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Reception school admission - Early born

(29 Posts)
vincini4 Mon 11-Jul-11 20:37:22

My daughter will be three year old in this August 2011. She will start Nursery from Sep 2011. She born 8 weeks early in August ( Initially expected in October) 2008 and spent about 5 weeks in neonatal. Her birth weight is very low. We as a parent found that she is behind her peer group. We are happy with the nursery place allocation. We would like to understand the options available to us regarding reception start date. We live in Kingston upon Thames Surrey.

We would like her to start her reception class after her fifth birthday ie from September 2013. What are the supporting document needed to achieve this? Or In 2009, there was press release from department of eduction regarding parental choice for summer born children from 2011. Is this applicable in my case?

In short,
Sep 2011 to 2012 - Nursery
Sep 2013 to 2014 – Reception at one of the allocated school

Sep 2012 to 2013 - If she can start the reception after 5 years, Will she be allocated a full time place in say Nursery ( assumed we full-fill the selection criteria)? . What are the option I have in this academic year regarding full time education?

Any pointers to help achieve the above would be greatly received.

Thanks.

catsmeow Mon 11-Jul-11 20:46:42

You can apply to reception for 2012, but then defer the place until the start of the summer term (the rules are the term after the child turns five, or the summer term, whichever comes first).

You can't delay to the following year - 2013 entry - unless she were to go straight into class six - and even then the school won't hold a place open for her.

Your daughter will be eligible for the under five grant until she turns five, even if she is deferring on a held place.

I know this as I have just done it for this years entry (don't know anyone else doing it though). I am also in London. The rules apply accross England. It is your right to defer entry in this way - even if your local authority or school is not keen on it. And you need not tell them you intend to defer until you get the place.

catsmeow Mon 11-Jul-11 20:47:23

sorry - unless she were to go straight into year one it should say. Don't know where that six came from (maybe the wine).

vincini4 Mon 11-Jul-11 21:31:01

Thanks for the info. It is quite useful to know from someone who has done it recently. The option of deferring a place has its own disadvantages ( friends, social and etc). Is there anyone delayed the entry by an year and went into reception? If so on what grounds?

letsblowthistacostand Mon 11-Jul-11 21:34:28

Hi, I'm also in Kingston. Which school are you looking to get into? My DD2 is July born (although not prem) so will also be one of the youngest. I worried about it but my DD1 is just finishing up her reception year and it is such a very gentle introduction to school. The teachers have been so good at differentiating each childs needs both socially and academically that I'm not at all worried about DD2 anymore.

I don't know what the rules are WRT referral but a good school and good teachers will be able to cater to each child individually.

dixiechick1975 Mon 11-Jul-11 21:44:29

Are you looking at state or private?

Private may be more understanding re teaching out of year (there is one child out of year in DD's private reception class)

frostymomma Mon 11-Jul-11 21:50:15

My DD was a late August baby and has just finished her nursery year at the school she will now continue into the reception class of. I have noticed a HUGE difference in her confidence levels, maturity and ability to understand and reason over the last year. I echo what letsblowthis says about the teachers differentiating the needs of the individual children and their particular strengths and development areas. So I guess what I'm trying to say is why don't you let her attend her nursery year and see how she develops over this time, before worrying about whether you want to defer a year. An awful lot can change in a year and it may put your mind at rest.

lisad123 Mon 11-Jul-11 21:51:40

its a real pain, my daugther is 4 in Sept and so ready for school. However she wont start reception till Sept 2012!

EyeoftheStorm Mon 11-Jul-11 21:52:52

All my DC are summer born and I really worried about it with my first, a boy and a late speaker. But I agree that reception is a gentle intro to school and they gain so much from being around their peers and lots of play. It might also be possible to do half days until you feel your DD has built up her stamina. DS1's speech caught up very quickly and now (in Yr2) I can hardly remember what I worried about.

My DD (started reception 2010) has fallen asleep in class several times this year (she likes her sleep!) but the teacher took it in her stride and it never worried DD.

The other reason I posted is that DS2 was born 10 weeks prematurely. He is a July baby (2 yrs in a couple of days) and should have been a September baby. I think if I hadn't had the experience with my oldest I would be looking at the same things you are. But in my experience, reception is about playing with others, learning how to follow simple classroom rules and becoming used to the rhythm of school.

Completely agree with letsblow that a school should be able to accommodate your DD and take your concerns into account.

prh47bridge Mon 11-Jul-11 22:36:49

Just to confirm some of the advice you have been given...

Your daughter does not have to start full time education until the start of term following her fifth birthday (September 2013). However, if you leave it until then she will go into Y1, skipping Reception completely. Most schools will be full in Y1 with children who were admitted to Reception the previous year so your choice of schools will be very limited if you delay a year.

You should apply for your daughter to start Reception in September 2012. You are then entitled to delay her start until January 2013 or the start of the 2013 summer term. The school has to agree to this if you request it. You are also entitled to request that she attends part time but the school does not have to agree to that request.

If your daughter is in Nursery she will hardly notice the transition to Reception. They follow the same curriculum. It is all about learning through play and making a gentle transition into the school environment, preparing them for the more formal education they will get from Y1 onwards.

UnSerpentQuiCourt Tue 12-Jul-11 08:52:54

Vincini, I have been fetched from another thread to share my experience!

My daughter's case is almost exactly the same as yours - she was born 8 weeks premature in July instead of September and spent 5 weeks in scubu. I find her much younger than (some of) her peers, although she has no problems as such. She is also bilingual, which means that her language has up to recently been behind that of her peers.

She will be starting reception in September at the age of 5.2 and does not have to go straight into y1 - this is not impossible, as you have been told, but is harder to arrange in some places than others.

In our case, I bumped into a visiting educational psychologist at a surestart group when she was 3 and was lamenting the fact that I would have liked her to delay her school entry by a year, but that I had been told that this is impossible, to which he said that 'little is impossible for articulate parents who are prepared to demand what they want'(!) He gave me to name of the person at the LEA to write to and I stated my case and requested an assessment by an educational pyschologist. This happened and he recommended that she be back-yeared, so that she officially starts her schooling a year later. She is also going part time for the first year - I have discussed this with the HT. This means that she will not be in full-time schooling until she is 6!

By the way, it is not quite true that 'You are also entitled to request that she attends part time but the school does not have to agree to that request'; schools, by law, have to offer you part-time education until a child is 5, although many prefer not to let you know this. I am a primary teacher - I know this to be true!

I think what helped me was that the head teacher at her local school decided that she would support me - I went to see her because I did not want to go behind her back and possibly antagonise her before we start, and that the ed psych was obviously sympathetic.

Sorry this was so long and I hope it helps. If you would like to know to whom I wrote at the LEA (her position, obviously, not her name!) I can find the file and look it up for you.

Don't give up! And don't be bullied by schools and people telling you 'just send her anyway because everyone does it' - you know your child and have a right to decide!

Scholes34 Tue 12-Jul-11 09:35:32

It's not impossible, but I don't know the procedures and UnSerpent's post is useful. A boy in my DD's class is August born and his school start was delayed because of medical reasons, and he's still with the same grouping of children. He's just two weeks older than my DD's friend whose birthday is 1 September.

prh47bridge Tue 12-Jul-11 09:41:40

UnSerpentQuiCourt - Well done on arranging for your child's to go into Reception one year late. However, it is impossible in most areas. The OP alsos need to think about what will happen later in her daughter's life. If she does do manage to get her daughter held back one year some secondary schools will insist on putting her direct into Y8, skipping Y7 completely.

I'm afraid I have to correct some of what you have said. You may be a teacher but what you "know to be true" is wrong. The Admissions Code is clear. Parents have the right to request deferred entry and/or part time attendance until the child is of compulsory school age. Schools are specifically required to comply with requests to defer admission but there is no requirement to comply with requests to attend part time. One may think that it is ridiculous to give parents the right to request something unless the school has to comply with such requests but that is what the previous government put in place.

I am glad that your school is complying with such requests but many do not. Unless and until the courts, the LGO or the Schools Adjudicator rule against such practises we have to assume that the Admissions Code means what it says, i.e. that schools are not required to comply with requests to attend part time.

ilovemydogandMrObama Tue 12-Jul-11 09:52:59

My DD is also a summer born child, and has severe chronic asthma. She just wasn't ready to go full time, but is very bright so felt it was the right thing for her to go to Reception, but on a part time basis. Initially her teacher was not happy, but got a letter from her consultant who supported her being on a part time schedule at least on a short term basis. She ended up going mornings until January and then full time.

Things calmed down with the school once the consultant wrote a letter saying that there were medical reasons for her to go part time as her exhaustion levels were a contributory factor in her asthma getting worse, chest infections etc.

PanelMember Tue 12-Jul-11 09:58:50

It's very kind of Serpent to share her experiences.

I get the impression that practice on delayed admission (ie taking a child out of its cohort, rather than just deferring within the same academic year) varies a lot around the country. I've never heard of any child delaying school entry for a year in this London borough and I imagine the LEA would take a completely different view of (for example) a child having below-average language skills. We have a high proportion of children with English as an additional language and large numbers of children who arrive in the country one week and start at school the next. I doubt that the LEA would regard their lack of fluency in English as grounds for delaying entry, even if their parents requested it - perhaps because of the numbers of children this might effect.

So, in short, I think OP should press for delayed entry if that is what she considers best for her child but should certainly not assume it will be agreed.

Hebrewlass Tue 12-Jul-11 10:04:32

Vincini4 - it may be worth contacting Bliss ( the premature baby charity) about this. My 2 were also prem and I know Bliss did a wealth of research on prem children and school admissions. Ie how they cope with it and the difficulties they face. Bliss would be able to give you some more advice on your options x

prh47bridge Tue 12-Jul-11 11:34:36

Reading my post to UnSerpent again, the first sentence comes across as somewhat condescending. My apologies. It wasn't meant like that. It was intended as a genuine congratulation.

crazymum53 Tue 12-Jul-11 12:23:44

My dd was born 13 weeks prematurely and when she started pre-school the term she turned 3 she was definitely behind her peer group. The pre-school gave her extra support and she did catch up with her peer group within a year (between the ages of 3 and 4). I think it is possible that in a years time your child will have caught up and be more than capable of school and you will be wondering why you were so worried.
Prematurity is only really an issue for children with very low birthweights (less than 1 kg) and born at about 24 weeks. There shouldn't really be a problem with a 32 week gestation.

UnSerpentQuiCourt Tue 12-Jul-11 13:01:27

Panelmember is right - we live in Dorset and I don't think that they were worried about setting a precedent!

My head teacher certainly thinks that she legally has to allow part-time attendance and she is usually well up on the legal side of things; I haven't actually done the research in person so bow to superior knowledge.

I haven't really started worrying about year 7 yet, but am fairly confident that something appropriate can be sorted out; she may even want to jump into y8! However, one of the things that our LEA is apparently concerned about is that the child might leave school at the legal minimum age without qualifications due to being in the academic year behind, so that does not sound as if they are planning to force any 'catching up' at any time. As the ed psych said, a lot can be achieved by pushy determined parents who know their rights. Schools really dread them!

crazymum53 Tue 12-Jul-11 15:25:49

Forgot to add that my dd did have an assessment from the community paediatrician to assess whether she was developmentally ready for school or had additional needs. I would have thought that you would need a similar assessment to defer entry.

vincini4 Tue 12-Jul-11 19:40:50

Thank you all for your opinions. Just answer the questions, We plan to send her state school. All primary school's are good in my area. So I am not specific about a school. Thanks for sharing about how your summer born or prem did in school which gave me some comfort. A special thanks to UnSurpentQuiCourt for sharing the info. I spoke to LEA school admission in the morning and thought it is impossible before reading the post. I know it will be hard but I am going to give it a try. Thank you all for your time and post.

southofthethames Tue 12-Jul-11 20:37:55

My DS is also an August born who was premature (with an EDD in September)...without quite digging into every official channel, I basically asked around: no, the state schools will not allow me deferred entry. i asked a few friends who teach primary school and knew people specialising in early years....essentially the answer was that as a mainstream pupil (I assume that is what you hope for your DD) it was nearly impossible to defer a year- all you could do was find a school that might have smaller class sizes or be sympathetic about slower development. There is also the risk that even if a primary school allowed him to start a year late, the secondary schools might say at 13+, well you'll have to skip year 7 and go straight to year 8! It's different if your child has an identified learning disability related to prematurity problems but will then always be classed as a disabled child and would need a medical/psychological assessment report with each school application.

Private schools may be more accommodating, but again, you'll have to also factor in what happens in secondary and whether you can still afford private all the way to GCSE/ A level. If not - if you can get a current secondary head to agree to a slightly older pupil entering their class....and that head might change schools!. We found a supportive state primary school, but could not get a place (we didn't live near enough). We have now got a place in a private school where nursery and reception class are combined because of small numbers for that age group and he really enjoyed his induction morning. I am advised that developmental differences matter less as they get older (ie a 5 year old is 25% older than a 4 year old, but an 11 year old is only 10% older than a 10 year old, and of course rate of development slows down later), so at that stage your DD will probably be as good as the pupils with birthdays 10-11 months before hers, if not better.

Just one person's experience, hope it helps you decide!

UnSerpentQuiCourt Tue 12-Jul-11 21:55:21

Southofthethames states that you need a psychological assessment; I did get one, and I think it hinged on the fact that, when he was asking her to match spots on dice, she was saying, 'Oh look, baby dalmations!'

He also noted that she had a short attention span - for a three-year old, presumably. I think you need to know on what grounds you are requesting deferred entry - if you really think that she is noticably less mature than her peers, it is worth asking for an assessment.

There is also the option of HE, at least for a couple of years, until you think she is ready for school, but then you would have to help her prepare for school by making sure she attends groups such as dance/gymn/music without you on a regular basis, so that she is used to joining in with a group of children and doing what the teacher says. This seems to be the major problem of HE children going into school - I know; I have taught some!

I realise that I am really lucky to live in Dorset, where the system seems more ready to fit the child, rather than the other way round and many schools are undersubscribed, but I do get irritated when I am told 'Your child must do what all other children are doing and will cope somehow'. I don't think that just coping is enough. Remember, too, that the UK has a very early start to formal education, which is quite inappropriate for many full-term 4/5 year olds.

southofthethames Wed 13-Jul-11 21:46:37

Hi UnSerpentQuiCourt (what a cool name, but i should have used cut and paste!)....sorry, I didn't read your post in detail, was replying to OP. What I was quoting about assessment was just what others advised me; I am sure in some areas (possibly Dorset is one) they will be flexible throughout primary and secondary and go by the parents' observations and feedback, as well as opinion of the teacher taking the class, but I know some areas just love red tape and following the letter of the law - ours is one and I suspect it's due to the numbers and admin hassle. (Am I being weird to say I think she was really clever and thinking outside the box to have said "baby dalmatians"??! Spots, black and white, etc? - and me being a parent who did the whole O level/A level/University pressure cooker thing ).

I didn't want DS to have HE as I felt I couldn't give him the stimulation of playing with other kids the same age and making friends, learning to deal with conflicts and friendship challenges (he pushed me, she took my toy, it's ok, we're friends again). And another issue was being able to follow a routine and listen to instructions - snack time now, not when you feel like it, use the toilet now, not wait till everyone is about to go on the nature walk and hold them up, etc. I was very lucky to find this smal school with such an unusual reception class (and yet they still do writing, art, numbers, etc all the KS1 targets) that was combined with nursery class so he wasn't the youngest and lagging behind all the time- I felt it was the best of both worlds.

I agree the UK has a very early start! Where I grew up (outside the UK), not even all families had access to school for 4-6 year olds, unless you were either well off or very lucky to manage to ballot a place in the few subsidised preschools available. And nobody ever did reception/year 1 from 8.45 to 3pm, it was all half day. So it's been a challenge and a bit of shifting in thinking needed. I agree with you - it's not enough that they cope. I turned down the state school place in a class of 30 with a year of 90 (!!) where their attitude was "your child would just have to cope somehow". I want him to feel happy and settled, and I don't care if that means he is in "bottom levels" throughout reception and year 1. (obviously not at GCSE)

IWantAnotherBaby Thu 14-Jul-11 11:59:48

Hi. DS was also prem; born in late July at 31 weeks, due in September, weighing 900g (significant IUGR). He was always tiny, and at the time he should have started reception, although he was reading well (reading age of 7), and writing a bit, and a very happy and sociable little man, he was not ready for school because he wasn't even reliably dry in the day. He was also the size of an average 24-month old.

We decided to defer entry, and he started school the following year into year 1. This was perfect for him and a huge success. He never developed the idea that school was about play (the children moving from reception to year 1 had a harder time adapting to more work etc!), and loved it from the start. His only problem was his still-tiny size; the other children thought he was a baby, but he soon demonstrated they were wrong.

Since then he started somatropin and is now average height for his age. Deferring school entry to year 1 was the best decision I ever made for him!

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