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anyone deferred their dc starting school?

(36 Posts)
TiredyCustards Thu 12-Sep-13 16:06:13

Hello, both my dc are August babies, dd will be 4 next year.

We're considering deferring and homeschooling for the first year, then putting her in year 1.

Does anyone have advice or experience of this?


Saracen Sun 15-Sep-13 21:12:29

Hi Genesis! I am glad to hear that deferring worked so well for your son.

I think your information is really helpful.

In case it helps anybody, here is just one small correction on the dates you mentioned - "mid-April" is not quite right:
Children born between 1 Sept and 31 December inclusive reach compulsory school age on 1 January.
Children born between 1 Jan and 31 March inclusive reach compulsory school age on 1 April.
Children born between 1 April and 31 August inclusive reach compulsory school age on 1 September.

This is based on the three "key dates" per year which are specified by the Secretary of State for Education. So the cutoff dates could change at the whim of a politician but nobody has messed about with them for years.

People (including me!) often refer to children "reaching compulsory school age in the term after their fifth birthday" but that is just shorthand for the above.

Genesis2000 Sun 15-Sep-13 18:02:20

You can defer, but they need to start a term after they turn 5. I defer my may born son but because next term would have been September, legally you need a couple of days attendance before the whole reception year ends. In our case we deferred till after May/June half term

It is definitely your legal right. All you have to do is write to the school and tell them you are deferring until a term after the 5th birthday and then arrange with the school when exactly they would start. They may try and tell you how wonderful it is for them to start but if you are set on deferring, they will just have to accept it. I didn't really bother talking with the head, I just wrote because then you get a response in writing and don't get the grief of what they will miss etc. Schools also get money in January so the head was a bit insistent on him starting in January at the latest. I just said no to that and they respected that.

It also depends when you son's birth date falls too. If he is sept-dec born, you can only defer for a term as he needs to be in school in January. Jan- April will need to be is school in April. Mid April - August, have to start at least before the end of the school year as place can't be kept if they miss the whole year.

By the way, we still did everything else even meeting the reception teacher etc. It was only after this (near the end of summer term) we knew exactly what we wanted so don't feel rushed into your decision. You can just accept the place and then make your decision after visit, new parents meetings etc. You might feel different about it or it can reinforce why you need to defer.

We defered simply because I don't see the need of a 4 year old in school, I have a much older daughter who went through the system so I knew exactly what reception was about and hence why I didn't want my son to go through it. Now he is a happy mature 5 year old enjoying school very much and I couldn't have been happier.

Periwinkle007 Sun 15-Sep-13 12:30:51

I would say the difference between nursery and reception is bigger than people realise especially in the summer term.

in my daughter's reception year they started gently, they did phonics every day and whole class reading on the interactive white board, they did more play type maths work and other learning. As the year went on they eventually got up to doing more sitting at tables and doing more formal adding and so on, reading obviously progressed, independent writing was encouraged. Children do get all the nice play time and informal learning but a lot more learning takes place and formal learning is introduced. they also do PE lessons involving all the getting changed malarkey, class music or singing lessons, assembly, bigger playground with lots of bigger children etc

yr1 is then much more formal and a lot of children find it quite a jump even after going through reception. To jump from nursery to yr1 I think would be a huge task for many children. Of course if they had been home educated more formally in that time then the actual work will be fine and so might the more formal setting but you would run the risk of the friendship problems.

having said that many schools mix the classes up at the end of reception anyway so children are mixed with some they don't know BUT they will always be with some familiar children.

PERSONALLY I wouldn't have liked my children to start later in the year as I think it could make it a lot harder for them to catch up on phonics they have missed and I do think it is probably disruptive to the other children if a child then needs extra help to catch up with things but one of mine is an autumn birthday and the other who is a summer term birthday has only just started so it is early days.

TiredyCustards Sun 15-Sep-13 11:46:29

Hi sofedup thanks for adding your pov.

I'm a little confused what the real differences are between the gentle play based learning of nursery, and reception year? Apart from a uniform and having to go in every day ....

s0fedup Sat 14-Sep-13 20:51:14

Cqn i just add from a teachers point of view that reception and y1 are COMPLETLY different.
Reception is early years based which involves learning through play (im sure u know this)
However Y1 is much more structured and formal.
To go from nursery to y1 would in my opinion be very hard. They wont have had a gentle play based year.
They will be going straight into reading, writing, maths etc.
Hope this helps...

Nerfmother Fri 13-Sep-13 21:34:21

Yeah I know, wonder if anyone will try it. Staggered entry has pretty much been dropped in some places due to the impact on summer babies and the lag in catch up. Prob a good thing.

BlackberrySeason Fri 13-Sep-13 21:28:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

racmun Fri 13-Sep-13 21:02:42

Sorry September 2014.

racmun Fri 13-Sep-13 21:02:00

My ds is an August born and is due to start August 2014 when he is 4 and 3 weeks!!

We're not going to defer his place as ultimately he's got to go and I'm concerned that he'll miss out on the nice gentle start.

Fortunately ds' school (he's in preps now) allow a really slow staggered start so he will do 5 morning and 2 afternoons and gradually build up from there.

It's a right pain having a young child.

Nerfmother Fri 13-Sep-13 20:49:17


Nerfmother Fri 13-Sep-13 20:48:00

There is some very interesting guidance on the DfE website (from August?) saying that nothing in law bars parents from asking for a reception place for a child who should be in year 1 if they are a summer baby. LAs have to consider each case.

Saracen Fri 13-Sep-13 20:34:36

In fact you could defer until later than the start of summer term. There is nothing in the School Admissions Code which says the child must start school at the beginning of a school term.

A summer-born child must start by the end of the Reception year in order to have her place kept waiting for her.

If it were my child and I wanted her to start as late as possible without risk of losing the place, I'd send her for the last week or two of July.

tiggytape Fri 13-Sep-13 14:06:56

At independent schools there is that additional option - to place a late Summer baby in the year below the one they're 'supposed' to be in and have them start reception at age 5.1
At state school this is not an option (well only in very, very rare cases with documented exceptional needs from professionals to explain why it is unavoidable. Councils cannot allow it just beased on parental request)

BlackberrySeason Fri 13-Sep-13 14:00:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kw13 Fri 13-Sep-13 13:27:56

I kept my DS (now year 3) in nursery and he started school in Year 1. There were places available so didn't have that problem. As a summer child I just knew that he wasn't ready for Reception, and nursery was absolutely the right level for him - and of course for me meant another year of summer holidays being covered. By the start of year 1 he was raring to go and absolutely thrilled. Children come and go at his school all year round, so it wasn't that unusual to be new. He was behind the others - he couldn't read, but recognized his letters. By the end of year 1, completely caught up and about middle of the class for all subjects. Would do it again in a flash! Good luck with whatever you decide.

TiredyCustards Fri 13-Sep-13 08:14:11

Thanks Peanut that's something to consider.

PeanutButterOnly Thu 12-Sep-13 23:18:25

The other thing to bear in mind is friendships in Reception. My DS1 (June Birthday) started after Easter in 2009, when all but 5 out of the 60 cohort had started by Feb half term at the latest. He wasn't ready for school as discussed with his nursery before that point. However I felt he was disadvantaged by this by the end of reception as he found it hard to make friends in a set of children who'd mostly already found their groups. Also it was a big jump into Year 1. Really he wasn't in Reception for long at all given that there were also 4 weeks of half days to settle him in. In our school year 1 is a completely different style to reception, there's not the outdoor/indoor free-flow play style in year 1. It's more structured.

My DS2 just started school at 4.0 (August Birthday). Again, cohort of 60. However it just seems like he's falling much more easily into friendships as they're all in the same boat at the same time. Early days for him I know! And he's only done half days so far. Also, it's easier for him as the third child, he already knows the school well and is the more outgoing of my 3.

It's quite hard working out in advance what to do when they're so young and changing so quick. Good luck

purpleroses Thu 12-Sep-13 23:12:51

I had a friend do that with her 2 Dds. Both spent an extra year in a really great nursary which they loved. DD1 was fine going straight into Y1. But DD2 (a quieter and less mature for her age child) struggled, found it hard to make friends, didn't like being left,etc. So friend ended up pulling her out and home ed her. Don't think the transition from nursary/home straight into Y1 is that easy for them.

You can ask for them to go part time for the first few weeks or longer if you want. That way they settle in but get a bit more down time to just be 4year olds. That said, my Dd is August born and loved school right from the start

prettydaisies Thu 12-Sep-13 23:02:38

Deferring is not that new. DD is now in Y8 and a summer birthday. We deferred her starting school until Easter in her reception year. The school had to hold the place for us even then!

tiggytape Thu 12-Sep-13 22:18:03

It is written into the admissions code so all (English) schools must offer it including academies.

However, you will find that some schools welcome and promote it in practice much more than others and some schools do such a good job at alarming talking parents out of it that all the children end up starting in Sept with none starting later at all (which can be hard if you don't want to rock the boat / be the only one who starts late).

If you decide to defer, all schools must allow this - there aren't some that do and some that don't.

BlackberrySeason Thu 12-Sep-13 21:57:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TiredyCustards Thu 12-Sep-13 20:37:13

Thank you tiggy flowers

tiggytape Thu 12-Sep-13 19:38:00

Here's a council who explain it more clearly (and in a less negative fashion) than Croydon.

They say:

"If you advise the headteacher that your child will be deferring admission, the place will be kept open and will not be offered to another child. If your child does not start at the school at the beginning of the term to which you have deferred, the place may be reallocated to another child. You are strongly advised to discuss deferring admission with the headteacher, pre-school setting and anybody else such as your GP who is involved with your child. The final decision is yours to make."

tiggytape Thu 12-Sep-13 19:33:32

As I said though, whilst you have the right to defer, many schools and councils try to dissuade parents from doing so citing social disadvantage and loss of settling in time.

As a result, there are some schools where it is quite common (hence the policy document about them losing out on funding) and there are some schools where they will tell you it is not possible / you will lose your place / your child will suffer and it is less common or not even known about.

tiggytape Thu 12-Sep-13 19:31:14

Yes - all of England.

Here is a link and a council link that both explain it

Here is the School Admissions Code 2012 section that it originates from:

2.16 Admission of children below compulsory school age and deferred entry to school - Admission authorities must provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday. The authority must make it clear in their arrangements that:
a) parents can request that the date their child is admitted to school is deferred until later in the academic year or until the term in which the child reaches compulsory school age, and
b) parents can request that their child takes up the place part-time until the child reaches compulsory school age.

And this from the School Funding Arrangements 2013-14 explaining to schools what happens if lots of pupils defer:

82. During the consultation period, local authorities queried how children who defer entry to reception classes might be accounted for as they would not appear in the October census and so would not attract funding. To prevent schools with lots of deferred entries to Reception classes being disadvantaged, we will uplift the DSG to reflect the difference in Reception pupil numbers between the October and January counts of the previous academic year. Regulations will allow local authorities to apply this uplift in pupil numbers to all schools with Reception classes, reflecting what actually happened in each school in the previous year.

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