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Oldest or youngest in year?

(44 Posts)
LazyLondoner Wed 29-Jan-14 10:12:40

If you could choose whether your child was the oldest in their year or the youngest which would you prefer? My summer born DD is due to start school this September but I have the choice to delay a year so that she is the oldest rather than the youngest if I wish. My instinct is to do this as there is lots of evidence about summer borns being disadvantaged but now several people have commented that it can be just as difficult for children who are oldest in the year and get frustrated as they are much more able than their peers. Argh! Any advice from parents of autumn born kids who are the most able in their class - is it a problem?

AbbyR1973 Wed 29-Jan-14 15:58:31

I think it depends entirely on the individual child. Ds1 has November birthday, to be honest he would have been better off being born in August and being younger in the year. He's currently in year 1 working with the year 2's in a mixed year 1/2 class. I was told in the September 1 year before he started school that he was ready for school and nursery didn't know what to do with him because they'd never come across a 3, nearly 4 year old that could read before. In September the year 2's will move up to the year 3/4 class then I don't know what will happen to him.
DS2 is about right with a very late April birthday, happily floating along just above the rest of the class but not so far ahead he's out of sight.
DB1 was end of August and would probably have been better off being September although he's done very well for himself. DB2 was October but started school a year early and remained with the academic year above his chronological year throughout. He did extremely well and didn't cause him any problem being so much younger.
Think therefore it's down to the personality and individual characteristics of the child. As a parent only you can judge.

caz05 Wed 29-Jan-14 18:25:49

My son is a July baby and one of the youngest I his year. I never even thought about deferring and looking back I sometimes wished I had as it seems the school use it as an excuse (my son was diagnosed with dyslexia at 7 but until then it was always brushed off with comments like he is young in the year, he will catch up eventually etc) but I don't honestly think I would have done. I believe if you defer the year they will miss out reception and have to start in yr 1 so they would have missed out on all the fundamental basics of starting school and adjusting to school routine etc and also would have missed out on making friends (although they soon do make friends anyway). My second son is a June baby and will be starting school next year and even with my previous concerns I won't be looking to defer the start of his education and he will be starting at 4.

I think you need to contact you your local educational department and see what the rules are about deferring as I believe councils can be different from county to county

LazyLondoner Wed 29-Jan-14 19:16:54

Hmmm. Lots to think about....still not sure what to do but interesting to read all your different experiences

hells456 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:24:51

My son has an early Oct birthday and loves that he is bigger, faster and stronger when it comes to sports. He also loves that his is the first birthday in the class and feels that it is very special. Academically he is average, very much a middle of the curve type boy. We have no concerns with him at school. Personally, I loved having an extra year at home with him.

My daughter was born in late July and we had the option of delaying her as she was extrememly premature and we could have used her Oct due date as her birthdate to begin school. We didn't delay her as she was mentally ready for school and her nursery friends were going up.

She has turned out to be a very gifted child and it scares me how clever she is. However, she is very tiny and rubbish with anything physical. Part of me thinks that she would have benefitted from being in the year below because of her size. Even now in Year 8 she is head and shoulders shorter than the next smallest child and we struggled to get her a uniform that fits. The rest of me thinks that she is happy and it wouldn't have made any difference because she is still smaller than the year below anyway.

I don't regret sending her at the right time purely because she had the best teacher in the world for Reception and Year 1, who left the school shortly afterwards. That amazing teacher set her up with a love of learning and a huge amount of confidence, which has had a very positive impact on her.

ChocolateWombat Fri 31-Jan-14 09:39:00

Being the oldest in the year cannot really be a bad thing long term. You may find or feel that they were ready for school earlier than when they started, but this is not a big problem. You can do things at home to keep them stimulated. A good nursery or pre school will meet their individual needs. This being ready, but not in school is such a short phase. The advantages of being socially older and perhaps academically older last throughout school. It is rare to find children who are 'losing out' by being oldest once in school. Life and childhood are short, so having more time at home before starting school is no bad thing. The fact you are almost a year older when finishing school is no bad thing either....there are many years to be an adult.
I totally appreciate that there will always be summer borne, most people don't get to choose and many summer burns are both socially and academically ahead and not disadvtaged in any way. IF you have a choice though, I would avoid it, just because there is more chance of the youngest children being behind socially and academically. However, not something to think exhaustively about, because for most this passes very quickly. For some though it doesn't.

littlemiss06 Fri 31-Jan-14 10:00:03

I have twins that made it into the school year by 9 hours, they were born two months prem on the 31st august, initially you could see they were much younger but by year one they were doing amazing, caught up really well and have now left school with a load of brilliant grade GCSEs so to be honest it didn't really make a difference to them, I also have a child December born who is doing equally as well and an april born child who is struggling a lot and really quite behind now, so I don't think it always matters on when they were born

AbouttoCrack Fri 31-Jan-14 10:09:59

My son is July and the 2nd or 3rd youngest in his year. I wish I had had the choice to hold him back a year. Hes in Y6 now and he was diagnoised with Aspergers last year and also struggles with attention issues.
I remember speaking to the HT about it when we went to visit the school and her brushing off my concerns as PFBism. Of course when a Rec teacher told me a few weeks after he started school they had 'concerns' with him not being able to pay attention for long - I brushed it off as "WTF do you expect - he's only just 4 years old FGS". (not in those words!) THis is why I wanted him held back. ...anyway - it was too late by then.
His literacy is poor, but his maths is OK. Socially, I wish he had been able to stay back a year go gain a little bit more confidence. Also his year group are not particularly nice. Lots of fighters!!. The current Y5 are much nicer than our Y6.

caz05 Fri 31-Jan-14 11:29:38

I put my son on the waiting list first and then when a place became available I filled out all the required paperwork. It all happened very quickly and easily. I am not sure you can Fill out the paperwork until a place at your chosen school has become available as technically they don't actually have a place to move to yet but call your local eduction department in the county council and see. Mine had loads of information online and they where very helpful when I spoke to them. Good luck with it all and although if all seems daunting at first it really isn't once you get into it

notjustamummythankyou Fri 31-Jan-14 18:08:26

I think it depends on the individual child too. My Ds is only just 4.5 and is in reception. He is an August born and there is just one child younger than him in the entire year.

I was very worried about how he would settle in and, tbh, all my fears have been unfounded. He has settled in very well and with confidence, has made friends easily and coped with the social 'mores' of school. Most of his friends are Autumn born, so he certainly hasn't been sidelined because of seeming younger. Academically, he's doing fine - for eg, his reading group includes children right across the age range and is probably a good average. His writing really did start from scratch which I expected, but this side of Xmas he's catching up his peers.

There's so much in the media about summer borns being disadvantaged. Some will be, some won't be, and for the vast majority the playing field evens out very quickly. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. :-)

Onesie Sat 01-Feb-14 00:31:01

It's so much better being older. DS is the youngest and he is physically smaller so tends never to win sports days/PE activities. Despite bring very bright (like every mumsnet child), he would have found the work easier if older. But also generally we (my kids and I) have found the older ones often more confident, bossy, able, powerful, competitive etc.

prh47bridge Sat 01-Feb-14 00:38:32

If you are in London as your username implies (or, indeed, anywhere in England) you need to make sure you understand the situation properly. Whilst you can defer entry for a full year most LAs will then put your child in Y1 unless there is strong evidence of delayed development, so your child would still be the youngest in the year. Furthermore, by delaying for a full year you would have seriously restricted your choice of schools. You might be lucky but there is a strong possibility your daughter would end up in an unpopular school that may be a long way from home.

OvO Sat 01-Feb-14 00:46:54

Both my DC are the oldest in their years as I'm in Scotland and deferred them both. So both are 15 months older than their youngest classmates.

It's been great for them. They were so ready and able for learning. That extra year just made so much difference in their emotional maturity and confidence. I've no regrets about deferring.

headoverheels Sat 01-Feb-14 00:48:33

DD is third oldest in her year and the oldest girl. She's doing very well academically (she's in year 1), is on the top reading table etc, which I think benefits her self esteem. No sign yet of her becoming bored, and I think this school is good at stretching the brighter pupils.

The only thing that concerns me is that she is v tall for her age and this is exacerbated by being one of the oldest. She towers over her friends and I worry that this will bother her in years to come. At the moment it doesn't seem to be a problem.

notjustamummythankyou Sat 01-Feb-14 02:55:22

I don't really get the logic of deferring: in England the child will simply join its peers in y1 and will STILL be the youngest. He / She will be one year behind everything the class has been doing and social groups will be firmly established.

My August born boy would have seen all his friends go to school and yet he would have been too old to stay at playgroup (and another year would have bored him silly).

It was the right decision for him to go into Yr and just get started really. The pros outweighed the cons.

notjustamummythankyou Sat 01-Feb-14 03:27:57

... and I guess that proves the inflexibility of the system in that apparent choice isn't really a choice at all!

lljkk Sat 01-Feb-14 05:03:47

Success at School is mostly about the social life so it depends where they would fit socially. A child who seemed especially immature better to be one of the oldest; a child who turns out to be mature for age fine to be one of the youngest. Sadly you can't really tell how mature a 3-4yo is going to turn out!

I disagree with redshirting in principle, though, so would try to put them with most usual group.

bigTillyMint Sat 01-Feb-14 06:37:03

headoverheels, I was the oldest and tallest throughout primary school. I don't think it bothered me overly, and did give me a certain level of confidence. I love being fairly tall nowsmile

addictedtosugar Sat 01-Feb-14 07:27:32

What happens if you move? Will the new local authority allow the deferment to stay, or would they be forced to skip a year at a later stage to be in a chronological year?

prh47bridge Sat 01-Feb-14 10:51:07

That is a concern even if you stay with the same LA. Some secondary schools insist on putting children into their "correct" year with the result that a child allowed to defer entry to Reception has to skip either Y6 or Y7.

I'm lucky that at her school if I choose to delay her she can start in reception and doesn't have to go straight into year one

Only just spotted this comment. You need to double check this and get it in writing. And don't take the school's word for it. The LA may overrule the school and insist your daughter goes straight into Y1 if you defer.

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