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What if I keep my ds down a year?

(37 Posts)
ButterflyBessie Mon 14-Apr-08 20:06:48

My ds (dc3) is a June baby and is immature for his age, he is meant to be starting school in September but I am not at all convinced that he is ready for school sad

My two older children started school with no worries either from us or them, so I am not prone to these feelings wink

My ds is quite bright but is not happy at going to pre-school and I have many issues about the sense in pushing him to go to school when he is not ready.

I know that I do not legally have to send him to school until the term after his 5th birthday but the law says that he would skip reception and start in year 1 with his peers. I don't think that this is the answer at all sad.

I want him to start in reception in 2009 when he would be 5 and 3 months and the oldest in his class.

I am convinced that I could fight my case with the local council and achieve this - I am very convincing grin, but, would this be the right thing for him?

Is he likely to be bullied in the future for being the oldest in his year group? (He obviously won't be going up a year)

Has anyone done this and it has/hasn't worked?

I am worried and confused and need guidance hmmblush

Theresa Mon 14-Apr-08 20:20:46

I def dont think he'd be bullied or singled out for being older thant the rest. My ds is 6 and in year 1 at a lovely school. A new boy started the school in their year in september and he is very tall, and it recently came to light in conversationt hat he is already 7 so has obviously been 'kept back' a year. Also one of the boys in my ds's year is doing a second year in reception. My neightbour is a primary school teacher and has a ds who will be 10 at very end of august, he shld be in year 5. She agonised right from reception or maybe year 1 about wanting to keep him back a year as she thought he was struggling and the school were not keen. They relented eventually and he did year 2 twice. That's the age where i could see it being aproblem and him being teased, however he wasn't and he now has friends in both years (although I think my neighbour now feels that he probably could cope with being in the year above, but obvously wont do anything about it!). So I'd say go for whatever you think is right. I definitely dont think he'll have nay problems with peers (I've just remembered my dd aged 9 in year 4 has a 10 year old in her class who did nursery year twice!).

roisin Mon 14-Apr-08 20:22:26

In our County this year for the first time they have to keep open a deferred place for a summer-born child who doesn't start at the normal time (September when they are 4 here.)

But they do have to start at Easter at the latest, and they do have to go into Reception for that term, then into yr1 just 1 term later (i.e. with their peers).

DS1 started school when he was 5 yrs + 2 months (summer birthday) and went straight into yr1 with a class of children who'd had a year of reception.

Starting school 'late' was definitely the right thing for him. Emotionally/maturity-wise he was still behind the girls, especially for the first few years. He's done fantastically, has been top of his class for most things, and generally had a wonderful time at school. He's been there 6 years now and both he and I are dreading the summer when he has to leave.

roisin Mon 14-Apr-08 20:25:15

In the UK I wouldn't keep a child back a year from their peers unless they had considerable SEN.

Even then ds1 has a friend in his class who was kept back a year at some point when she was very young. All the children have very much accepted her as part of their group, but this year she is moving from yr6 into yr8 (her genuine peer group), and she is delighted about the prospect.

She is moving from a MS school to an SEN school, so I think will cope with the transition well. In the MS school system skipping yr7 would not be a good idea.

ButterflyBessie Mon 14-Apr-08 20:34:45

Why Roisin do you think it would be such a bad idea?

I do not feel that it would do any good to for my ds to start school this year and if he went straight into year 1 next year I don't see how that helpshmm as it immediately puts him at a disadvantage as he will have missed a year of schooling.

I am not being confrontational, I need convincing grin

mrz Mon 14-Apr-08 20:44:51

"Is he likely to be bullied in the future for being the oldest in his year group? (He obviously won't be going up a year)"

Sorry to tell you but it is highly likely that he would be going up a year so he still would be one of the youngest in his year group.

As roisin says sometimes children with severe SEN move through the school system a year behind their actual age group but this becomes a problem when they are older as they leave the education system without having completed their final year. I am SENCO in a primary schools and we are faced with the situation roisin a child in our Y6 should by age be in Y7 so must either jump two years when entering secondary school or miss a year at the end of her school career.

roisin Mon 14-Apr-08 20:49:30

You started by saying he is 'bright'. IMO/IME more able children can get a bit frustrated in reception classes. In terms of academic work the 'year of school' he will miss can be easily caught up by doing a bit of phonics and letter formation with him in the holidays.

During reception they learn a lot about life in big school - lining up, putting your hand up to go to the loo, being quiet in assembly, getting changed for PE quickly, that sort of thing. He will easily be able to 'catch up' with that just by being in a class where everyone else has already learned it.

DS1 is one of the youngest in his year, but usually top of the class. It was right for him to miss reception, but if he'd been put a year below his peers he would have found the work boring/unstimulating, and may have become disruptive. He would also have resented not being put in a class with his peers.

Going straight into yr1 doesn't put you at a disadvantage necessarily - that's why you want to defer! For some children, summer born boys especially, doing reception and being forced to do letter formation and formal education way before they are ready: that's what puts them at a disadvantage!

At our school at the time they did a lot of formal writing and letter formation during reception. Ds1 went to a nursery where they didn't do this at all, he didn't want to write so didn't write at all. I taught him letter formation over the summer hols when he was 5. By Christmas his class teacher told me he was consistently writing far more than his peers.

ellingwoman Mon 14-Apr-08 21:06:31

Why couldn't you try for a January or Easter 2009 start? That way he would still be with his age group in Reception and would probably have matured sufficiently by then. You say he's bright so wouldn't suffer from the academic pov and would still have a term of Reception.

Do schools accept children out of their year group from the beginning? I know they can re-do a year or skip a year but I have never heard of actually starting in Reception a year early or late.

ellingwoman Mon 14-Apr-08 21:08:13

Ah, just noticed roisin has already said that blush

ButterflyBessie Mon 14-Apr-08 21:13:02

Ellingwoman, schools don't as a rule, but if you really push for it then yes you can.

In our talk with the reception teacher the opinion was that once he is kept down then he would stay with the same peer group for the rest of his education ie doing gcses just before 17th birthday and (hopefully) entering university when 19 grin

I am unsure, apart from the bullying aspect as to why this would be detrimental to him, please explain in words of one syllable to a mother whose son fortunately doesn't take after her grin

Berries Mon 14-Apr-08 21:21:04

I'd be very sure that the schools you want him to go to will take him in a year below his age group. In our county that is only considered for children with SEN. I think you need to make sure that the high school you want him to go to will take him at year 7 and not year 8. Apart from the logistical difficulties I can't see any reason why starting him later should be a problem.

Wallace Mon 14-Apr-08 21:34:50

My not very helpful solution to this problem is to move to Scotland. Your ds would start school in the August after his 5th birthday. Ta-Da! Problem solved!

Sorry not very useful, just seems ridiculous how early they start school in England. Also in Scotland if you have a child that will not be five when the term starts in the middle of August (Aug to end Feb birthdays) the parents can choose to start their child the following year. And they would start in P1 (first year of school)

roisin Mon 14-Apr-08 21:42:25

ButterflyBessie - in a school system where (at the moment) skipping or dropping a year is still very rare - peer group is very important, and being in the wrong one can cause problems.

Milestones are crossed together: everyone is celebrating their seventh birthday this year, whose is the first to lose one of their milkteeth, how far can you swim, have you taken your stabilisers off your bike yet? etc. etc.

As a June baby the difference for your son is minimised.

I don't see it is impossible, but I do see it as undesirable, and I'm not sure why you want to pursue it.

snorkle Mon 14-Apr-08 22:00:28

Dd did this and it seems to be working OK. We later realised her 'unreadyness' for school was due to dyslexia, which does give her some ongoing problems. I tend to think the problems would have been greater if she had started a year sooner but you never really know how things would have worked out and the difference may have been minimal.

She has some esteem issues, which I think are more related to the dyslexia, but aren't really helped by the age issue ('I must be thick as I'm not in the right year'). The other potential drawback is sport. She's been hoofed off school teams once or twice when it's been realised she's too old for them.

If I had my time over I'm not sure I'd do the same. I think delaying entry by 2 or 3 terms and starting in the older year as roisin suggests might be better - this wasn't an option for us.

snorkle Mon 14-Apr-08 22:06:00

Oh yes, I know children who have skipped either year 6 or 7 to get back into the right year as secondary schools won't take them out of age - you have to be VERY sure this won't happen.

Your milk teeth example made me laugh roisin - dd was the very last to lose hers even being the eldest. At 12 she still has over half of them firmly in place! Have to say peer issues haven't really been an issue for us, but then it's a private school and there are several students a year who are out of year, so not that rare.

roisin Mon 14-Apr-08 22:18:05

Some interesting points there Snorkle.

How old is your dd now?

snorkle Mon 14-Apr-08 22:26:45

12 roisin - she'll be 13 in August. The children I know who have had to skip years on moving to secondary have all been from the same school but decided for one reason or another not to stay for secondary. The LEA schools round here won't take kids out of age, so it does restrict choice there (not that we'd have chosen different, but it's nice to feel you do have the choice)

mrz Tue 15-Apr-08 11:06:50

You say the reception teacher says your child will be able to take GCSEs at 17 but this would be normal for a June child working in their own school year group not for a child who has effectively missed a full year of secondary school education. I would also dispute that most reception teachers know a great deal about the workings of secondary schools so would advice as many others have already said to check this information with the LA and certainly get it in writing. I know had a great deal of paperwork to complete in order to keep a child who had started a year behind her school year group in primary school rather than transferring and missing Y6 and going directly into Y7. The child in question will leave this summer and go directly into Y8 of a special school.

Clary Tue 15-Apr-08 13:05:18

I think it’s quite unlikely that you would get the OK from the school.

I have a friend whose DS is end august and has developmental delay and a statement (though this was not fully recognised when he was 4) – he has mobility issues and speech is slow. They had to fight so hard to get him held back a year and start in reception at five and a week, bringing in paed, SALT etc to argue their corner.

FWIW having done it I think it’s a good thing. He is now in yr 3 but should be in same yr as my DS1 and he would really struggle with that work imho. But it’s quite a specific situation wrt the delay, which I don’t think you are suggesting with yr DS.

June is not that young, in the scheme of things. My pal’s boy has a birthday just a few days earlier than some of his classmates – yr DS would be months earlier which would maybe seem odd?

good posts from roisin (as usual!

ButterflyBessie Tue 15-Apr-08 14:27:26

Thanks for all your responses, I know that June is not terribly young, but I think that in my ds's case he is very immature and I am not sure how he will cope with going to school in September

Neither of us wish to hold him back and put him straight into year 1 the following year, we think that that will cause him even more problems with settling in.sad

I do not want to send my son to school in September, him to not only hate it but also not be able to cope with it and taint his whole schooling experience.sad

I had not realised that there would be a problem with him going up to secondary school in the right year.

Does anyone have a child who they have held back and this has worked for?

Celia2 Tue 15-Apr-08 14:30:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrz Tue 15-Apr-08 17:52:08

Sorry if this offends but is it your DS who won't cope or his mum? Children are much more resilient that you imagine and he won't be the first young/immature child the reception teacher has experienced. Far better work with the teacher and the school and see if there is some flexibility if he can't cope.

ButterflyBessie Tue 15-Apr-08 21:39:08


It doesn't offend, it makes me laugh grin.

I have 4 children and do not 'not cope' with their situations grin. My first two have gone into school at the correct time and there have been no worries from either the child or the parent. My ds is imo immature and I cannot envisage that he will adapt and settle into school easily.

I have taken on board all that has been written in this thread and will approach his 'problem' with an open mind, maybe in the next few months he will grow up mentally (here's hoping wink)

I am interested though Roisin as to which county you are in?

mumeeee Tue 15-Apr-08 23:55:12

You might be ablr e to keep him down a ear when he starts but he will have to go to secondary school at the rught age,so some where along the way he will have to jump a class.

RosaLuxforherfriends Wed 16-Apr-08 01:07:07

You need to find out what your local authority's policy on secondary schools admissions is. In our area, they would insist on a child in this situation skipping year 7 and going straight into year 8. Which would be your basic nightmare, frankly.

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