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Defer or not to defer that is the dilema - scottish school system

(23 Posts)
apps Mon 06-Jun-11 15:07:37

I would be interested to hear if anyone has had a positive experience of sending a 4.5 to school. I originally wanted to defer DS (feb born) but nursery is so insistent that he is ready and another year would not improve his confidence, as he is quite shy around people he doesn't know well. The nursery drafted in a headteacher who felt he was more than ready and I could be doing more harm than good in keeping him back. I felt I would then change nursery but the nursery felt a change could set him back as he may not bond with the younger children and then would have to cope with another change in going to school next year not knowing anyone in his class. I mentioned all the press on keeping boys back especially and was met with don't believe everything you read on the internet and that each child is individual. My son is quite small for his age and I worry about him having to compete physically and academically with children a year older.
I am totally confused now and would appreciate any comments.

LindyHemming Mon 06-Jun-11 15:55:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

haggisaggis Mon 06-Jun-11 16:09:22

My ds went at 4.5, Now due to start secondary after teh summer! Like you I thought about deferring but teh head teacher visited him at nursery and said she thought he was ready. He has been OK and able to hold his own. He is also slightly small for his age but it hasn't caused him problems. However - he has been at a very small 2 class primary which may have helped.
My ds was never really shy though - If he will be movig to primary with people he already knows then maybe it waould be best for him to go at 4.5 - but if he won't know anyone I think I would still defer.

Seona1973 Mon 06-Jun-11 18:11:43

dd (now P3) has a couple of kids in her class with feb birthdays that didnt defer and they seem to be doing fine.

kaumana Mon 06-Jun-11 18:29:25

Euphemia - makes good points.

DS is about to leave P7, gulp, and tbh the boys who have Jan/Feb birthdays have not seem to have caught up in maturity levels this was particularly obvious in the early years. On the education front they seem to be fine, although none are in the top sets, this does not appear to be an issue with the girls however.

I wouldn't worry about your DS not going up to school with his nursery pals, I deferred and I was concerned about this too but my fears were unfounded.

You know your own child don't feel you are being pushed into anything you are not comfortable with whether deferring or not.

CecilyP Mon 06-Jun-11 20:43:09

The nursery seem to be piling on so much pressure for him to start school this August - 'the nursery drafted in a headteacher who felt he was more than ready and I could be doing more harm than good in keeping him back' - that I am wondering at their motivation.

I don't know anyone who has regretted defering. My primary teacher friend defered her exceptionally large December born son and he did very well - now at university.

I didn't defer and have mixed feelings about it. It was certainly not all negative. DS did not have access to a proper nursery school and I felt he had outgrown playgroup. Also all his friends were starting school. But I can certainly relate to difficulties with sitting still, listening, the fine motor skills needed for drawing and writing, and I have to confess that his behaviour wasn't great for the first three years.

The things I would consider before making up your mind are:

Do you think he would enjoy another year at nursery, or does he seem to have outgrown it?
Does he like sitting still and doing quiet activities?
Is he good at personal care - dressing, undressing, going to the loo without having to be reminded - that sort of thing?
Are his particular friends going to school, or will they still be in nursery?

If you do make the decision to defer, I can't see much point in changing nursery, although they seem to be making you feel uncomfortable about keeping him there.

Lindax Mon 06-Jun-11 20:57:33

we deferred feb birthday ds (7), now in p2. (he was only 10 days off being the following year anyway).

even though nursery and school said he was more than ready we felt he was too shy/lacked confidence so went with gut instinct and the feeling, that if we got it wrong we'd be more likely to regret not deferring.

pros:- he's doing really well and is really confident now which we can see both academically and socially. These are things I'm sure he would have really struggled with if he was youngest in class (which would have not helped his confidence).

cons:- he is in top group for everything (not boasting honestly), has had maths prize two years running and I'm not sure if its because he is the oldest and has an advantage over his classmates, or if he has tried really hard to get there. All parents evenings have consisted of telling me he is great, but doesnt always try his hardest/or looks bored. I'm left feeling he isnt being pushed enough or learning you have to work hard to earn these things as its coming too easy, which may cause problems later on - hope that makes sense.
Also he's tall so stands heads and shoulders over some of the younger/shorter children in the class, but there are another couple of boys around the same height so not a big problem - great for holding his own at footie.

tbh I wouldnt pay too much attention to nursery and especially HT who has only met your ds briefly. They both dont know your ds as well as you do. Go with your own instinct.

Overall for ds think we did the right thing, time will tell.

thejaffacakesareonme Mon 06-Jun-11 21:02:19

My DS1 has a late November birthday but was a bit premature. I didn't defer him but can identify with much of what Euphemia has said. He didn't sit still in p1 and drove his teacher round the bend. Now he is in P2 he seems to have settled down a lot. Academically he is a little smart arse but socially he still seems quite young sometimes compared to others in the class.

I'd think about the area you live in and the school he'd be going to. In our area pretty much everyone defers kids with January or February birthdays, but I don't think this is the same everywhere. If your DS goes to a school where most people defer you could find there is over a year in age between him and the oldest kids. If I lived in an area like that I'd defer.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 06-Jun-11 21:05:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

apps Mon 06-Jun-11 21:10:12

Thanks for your comments I really appreciate them. The nursery are making me feel very under pressure not to defer. He has no particular friend going to school but knows a few who would be in his class. I know you have the choice to defer right up to they start school. He can get dressed himself, go to the loo and can sit still quietly playing on his own n or with friends. I know this is probably a confusing time for him as he is being asked by most people if he is going to school. He did say to the nursery teacher "my mum thinks I might benefit from another year of nursery" when asked so he is obviously listening well to my conversations.

alybalybee Mon 06-Jun-11 22:00:50

We were in a similar situation 4 years ago. Our DS missed the cut off to start school at 4.5 by one day, so should have waited until the following August to start. However, like you his nursery staff were telling us they believed it would be detrimental for him not to start at 4.5. We received plenty of negative comments/asides about boys rarely being ready/able to start school at 4.5 and we had a genuine concern about what would be the correct move for him. Guided by the nursery staff, who we believed, knew and understood our DS well we believed he should start school at 4.5.

Due to his 4th birthday being the day after the cut off we had to apply for an early application for him to start at the local state school. It was a white-wash and he was refused entry, partly because our local primary had a huge number of placing requests and our application came bottom of the list!

In the end we felt so strongly that he should start school we paid for him to go to a private school. At nursery he had a tendency to be quite shy and had no particular friend. When he started school he knew no-one had no prior knowledge or experience of the school and although some days were more challenging than others he did just fine. He made friends, coped well with all the challenges thrown at him and blossomed beautifully, we couldn't have hoped for better. We are in no doubt it would definitely have been the wrong decision to hold him back from starting at 4.5.

Having said all that I truly believe your own gut-reaction is the best path to follow.

Labradorlover Mon 06-Jun-11 23:10:19

DD ( Jan birthday ) started at 4.5 last year. She thinks school is fab.
I hadn't realised that you could defer till told by the nursery. When I asked the nursery staff their opinion, they said DD was ready. They also said that in the past children had been deferred, not because they weren't ready, but so they could be the oldest in the class. With the result of very grumpy 5 year olds at nursery.
I agonised over my choice for ages, but am so pleased I sent her. Yes she's one of the smallest, and in the bottom group for reading, but the extra structure has been great for her.

trixymalixy Mon 06-Jun-11 23:17:36

We're deferring DS who has a January birthday. Nursery said they thought he was ready. I spoke to 4 separate headmistresses who all said without a shadow of a doubt boys do better being deferred.

I said to nursery I didn't feel socially he was ready although he was bright enough and they agreed with me, they were just assessing his academic readiness not taking other factors into account.

IndigoBell Tue 07-Jun-11 06:36:33

It is hard to tell if the nursery is telling you not to defer because of what would be good for your DS, or because of what will be good for them.

It obv costs the LA more for you to defer, and I guess it is possible that they have directed the nursery to tell everyone to not defer.....

Is there anyone else in his nursery the same age? Have they also been told not to defer?

apps Tue 07-Jun-11 09:31:36

The nursery has advised parents of a boy who was a January birthday to defer but his parents have chosen not to. I think the nursery recommend this is because the child has obvious difficulties toileting, sitting still, listening etc. The nursery staff say they have December children they would recommend defer. He is in a private nursery at present but I wonder if they local authority are trying to stop the current trend of deferring.
Wondered how deferred children cope with being left with the younger children and all their friends at school.

Twiga Tue 07-Jun-11 16:01:21

I really wish we were still living in Scotland do ds didn't have to go to school til next year. He's four at the very end of June and if we defer him here, he would simply miss his reception year and start in year one with the same kids he would have done reception with. It's a rubbish system that doesn't make referring make any sense at all. For what it's worth both here and at home in Scotland, I've never heard anyone regret deferring, but have had people say that they regret not refering. Go with your gut instinct, you know your child best. Only saving grace for us is that ds can potentially be part time for two terms depending how he finds it. He's a confident, bright boy but for me it's a maturity thing, emotionally I think he'd be better at home another year. All the best, whatever you decide to do.

Twiga Tue 07-Jun-11 16:04:37

Just to add deferring down here is a huge hassle, lea make you feel like you've two heads and it's very rare coz of how the system is set up. I wish I was brave enough to go for it but I think ds will be disadvantaged by going into an already established class that are reading, writing already and have to catch up.

JoJoMummy321 Tue 07-Jun-11 16:46:30

DD is a December birthday and she was shy and took a while to settle at nursery. However when the time came the Nursery staff said she was ready so we went for it and she went to school at 4.5yrs.

This was 100% the right thing to do. DD is clearly in the right class and the thought of her with the class below now seems ridiculous. Teacher says DD is one of the most mature in the class and she holds her own on the academic side of things. Trust your instincts but don't defer if you are not convinced it will denefit your DS as it's important to be with the right group.

WentworthMillerMad Tue 07-Jun-11 16:55:13

Agree with twiga, we moved from London and had no idea about the deferring thing in Scotland! We deferred both our boys (Jan and feb). Best thing we ever did.
As a teacher in Scotland I feel the real advantages don't kick in until S3 and beyond. Standard grade results are better for the older students and a higher % go onto uni. Think long term, more so for boys!

heymammy Tue 07-Jun-11 17:04:14

I too have never heard a negative story from parents who have deferred. All bar none say their child really blossomed during their extra time at nursery and really came out of their shell. One parent I know had to pay for the extra year so that may be something to take into consideration.

At the end of the day it is YOUR decision and not the nursery's so please don't feel pressured; go with your gut.

Lindax Tue 07-Jun-11 22:01:22

Wondered how deferred children cope with being left with the younger children and all their friends at school

tbh ds barely noticed. he was 4 days fulltime nursery in the 3-5 room and taken out for preschool sessions so he knew the next years children already.

also they werent "real friends" as such, just nursery friends. His nursery wasnt attached to any school and children were from different area's so he never socialised with them outwith nursery apart from birthday party invites.

Groovee Thu 09-Jun-11 08:37:54

As a parent who has deferred and being a nursery nurse with many years experience, I always say this is our recommendation but go with your instinct.

I deferred dd who is going in P7 after the holidays. She's much more rounded as socially and emotionally she was very immature but now she's not and she mixes with P5-7's very easily and is very comfortable.

thejaffacakesareonme Thu 09-Jun-11 09:34:09

Something else to bear in mind is whether or not there are likely to be composite classes at the school in the future. I found out yesterday that my DS1 who has a late November birthday is going into a composite class with the year younger next year. I'm not happy, because the class will mostly be made up of the younger year group and he could remain in that class until he finishes primary school. If I'd known that, I'd have either pushed for him to be deferred (he was premature) or looked at another school.

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