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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.

tiggytape Mon 06-Jan-14 13:19:32

As Auntie Stella says, it is illegal for councils to have a blanket policy that says they will never allow a child in to go into reception instead of year 1. By law they must consider each case individually. They can't just say "no" without even looking at the parent's reasons.

However that is a world away from saying they must allow it.
They don't have to allow it at all and they won't allow it except in very exceptional circumstances (usually where parents get several experts to agree that it is essential and no amount of 1:1 support will do instead).

Delaying the start date for a few months though is no problem and is a parent's right. As long as they aren't trying to change which year group the child ends up in, the child certainly doesn't have to go to fulltime school a few weeks after turning 4.

AuntieStella Mon 06-Jan-14 12:32:58

It has always been legal to place a pupil outside age cohort.

The recent publicity has been about a reminder that it is not legal to have a policy which says there will never be cases in which this is done.

Parents making this request should have their case considered individually, but should have no expectation that it will be granted other than in exceptional circumstances.

jwpetal Mon 06-Jan-14 12:24:11

Hi. You can delay and request a reception start. the Department of Education is currently monitoring the situation as they put to all LEA's guidelines to follow. However many LEA's are not using this and one council has been deemed to be acting illegally by saying you must go into year 1. It is up to the parent to push the LEA. It is not easy - though it should be easier.

Yes, you can Defer which is to enter into the same class group but later in the year. This is your right and schools cannot stop this.

I know, I successfully did this. This is a big decision and is not right for every child or for every family. We had specific reasons to do so. Do a search on facebook or yahoo groups and you will find a lot of information.

IsItSummerYet Sun 05-Jan-14 22:35:50

What about part time attendance at school? My June born DD started in September and despite some resistance from school does 4 days a week. This has worked out fabulously for all concerned.

I had many of the same worries as you but did not want her to miss out on all of the vital learning that goes on in the reception year. By learning I mean the social side. Missing one day is no big deal in terms of 'missing out' either academically or socially. She understands that because she is younger she can have an extra day of family time. The school are happy now it's in place and if anything encourage the fact my DD has family who want to spend that extra day with her.

The summer born issue is a very emotive subject but I feel we have found the best compromise.

tiggytape Sun 05-Jan-14 22:23:28

Helspopje - that is true but I was talking about automatic parental rights. A parent has the right to decide that their June baby won't enter reception class until January or Easter or summer and the school have no power to influence this decision. It is totally up to the parents to decide (but they still have to apply for a place at the normal time).

However parents have no right to insist their child starts reception a year later than the norm.

They have the right to apply but - unless they can provide overwhelmingly strong and professional evidence that this delay is absolutely necessary - they will be declined.
And even with evidence, many LAs still won't allow it and will just pay for 1:1 support in the correct year group instead.

It isn't so much a case that the LA "might not approve it" but more a case of being absolutely certain they will not approve it in anything other than truly exceptional circumstances so for most families it is no option at all. It is done on a case by case basis but always requires strong professional evidence of need not just parental desire for a later start.

Helspopje Sun 05-Jan-14 20:33:01

Tiggy - not necessarily true.
You can apply to the LEA for delayed/decellerated start in reception in 2016. They might not approve it though.

Saracen Sun 05-Jan-14 00:23:15

Hi Christelle, this could be a good starting point:

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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).

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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