Advanced search

Should I wait until DD is 5 before she starts Reception?

(27 Posts)
gingerbear Wed 23-Mar-05 12:22:08

I have been reading some of the other threads on starting school and this has prompted me to check our LEA website. In our area, quote; 'children are admitted to reception classes in schools at the start of the school year (September) provided they have had their fourth birthday on or before 31 August'

Legally a child doesn't have to start until they are 5. I can apply for a reception place and defer it for a year if I wish.

My question is, would it be better to wait until DD is 5 to send her to school? She is 3 in June and at a private nursery for 2x half days a week now. I intend to increase this to 4x half days when she is 3.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

huggybear Wed 23-Mar-05 12:27:48

My ds1 will be 4 in may (although not for a couple of years) and would normally start school the september after but im thinking about leaving it untill the next year as he also goes to private nursery 2.5 days a week increasing to four days next year. Im going to be at uni in a couple of yaers and the nursery times work better for me than school times so my reasons are quite selfish but am am interested in other peoplea opinions too.

Wierd... was having this conversation in college an hour ago

bundle Wed 23-Mar-05 12:30:10

dd1 has just started in reception (ie the year they are 5) but legally you don't have to send them till they are five (ie year one) but my daughter was definitely ready for it and i think you can sometimes have problems getting a place in yr1 if they haven't been in reception & all the places are taken iykwim

Poshpaws Wed 23-Mar-05 12:30:26

Ds is 4 in August. He will not be starting reception until Jan 2006 (thank god).

Must depend on where you live, but I would not be happy if he were starting at just turned 4.

Hulababy Wed 23-Mar-05 12:31:18

Do they only have the one intake Gingerbear?
Can they do staggered starts - hald days first, and so on?

If she starts when 5 I think it means she will skip reception year - and go straight into Year 1. Not 100% sure on that though - sure someone else will know for definite.

DD (birthday in April) starts in the January, as two intakes.

bundle Wed 23-Mar-05 12:32:18

dd1 is 5 in june and they have 2 intakes so she's just started in jan, when she was 4.5, a good time for us

Sponge Wed 23-Mar-05 12:35:36

My dd is an end of May birthday and in our area the state schools would have admitted her in January not September.
However we did start her in reception the September after she turned 4 as she was at a stage where she wasn't learning much at nursery, she was ready to do more and most of her peer group were moving on so I didn't want her to feel she was being left behind.
She's doing really well in school so I think it was the right decision for her.
I think you have to judge your own child, the provision made in her nursery and your own circumstances. There's no right or wrong answer but if you think she's likely to be getting bored at nursery by then and/or all her friends will be going to school then I'd be tempted to start her in school but if she's very happy where she is or you're concerned that it might be too much for her I'd keep her in nursery for another year. You don't have to decide yet do you?

puddle Wed 23-Mar-05 12:37:45

I think it depends whether they stagger entry. Our LEA does mornings only for children until the term they are 5. So your dd would do mornings until after Easter. I think this is manageable for the younger ones whereas a whole day (with the lunch break in the middle - tough for small children to deal with) would be far too much. I believe we send children to school far too early in this country, but our school strongly advised parents of summer born children not to defer entry until year one as their children would be at a disadvantage socially and also educationally having missed the reception year work.

myalias Wed 23-Mar-05 12:40:51

I think it depends on the schools intake policy ie.our school only takes children in once a year at the start of term (september), other schools have 2 intakes. Also your child may feel a bit left out if she is one of the oldest left at nursery if all her friends have started school. You may find that she will be ready to start school by then. I know my ds1 wasn't ready for school. He was 4 in the May before he started school. I'm quite sure he would have been ready a year later. My ds2 is 5 in December and starts school in September, he has told me he can't wait to start school.

gingerbear Wed 23-Mar-05 13:20:26

Thanks all for your replies.

I will ring LEA to check on the second intake. I think I would prefer it if DD could wait until the January start rather than the earlier Autumn one.
I think they start with half rather than full days, again I will have to check.
I still have a while to decide. She is not yet 3, and will probably change a lot between now and then. She loves nursery, is very bright, and I think she will be ready to start at 4.5, but just past her 4th birthday seems so young.

annh Wed 23-Mar-05 13:55:14

Gingerbear, are you sure you can defer for a year and that your dd will still go into reception? My understanding is that although children indeed do not have to start school until they are five, if your daughter is of an age to start reception and you defer for a year she will then go into Yr1. That's certainly the situation in Surrey. When my ds1 was at the same age as your dd, I also wondered about deferring as he is a June baby. Decided it would be a waste of time if he then had to go into Yr1 immediately on starting school and in any event he turned out to be more than ready to go to school aged 4.

Sari Wed 23-Mar-05 14:20:06

Ds1 is 5 this June and started reception in January. He's one of the youngest but absolutely loves it although he does get very tired. It totally depends on the child though.

Also be wary about keeping her back a year if this means she is going to be at nursery with children younger than her. Ds1's group at nursery almost all went to school in a different borough with a single September intake so that meant he was the oldest at nursery from September. He went from loving it to not enjoying it at all (some of the kids in his room had just turned 3), not wanting to go and generally behaving quite badly at home and nursery. We in fact took him out from mid November until he started school in January as it started feeling cruel to send him.

Ds2 will be in the same boat as he has an August birthday.

I know other children who will only be five this August but who started reception last September and they are all fine too.

singersgirl Wed 23-Mar-05 14:48:29

Just had this conversation with another mum of 2 August children yesterday. She has kept back her son, but has had to go through hoops with the education authority to allow him to go into Reception, not Y1, next year. My little DS2 will be going in September having turned 4 on Aug 31st - he will get very tired, I know,as he still naps 2 or 3 times a week.
DS1 (Aug 15th) was fine, but very tired. But as other posters have said, so much depends on the child. DS1 was academically and socially ready, but struggled with what "practical life skills" and fine motor stuff - still does, for that matter.....

pabla Wed 23-Mar-05 16:00:39

In my area (Herts), if you wait until they the September after they are 5 they have to go straight into Yr 1 too (as far as I know). I really can't see any advantage to this myself.... plus if the school is oversubscribed they may not want to hold the place. Most schools here have two intakes but my dd's has just one. She is a May baby and the children born in the second half of the school year go half-days for the first term and then full time from January. She was definitely ready and as they teach the phonetic sounds in the first term at her school she would have really missed out if she had started late. DS1 is a July baby and he will also be ready to go next September. If the Reception teacher is reasonably experienced she/he should be used to dealing with any issues arising from lack of maturity.

roisin Wed 23-Mar-05 16:17:38

DS1 went straight into yr1 with a class of children who had done a year's full time reception. (He's a July birthday and immature for his age, but bright.) Tbh it was the best thing for him - it wasn't particularly planned, just the result of a house move, different counties, different policies. I think he would have struggled with a reception year for all sorts of reasons.

He was already reading fluently when he started, and I think benefited from no pressure to do any real writing until after he was 5.

DS2 (May birthday) did a full reception year, which was OK, though he was shattered and did nothing else that year other than eat and sleep . But in yr1 it did show a bit as I think he was already a bit bored by all the writing and so on. But he did settle down after a term or so. I don't agree with school at 4, and would have preferred ds2 to go later, but it isn't an option here. (If they don't go in Sep age 4, school won't keep a place open as they're oversubscribed, and the nurseries won't accept children who 'should be at school'.)

Hulababy Wed 23-Mar-05 18:02:27

This is the LEA website gingerbear. Not sure which school your DD will go to but the site does say this:

Children are required by law to start school if their fifth birthday:

Falls between 1 April and 31 August - at the start of the Autumn term (normally in September)

Falls between 1 April and 31 August - at the start of the Spring term (normally in January)

Falls between 1 September and 31 December - at the start of the Spring term (normally in January)

Falls between 1 January and 31 March - at the start of the Summer term (normally in April)

However, children in the area are admitted to reception classes in schools at the start of the school year (September) provided they have had their fourth birthday on or before 31 August.

There is an e-mail address and contact number on the site - contact them and they can tell you more.

Bonkerz Wed 23-Mar-05 18:23:22

my ds started in september full time at school and to be honest for a few weeks it was hard on him. He was at a private nursery full time before that but still found the transition a little hard. Saying that i wouldnt have held him back. He is not 5 until the 26th July and is coming on really well. He does still get tired by friday but i have found that the school have been really good at letting me know when he is tired and also about taking him in a little later or letting him have an afternoon off!!

Bonkerz Wed 23-Mar-05 18:24:20

Also i know that in leicestershire it is now common for all schools to only have one intake in september!! This is something that is being phased in in other counties as well!

bobbybob Wed 23-Mar-05 18:45:47

In NZ kids don't go to school until their 5th birthday and they go to university at exactly the same age. Legally you don't have to start until 6 here. Other countries are even later, so why not apply for the place and decide nearer the time whether you want to defer.

clary Sun 27-Mar-05 00:25:43

yeah hula is right in most cases if you hold the child back till they are 5, as you are entitled to do, they will usuallt start in yr 1 which would be a lot to deal with IMHO for a new starter.
I have a friend with a child with august b/day with some developmental delays. She successfully argued for him to be held back and start in sept after he was 5 in reception, but it was a big debate and afaik that's quite an unusual outcome (has worked well for her ds tho).
We have one intake here, but our school has taken some new starters in January as special cases. But yes, staggered starts may be a help, gingerbear; I would certainly apply for a place and see how your dd is in terms of "is she ready for school?"
I see from reading the rest of the thread that many people have made simialr points very well.
huggybear please think about yr ds and his needs too. If he is 4 in May he will be 4.5 in the Sept and perhaps well ready for school (I know my dd, 4 in June, will be fine). Also a child who starts in a year later will miss out on so much in terms of friends, shared experiences, knowledge of how school works etc as well as actual work of course.

kaansmum Sun 27-Mar-05 02:33:51

Just wanted to say that when to start a child at school depends totally on the individual child not the age they are.

Some children are well over 4 when they start reception but are clingy, tearful and generally not emotionally ready for school. My son was 4 on 24 August and started school on 4 September and hardly looked back to see if I was behind him when he walked through the door! He was totally clean and dry toilet wise and had been for ages (which some aren't at that age), was incredibly confident, communicative and sociable and was reading and writing fluently and was just counting the days down until he could get there! He adores school and sees it as trememdous fun and looks forward to it every single day. we've never had so much as a single tear. Yet another girl in his class with an October birthday (now almost 5 and a half) is still bawling her eyes out most mornings, and so do a couple of 6 year old Yr 1s I see too, so age is really no guide.

With our LEA I had the opportunity to defer my son until January 2005 but didn't take this up. I thank god now that he had a late August birthday, I don't know what we would have done if he'd missed the 2004 intake and had had to do another year at pre school - he would have been climbing the walls there. Strangely, when I found out I was having an August baby the whole starting school so young issue was one of the main things that bothered me - in our case it was all totally unfounded.

I fully accept that this is him though, if I had another child (which I don't) he/she could be be totally different and I'd have to be guided by the needs of that child as an individual.

As a mother you know your child better probably than anyone. You just need to follow your instincts to know whether it's right to send them. The one thing I would say is that it is never right to hold a child back for yourself - i.e. because it's your last baby or because of your own insecurities rather than the child's. You should always be guided by the child as an individual and even if you have several children what is right for one might not be right for another.

Another thing, if you defer them for entry later on in the reception year (i.e January) remember that the others will already have settled in and be gelling as a group. I think it's better for the child if they can all start together. They've all got their own strengths and weaknesses, my son is very slow at dressing himself but he is not alone in that and I think that on the whole the reception teachers and classroom assistants are very kind and sensitive to the childrens' needs.

ladymuck Sun 27-Mar-05 19:03:34

I know that it has been mentioned on the thread already but IMO the single biggest issue here is whether you lose the right to choose your school place if you defer. You certainly would in my area (most of the local schools are oversubscribed), so you would have to go to the nearest undersubscribed school (again in my area, the nearest such isn't actually that near, and I definitely wouldn't want my child to go there at any age). LEAs seem to have their own policies (eg Hulababy has posted the link to Doncaster, where deferral does seem to be possible - my LEA allows deferrals until January only in limited cases due to the fact that the funding only seems to start once the child is at school but the teachers are employed all year).

If you are concerned then have a look at your most likely infant/primary schools. When I looked round some of the schools were set up for these issues (eg half days for first term, areas where youngest ones could have naps, separate play areas away from older ones). IMO school secretaries are an excellent source of information, and can give you the lowdown on how many deferrals they have each year, and whether this works well or not.

bambi06 Tue 05-Apr-05 21:59:45

my dd will be 4 this june and has been offered a place in jan fulltime.. so she `ll only be 4 1/2 when she starts but this means she`ll have a shorter school year than others starting in sept as the same yr she goes to yr 1 in the sept , so she`s lost out on a terms work and i think this is unfair on someone so young..this also means she`ll only be five when she starts yr 1 in the sept ..has anyone else found this a problem with their child?

hatsoff Tue 05-Apr-05 22:10:36

my dd started reception part-time in Sep 2004 - age 4 and 4 months, and just had her first full day today age nearly 5. I think that has been about right for her - she was ready for school in Sep but I do think she would have found full-time tough. And I think she's ready now for full-time. She's delighted with having school dinners and it makes me feel really proud of her - just thinking about my wee baby, queueing up for lunch, choosing what she wants - it seems so grown up.

hatsoff Tue 05-Apr-05 22:12:37

good point about play areas - our school has a seperate play area for reception - they can go into the big playground if they want, but the older kids can't come in to their playground, which I think is a really good idea

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: