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to defer feb birthday daughter from starting school or not (Scotland)

(42 Posts)
foolishgoat Tue 25-Feb-14 23:22:58


My girl turned 4 in feb so is due to start school in August. However. ... ive started to think about deferring for a year so she would be 5.5 when starts primary 1. She is small and quite shy. Im sure she would do fine but I'm just starting to think 4.5 is too young to start school.

Yes part of me is looking at it selfishly that I want another year with my baby girl also.

Ive thought about even as far on as high school and just think school was hard enough without being the youngest.

The problem is ( here is the boring bragging part) that she is very advanced for her age. She has read since 3rd birthday and can now read virtually any books even newspapers etc etc count to 1000 and loads of other stuff beyond her age average.

I spoke to the nursery they think I am crazy to think about deferral because she will be advanced as it is and another year will be ludicrous.

I just feel that if she is clever as they think then that will take care of itself. Its the non academic stuff I worry about and i still dont think a 4 year old should be going full time to school and if the option is there to wait a year I think I should take it.

Please can anyone give advice or experience of this?

I thought I had made my mind up but after the way the teachers made me think she will be so bored etc Im unsure again and don't know whats for the best.



AndiPandi Tue 25-Feb-14 23:30:14

Every teacher I know with a child of their own with a Jan/Feb birthday defers, that speaks volumes. It's not all about what they are ready for at this age, it's also about their maturity when they start high school and possibly go on to further education. Life is tough enough why it make it harder for your little one by making them the youngest in the class. No child should get bored, it's the teachers job to make sure all children are stretched and engaged according to their individual abilities. I did with my own child and have never regretted it. There are actually half a dozen children in the class with Jan/Feb birthdays that could have been in the year above. You are given a choice for a reason, don't be bullied by the teachers, do what you feel is right for you and your child.

CecilyP Wed 26-Feb-14 12:34:41

Does your DD like sitting down doing pencil and paper and other quiet activities? Can she sit and concentrate on things for a considerable time. Does she like drawing and colouring and would she often choose to do this rather than more boisterous activities? Is her pencil control good? If the answer to these questions is 'yes', I think she will do well in P1. DS is a February birthday and did not get on very well in P1 simply because he wanted to be far more active. Other February children would, I am sure, be fine.

Is she really small or just average for her age; if the latter there are bound to be older children that are smaller than her. I also wouldn't worry about the length of the school day which for children that age is quite short.

SantanaLopez Wed 26-Feb-14 13:08:58

Place-marking, we'll have to make this decision in a few years.

foolishgoat Wed 26-Feb-14 13:39:20

Yeah she likes drawing and writing and is good at writing in full sentences etc already. I'd say small er than average. And gets upset at little things and comes home upset if anyone has bumped into her etc etc. Just seems too little for school!

Im sure she would do fine at school this year. I just trying to weigh up whether her "doing fine" is worth missing out an extra year family time when we have the option to defer it.

Its hard to decide what's for the best. ...

Jinty64 Wed 26-Feb-14 14:16:32

I don't know anyone who has deferred their child and regretted it. I know several people who have sent their child and wished they hadn't.

AMumInScotland Wed 26-Feb-14 14:24:29

I think with Feb birthdays it is very much the common thing to take the chance to defer.

That way she'll be that bit older when she starts secondary, when she does her standard grades, her Highers, goes to college or uni, etc.

The nursery teachers may be experts in 3,4,5 year olds and say she'd be fine at school. But P1 isn't the biggest part of school, its just the start.

NettoSuperstar Wed 26-Feb-14 14:31:15

This didn't apply to she has an August birthday, but I know a girl in her year with a late Feb birthday who wasn't deferred and is really, really struggling socially and they are in S1 now, so think ahead.

OwlMother Wed 26-Feb-14 14:31:49

The other thing to bear in mind is that, although she may cope well with the academic stuff ( sitting quietly, listening etc), the social side of things can be a whole other issue. Your daughter may well be in a class with children who are 5 1/2 or older and therefore that much more streetwise or savvy.

My DM is a teacher, myself, my dsis and db are all Jan/ feb birthdays, she deferred us all. My youngest 2 dc are both deferred and I've never regretted it. As the nursery teacher said to us at the time about dd- do we want her to get on fine in p1 or do we want her to be more than ready- running at it?

Also- a friend who is a high school teacher says that even at high school you can pick out those who weren't deferred. As a previous poster said- I've never come across anyone who has regretted deferral, although I know a couple who haven't deferred and wished they had.

iamatwinareyou Wed 26-Feb-14 14:34:21

My daughter is a feb baby and she started school in august at 4yrs old i was worried about it but she is doing fab one of the top in her class and is one of the youngest she loves school and doing great grin think if i kept her back she would of got bored being in nursery wouldnt gain anything keeping her back a year

mazzi2fly Wed 26-Feb-14 14:36:43

I have a end of Feb birthday and wasn't deferred. It didn't bother me, I think I was pretty quiet for the first couple of years of Primary. I was always in the top group as we went up through school. I had my Highers by the time I was 16, went on to do an HND, finished by the time I was 18 and started work.

Now I live in England and my DD has her birthday on the 31st August (the cut off day here) so she started school at 4 years and 5 days. She's doing alright too.

Dogonabeanbag Wed 26-Feb-14 14:38:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dogonabeanbag Wed 26-Feb-14 14:39:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

candycrushhater Wed 26-Feb-14 14:41:22

My DS is a late December birthday and we chose not to defer. It was an agonising decision as he was painfully shy at the time and very small in stature. In fact, when a grown up so much as tried to talk to him, he would try to hide behind my legs.

He had half a dozen settling in sessions at the school in May/June and I still felt that he was still too wee BUT I did feel that another full year at nursery would have been totally boring for him, as academically at least he was ready.

He has really flourished at school and I think it has been the making of him. He is a much more outgoing child and his teacher has remarked that he is one of the more mature pupils in the class despite being the second youngest in age. He has had no issues academically.

I myself have a February birthday but 36 years ago deferring was not an option so I went to school at 4 1/2 also. I can honestly say that the only time my age was a problem was when I was completing high school. I was 16 at the end of my fifth year and according to the school I was too young to get a job and leave, and too young to go to Uni. I left school when they broke up for Summer holidays on the Friday and started what turned out to be a 20 year career in Banking on the Monday - so it worked out well for me grin

I think it's worth bearing in mind that there are also advantages and disadvantages of being the oldest in your year group.

SacharissaCripslock Wed 26-Feb-14 14:51:13

I deferred both my DC who both have November birthdays. So they are by far the oldest of their years. It was the best decision I've made.

They were ready academically (well ticked all the boxes on the nursery form, which is all nursery seemed interested in) but were still so small I couldn't imagine them at school. They were still at the bouncy puppy stage and sitting still and focusing on what the teacher said seemed like an unrealistic dream! grin

motherstongue Wed 26-Feb-14 15:15:31

Foolish, I've PM'd you.

foolishgoat Wed 26-Feb-14 15:18:47

Thanks for all the replies I wass hoping for a clear winner but it seems to be half and half.

Someone said " I had my highers by 16 by 18 etc etc. " to me I'm not sure if this is a good thing?? What is the rush to get everything done in life?

I think the main issue is going to be boredom at nursery for a year but I think then its our responsibility to keep them entertained and keep learning etc.

haggisaggis Wed 26-Feb-14 15:26:09

We didn't defer ds - January birthday and now in S3. He has been fine - academically doing well and socially too holds his own. He is a full year younger than at least 2 people in his class who were deferred - but hasn't caused him any problems. But at the end of the day it is up to you. We thought about deferring, but the HT saw ds at nursery and reckoned he was more than ready for school.

FannyFifer Wed 26-Feb-14 15:28:05

DD also turned 4 the beginning of Feb, she is a bright & sociable wee thing but quite small, we were always going to defer anyway as 5 is a better age for starting school.

Kneedeepinshittynappies Wed 26-Feb-14 15:28:50

I could almost have written your op, both my dc are fen birthdays. Ds (PFB!) just turned 4 and we have decided to defer. He's a very bright boy but just not emotionally mature enough (in my opinion) to start school this year.

I've had some pressure from nursery and family members but in sticking to my guns. I am fully prepared to put the extra work in with reading, writhing, etc is he doesn't get bored. I just feel like whilst I know he'd "do fine" at school, I don't want him to just do fine I want him to enjoy and flourish.

prettybird Wed 26-Feb-14 15:51:35

I know one bright kid with a late November birthday who was deferred and his mum never regretted it.

I know one bright kid with a February birthday who wasn't deferred and hi smother is never out the school and the educational psychologist is involved - but once they've started at school, it's very difficult to get them to repeat the year sad

I know another person who has a January birthday who I believe would have suffered far fewer problems throughout his school career (and after) if he had been deferred as he wasn't really mature enough for his year even though he was very bright.

Anecdotal I know.

AgentProvocateur Wed 26-Feb-14 16:03:51

The difference between the youngest and oldest in a year is pronounced in secondary, when the young ones are immature. If you don't defer, and she goes to uni, she will only be 17 - fresher won't be much fun!! I don't know anyone who's regretted deferring. I know plenty who regret not deferring

prettybird Wed 26-Feb-14 16:08:41

Yes - I was "old" for my year (April birthday) but went to Uni from 5th Year so was only 17.5. Even though St Andrews checked with the school that I was mature enough (and after 2 years "away" in NZ and having had to work extra heard to catch up, I was) and the Uni deferring acceptances to friends of mine pending them completing 6th year, I still struggled for the first 6 months.

Nothing to do with not being able to drink wink as in St Andrews, being so English, they just assumed you were 18! grin

PiggyPlumPie Wed 26-Feb-14 16:11:54

DD1 is now 15 and has a late January birthday. She was not deferred and has flourished. She is soon to take her Nationals (all at level 5).

Maybe the headteacher would be able to give more advice on how it might affect your DD further in the school. I kept a close eye on DDs social maturity as she went through the school and all the teachers said that there were no issues.

CecilyP Wed 26-Feb-14 16:49:36

I would normally recommend deferring but your DD seems to be so far ahead academically that I think she would be fine in school. Does she have any particular friends in nursery or amongst your neighbours who will be starting school this August or next August? That may be something to help make a decision one way or another.

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