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Would you defer a summerborn simply because you could?

(144 Posts)
Goatcoat Fri 19-Feb-16 19:09:43

This was the advice given to me by a child learning practitioner (not a teacher but a specialist who works in schools). They said to "always defer if you can, even if you think your summerborn could cope fine... Better to be one of the eldest than one of the youngest".

My DC2 is a summerborn (not school age just yet though) and the above comments are playing on my mind.

We can afford the extra year of childcare, and having seen my nephew struggle as a summerborn, I must admit it's something I'm considering. DC2 is a bright little thing if I do say so myself! so I am imagining that we would be doing it purely because we could rather than because we'd need to. Education is very important to me and whilst I don't necessarily want DC to be top of the class, I want to give them the best possible start in life. It feels like deferring would do that, whereas not deferring would possibly make me doubt/worry/question whether I'd done the wrong thing.

Lifestyle wise not deferring makes things easier having less of a school year gap between the DC. And I imagine they will be closer if there is a smaller gap... But... But.... But... DC might be "fine" if we don't defer, but "amazing" if we did.

Can deferring be a bad thing??

Spandexpants007 Fri 19-Feb-16 19:16:05

I have a bright articulate august born child (aged 8). I would have deferred if it had been an option. Better for confidence to be older and also academically. There have been numerous studies about summer/winter borns and A levels/university.

Wardrobespierre Fri 19-Feb-16 19:16:49

I didn't defer for my summer born. She was desperate to go and reception year was a blast. Brilliant school and she was so happy. She has thrived. It was a decision based on her emotional readiness and ability to navigate the expectations of reception year.

And while academic achievement was never my primary concern, dd is very bright. Remarkably so and I credit character and the school equally.

Wardrobespierre Fri 19-Feb-16 19:18:26

Interestingly, DS will already be 5 when he starts in September and I am genuinely concerned he won't be ready.

merlottime Fri 19-Feb-16 19:21:10

I think it depends on what happens at the secondary transition point and for any tests that are age specific. I wouldn't want my DC to have to miss Y6 or Y7, or to not be able to take the 11+, or to find that any tests are age standardised anyway so you've lost any advantage. Sports teams are always age related eg U11, U12, so they would potentially miss out on being in teams with classmates. It could just store up problems further down the line.

geekaMaxima Fri 19-Feb-16 19:21:18

Deferring would be a bad thing for the tiny minority of .001% of high-achieving children that would find the other children around them were holding them back from achieving their full potential. Mind you, they'd probably find the same if they they started school a year earlier. These are unusually bright children who are may not be best served by a conventional school at all.

Everyone else - the 99.999% - would benefit from starting a year later.

It's not about whether a 4yo can cope with reception, it's about whether this child would be better off starting reception at 5yo. The answer is almost always yes.

That extra year of maturity means they are better able (academically, emotionally, socially, etc.) to deal with the demands of school, teachers, and other kids over the course of a long day.

I'm all in favour of letting children start the first year of school (reception) at compulsory school age (five).

Sparklycat Fri 19-Feb-16 19:24:12

Yes deferring can be a bad thing! I was an August baby and I could read fluently by the time I went to school, I'd finished the yr6 reading scheme in fact, so I used to get bundled off to the library to read in my own. I could also write so remember being incredibly bored in hand writing lessons etc. If I'd been held back it would have been horrendous. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. It should be on a child by child basis.

hazeyjane Fri 19-Feb-16 19:26:13


D's is now in year 1, he is a July boy and disabled, non verbal but with average intelligence (although he was thought to be globally delayed when he started). He has benefited from starting with his peers, and has done brilliantly, despite the fact that he doesn't meet expectations in most areas.

I do however think the whole early years system needs to change - with a later school starting age for all children.

geekaMaxima Fri 19-Feb-16 19:28:48

I do however think the whole early years system needs to change - with a later school starting age for all children.

YY to this. Ideally, I'd like to see a play-based curriculum - kindergarten, basically - until age 6 or so. Then gradually move into "school" setting at 7yo.

PerspicaciaTick Fri 19-Feb-16 19:33:50

I am really opposed to people being able to defer their children without the sign-off of a doctor or social worker for each individual case.

However, if there is a national free-for-all with everybody being able to defer their summer born child, then I am not sure I would want to disadvantage my own child be not deferring them.

Which just means that spring born children will be disadvantaged instead, along with the children of parents who can't afford the childcare or who don't have the social networks or language skills to realise it is an option. The system is completely ridiculous.

ChalkHearts Fri 19-Feb-16 19:33:50

Although the law might change, typically you can't defer entry (in a state school) at the moment.

So don't obsess over it yet. Because it probably won't be an option.

dannydyerismydad Fri 19-Feb-16 19:36:06

Yes, I would.

DS is a June baby. He started school in September, and is doing brilliantly. He's thriving and made incredible progress in all his subjects and enjoying school very much.

However, I feel another year having fun would have benefitted him so much more. He was going to read and write at some point, no matter what, but I feel like he's had a year of play and imagination snatched from him.

Goatcoat Fri 19-Feb-16 19:36:14

Ok so it's not just me being precious/precocious - it really is perhaps worth considering...

sparkly I could also read early and was quite ahead of my peers. My DM is always saying how advanced I was but I don't think it did me any good tbh. Because I never had to try, I didn't know how to try when I did need to. I guess it's akin to how the advice thee days is to not tell children they are clever.

hazey you say your son is doing brilliantly but not meeting all expectations. Is there not part of you that thinks an extra year might've meant he then would've met expectations? I'm not trying to be goady btw...

BYOSnowman Fri 19-Feb-16 19:36:17

My dd was very ready for school and now in year 1 you wouldn't know she is one of the youngest.

It seems a bit odd to introduce deferral if it is just going to lead to the problem being moved to another set of children

FellOutOfBedTwice Fri 19-Feb-16 19:37:02

DD is July born and am pregnant with a baby due September 5th but who if decided to come only a few days early would be an end of August baby and therefore at the worst time in the school year... So this is a subject close to my heart. Me and DH are both teachers and both September born, so worry a lot about this.

I would defer I think if my DD could start reception in September 2019 2 months after her 5th birthday and then remain in that cohort on that time schedule ie year 1 in September 2020, year 2 in September 2021 etc, and eventually beginning year 7 in September 2026 and doing her GCSEs in year 11 in June 2031. What worries me is her having to jump about... Start school straight into year 1 or jump straight into year 8 of secondary school in September 2026 or do her GCSEs in what would be her "real" year 10 on her schedule but her year 11 according to her birth..... As such until this is all much clearer and there are definite answers to all of these things, I will enrol her in school 2 months after her 4th birthday in September 2018.

Spandexpants007 Fri 19-Feb-16 19:37:04

Sparky my DS could read on starting school too but I still feel it would have been better to defer.

Goatcoat Fri 19-Feb-16 19:40:38

I was of the understanding that if they deferred reception they would then just start at 5 and continue along with everyone else in that cohort.

BonitaFangita Fri 19-Feb-16 19:42:06

If I had the chance I would have deferred my late summerborn. He's always been sociable and gregarious, more so than some other children, and although he's a bright boy, he has always struggled academically. He'll be taking his GCSE's this year, and I really worry he may have to resit some of them.
Some of the children in his year are almost 12 months older than him and I fail to see how that can't have an impact on their development.
I'll always wonder if starting school later would have given him the chance to mature enough to really thrive in his studies.

PerspicaciaTick Fri 19-Feb-16 19:42:19

I do feel that some parents (especially when they are applying for school places and their child is just 3 yo) underestimate both how much their children will develop between applying for a school place and starting in the Sept and how adaptable and capable their children will prove to be, given the right support at home and school.
I am also surprised at how formal schooling in reception is believed to be (I don't know if this is because many schools are too formal or if people remember their own school days sitting at desks), when the reception classes I've seen are very similar to the nursery settings children attend the year before.
It is such a shame that the year between applying for a place and starting school is such a worrying time for so many parents.

geekaMaxima Fri 19-Feb-16 19:46:13

Thing is, if you want your child to start school when they reach the compulsory age for starting school (5yo), then:
- they are placed in reception if they are NOT a summerborn
- they are placed in year 1 if they ARE a summerborn

Calling it "deferral" is a red herring. It's really about wanting equality of opportunity, regardless of the time of year a child is born.

Spandexpants007 Fri 19-Feb-16 19:48:16

lavendersun Fri 19-Feb-16 19:48:31

I would, definitely. We have good friends in Germany and I have seen their system at first hand which is fabulous! Our system is much too formal for such a young age.

My June born child was born at 29 weeks, spent 13 weeks in the NICU, much of it in an incubator. Due well into September, conceived at the same time as her peers in the year below but stuck with starting school as a 4 year old because of the system.

Goatcoat Fri 19-Feb-16 19:48:49

pers it's not just about reception though is it? As bonita says, it can have much longer-term implications.

bonita but you didn't have the choice back when your son started do there's nothing you could have done differently. It's potentially having the choice that's doing my head in!!

LIZS Fri 19-Feb-16 19:49:21

I'm not clear which option you are considering. Summer borns can now be deferred until next academic year when they would start reception at 5. Or you could miss reception and enter at year 1 with peer group, although it would depend if there were a space and social groups may already be established. Or you could apply for reception with his peer group but delay starting until later in the same academic year , which would hold his place and he'd move to year1 with that group.

FellOutOfBedTwice Fri 19-Feb-16 19:49:29

Goatcoat I was chatting with a friend who's a primary head and she said it's far from being that simple as basically, the government haven't decided. Some heads are telling people that they can start their kids later and they can continue with that cohort but at the moment that's far from being a certainty. She thinks the government will back track when it gets messy and a lot of kids who are in the wrong year will be made to skip forward.

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