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June babies - Requesting DS starts school at nearly 5yrs.

(32 Posts)
misshoohaa Thu 02-Jan-14 13:04:13

We are just wading into the schooling decisions for DS, and would like to consider the option for him to start at closer to 5yrs rather than 4yr. Being a June baby we have seen the evidence surrounding the difficulty some children have when sent to school younger and would like the option to start him later.

He will be 4 in June 2015 but we would like to send him in either summer term 2016 or Autumn term 2016, but I am unsure what class he will go into? Assuming if we send him in June 2016 (when he will be just 5) will he go into reception for 1 term, then move up to year 1? And assuming if he goes in September 2016 he will skip reception and go into Year 1?

I'm Australian, and the education system there allows you to simply hold you child back if you don't feel they are ready which seems to make more sense! I'd like him to have the reception transition as I think the play based learning would be hugely beneficial, so in an ideal world he'd start reception in September 2016 but alas it doesn't seem that's an option.

He has no SEN (that we are aware of) but I can see a lot of merit starting school a bit later, and sending him to school at 4yrs old is just too young in my opinion.

kw13 Thu 02-Jan-14 13:18:37

My DS went straight into Year 1 (and missed Reception). For some of the reasons that you give - a late summer baby etc. Best decision we ever made. He was at nursery - so was doing play based learning etc, and there were plenty of places at our preferred school. No problems with going straight into Year 1, he caught up really quickly, and was very ready for the challenge. There were unexpected benefits too - it put off the problem of childcare over the long summer holidays for another year! Good luck with whatever you decide.

spanieleyes Thu 02-Jan-14 13:21:18

If you delay entry he will still be part of the same year group, so if he joins before the summer he will start in Reception, if he joins after the summer, he will go straight into Year 1 ( unless you are looking at private schools which can sometimes be more flexible)
Personally ( as the mother of June and August born babies), I think they need MORE time in a Reception class, not less. Reception is very much play based and the social aspects of the year are huge. Academically a child will get from the year what they are ready for, socially and emotionally they will gain enormously. But I appreciate some have different opinions.

Schmedz Thu 02-Jan-14 13:22:47

Hi, as a fellow Aussie I completely understand your concerns about the very young age at which children start school here.

You will, I am afraid, have no flexibility about start date within the state sector, however, there may be private schools willing to accommodate your wishes. Private schools may also be more free to provide the play based learning that research shows is essential for this age group. Have you considered Montessori schools where this approach tends to go beyond the EYS stage.

The other option may to to homeschool your son for the year in which he is supposed to start formal school (Reception) year and then see if you feel he is ready to join Year 1 as his first 'formal' year of schooling (assuming you could find him a school place).

Get in touch with your LEA on the off chance they will be able to discuss some flexibility and also see what they advise should they be unable to support.

Good luck!

storynanny Thu 02-Jan-14 13:38:40

Hi there, old teacher here. If I were in your position I would have a look around the local schools to get a feel of the reception classrooms.
Despite supposedly all following the same curriculum in early years, schools vary greatly in how they deliver it, and I would simply look for the one that offers lots of indoor and outdoor space, evidence of happy independently playing children, good or better ration of staff to children etc. You may be pleasantly surprised.
I agree with contacting your LEA as they do vary slightly across the country.
Is he currently at a nursery or preschool?

misshoohaa Thu 02-Jan-14 13:41:39

Thanks all, we're hoping to go and see the head mistress at the school we'd like to send him to - so we'll see what they say, and whether they do have any flexibility.

It seems odd that the compulsory school age is actually 5, but they don't seem to be very accommodating to late starters.

We will home school him if it's not an option to delay his start, so I think regardless he is going to have limited or no time in reception. Which does seem a shame.

kw13 good point about nursery, I would like him to have some kind of transition and spend some time without me prior to school so nursery is a good option. He gets his free hours mid 2014 so we might see if we can get them at the nursery attached to the school perhaps.

Thanks for your replies! :0

AsBrightAsAJewel Thu 02-Jan-14 13:46:06

Another thing to take into consideration is securing a place at a chosen school. If it is popular you need to get your place at the right time and not assume that if you home school until you want him to start there will be a free place.

Helspopje Thu 02-Jan-14 13:55:08

you can request entry to reception a year later but need to act quickly.
appliations are to LEA.Success rates vary but it is worth a whirl if that is your preferred option

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 02-Jan-14 13:56:55

What is it you are concerned about? He will be far from the youngest, and reception for the first term really is like nursery.

My DS1 is a late-July birthday, he is now in Y1.

A lot of the evidence around summer-born children doing less well comes from when they would have less time in Reception class than their older classmates - therefore receiving less schooling. Starting them all together gives a much more level playing field, and I think it will be very interesting to see how things change.

And AsBright is right. If you homeschool then he will lose his place, and you will have to reapply for Y1. At that point it will be a question of going to whatever school has a place, rather than having any choice in the matter.

kilmuir Thu 02-Jan-14 14:20:49

You can start him after Easter, when he will be nearly 5. i have a July baby and she started when she had just turned 4. She had no problems. Most of the day is play related, no real formal sitting at desks

noramum Thu 02-Jan-14 14:21:55

You still have over 1 1/2 years to go. Children change a lot in a short time.

I have a Summer DD and I had no doubt she would manage very well. Her nursery had in no way accommodated her needs for another year without a serious problem. We saw it with a friend's DD who turned 4 just after cut-off.

If you don't take a Reception place at all you will do a gamble as there is no way to secure a Year 1 place, you will have to take what is available.

I think without Reception you would have to do a lot at home to ensure he is not behind. I agree with Alibaba, it is only since 2011 that the children all start together and when I look at DD's class with a huge percentage of children born after Easter, they are a very happy, secure and educational wise not worse than others. DD has a couple of friends in other primary schools, again Summer children, and while some had problems adjusting to Reception, a year later there weren't a lot of differences.

While I agree with you on the inflexible start procedure (I am from Germany, later start and more flexible about when to start) after 2 1/4 years down the line I can see that Reception is not all about sitting at a desk doing letters and numbers, quite the opposite.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 02-Jan-14 14:22:57

kilmuir it varies from local authority to local authority. Ours won't allow an Easter start, but individual schools have different approaches on staggered starts. Some have all children in full-time from day 1, others allow a stagger so that children aren't full-time until after the October half term.

MummytoMog Thu 02-Jan-14 16:11:15

My DD is a late august baby and started reception this year at 4 and two weeks. I was convinced it was a terrible terrible idea - she has a speech delay, the start of school nursery had been difficult at three as she wasn't potty trained and is quite socially delayed. A term later, and I am SO pleased we didn't hold her back in nursery. She loves it and has come on in leaps and bounds in terms of language, behaviour and social skills. It's a largely play based curriculum and she is allowed to nap if she gets tired.

AuntieStella Thu 02-Jan-14 16:15:36

Since the changes to the Admissions Code, schools have to allow a deferred entry, as long as the pupil starts at some point in the reception year.

To do that, for an Easter or summer term start in 2016, you need to apply for a reception place during the normal round as if it was a Sept 2015 start (so that'll be the window which opens autumn 2014, closing date mid Jan 2015).

When you have been allocated a place, then you get in touch with the school stating you are exercising your right to defer and stating your preferred start date (suggest you do all this in writing).

misshoohaa Thu 02-Jan-14 20:00:54

Thanks Auntystella that was my understanding so cheers for clarifying.

Useful to see everyone's different experiences. I think my frustration comes from the lack of flexibility and the apparent approach that children born within a 12 month period are all ready to start full-time education. I think there is a huge difference between a 4.3 yr old and a 5 yr old.

I think DS will benefit from reception hugely, my issue is with it being full-time and a lack of transition. Unless I send him to nursery, he will go from staying at home, albeit with a number of group/play activities, to full time reception, regardless of whether that is play based or more structured education, it seems like a huge leap to me at 4 yrs 3 months.

I understand you can apply for part-time but I imagine this would be uncommon and maybe more difficult for DS if the rest of the group is FT. I can't help comparing to international systems, Australian in particular where the equivalent age group is 2.5 days. Then into year 1 full time.


sittingbythefairylights Thu 02-Jan-14 20:44:56

You need to check with the individual school - my dcs' school starts the younger children part time until Oct half term.

Also, it is recognised that the children are different ages and stages. Children who need naps/more free play time/less structured play are given plenty of time and space.

You really need to look around a few schools and get a feel.

pyrrah Thu 02-Jan-14 20:50:53

Seriously I would send him from the start. The staff are used to little ones who are miserable in the morning without mummy, who have accidents, who get tired quickly, who struggle with buttons etc. By waiting till the last term you risk your child finding it harder - friendship groups will be established and it will be more of a 'shock to the system' than the very gentle introduction that Reception should be.

My DD was in a class of 25 in a primary school nursery where they were aged between 3 and 4. The school day was 9am - 3.15pm and they all managed fine - better than fine in fact.

I haven't seen a huge difference between what DD was doing there and what she is doing in Reception so far. Lots of free play, singing, drawing and a bit of phonics and numbers - but done as games not as work.

It does seem to vary from school to school as to how pushy they are with the formal stuff in Reception. DD has phonics cards, but nothing like lists of words to learn or anything 'homework' related. She gets a reading book but they don't expect the children to do anything more than have a bash at sounding out the letters.

This is a primary with fantastic results academically so I'm not worrying about the school not doing as much formal learning as some of the Primary Schools that friends' children are at.

They really do differ, so I would go and look round a few.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 02-Jan-14 21:01:54

Are you not planning to send him to preschool OP? My youngest will be 3 in March, so he is only a few months younger than your DS, and he started doing a couple of mornings a week last term.

It is almost unheard of in our area for people not to take advantage of the 15 hours, and they really do help them get ready for the structure of school.

Weegiemum Thu 02-Jan-14 21:09:57

You really have to look around and ask in England, I believe. We're in Scotland where the cut off it the end of feb, so your ds would not start until the August after his 5th birthday, my 3 dc were 5y6m, 5y6m and 4y9m at school entry. We made the decision (more flexibility in our system) to delay entry for dd1 and ds, who have February birthdays. I have never for a single second regretted that decision and in my dc school, almost every child with a Jan-Feb birthday is deferred.

GreatJoanUmber Thu 02-Jan-14 21:26:01

My DS2 will also be 4 in June 2015. During a school lunch for parents (my DS1 has just started reception in September), I chatted to the Headmistress and asked what her opinion on summer born children was. She admitted there is a big difference between summer borns and older children, and academically they need a few years to catch up. But she thinks if you defer entry, the summer borns lose out even more as they don't experience reception and thus a gentle introduction to school life. Also, all of the other children will know each other, so it would be harder socially as well.
I'm planning on having DS2 starting reception in September 2015. He's already at pre-school (which is linked to the primary), only one day a week at the moment but he loves it so much. I will up his hours there once he gets the funding (July this year), as I believe that pre-school is a very good way of blending the free play with more of a school-like routine.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 02-Jan-14 22:10:26

I think part of the problem here though is that our schools are simply incredibly oversubscribed and there is an enormous shortage of places throughout the country so I can't see how they could offer truly flexible starts (ie being able to go a whole year late and be in the year below) like some other countries can. If they did offer this then it could really only be for children born in August I think who are borderline or children who were due to be born in the autumn and were prem babies. June isn't that late in the year.

One of my children is one of the oldest in the year and one is a summer term birthday. Both have handled starting school (full time from week 3) pretty much the same although the younger one was marginally more tired but both did attend preschool for their 15hrs a week (at home with me the rest of the time and didn't do any activities)

Having seen what they do in reception, I honestly don't think it is very different to being full time in a preschool but that is just my opinion. A bit more sitting still and listening but many preschools will do all of that anyway and a bit more formal but it introduces how a school works. My 2 went to a preschool attached to a school (not the school they attended) and I think their experience was marginally different to some of their friends who were in nursery as the preschool shared activities with reception whereas in an independent nursery they didn't have this opportunity. Perhaps look carefully at which nursery you would want him to go to as well because they offer quite different experiences.

clary Fri 03-Jan-14 11:24:58

OP I would definitely take up your free nursery/playschool time for your DS once he turns 3. I used to help in reception classes and you could often tell the children who had not done any kind of pre-school. They were at a disadvantage IMO.

My DCs' infant school sorts the classes in reception by age so one class is all the summer borns with obvious consideration for that fact and their different needs etc in the lesson planning. They had a big entry which made it possible (3 classes in a year) but IMO it helped loads.

tiggytape Fri 03-Jan-14 23:39:30

You need to check with the individual school

This is not the case anymore.
There is no such thing as a school that doesn't allow Easter starts or summer starts - by law they have to let a parent choose to start in September, the term after the child turns 5 or (in the case of summer born children) delay starting until the summer term.

What you cannot do as a parent however is demand that your child be kept back a whole year.

So OP's son is due to start school in Sept 2015.
OP can choose for him to start Sept 2015 in reception.
Or she can choose for him to start reception January 2016. Or Easter 2016. Or summer 2016. The school have no say in this at all. They cannot prevent it. They cannot take away her place if she chooses any of these delays.

However OP must apply for a place at the same time as everyone else (next January) and OP cannot choose for her son to start reception in Sept 2016. That's not an option. If he delays until Sept 2016, he'd have to go straight into Year 1 (and there may be no places left by then)

Kinect Sat 04-Jan-14 12:01:25

I have a June baby who started Reception this time. I strongly believe children shouldn't be starting school til 6 or 7, and would of preferred to home school til then. I considered delaying the start date etc BUT when I thought through all the variables, I eventually decided that starting in September was the best option.

I didn't want to lose my chance at getting her into a school I really liked.
I didn't want her losing out on the gentle, play based time in school.

She'd only been toilet trained for a matter of weeks when she started and had LOTS of toilet accidents for the first held term. They were all handled brilliantly by the school. Not an issue at all.

My daughter absolutely loves school. She asks to go at a weekend.

Christelle2207 Sat 04-Jan-14 12:16:44

Reading with interest as ds is august born. miss what is the evidence that you have seen? I know there's a general feeling that summer-born may be a bit behind but if you can attach links I'd like to read any concrete info.

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