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I feel dd too young for school, Can we repeat reception twice?

(31 Posts)
MyOneAndOnly Thu 08-Oct-09 10:59:23

Hi, my dd is late June born, she is 4 now and is in nursery since last January. She'll start reception class this January.
I feel she is too young and immature for formal schooling and want to delay her primary school by one year. Can I do that just because I feel it is a good idea?

I am a foreign mum and have no knowledge of UK schools system whatsoever. I have been told, reception class is almost like an extended nursery with lots of play and very gentle learning through play and no teaching reading / writing etc. I am happy with that bit. I do not want to overload her with having to learn to read / write / maths so young. To me it is unnecessary pressure especially when she is so tiny. So I want to delay primary school by one year.
I have been told by her nursery people that she is within the normal parameters for her age. They do not know my child well enough and they never instilled much confidence in me for various reasons. But that's not the issue.
Anyway, we'll start reception and make that decision later in the year according to how reception class goes. But having said that, i feel strongly that I will want one year delay anyway.
Question is, can we repeat reception class again next year? In another school? We'll be moving out of the area in summer so it'll be a perfect new beginning with new school and new set of friends.
If a state school does not accept to accomodate her for a repeat reception class, does a private school accept?
I am a busy working single mum and home schooling is not an option for us.
I keep hearing / reading about Scandinavian system where kids start school at the age of 7 and they out-perform their counterparts in other countries. I am not Scandinavian but in my home country, kids start school at 7 too, and they start learning to read/ write / simple maths then. I am a product of that system and i did well academically. So I have no bad words about it.
What do you think? Thanks in advance...

Tambajam Thu 08-Oct-09 11:14:40

It is very very very unlikely that a State school will allow her to repeat the Reception year. When you move the new school would admit her to Year One. They have become much more strict in recent years about children staying with their age cohort.

I completely agree with you that the UK system is barmy in a lot of ways. There is a lot of sense to starting more formal education later on. It's true that Reception is mostly play based but it's also true that the formal teaching of reading, writing and maths certainly gets under way.

Unfortunately the private system is even more likely to lean towards formal teaching and children tend to be in a more academic atmosphere not a less academic one. There are exceptions though and more 'progressive' schools exist. It's just a case of shopping around.

As you do sound quite anxious it might be useful to make an appointment to see your daughter's headteacher (primary school head). Ask her about all the options and how the school will meet her needs. You may get some reassurance.

Tambajam Thu 08-Oct-09 11:16:13

Just to add, my son was late July born and started Reception in September. At least you've had the option of a January start which doesn't happen everywhere.

You may also find it useful to talk to your local LEA primary admissions officer. They can talk through all your options too.

FABIsInTraining Thu 08-Oct-09 11:18:13

You won't be able to repeat the year and if you defer she will go into year one which will be harder for you.

I find it pretty sad that your daughter has been at nursery for so long but you stay the staff don't know her and the staff don't fill you with confidence.

In almost every area in England and Wales, no. I think that Bradford(?) do offer parents some limited discretion to start summer-born children a year later, but even there they've been talking about phasing it out.

In Scotland there is more flexibility.

You might find a private school prepared to start her a year late, but by and large they follow the same policies as LEAs.

Your best bet, given that HE isn't an option, may be to look around and find a small and nurturing school (state or private) that is used to summer-born children and where you think that your DD will receive good emotional support and not be pushed too quickly, but leave her in her year group.

MyOneAndOnly Thu 08-Oct-09 12:27:28

Thanks for all the contributions.
She supposed to start reception in September but the school we applied to , which is the school she has been going to nursery too, was oversubscibed and there was no space for her and she has been put on a waiting list, eventually January start became available.
As for nursery people not being accurate about her, yes it is a sore point. There are 23 kids in her morning nursery and 23 in the afternoon... three nursery staff one of whom ( the teacher ) has a long term absence due to sickness so she was replaced by temporary teacher ubtil she came back end of the last term. Then the nursery nurses are the most sulkiest / defensively aggressive people i have ever met, they have a habit of talking over you and they are so arrogant that thay asume they know what you'l say before you open your mouth. I had big communication problems with them but tried to manage. A very negative experience.
At the end of last term (July), we held a quick meeting to go over their observations about my dd and most stuff were inaccurate ie they asked dd colours and observed that she did not know white, well I am 100% sure that she did know the colour white for long time before then, for some reason she might not have told them or whatever happened at the time they took the note, they believed she didn't know colour white. Some other things they told me based on their observations which were also contradictory to what our childminder observed about dd over the last 2.5 years.
Nursery is only 2 hrs 10 minutes a day, for only 6 months, compared to one to one close attention and observation lasting almost 3 years with the childminder...Nursery people have 23 x 2 kids in one day, lots of records to keep and a very shrt time to do all these so I cannot expect them to be accurate. Having in her records as her not recognising colour white is not a big dealm but it just showed how shallow the observations were... Anyway, thanks again.

slowreadingprogress Thu 08-Oct-09 13:16:39

I'm afraid it is very unlikely she'd be allowed to repeat reception. They are absolutely fixated on keeping children with their peer group; so even if a child had severe special needs they would rather give that child a 'statement of special educational needs' and put in place a teaching assistant/therapies to enable that child to stay in the class they should be.

There are just a few 'Small Schools' nationally which are private but are run on extremely alternative, flexible, nurturing ideas; but yes you have to pay for this!

Unfortunately we have found that education in this country is very much about the child fitting the box. However at DS state infants/juniors we have found extremely professional, intelligent, skilled teachers and TAs who are used to trying to make the experience fit the child rather than making the child fit the system, so I hope I can re-assure you a bit. Having said that no it's not ideal because they still have targets to keep which mould how they have to teach, and they do have large classes to deal with. However I have always felt that my son has been accepted for who he is, and valued for who he is, which is lovely.

One other thing that I think as well, on the 'colour white' issue and other things where you feel the staff didn't really reflect what your daughter can do - we have found that DS is very much a different person at school. He will do this he doesn't do at home that we didn't know he could, or he will NOT do things at school that we know he can. I think you have to accept that some kids are just different at school, it might not just be staff not knowing them sufficiently.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Thu 08-Oct-09 14:33:40

You need to join our campaign on this thread

MyOneAndOnly Thu 08-Oct-09 18:14:19

I am more than happy to join this campaign. You see, my worst nightmare is to have a child who thinks school is too demanding and that this breaks her spirits from the very beginning. In other posts I have read about mums who had this problem and they mention their kids settle in by year 3! Year 3! These years supposed to be our children's most care-free / free-spirited / happiest years and school is such an important part of their daily lives. I would do almost anything to be able to delay my dd's entrance to primary school rather than have her get through the motions with special help here / extra time allowance there... She'll feel she's different and will be self-conscious, these are such formative years and it is damaging for her in the long term.

Apart from moving abroad or moving to Scotland or claimimg that we do home education, is there no other way round this?

slowreadingprogress, you mention: There are just a few 'Small Schools' nationally which are private but are run on extremely alternative, flexible, nurturing ideas; but yes you have to pay for this!" Please tell me where are these schools, how do I find them? I definitely do not want dd being in a class where she is not flourishing and that affecting her confidence in the most negative way.

slowreadingprogress Thu 08-Oct-09 18:20:37

If you google 'Small Schools' you will find some sites. Don't know where you are in the country but there's one which I looked into called the New Forest Small School. It sounds fabulous - you can even flexi school, eg send your child in part time and educate part time at home.

there are options out there; it's just that they cost money and I guess it's also whether you have one close enough to you.

Good luck

seeyounexttuesday Thu 08-Oct-09 18:21:31

Why not keep her at home until she is ready to attend school, whatever age that may be?

She does not have to be in education until the term after her fifth birthday, and that does not mean it has to be in school. You do have the option to home educate as well.

Just giving you another option. smile

MyOneAndOnly Thu 08-Oct-09 18:36:55

slowreadingprogress, thank you very much for that. Oh, I am really heavy hearted about this situation.

seeyounexttuesday, she is almost 4.5 now so the first term after she becomes 5, will be September next year. Am I right in understanding that she'll have to start primary school (year 1) at that age? Or is it that she can start reception class for the very first time at that age? If she can start reception class after 5, then it is fine. But if it is not receptin but the year 1, then I will still have the very same problem that she is too young for year 1 at the age of 5. And by going to reception class now, at least she is getting used to longer school days and bit more play / socialising.

slowreadingprogress Thu 08-Oct-09 18:40:42

Yes I'm afraid that at 5 she has to be in education (not in school, legally, but in education wherever that is taking place) but they will keep her with her peer group, basically meaning they would put her in year 1 with the group she would be with if she went in to reception now.

We went through this too, not wanting our ds to start but found that the system hobbles you at every turn. Basically you can't escape that thing of them being the youngest in the year!

For us school has not been as bad as we thought and our DS has coped fantastically and made us very proud (which is good really, as we had no options; both work, so can't home educate, and can't afford private school!)

seeyounexttuesday Thu 08-Oct-09 18:46:25

I have done the missing of reception twice with my ds's. But they did have to go straight into year 1. It was ok though.

MyOneAndOnly Thu 08-Oct-09 18:53:53

Sorry, I am not very clear about the important bit. The term after she becomes 5... does she have to be in any kind of education at that point which hopefully may also be reception class?
Or does it have to be year 1 class, whether she's done reception or not?
If starting reception class next September is okay, then perhaps we'll do that.

seeyounexttuesday Thu 08-Oct-09 19:00:28

Oh i see, well it can mean any class so it could be reception class too, but there are not many schools who allow this. It would mean that your DD has to either go to secondary school after year 5 (they want them to go with their age group to secondary) or that she skips a year somewhere along the line.

Not sure if this makes sense?!

FABIsInTraining Thu 08-Oct-09 19:01:42

You can't just say you are home educating. They will need proof!

hocuspontas Thu 08-Oct-09 19:02:05

Your dd will go straight into yr1 with her proper cohort. A child with an autumn or spring birthday electing to start school the term after their 5th birthday will start in reception but only for 2 or 1 term(s) respectively.

seeyounexttuesday Thu 08-Oct-09 19:06:27

You can just say you are home educating, and you do not need to be providing proof as in workbooks. Everyone is educating their dc every day right up until they start school and beyond.

MyOneAndOnly Thu 08-Oct-09 19:10:45

Thanks for the clarification.
Another questionm this time to Tambajam, who wrote: " There are exceptions though and more 'progressive' schools exist. It's just a case of shopping around." I would looovvvvveee to find out about these progressive schools and I would be very grateful if tambajam or another MNetter would kindly tell me more, how to find them.
And thanks again to slowreadingprogress, I will definitely look it up. I live in SE London / border with Kent but within reason, I will be able to change location for a great school which fits our needs.

FABIsInTraining Thu 08-Oct-09 19:21:37

Hardly the same seeyou.

seeyounexttuesday Thu 08-Oct-09 19:50:45

It is!! There are loads of different ways to HE. None of which are right or wrong.

Autonomous is 'child led'. Therefore it is the child who decides what, when and how to learn.

Structured - you may follow the national curriculum or work on certsin subjects.

I am in the middle, a bit of structure in that we study for about 3 hours in the morning and then do whatever takes ds fancy for the rest of the day. smile

FABIsInTraining Thu 08-Oct-09 20:21:56

Before 5, kids don't need official schooling, after that they have to so I do think it is different.

seeyounexttuesday Thu 08-Oct-09 20:48:11

ok, we must agree to differ. smile

OP if interested here

LadyLaLa Thu 08-Oct-09 21:34:41

Why not speak to the school and find out how they tackle reading and writing, it may not be how you imagine. As you say "I am a foreign mum and have no knowledge of UK schools system whatsoever. I have been told, reception class is almost like an extended nursery with lots of play and very gentle learning through play and no teaching reading / writing etc" - it doesn't sound like you have had a direct conversation with the teachers at the school your DD is enrolled at.

Perhaps a meeting to discuss what they do and how, with regards to reading and writing would help, perhaps you could observe a little of the September class to see what happens and make a decision based on reality rather than imagination.

It might not be as bad as you imagine!

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