Advice on delaying reception

(20 Posts)
halfwayupthehill Sun 21-Jun-15 08:25:44

Ds is a July baby and speech delayed. He is also behind in literacy. I am considering keeping him in his current structured preschool til January so he can benefit from small class size, attention and speech work. It is also a quieter environment.
He can only scribble and doesn't recognise letters. The nature of his speech delay means his brain cannot hear the difference between sounds. So he is not at all ready. He is very sociable and will know a lot of the children if the school places him on one of the classes where there are siblings of dd friends ..I know I have the legal right to do this but know I will also come up against resistance from school and la. Grateful for any thoughts on pros and cons and also how to approach school and la. Thank you

Smartiepants79 Sun 21-Jun-15 08:34:11

well be is not even 4 yet so I wouldn't be worrying about him recognising letters or writing. Many kids go to school in the same boat.
Speech delay is different, is he having speech therapy?
You will have to accept that if you keep him out of school he may loose his place and will be probably be expected to stay with his peer group. This means he will miss out on a reception year and will have to go straight to yr1. Allowing a child to move into a year group 'below' is rare and usually only done in cases of severe SEN.
What would you do with him instead of school?

halfwayupthehill Sun 21-Jun-15 08:41:37

I am only seeking to delay until January and keep him in current preschool til then so he would start reception with his peers. He has a salt

IconicTonic Sun 21-Jun-15 08:48:55

Have you checked whether the school will hold a place for you, or is it undersubscribed?

Tanaqui Sun 21-Jun-15 08:54:30

Delaying till jan is a legal right so the school have to keep the place if you ask. However, might it be easier for him socially to start in sept? Will others start in jan?

BagsyThisName Sun 21-Jun-15 08:57:36

Will the school give him any additional support because of his speech delay?

DS is in reception and the first term was the foundations for learning to read - getting their ears used to listening to sounds, getting their arm muscles ready for writing (dance-write), basics of phonics etc.

Have you discussed with school and pre school what he would miss in that first term and how either school or pre school could compensate for that or adapt it for his speech delay?

postmanpatscat Sun 21-Jun-15 09:08:57

Part time attendance at school could be an option? Have you asked them what provision they can make for his additional needs?

Earthbound Sun 21-Jun-15 09:18:07

It is your right to delay the start of Reception in the way you describe. The school must hold the place for you. So if you were determined on this course, you would just need to phone and tell them you were doing it. They cannot refuse you. However, have you talked to the school about his additional needs and how they would support him? Have they got a plan in place? I would investigate this thoroughly first. It is also possible that he could attend school part time for a while. A little boy I know just did mornings in Reception as the whole day was too much for him.

midnightvelvet01 Sun 21-Jun-15 09:38:53

I'm in 2 minds, I can totally see where you are coming from OP & understand your reasoning.

However its not the norm for children to recognise letters or be able to read/write upon entering reception, keep in mind that some children will not have attended nursery at all & school is the first time they are away from their mother in 4 years (not exaggerating, this was one of DS2's friends & they are now in year 1).

Reception is not an academic year, its more about learning how to be in a class environment, sit on the carpet, sit still when asked, toilet solo, tidy up, play with others & join in with teamwork etc. There is basic letter recognition but reception is more of a settling year. Year 1 is when the proper academic work starts.

Before you make your decision speak to the school & see what they would suggest, they will have experience of speech delay. Phone them & arrange a meeting & speak to them face to face.

momtothree Sun 21-Jun-15 09:44:56

The children will start on the phonics in reception as a class and you child will miss the start. Will the teachers re-start this for him or will he be further behind? Its worth asking as all the class will go over it whether they can recognise letters or not.

CharlesRyder Sun 21-Jun-15 09:56:48

Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways
which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular
common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by
themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and
others are phonetically plausible.

Children read and understand simple sentences. They use
phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them
aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words.
They demonstrate understanding when talking with others
about what they have read.

It's a little more than letter recognition midnight.

Saracen Sun 21-Jun-15 10:06:13

As he's a very sociable child then it shouldn't matter much about joining the class partway through the year. Kids' friendships are very changeable at that age.

You sound quite happy about what your son's preschool is doing for him. If they are meeting his needs well and he is happy there, why move him to school before you have to? You could in fact delay his start until April if you want, or even longer if the school happens to be undersubscribed and there's no fear of losing his place. The older he gets, the more confident he will be in moving to a new environment. Some of his current challenges may lessen in time so he'll be able to get off to a better start. Others won't, but will become more apparent, so the school will be able to address them more effectively when he arrives - no one will be wasting time saying "he's only just turned four, let's wait and see how he gets on". You'll have updated assessments from SALT etc which will help school to target their approach more effectively.

The thing is, sometimes it can be hard to disentangle the issues which are related to a child's special needs from those which are simple immaturity. And some aspects of some specific learning difficulties are easier to tackle at an older age anyway. As the child gets older, the picture becomes clearer.

If you're sure this is the right way to go, you don't have to have any dialogue with the school or LA: you could just write a letter saying when your son will be starting. Later in the autumn term you could get in touch with the school to alert them to your son's needs, look more closely at the class and teacher to which he's been allocated, and have a think about whether he is ready to start in January or would be better off waiting until April after all.

Pikkewyn Sun 21-Jun-15 10:39:23

If you are considering delaying and phonic knowledge/not knowing letters is a concern then remember that by January his reception peers will already be a way through the phonics program at school and he will start at more of a disadvantage. Our school reception class works in groups of 4 or 5 for phonics as well as whole class lessons, which allows this who need extra help to get more focussed attention.

I have an end of August DD who started with no idea about reading or writing, she could recognise the first letter of her name. I know your son has additional SALT needs but surely his sessions will continue regardless of whether he is in nursery or school?

Pikkewyn Sun 21-Jun-15 10:44:05

I forgot to add that DD did part time mornings only for a long while, we could have just written a letter and not had any contact otherwise but we went in and spoke to the school and the reception class teacher, explained our situation and together we worked to a solution that suited our DD. Please don't automatically assume they will be against you, you can get some valuable input and assistance from the school which will make it an easier transition should you decide to delay entry until January.

Smartiepants79 Sun 21-Jun-15 14:08:16

The Early Learning Goals which is I believe what you're quoting from Charles is an end of year goal.and even then it's quite common for children to leave yr r still working.towards those goals. I really don't think the lack of sounds and letter recognition is something to be very concerned about at this stage.

Huckcat Sun 21-Jun-15 14:21:10

Hi OP - you are in exactly the situation I was in this time last year. My DS has an ASC. While he wasn't speech delayed, he was/is behind his peers emotionally and developmentally. He wasn't even potty trained this time last year and as for reading and writing - he was still scribbling and couldn't write his name. He is Sept born so almost a full year older than your DS.

We had decided to keep him in his nursery an extra term and do a very gradual, staggered entry into school. I had spoken to both his school and nursery and they were both fine with it.
Be aware that although it is your legal right to do this, some schools aren't keen. The rules around school funding have changed so if you keep your child at nursery it's they that get the government funding for your child until they leave. If a school is stretched for money, they may not be happy as they will have to find budget to make up the shortfall. A good school should support your decision though as the welfare of the child should come first.

Our decision changed though when we found out that his LSA at nursery was leaving at the end of the summer term. We decided there was no point in him staying at nursery for the extra term as all his peers and his lovely LSA was going.

Now fast forward a year and I am so glad I sent him in September.
He's so happy and settled - he's even made some friends.
Also - it's given the school that bit longer to work him out too and to put in extra support for him. He does some small group work to help him socially and academically. The jump from Reception to Y1 is pretty big (from what I've been told) so the more time they have to enjoy Reception and figure out how school works, the better - I think.

Have you met with the school SENCO yet? I would advise you to call the school on Monday to set that up ASAP. Or get your nursery SENCO to do it.
Also - have you told your son's nursery that you are considering keeping him there? If you haven't, they may have already allocated his space for September so you'll need to speak to them ASAP. My DS was at a Sure Start nursery which meant they had to keep him but I'm not sure how it works with a private setting.

I had sleepless nights trying to work out what to do for the best. It's such a hard decision to make. Good luck.

CharlesRyder Sun 21-Jun-15 16:06:37

Smartie I was arguing against this:

Reception is not an academic year, its more about learning how to be in a class environment, sit on the carpet, sit still when asked, toilet solo, tidy up, play with others & join in with teamwork etc. There is basic letter recognition but reception is more of a settling year. Year 1 is when the proper academic work starts.

midnight made it sound as though all that is expected throughout Reception is 'a bit of letter recognition' which is not the case. Many children will enter without any phonic knowledge or writing skills, but they are certainly expected to have them by the end. I think midnights description is a closer match for pre-school.

QuiteQuietly Sun 21-Jun-15 16:50:05

Not in the same situation, but DD2 missed a great deal of the first half of her reception year and effectively didn't attend until February. She missed so much of the start that she never caught up, particularly with phonics, and we had to do a lot of work at home from January in Yr1 and are still not caught up with the majority of the class. Struggling left her very demotivated at school and has definitely had social consequences for her. Missing much reception was not our choice and we had no positive reasons for it, but it continues to affect us over a year later. Despite what lots of people say about reception being child-led and an only introduction to school, at both of the schools we have been at, reception has had a definite and progressive curriculum and missing the foundations of that curriculum has a knock-on effect on what follows. I also write this as the mother of a boy who slept afternoons for reception and a chunk of year 1 and who many described as "not school ready". DS was definitely better off in school than staying in nursery for longer. Probably not what you would like to hear, but I can't speak to your particular circumstance - you know your son and you can get to know your school. Good luck with it all!

halfwayupthehill Sun 21-Jun-15 19:05:29

Many thanks all. I am having a meeting this week with the salt, and the sencos from both preschool and big school
I understand what ppl are saying re phonics but his brain literally doesn't recognise some sounds.
So I fear he will be more left behind in big school than if he has an extra term at his preschool

Huckcat Sun 21-Jun-15 19:34:23

I forgot to say - as he's summer born, there's a chance you may be able to defer his entry into Reception for another full year. Especially if he has a delay of some sort.
I know LEA'S aren't keen but I'm sure I read somewhere of a woman managing to do this for her August- born daughter recently. Maybe one to research?

Tbh, I don't know how much you'd gain keeping your DS in nursery for an extra term if your plan is then to transfer him to Reception as the children will then be even further ahead - iyswim.

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