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Delaying school entry for Summer born - what happens at 11/12?

(17 Posts)
Helspopje Wed 20-Nov-13 21:25:53

My reading of the new-ish DfE advice is that parental choice as to which year (YR/Y1) their summer born child starts school in at age 5 is to be greater prioritised, much as it is with Jan/Feb borns in Scotland (and around the chronological year break point pretty much everywhere other than England, it would seem).

As the mum of a very able but tichy-tiny and emotionally immature summer born child I am obviously keen on the concept, but worry that my DC may not be able to stay with that year group at transit to secondary school. The advice in the document that I linked to is v wishy washy

'Q9. If a child is educated outside of their normal age group whilst in primary school, what happens when they move to secondary school?
A9. It will be for the admission authority of the secondary school to decide whether to admit the child out of their normal age group. Admission authorities must make decisions on the basis of the circumstances of each case, and will need to bear in mind the year group the child has been educated with up to that point'

I'm finding it very hard to know what to do in the absence of being able to know for sure that they won't force my DC to make up the missed year later on. To make matters more complicated, I live in a grammar area and all the websites seem to require the children to be in the expected chronological year at time of sitting the test.

Does anyone know any more as time is ticking on and we must commit to a decision soon?

prh47bridge Thu 21-Nov-13 00:10:30

The new advice regarding deferred entry is really no different to the old advice. Parental choice is everything if you are deferring for less than a full year but if you defer for a full year it is up to the admission authority (the LA or the school depending on the type of school) to decide whether to admit the child to Reception or Y1. The authority cannot have a blanket policy but unless they are convinced that there are special circumstances most admission authorities will insist that the child goes into Y1. So the first thing to do is to find out whether your child will be allowed to go into Reception a year late.

What happens on transition to secondary school depends on the school. Some will insist that the child goes straight into Y8, missing Y7 completely.

There is no absolute answer that applies to all schools. And any answer you get from secondary schools today may change by the time your child transfers. So I'm afraid there is no way of knowing for sure what will happen on transfer to grammar school.

If you really don't want your child to start school at the beginning of the school year the safest thing would be to defer entry until later in the academic year, e.g. until Easter. Your child would still be one of the youngest in the class but there would be no question of them being forced to miss a year on transfer to secondary school.

Groovee Thu 21-Nov-13 00:34:24

My dd is a January born Scottish deferred child. She should be in S3 but is in S2 as the class she started primary with are classed as her peers until they leave school and there is no changing off years later on.

LittleSiouxieSue Thu 21-Nov-13 00:34:35

Usually very able children need to be in the correct year group to flourish. Otherwise things will be too easy. Children do mature quickly and I do think teachers have experience of these children. You will find it is not always summer born children who are not mature so what would happen if everyone wanted a different start time? Both mine were summer born and were fine. I would see how you get on with normal starting time.

Clavinova Thu 21-Nov-13 08:29:13

I would be worried about doing this, especially as you're in a grammar school area; I know several dc in grammar schools who are a year young for their year group but not the other way around. Unless you've got exceptional circumstances then I would be surprised if the grammar schools admitted dc who were older than their chronological year group. The entrance exams are standardised for age anyway so a very able summer born child would have a slight advantage here. Starting Reception in Jan or April would seem the way to go. The link you've provided is only Government Advice - much like the advice given to local authorities about imposing fines for parking restrictions - they don't take any notice though!

Helspopje Thu 21-Nov-13 16:37:28

Thanks all.

As I said, I'm coming at this from a Scottish perspective where there is no suggestion that the deffered/delayed year would ever be required to be 'taken back' so this all seems very odd indeed. AFAIK no child would have a hope in the Kent test from year 5 so is seems too much of a risk.

I am certain that she more than needs to be delayed for her own sake (sleeps >3h every afternoon, can't get onto a childs toilet without help as she's so small, the effort of being at preschool all morning wipes her out for the rest of the day etc etc etc), but I'd destroy her future if someone decided to delete year 7 later on.

prh47bridge Thu 21-Nov-13 17:29:31

You should be aware that Reception is essentially the same as nursery/pre-school and the emphasis should be on learning through play. It is intended to be a gentle introduction to the more formal schooling that starts in Y1.

Helspopje Thu 21-Nov-13 20:23:05

I do hope so, but as they're already half way through jolly phonics in preschool, it all seems pretty school-like already which is a crying shame for a barely 3 year old. I wish she was at home in forest nursery kicking through leaves in her wellies rather than at a desk in a sweatshirt with a crest on it.

It seems to me like the effort of concentrating hard for 3 hours in the morning is almost too much already as we have had uncharacteristic meltdowns and weeping that she is too tired on the way home every day this half-term so far.

I do so very wish we could move to Scotland where we wouldn't have to look at a formal schooling environment for ages yet and where she would be well positioned in the year cohort when she did go, but unfortunately there wouldn't be work for me or for DH there.

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Nov-13 20:38:46

I'm sorry that you have such a formal pre-school - it sounds very, very unlike all the pre-schools I know of (and indeed Reception classrooms) where learning through play is taken really seriously.

Could you look around at alternative pre-school provision that would match her needs better in the short term? Are you in a 'school based' one? Is there a 'parent committee run' one nearby - often from a prefab, sometimes from a church hall, sometimes in a spare room in a school BUT the key point is that it is run separately from the school, with employed staff who are employed by the parent-led commitee who run it [sounds bizarre but the majority of pre-schools are run like this in most areas]? Could you move her?

If you have a pre-school that is a better fit (DS could read fluently when he left pre-school and transferred to school BUT despite learning all that he would have perceived himself as 'playing all the time': trikes, scooters, muddy puddles, walks, trips, lego, paint, messy goop, really involved adults and a story at the end as the only 'sit down as a group' activity) then I suspect that you would find her better prepared for school as she would move towards it gradually rather than be 'forced' into shool-like activity now at an inappropiately early age.

Also look round all possible schools. As I say, formal reception classes are rare IME, but they do exist and it sounds as if you might need to avoid them. Perhaps the locally regarded 'best' school may not be the best fot for your child, and a less formal school might fit her particular needs better? (Locally, DS / DD's primary has a VERY informal reception arrangement, and a parent-run pre-school as described. More highly regarded school down the road has very formal versions of both. Externally, as I say, the more formal school is better regarded, although in fact the results and value add of the less formal one outstrip it....)

Helspopje Thu 21-Nov-13 20:58:35

It is very hard to know what to do to do right.

She can already read by look and say and phonics seems to be quite intuitive for her so not worried about what they are doing, but more worried about why they think this is a reasonable thing to do with children who can regularly be seen to be rolling on the floor like puppies as they are so very young.

Any progression from here will be worse, I am sure.

As regards other options, this is the only one we got into so not much scope to move around. There were no state preschool places available as the three that we applied to all filled all their spots with people who lived closer and the LEA said there were no other free places anywhere nearby.

talkingnonsense Thu 21-Nov-13 21:03:17

Tbh, if she is academic enough to head for a grammar (top 25% in Kent), you don't want her a year below at school, tho many teachers differentiate admirably, it decreases her chances of a social and academic peer group. At the moment, she could not attend grammar a year below either, tho as you state if legislation changes this may follow.

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Nov-13 21:20:27

'Community' / 'parent run' preschool places are not co-ordinated by the LEA.

The family Information Service for your area will usually hold information about pre-schools of all types:

Checking the FIS for an area I know reasonably well produced 20+ results for Pre-schools, mostly committee-run ones.

If your current pre-school is attached to a private school (I am inferring this from your comment 'there were no state pre-school places available') then tbh it MAY be more formal. One of the reasons some people sometimes send children to some private schools is because 'it looks like school as they remember it', and IME that often means play-based learning is neglected in favour of sitting at desks as you describe.

What does the Reception class of your chosen state primary look like? Have you had a good nosy around?

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Nov-13 21:23:26

If you are in Kent, this may be a place to start:

Helspopje Thu 21-Nov-13 21:56:53

That search produced a childminder who cares for french speakers. v odd. I don't know of any parent committee run preschools around here but will ask around again as they sound ideal. Within about 2-3 miles we have 3 state nurseries, 2 private school ones, a montessori one and countless day-nurseries, many of which are business oriented without a real preschool focus.

The reception of our two local schools (both of which we are unlikely to get into because we live over 0.3 miles away) are quite hard to get into for a proper look. They do mass-look rounds for potential parents, but the kids weren't actually there at the time so you can't get a feel for them in action. All our neighbours are happy, but I'd still have rather looked for myself.

I had hoped for a place at the attached nursery as they are co-located and so I would've got to see more of how the school runs and could've made a more informed choice.

Thanks for all your thoughts - much appreciated

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Nov-13 22:47:12

That's really odd. I did test it slightly using the 'district' search and ticking the 'Preschool' box on the page that appears after you select that search type. - but of course I have no idea where you actually live....

If it is of any help, I don't think that assuming that if you move from your private school pre-school (which does sound desperately formal) to a state reception class you will have 'more of the same or worse'. It may be that your DD has a very formal year in pre-school but a much more freeform learning through play experience in a decent Reception class....but I understand the worry that you might not get in.

If you ring up and ask to see the local school during the normal school day, what do they say? I have never worked in a school that would not accommodate that request willingly, however over-subscribed - I did once encounter it when enquiring about a secondary for my DD, and as a result that school has not made it onto our list. I did, after a lengthy conversation, ask them what they had to hide that they were so reluctant to show a parent round while the school was in normal session, and recived a VERY flustered response which didn't inspire any confidence!

KateSycoraxMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 23-Nov-13 13:08:33

We're just going to move this to Primary Education at the request of the OP.

Loopytiles Sun 24-Nov-13 18:21:23

Don't think the DfE advice has any force, as prh says, so unless they add some kind of regulation (as has been done for entry to reception and as was done in scotland) then it's all down to the local authority / schools (if they are the admissions authority). So same as now.

Imagine that grammar schools would be most likely to be hardline on having no DC "out of year" given that entry is competitive and parents of other DC might think it gives unfair advantage.

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