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Delaying and deferring reception admission

(77 Posts)
BettyandDon Fri 17-Jan-14 11:51:06

I have taken part in several discussions on Mumsnet regarding this issue and wanted to share the following which was featured on BBC this week.


There is a closed Facebook group entitled Flexible School Admissions for Summer Borns which also may be of interest to many. Their report was featured on the BBC.

It has become apparent that many LAs are largely ignoring or are unaware of DoE advice from July 2013 on the matter of deferring and delaying reception entry. They appear to be using a variety of tactics involving misinforming parents to force children into starting reception at 4. For example, misinforming that children would have to miss reception year and start at compulsory school age 5 in Y1.

I do hope I have managed the link correctly. I have found it most useful.

BettyandDon Fri 17-Jan-14 11:51:59

Spectacular fail on the link!! Aargh why wont it work


BettyandDon Fri 17-Jan-14 11:52:34

I give up, please check out the facebook group or search under Education section on BBC

AuntieStella Fri 17-Jan-14 11:58:00

The Government's recent statement was only to say that a Council must not have a blanket policy, but must consider cases individually. That does not make it any more likely that any individual child will beagle to receive schooling outside the usual age cohort.

There is no new substance in the policy and no new rights have been given. Unless in truly exceptional circumstances, a child who is 5 before 1 Sept will still go in to year 1.

And a reception place can only be deferred to a start date at some point in the reception year and cannot be carried forwards.

BettyandDon Fri 17-Jan-14 12:08:04

There is a lady at the DoE who is working with some parents to delay the start of the reception year by suitably informing the LA on the matter, so I believe it is worth pursuing. You are right that the guidance in July 2013 was useless, that is what is being highlighted in the report that was produced. It's worth a read if nothing else.

I asked to delay our DDs entry to next year and was told that it was impossible which isn't true. They just tried to put me off the idea with spin and a few untruths.

tiggytape Fri 17-Jan-14 14:14:33

There is a lot of parental misunderstanding too.

All parents have a right to delay their child's start into reception class by a few months. The child cannot miss the whole of YR without losing their place but can start after they turn 5 or in the sumer term whichever comes sooner. That is an absolute right.

Parents also have the right to ask the LA to consider allowing their child to start YR a whole year late (i.e. when they should be starting Y1).
Councils are not allowed to say a blanket "no" to everyone who requests it.

However (and this is the bit some parents have missed) councils do not have to agree to such a requests and most of them won't unless it is heavily supported by professional evidence that the child's needs are such they cannot be catered for in the correct year group. The burden of proof is high. Most councils would rather pay for 1:1 support than agree to this but in some (extreme) cases they will agree.

The parent of a summer born child therefore can ask for their child to start reception a whole year late but, if their reason is a slight delay or to avoid being the youngest, they are not going to succeed in that request.

In essence nothing has changed except to reiterate to councils that they cannot just say no straight away to everyone. They must give it proper consideration and agree if supporting evidence shows it is necessary.

BettyandDon Fri 17-Jan-14 15:17:41

Well our LA told me a straight no and did not inform me of any procedures by which they would officially consider a request. Charming IMO!

Or actually in more detail they said it was nothing to do with them and to wait until we get an offer then discuss with a school. This is for a delay not a defer.

They did tell me to apply this year and to include my concerns in the social category and to express a preference for a school we thought would meet our needs. Our child does not have special needs is just small with a mild speech problem and confidence issues. I have no confidence whatever that it will be considered as such, so it's a waiting game until April.

Some parents are having success though I think it's more prevalent in areas where there is less demand unsurprisingly!

tethersend Fri 17-Jan-14 16:43:21

Tiggytape, what's your opinion on children born very prematurely?

Do you know of any cases where premature birth has counted as an exceptional circumstance?

TheDoctrineOf2014 Fri 17-Jan-14 19:08:33

So Betty, do you want your child to stay in their birth year but not start in September?

Twinkle1984 Fri 17-Jan-14 20:11:26

I would prefer to start reception at age 5 yrs and 1 week old.

prh47bridge Sat 18-Jan-14 00:24:48

Do you know of any cases where premature birth has counted as an exceptional circumstance

(I know this was addressed to Tiggytape but...)

Not on its own but I do know of cases where an LA has accepted premature birth linked with delayed development as a circumstance that would allow a child to enter Reception a year later than normal.

tiggytape Sat 18-Jan-14 11:12:24

As prh says, it is about need not preference.

A parent who says "my child was due in September not July and therefore I want him to start reception by his due date not his actual birthday" wouldn't come under these provisions.

Whereas a child who has complex additional needs directly related to their premature birth would be eligible to be considered.

A child with anxiety and / or speech problems is unlikely to be allowed to start YR a whole year later than the norm whether their delay is due to premature birth or any other cause.
Anxiety and speech delays are very common in YR amongst children born in Autumn and children born in summer. All schools will be considered more than capable of dealing with mild and more complex problems of this nature in the correct year group.

A child with highly complex additional needs though could be eligible to be held back a whole year. Their prematurity may have some bearing on it in terms of being responsible for the needs they have but equally, an Autumn born child with highly complex needs could also qualify.

Twinkle1984 Sat 18-Jan-14 11:46:44

tethersend, have a look at the Facebook group, there are a few parents on their where this had been made possible. It varies a lot on the LA where you live.

Twinkle1984 Sat 18-Jan-14 11:57:13

I'm actually considering having my summer born in a preschool rather than reception. Her issues are largely social and emotional and I think a nursery setting would be better placed to build confidence because of the ratios. I'm could teach phonics and what not at home.

its not that different from say moving from overseas IMO. just another option!

lilyaldrin Sat 18-Jan-14 12:02:23

I know of a child who was premature, and had a range of additional needs, who was allowed to start Reception a year "late".

prh47bridge Sat 18-Jan-14 12:23:06

I'm actually considering having my summer born in a preschool rather than reception

If you are thinking of delaying a full year you need to be aware that your daughter will probably go straight into Y1 and you will have a very limited choice of schools. It is true that some LAs are more flexible than others but most will only consider allowing a child to enter Reception a year late if there are significant additional needs that justify a delay.

tethersend Sat 18-Jan-14 13:52:30

Thank you all for information.

Those cases that you know of where children with additional needs have been allowed to start YR a year late, will this apply for the whole of their school life, or might there be issues later on when transferring to secondary school, for example? I know that this has happened in the past.

lilyaldrin Sat 18-Jan-14 13:53:48

I imagine the child I know of will not attend a mainstream secondary school so not sure if things would be different.

Twinkle1984 Sat 18-Jan-14 15:50:30

Re limited choice of school; this already exists IMO. I hardly know of anyone in our borough who is in the distance criteria for more than 1 school. Church goers maybe have more choice though but they are a small percentage of the overall demand.

MrsKCastle Sat 18-Jan-14 16:20:57

Twinkle the problem is that someone who applies for an in-year admission to Year 1 may not even be able to get into their closest/catchment school. If all places are allocated in the reception year, and no one leaves, they may end up being given the school 3 miles away which still has a place.

This is why many parents of summer-borns don't really have the choice of waiting until after their DC turns 5- they have to start them by the summer term of reception.

Twinkle1984 Sat 18-Jan-14 17:53:04

Surely then a school 3 miles away or 45 mins whatever is reasonable is therefore deemed unsuitable for a 5 year old and the LA need to increase spaces?

It is the same for people moving in. There just isn't enough capacity.

It's funny that in areas of less demand there is more flexibility. Not unconnected IMO and not the fault of the child.

It's also deeply unfair that older children get a longer funded time in preschool. Talk about a double whammy.

I think there needs to debate and a relook at the system. There needs to be honesty and transparency across boroughs, not scare tactics such as saying well you won't get a place unless you apply now without even consideration of individual circumstances. That is what is happening now to a lot of parents. Why should we be forced to send our children to school a whole year under compulsory school age? It's absolutely bananas IMO.

lilyaldrin Sat 18-Jan-14 18:46:19

You only have to send them a term under compsulsory school age.

Not sure what the alternative is - holding back some places for a year (or more) in case someone moves or wants to start late?

It comes down to cash and space - most LAs cannot operate half empty classes, many schools don't have space to build extra classrooms.

Twinkle1984 Sat 18-Jan-14 18:57:24

I was told by the LA that I had to negotiate a start date within the academic year with the HT. One school had a blanket policy saying only Sept starts were possible. The thing is it is very hard for parents to judge which school they will end up at certainly in our borough anyway. People change and move on waiting lists up until the final moment. I asked our local schools how they manage summer born entry and had 6 different answers. You can not be guaranteed a certain school with a preference for a particular entry system. Effectively you have no choice.

I actually think that the real problem is the compulsory school age legislation. Someone should decide once and for all if it is 4 or 5, then there would be no room for the massive misinterpretation and mismanagement of the current guidelines. If I had a crystal ball I would predict the age gets lowered eventually...

Rant overgrin

lilyaldrin Sat 18-Jan-14 19:12:56

Legally, you have a right to delay your (summer born) child's start until the summer term without losing the Reception place, even if the school prefers a September start.

Compulsory school age is very clear - the term after their 5th birthday.

AuntieStella Sat 18-Jan-14 19:15:25

"One school had a blanket policy saying only Sept starts were possible."

This is now illegal.

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