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Scottish education- anyone, experience of delaying childs entry into primary 1?

(31 Posts)
SCOTCHandWRY Mon 21-Jan-13 13:34:57

We are choosing to delay DS4's entry to P1 until he is maximum possible age (the year after he would normally go, but as he is still under the age of 6 in the August of that year, we have the right to do this). We are happy with this decision, and our reasons for doing it.

We know (from personal experience, but from other parents too), the pressure put on parents NOT to delay entry if they have already used up their optional "free Nursery place" at age 3,4 years old (as the child then gets an extra year in nursery class which the council has to fund).

Therefore we are choosing not to apply for a nursery place (deadline next week!), to start just after he turns 3. We will apply next year and have him start nursery class age 4.

Has anyone else did this? How did the school/council react? I am a little unsure if we should bring up the topic with the school now (nursery class is within the school), DH thinks no, it is our decision, just apply next year.

SCOTCHandWRY Wed 23-Jan-13 14:02:34

Thanks Cecily - an interesting point, I hadn't thought of that particular scenario! They would be bit bastardly shock if they did that! It would smack of trying to force us to send him to P1 while still 4... under normal rules, DS4 would be getting jan to june plus one full year funded, so what we are intending to do doesn't change the amount we are getting, just moves it on a year.

If they choose to do that - he won't have a gap year, there is private provision available locally and we are in the very fortunate position that it's not a real issue to pay for a couple of days a week, if it comes to that... we would send him for Jan to June though, and hope to convince them continuity would be best (we'd pay the school nursery if an unfunded place, if space was available (likely as the school role has been falling the past few years), in the event of the council saying no to funding).

CecilyP Wed 23-Jan-13 13:38:26

There shouldn't be any problem for your DS to take up his nursery place in January 2015 - I see you are planning ahead - but you really do need to check with Fife council if this place will continue to be funded from August 2015. Otherwise it is possible that your DS will have 2 terms at nursery followed by a 'gap year' before taking up his place in P1 in August 2016.

SCOTCHandWRY Wed 23-Jan-13 13:05:33


As far as entry to P1 goes, despite what many parents are told (by nursery staff), when they bring up the issue of deferring the start of school until the age of 5+ (provided the child is not yet 6 on the day term starts in August of P1 entry), this decision is entirely the decision of the parents, it is not something you need to seek permission for, and the DS does not need to have any specific needs. This is clearly stated in Fife council documents relating to P1 enrolment.

HOWEVER, yes it's the nursery funding issue which is a bit more problematic - an extra year may not be funded without nursery support, but we are not going to be in that situation, we are not going to be applying for an extra year at nursery, we are specifically wanting the nursery place he is entitled to, but a year later than usual so he
has a year at nursery and then moves on to P1.

DH and I had a big discussion about this again last night and have decided that we are not going to apply this week for nursery starting in Jan14 - we are not bothered if they decide we can't have a funded state nursery place in jan15 (age 4) prior to going into P1 - we will make our own arrangements elsewhere.

We have our reasons for deciding it's in DS4 best LONG-TERM interests to start formal schooling as late as possible (valid reasons but I don't want to go into them in too much depth). It is NOT to do with readiness for school at age 5, but the issue of maturity in late secondary school - 2 of our DC were at the very youngest end of their year group and an other is the eldest in his year group. The experiences we have had with our older 3 DC have made us consider whether we even want to sent DS4 to school at all!

The first 2 DC would have (possibly literally) died of boredom if made to stay at nursery an extra year but were both socially not ready to cope (academically yes) - both are academic high achievers but maturity wise would have coped with 4th and 5th year exam/study pressure so much better if a year older- they are in 1st and 2nd year uni now.

With the benefit of hindsight, we would have done what we plan to do with DS4 - sent them to school the following year, after 1 year at nursery (plenty of time to learn school-style routines but not enough time to be bored of it).

As a PP said upthread, if the kids are bored the nursery are not doing their job! There may be some truth in that comment and my sources say the situation has not changed much at that nursery school since my older DC attended!

upinthehills Wed 23-Jan-13 11:49:38

In our school almost all Jan and Feb birthdays defer - it is pretty automatic and you don't need to give a reason.

I'm not surprised all the people posting with Jan and Feb birthdays say it is fine - is now the accepted practise to do this, so the councils are totally geared up and any nursery funding queries have been cleared up.

My feeling is you may struggle with a late autumn birthday and funding unless you have support from the education establishment - this isn't the normal request and you will get involved in council bureaucracy. Your DS must have specific needs - can you ask for a referral the the Education Psychologist that is attached to the school. They can help you come to a decision by assessing your DS abilities. Or, if you feel it necessary, you can get a private consultation.

BirdyBedtime Wed 23-Jan-13 11:27:19

Hi isw, East Lothian here too! DS has just turned 4 last week and we are intending to start him at school in August - honestly when we tell people you'd think we are admitting to whipping him or something.

We agonised for a long time about deferral and have come to the decision that in our case it's not a good idea. Who knows whether it's the right decision or not (and I think no matter what decision you make you'll wonder what might have happended if you'd made the other) as I think it's a very personal one in each case ..... however there is a deferred child in DSs nursery (both private and school) and he fully admits that "nursery is boring" so in that case I'm not sure it was the right decision (but obviously I don't know if there were mitigating reasons).

OP - I don't think you'll have a problem unless your school nursery is very over-subscribed

isw Tue 22-Jan-13 22:55:36

East Lothian here. Dd feb born we are deferring so will enter P1 at 5.5 no problems at all. So 2 years do pre school with no funding issues. There are a few Nov and a lot of Dec born in her class who have also deferred so she is no means the oldest . Certainly not bored!

plentyofgrowingroom Tue 22-Jan-13 21:57:28

My DD wasn't bored, She did 2 years plus a term. There was an element of coasting in the last term but that just added to the excitement of looking forward to school for her. Her nursery key worker said if DD was bored, the nursery wouldn't be doing their job properly!

SCOTCHandWRY Tue 22-Jan-13 21:41:57

grin Lots o Fifers about tonight! People who have deferred, did the DC get bored doing nursery for 2 years? I think as we are not sending DS into p1 until the aug after he is five, 100% sure of that, I think if the council say he can't have a nursery place at age 4, we will just tell them politely to get stuffed and make our own arrangements!
Applications to p1 don't need to be submitted until the end of jan of the year of entry... Small village school, place a certainty so not worried on that score.

LifeofPo Tue 22-Jan-13 20:58:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Tue 22-Jan-13 20:53:46

Glasgow definitely has an issue with that extra year of funding. <grinds teeth>

LifeofPo Tue 22-Jan-13 20:52:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

trixymalixy Tue 22-Jan-13 20:52:14

My DS has a January birthday and I have absolutely no regrets about deferring his entry to P1.

My friend who's DD has a December birthday also deferred and as far as I know had no issue getting funding for an extra year in nursery. This was in South Lanarkshire.

plentyofgrowingroom Tue 22-Jan-13 20:46:55

Just what I was thinking!grin

FannyFifer Tue 22-Jan-13 20:45:06

Did the Fife Klaxon go off of what?
[Waves to fellow Fifers] smile

plentyofgrowingroom Tue 22-Jan-13 20:43:46

I'm in Fife too and know of several people with DCs with Autumn birthdays who have deferred and received the extra years nursery funding so 2.5 years in total.

FannyFifer Tue 22-Jan-13 20:41:20

Sorry meant to say she will have 2 years at nursery.

FannyFifer Tue 22-Jan-13 20:39:21

I will more than likely be deferring DD she will be 3 this Feb.
I have applied for her nursery place this year, intending to start her after the summer.
Will speak to nursery staff prob this time next year to say she will be deferring.

CecilyP Tue 22-Jan-13 20:38:32

You are absolutely right that children do not have to start school till after they are 5 which means any child who turns 5 after about the middle of August could defer. The provision of free universal nursery education hasn't so much clouded the issue as created the issue. Prior to that, very few parents chose to defer. I understand your point about wanting to move your DS's year of free nursery education forward a year, but only Fife Council itself will be able to give you a definitive answer.

AMumInScotland Tue 22-Jan-13 20:34:44

I think you still really need to check with them about the funding, and get it in writing if they will fund you for what they would define as his first "school" year rather than his "preschool" year. Otherwise you could find that they stick to some wording about how they allocate funding and you could miss out.

They might give priority to places for 4yo, but not necessarily for funded places when you have the option of sending him to school.

It depends how big a problem not being funded would be for you, but if you are hoping for a funded place, I think it's best to get them to clarify and agree it at this stage - it would be up to the council rather than the individual school, i think.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Tue 22-Jan-13 20:29:33

you are making a mountain out of a molehill, then, he'll be kept back anyway.

SCOTCHandWRY Tue 22-Jan-13 20:25:46

We are in Fife smile both fife and the schools guidance on entry state that there is no obligation to enrol a child for p1 entry until the August after the 5th birthday.

DS4 is not a jan/feb birthday, he is a late autumn birthday. Legally it is absolutely the parents decision, been reading more about it today, it is NOT the nursery or the schools decision but the issue of the free optional nursery places clouds the issue because parents do get pushed in one direction or the other depending on the availability of funding for an extra year at nursery.

We are not wanting an extra nursery year- we want to start at 4.5 and start p1 the next year.... One year of nursery will be more than enough.
Fife guidance info states priority for nursery places should go to 4 year olds (who have not had nursery place as 3 year olds). Which would mean kids in our DS situation I think.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Tue 22-Jan-13 20:15:56

definitely check with your local council. i made the case to our council that dd1 had only had 14 months of nursery and so could i have 10 months free, which would take me up to the June and they ptsl.

QueenAmidala Tue 22-Jan-13 19:59:37

My mum had somewhat the opposite issue as i'm a Feb birthday and she was pressured to hold me back a year, but told them to bugger off (she could clearly see I was ready for school) and started me as normal - on the other hand my little brother could have benefitted from being deferred for a year but as a July birthday he wasn't allowed, then he learned nothing for the first 18 months of primary smile

I know my DH and a close friend who are also Feb birthdays and neither of them deferred either. I wish I could have deferred my son, and he is an April birthday!

habbibu Tue 22-Jan-13 19:47:04

I don't know any Jan/Feb children (oh, one, actually) who weren't kept back until the next year, nor any parents who regret it. It seems to be the norm in this part of Fife. Catriona, the ds's peers would be in his P7 class, and would have been his peers throughout school, surely?

Catriona100 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:01:52

Have you thought through what it will mean for your son when all his peers are moving up to secondary school but your son still has another year to go? Or when he joins a local U8s football team but all his classmates are in the U7s?

I guess if you are on DS4, then you are already familiar with these sort of issues, so apologies if my (well-meaning) question causes any offence

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