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Premature babies and school admissions

(105 Posts)
misslinnet Tue 03-Apr-12 22:48:42

I found a government e-petition about acknowledging prematurity in the Primary Schools Admissions Process.

Many LEAs use a childs actual birthdate to determine when they should start school. In some cases, the childs corrected birthdate would have put them in the following school year. The petition is for asking each LEA and the government to give parents of premature children the choice of when to send them to school and take their degree of prematurity into account.

If the e-petition gets at least 100,000 signatures, it'll be eligible for debate in the House of Commons.

This is of interest to me, as DS was born at 34 weeks in August, so I'm feeling like we'll probably be forced to send him to school a year early if you see what I mean. Although he's only 7 months old now, so too early to tell if it'll be much of a problem for him...

Acknowledging Prematurity in the Primary Schools Admissions Process

hazeyjane Tue 01-May-12 08:55:01

Ok I realise I have no place here, so I am going to leave the thread alone now, but it touched a nerve with me because I am trying to work out the best place for ds to go to nursery (he has to go because it should help with his development), and this will affect his preschool placement and we are also investigating primary school-the whole thing makes me feel sick. He has just started crawling, he has no speech, he is constantly tired, he still eats purees (swallowing issues), we are waiting for a walker to be issued by occupational therapy which should mean he will be walking with a walker by 2, he can't be left with anyone but me or dh as he has huge separation anxiety. He is making progress, but it is slow and require a lot of input from dh and I. I can't imagine him being ready for school in 2 years time.

I think the date of start in relation to actual or corrected age is such an arbitrary way to decide whether a child is ready to start school, but basing it on developmental age for certain children would probably be a logistical nightmare, so I guess at least changing the rules to give some choice to children born prematurely may be a step in the right direction. I guess I should start my own petition.

libelulle Tue 01-May-12 10:08:57

I'm sorry hazey, that sounds tough. In a way, maybe the prem baby start issue is actually about kids without additional learning needs, but who were just born at the wrong time - like tigerlily's dd. Those with children with an actual learning disability need proper support in place throughout their school days, whenever they start, and as some have said, it's not as clear-cut whether delaying a year will necessarily help matters.

With prems, it seems that the disadvantage in some cases is more straightforward, in that they are effectively just too young for their year - like an august-born only more so. What I was actually told by our consultant was that prem babies don't really ever 'catch up' as such - the difference just becomes less noticeable with time. In that sense, it is not inequitable for prems to be simply 'restored' to where they would have been if they'd been born on time, so that there is not 16 months gap between them and the oldest in their class. It doesn't apply to those prems born between say september and may, because they are still effectively within the normal range for that year.

FullBeam Tue 01-May-12 16:43:31

Hazey, I'm sorry you're having such a worrying time. I hope you can find the support and help you need for your ds.

Lotstoshare Fri 28-Sep-12 02:11:58

My son wasn't prem but it was so obvious that he had DD because at three he wasn't speaking and the Speech Therapist found that he was confused by similar sounds in others speech though he wasn't hearing impaired. He also couldn't physically mouth the sounds. We had to teach him where to put his tongue and teeth to make sounds. Then repeat, repeat, repeat. Other milestones weren't reached without teaching him. He was clumsy and when close to five was still like a three year old. Parallel play, playing by repeatedly arranging things, eating things that were not food. I gave my permission for an assessment to be done by a learning and behavior expert who came to the Playcentre before he started school so that by the day he started there was a teacher aid in place. He also needed a minder at school during the lunch hour. My family were disgusted when I told them as they thought I was molly coddling. However he has always loved people and has never had separation anxiety. I have never been concerned and have always believed he could catch up with assistance. However I would be in denial if I said there was never a problem. I have always known there was a problem right from birth. All you can do is focus on the positive.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Fri 28-Sep-12 07:23:29

My DD was a 34 weeker. She has development delay. When she started YR, she was a full two years behind her peers.

This rule wouldn't have helped her though - she was born early March instead of mid April.

As it happens, I kept her in Nursery until she reached compulsory school age. Which meant that she started after the Easter holidays. She still wasn't ready.

Even now, at 14y6m, I can see that she would be better suited to being in the year below. It would make such a difference to her, and I think it would have given her a chance of getting decent GCSE results, rather than scraping F's.

My DS2 was born at 40+2. He also has a 2 year development delay. He has the same issues, but with a November birthday, is one of the older DC's in the year. He is currently in Y4. He would be much more suited to Y3. Socially as well as academically.

He will be 9yo in a few weeks. He still watches Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Justin's house. He can't follow the conversations about the latest films because he just doesn't get the themes being explored.

If they want to give parents of preemies with development delays the option to delay school by a year, then they have to give parents of full term DC's with development delays the same option.

I would have chewed the LA's arms off for the chance for my DD and my DS2 to be in the year below. I tried for ages.

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