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can my gifted son go to school earlier (late birthday)?

(191 Posts)
nybom Thu 26-Jun-08 12:13:42

my son's birthday is at the end of september which means he'll go to school at the age of five and will be one of the oldest of his year...

my son is very sociable, his social skills are highly developed, and he's very independent for his age (he's never had a problem with unfamiliar people or places, doesn't need any time whatsoever to adjust to new situations). he LOVES going to nursery 3 whole days a week (since aged 6 months), he'd love to to go to EVERY day, asks me each morning if he can go... basically he is bored at home, wants constant intellectual stimulation as well as other children around him. my son shows several signs of giftedness, e. g. he can spell 6 letter words since the age of two. many people (psychologists, nursery nurses, gps etc.) have remarked on his intelligence though we haven't actually had it tested yet.

my husband and i both have an IQ of 140, and i remember when i was a child i was so bored at home, so my mum had to teach me to read and write at the age of three. i wished i had had the opportunity to go to school earlier then...

can i have my son's intelligence/suitability for school assessed so he might be able to go to school a year earlier?

it's not that i want to push him into something, make a genius out of him or anything like that, if he's really not suitable that's fine with me! but i feel strongly that it is wrong if he goes to school so late, that he's ready now... does anyone know if there's anything i can do/how to procede?

thanks, nicky

misdee Thu 26-Jun-08 12:15:54

i think the only option is private. there was a thread on this a few weeks ago.

dd2 is a 1st sept baby.

she started when she was 5.

but the january after she turned 4, she went to nursery full time5 days a week.

posieflump Thu 26-Jun-08 12:18:11

'so my mum had to teach me to read and write at the age of three.'

but what's wrong with that though?

Why don't you just stimilulate him more at home? Possibly think about joining a home educator group to help with ideas maybe?

IPityTheFool Thu 26-Jun-08 12:19:29

Do not confuse intelligence with social maturity. School is a different bag from nursery. I think it's better that he starts with his peer group and is moved up if necessary tbh.

I'm speaking from personal experience here.

edam Thu 26-Jun-08 12:21:59

Much better to start with his peer group even if he is one of the oldest, jolly clever and sociable to boot. It's not just about intellect.

Anyway, I don't think you'll get anywhere with the state system, if you are determined you'll have to go private.

nooka Thu 26-Jun-08 12:31:29

dd was a little like this. She is an early Sept baby, and whilst probably not gifted, clearly bright, sociable and could have started school with all her friends from nursery. My sister's little girl was in the same situation. But it wasn't an option to start her earlier, and to be honest I really don't think it would have been in her interest. There is lots of evidence to suggest being the eldest in your class is very advantageous, and being the youngest is difficult, with long term mental health and achievement impact (why many parents of August babies fight to have them start later). I think it is better to find other ways of enriching his life in the next year. Going to a formal pre-school setting every day (very different from nursery), would be a start, but also things like doing music or acting classes (my sister signed her little girl up to Perform which was very successful).

When it comes down to it there are no long term benefits, and some potential costs to being bumped up a year, so I wouldn't try pushing for it, unless once he has started school it is obvious he would be comfortable with the older year group.

HonoriaGlossop Thu 26-Jun-08 12:49:33

I wouldn't wish the pre-school years away, personally.

It will do him NO HARM at all to be lightly bored at home. If he is bored: I would have thought with your IQ you'd be able to think of things to stimulate himwink

Being bored and finding their own amusement is I believe known to be good developmentally for children.

I think the years at home prior to school are very valuable in giving children the emotional security to cope well with the demands of school.

I do think a child who does well in Nursery for 3 days a week is not necessarily ready for full time school. Of course it's possible, yes, but school with one teacher to 30 kids, and all the jungle-laws of the playground to learn, is a different ball game to nursery.

I honestly think, bright as he clearly is, you are giving him something better at home till he's five - plenty of time for school!

nybom Thu 26-Jun-08 14:29:57

thank you for your opinions! i'd like to comment on some points:

> Why don't you just stimilulate him more at home? <
> If he is bored: I would have thought with your IQ you'd be able to think of things to stimulate him <

it's not that i can't think of things but i simply don't have the time: i'm self employed + a phd student, and i also have a four week old baby.

> I do think a child who does well in Nursery for 3 days a week is not necessarily ready for full time school. Of course it's possible, yes, but school with one teacher to 30 kids, and all the jungle-laws of the playground to learn, is a different ball game to nursery. <

he goes to nursery for 10 hours a day, a school day wouldn't be as long... and at the school he would go to, there are less than 20 kids in the classroom and there are assistant teachers and parents etc. helping as well... with regards to the playground - he has immens social abilities and great charm, he gets on with all age groups and group sizes - recently, on a playground, he got a group of grumpy teenage girl to avert their attention away from their cigarettes and mobiles and spend a whole hour playing with him, chasing him around, rolling in the grass. everybody responds to him... i have no worries there.

so basically there's nothing i could do than to send him to a private school?


tortoiseSHELL Thu 26-Jun-08 14:39:07

Just to say, school is hugely different from nursery, in terms of expectations of the child - ie the child is expected to take responsibility for themselves much more - in nursery there isn't this same expectation.

I think in order for him to go to a state school early you would need a statement of educational need, and this would need to be renewed every academic year. Which tbh is a pita, and he might as well go with his peer group.

Dd is a very able August baby, and I was very happy for her to start just after she turned 4. However, my one worry, which happened a little, but nothing to worry about, was that as she was able and also tall, the teacher might forget that she was in fact only just 4 if she threw a wobbly or refused to join in. I tipped the teacher off, and she was very accommodating. She has had a great reception year, done really well and made some really good friends. But I think the little ones do find being the youngest an emotional challenge - however confident and socially able they seem, they can still struggle with the increased expectation.

Why not get your ds to do something different, like learning the recorder or going to art classes or something? To challenge him in a non-academic way that will broaden his horizons and stave off the boredom.

A little bit of boredom is ok - that's the time when their own imaginations kick in and they create their own play. I remember watching dd waiting for ds1 when he was in reception, sitting at the picnic bench, asking for paper, paints, scissors, glue - she spent a good 15 minutes making a picture, out of thin air!

itati Thu 26-Jun-08 14:40:28

My DD is very bright and was reading from 2 1/2. She started school at 4.1 and has been put in G&T for reading and is top for everything else. Emotionally she is still 4 though and can be quite stroppy. Just enjoy the time you have left with him, they go off soon enough.

You can't send your child earlier than the law states, nor hold them back more than the same.

mimsum Thu 26-Jun-08 14:42:16

er no, LEAs almost always have a policy of keeping children within their year group esp going up to secondary so even if he skipped a year now he might well find himself repeating a year later - and believe me no-one would want to do Y6 twice in a row

so, no, there isn't really any way to proceed other than going private and even that might well not be such a great idea

TigerFeet Thu 26-Jun-08 14:44:27

Can he dress himself? Take himself to the toilet?

My dd is starting school in September and I would say that she is fine intellectually and socially - where she is going to struggle is doing these little tasks for herself whereas at nursery and at home someone is always around to help her.

In order to be ready for school they have to be not only academically and socially ready - they need to have developed a certain amount of independence as well which many 5yo's struggle with, never mind 4 or even younger.

MsDemeanor Thu 26-Jun-08 14:48:35

he will not benefit from going to school early. If you want him to thrive, get great exam results go to a good university etc then being the oldest in his class is the single biggest advantage you could give him.
Every bit of research says that September-born children do best at school simply because they are a year older.
And anyway, no, schools don't accept kids a year earlier just because they are clever.

Lovingthepink Thu 26-Jun-08 14:49:43

I am a teacher and my ds's were planned at the beginning of September as it really is so advantageous as they get older (especially boys) wink

Hulababy Thu 26-Jun-08 14:51:58

TBH I think a bright child, especially in the first years at school, can actually thrive from being the eldest in their class.

If you put him up a year he will be a whole year less socially mature, and he will suddenly be the youngest in his group; the little boy. This can bring its own problems.

nybom Thu 26-Jun-08 14:56:48

> so, no, there isn't really any way to proceed other than going private and even that might well not be such a great idea <

sorry for any spelling mistakes, english ISN'T my native language...

> Can he dress himself? Take himself to the toilet? <

yep! he gets his own breakfast before nursery, dresses himself (this includes chosing clothes and getting them out of the cupboard), and he's been going to the big (=proper) toilet since the age of 2. so yes, he is also very responsible for his age...


ChickenWoman Thu 26-Jun-08 15:03:21

I don't understand Edam? He is early september so the July and August birthday children will be close to his age!

Why would being born a week later make him more suitable for the 'younger' peer group, than the 'older' peer group!

There isn't really much in it given his birthday!

tigermeow Thu 26-Jun-08 15:06:30

Don't expect private to schools to take him early either. Some might, but others will want to assess him first before deciding. My DD's (private) school said that they wouldn't put her up a year...we weren't actually asking them to! Schools should differentiate for him. Let him play in Nursery and then supplement at home if that is what he wants. DD is only part time at school, the afternoons we use for what ever she wants to do...this week is fractions, last week was playdoh!

EffiePerine Thu 26-Jun-08 15:07:43

DS is an Oct baby and I'm very happy with the idea that he'll be going at nearer 5 than 4. I don't think the mental stimulation side is as important as the social side and the physical impact of being at school 5 days a week.

I'd be far more worried about a just-4 year old going into Reception.

If you;re concerned about stimulation, do more stuff at home!

Mutt Thu 26-Jun-08 15:11:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

funnypeculiar Thu 26-Jun-08 15:13:46

Agree with most on here & to echo msdemeanor's point, ALL the research points to being old in your year as an advantage whilst being young in your year is a disadvantage. His spelling certainly sounds inordinately gifted, btw (I still struggle with many 6 letter words grin)

Is there a more formal preschool attached to a school that you could send him to? Ds has been at a state school nursery for the last year or so (it won't be available until the year before they go to school) & having been initially sceptical, I think it's been good for his social development/school readiness as well as (or possibly more than) the educational side.

That said, he starts school next year and I'm wishing I had another year with him at home ....

AMumInScotland Thu 26-Jun-08 15:23:48

I think there are a lot of negatives to going to school earlier than usual - at the start he may struggle with some things just because of being that bit younger. Later he may be developing at a different rate from others in his class, which can cause issues. And he is likely to have to repeat a year, as secondary schools will not normally accept children out of year.

Even if you sent him to an independent school, those issues would still be there.

I agree with others that you should be looking for ways to stretch him other than school - nurseries and preschools often do more challenging work with the oldest group anyway, and/or you can get him involved in other groups for art, drama, sport, music. Then he will be in a position to get the best out of school at the usual age.

nybom Thu 26-Jun-08 15:26:31

ok ok, i get the drift - almost all of you think he should go later rather than earlier...

i'll have a think about it, and discuss it with DH, but it doesn't seem like i could do much anyway...

again thanks for your opinions!


nooka Thu 26-Jun-08 15:31:56

Just to echo the school is different theme, my dd, who was used to pretty much organising everyone at nursery, and was very very ready for school still found going from three long days at nursery to five short days at school very stressful and tiring to start with. School has such different expectations than nursery I think, it's not just about how many adults are there, it's about the environment and how much structure there is.

Re your OP can you really remember being three? Are you sure this isn't something that has been said to you by your mother - my dd was frustrated during her last few months at nursery, but at age 7 she still reminisces about how great nursery was. I don't think that your son will suffer from not starting school now, and he will certainly gain from the flying start he will undoubtedly make when he goes.

Final question, how old is your ds now? Are you wanting him to school this September, or is this a future worry for you? I'm just asking because children can have spurts of growth (emotional and intellectual as well as the physical kind) and you may feel differently in the future.

itati Thu 26-Jun-08 15:35:26

I really think it is down to the child. My daughter is the youngest in her class but the brightest. And I know that as the teacher has told me.

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