Junior infants in Ireland) regardless of what age you enter school. Regarding your other point, you could surely just as easily say (and so many on here do) that it is very unfair to make predictions about future academic and social performance by forcing all children in the UK to start school based so strictly on their age when many parents feel their child would benefit from an extra year at home or indeed by starting school earlier if they just barely fall outside the age cut-off? Either way is going to have some problems.

Saracen Mon 02-Mar-15 23:23:25

Oh, I agree absolutely. To say that a child is not ready for school at four is not to say that he or she needs to be the youngest in the class forever, and vice versa. It's very rare for parents in England to have the choice of putting their child in the year above or below their age peers, and that isn't good etiehr.

I think there should be flexibility to start school at various ages as well as to move children up or down a year at a later stage of their school career. All the objections I have seen to the latter idea are based either on the conviction that every part of the curriculum is essential and shouldn't be missed out or repeated, which I don't share, or on the fear that children will be the odd one out, which they wouldn't be if it were commonly done.

JegErEnStorNerd Mon 02-Mar-15 23:30:49

My dc2 was five and five months andnot the oldest. He would have struggled at four and five months.
If she is able for it start her at four and seven months. good luck

JegErEnStorNerd Mon 02-Mar-15 23:35:32

If u skip transition year are u allowed to do the real leaving cert? A colleague told me recently that if students skip transition yr they do that less academic "applied" cert.

I want my kids to do TY.

DramaAlpaca Mon 02-Mar-15 23:48:58

It's usually the late spring/summer born children who delay starting school in Ireland until after their 5th birthday. It's good in some ways to have the flexibility to defer, but sometimes you can have up to 18 months difference in age between children in the same class which can be a problem in terms of development and readiness for school.

I have a very bright February born DS who started school aged 4.6 and he coped perfectly well at that age. If your DD is very bright and you defer until she is 5.7 she is likely to be well ahead of children in her class who could easily be over a year younger than she is. Depending on her personality she might thrive on this or she might get bored.

If you feel she's ready at 4.7, and it sounds like she will be, I would send her.

Remember, later down the line you have the option of doing Transition Year or not depending on how ready you feel she will be for Leaving Cert. I know this is a long way in the future for you at this stage, but it's something to think about.

DramaAlpaca Mon 02-Mar-15 23:53:05

Jeg cross posted with you. Yes, if they skip TY they can do the real leaving cert. In my DC's school TY is optional. It tends to be the most and least academic who skip TY - the most academic because they are doing very well and don't want a break after JC, the least academic because they are desperate to get out of school!

My DC all did TY and all benefited greatly. It gives them a year to mature without any academic pressure and means they are that bit older and more mature going into third level.

LucyBabs Tue 03-Mar-15 00:04:11

jeg as far as I am aware the applied leaving cert isn't less academic. The students do projects and are assessed based on this but don't sit formal exams. Personally i think this should be the norm.

Op is your DC on their free year at the moment? Maybe speak to the Montessori/playschool? They will definitely have an idea if your DC is ready.

Also emotional readiness is seen to be much more important than if a child is "bright". And can they do up their own coat buttons/zip. Can they use the toilet independently etc


oohnewshoes Tue 03-Mar-15 00:07:07

I'm also in Ireland. Ds is an August baby so I kept him back. I expected him to be one of the oldest in his class. I was not there are at least 5 older than him.

Dd started at 4.5. I couldn't keep her back . She was so excited to start school so after much advise from playschool and JI teacher she started. She is top of her class in everything according to her test results.

The oldest child I know started school at 5.5.
It's a strange system. Having gone through the system myself. The age of children vary widely in each classroom.

Fanfeckintastic Tue 03-Mar-15 00:19:11

I'm in Ireland and DD will be starting in September at 4.3 which is definitely on the younger scale and it took a long time to decide but her play school assure me she's well able and I had thought so myself but there's really no telling until she's there I think!

I just couldn't see another year of pre school benefitting her to be honest and junior infants really does ease them into it.

JegErEnStorNerd Tue 03-Mar-15 15:18:19

I dont think it is strange to have a wide age range in a classroom. It isnt the norm in the uk though i realise but my son is not the oldest in his class but there is a child a whole year younger. It is fine. They are all where they should be.

The applied leaving seems to measure effort. Standard leaving requires brains and effort. Is applied leaving like fetac level five? I did one of those and found it easy compared to leaving but it was lke a heavily documented practical module.

indiana7 Thu 25-Jun-15 09:11:10

Just renewing this to see if anyone else has any opinions? I am still very unsure, I think I would prefer her to have the maturity when she reaches 4th & 5th class & secondary. More advice appreciated!

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