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holding children back a year

(109 Posts)
royalair Mon 27-Jun-16 11:56:18

I've heard some mums in our toddler group recently saying that they would like to hold their summer born children back a year when it comes to starting school. None of these children seem overly young for their age (to me anyway) and have no special needs and seem emotionally and socially good. I can't help but think it's simply so they can have children who are 'the best' in terms of academic and sporting ability. My own children are summer born but I think they will benefit from being with older children when it's their turn to go to school rather than being the oldest by some months than everyone else.

Also I wonder if other parents (perhaps me included) might be a bit annoyed if a child who starts school a year later for example wins all sports day events simply because they are physically the strongest (ok so I'm competitive too!). And am I being naive never to have thought it necessary to hold my children back a year?

AStreetcarNamedBob Mon 27-Jun-16 11:58:37

hmm they don't have to be "young for their age" because their age is young enough on its own. Just turned 4 is a crazy age (imo) to send a child to school 9-3 five days a week

They're little more than babies.

Firecarrier Mon 27-Jun-16 12:01:39

Couldn't agree more Bob

Leeds2 Mon 27-Jun-16 12:05:06

I always thought that if you didn't send a child to reception on their "official" start date, and kept them at home/nursery for a further year, the child would go into year 1 when they did start school so would still be one of the youngest in the year.

royalair Mon 27-Jun-16 12:05:14

I agree too that 4 is very young and other countries seem to have a better age start but with the system as it is I am wondering is gaining the competitive edge the real reason parents want to hold their children back?

royalair Mon 27-Jun-16 12:06:14

And how would parents of the then youngest in the class feel knowing a 'held back' child was potentially 15 months older than their child?

Chloe94 Mon 27-Jun-16 12:10:16

My son is a July baby and this baby is due late August and I will be trying to hold them both back.... they would both be a year younger than children in there class who were born in September wich to me makes a big difference! I was a September baby and even now my old school friends who were born in August are mentally not as grown up as I am and I noticed it even more when we were all at school. Think about the difference between a 3 yo and a 4 yo or a 4 yo and a 5 yo

Dixiechickonhols Mon 27-Jun-16 12:19:18

Yes it happens in America children esp boys held back to be given an advantage especially sports (lucrative college scholarships etc). It is called redshirting.

It is also a possibility that only certain sections of parents will delay children, starting school earlier saves childcare fees plus you need the ability to apply (liaising with LA, english speaking) I think there is scottish research about differences in demographics in those who delay and not.

So yes classes with a 16 month spread of ages with the youngest probably being those from EAL/deprived backgrounds. I don't know what the answer is but letting people keep younger ones back just because may cause more issues than it solves.

PatriciaHolm Mon 27-Jun-16 12:26:58

This is at least partly why parents have never had the absolute right to hold children back, and it's always been dependent upon proving that the child had significant delays - rather than just on the parents wanting it for whatever reason. It's still unclear about how, if it becomes more prevalent, children out of year will be treated later in their school career - grammar school exams, for example, often specify child need to be a specific age (and there can be weighting put on scores related to age), and private school exams are similar. Children could find themselves in a situation of being too old to take the 11+ in year 6, for example.

At present, parents still don't have an absolute right to insist; some LEAS have made it much easier to achieve though.

royalair Mon 27-Jun-16 12:33:16

That's really interesting DIxiechick. I haven't heard that term redshirting before.
I can see how less well off parents would be disadvantaged in not being able for various reasons to fight the system.
I do think that if my child was taking part in an event that was won by a child who was technically in the wrong age cohort for no reason other than their parents not wanting them to be the youngest then I'd be slightly miffed.

Flyingdoggles Mon 27-Jun-16 12:43:08

Surely someone has to be the youngest in the year though?

And I say that as an end of August born

Dixiechickonhols Mon 27-Jun-16 12:45:39

It does translate to England too with the stats about premiership footballers being autumn born.

WordGetsAround Mon 27-Jun-16 12:51:16

I would do the same. Soon after 4th birthday is very young.

We were very lucky and I got pregnant very quickly with all of our DC, so we timed them all for Autumn birthdays so they weren't young for their year group. I'm an ex teacher and saw the difference in the classroom - especially for boys.

royalair Mon 27-Jun-16 12:55:16

For those of you who would hold your children back would you feel a bit 'guilty' for want of a better word if your child ended up winning sports day events etc due to physical strength related to older age. I'm not sure I'm wording that very well?? I suppose what I'm saying if it's not 'fair' to be the youngest is it 'fair' to be older than the oldest in the class?

Groovee Mon 27-Jun-16 12:57:40

I deferred my January born daughter. We're in Scotland so our dates are different. Deferral is an option here for children born in January or February.

I did it because emotionally and socially she wasn't ready. She's now 16 and has said she much preferred being 16 to sit her first exams and not 15.

There was no way she was ready at 4.5 for school. But the extra year helped her to be confident and do much better than myself or her dad did.

I didn't do it to make her the best, I did it for her own benefit and I have no regrets.

neddle Mon 27-Jun-16 13:02:53

Should you feel guilty if your September born child wins at sports day?

My youngest was born on August 29th. If I decide to send her to school when she is five instead of four, I won't be 'holding her back', I'll be sending her at the compulsory school age.

Personally, I think the cut off for the school year should be March 31st and then all children will be at least 4y 5m when starting.

royalair Mon 27-Jun-16 13:08:07

Should you feel guilty if your September born child wins at sports day?

I wouldn't feel guilty if my child was in the correct year cohort but if I held my child back and they were the oldest because of that then I think i would sort of feel a bit awkward as technically it's not a level playing field and perhaps the child might feel a bit 'different' too?

Personally, I think the cut off for the school year should be March 31st and then all children will be at least 4y 5m when starting.

Would definitely agree with children being older starting but then i think that should be the case for all not just the people who have the know-how or resources to do it.

Icecappedpinetrees Mon 27-Jun-16 13:09:28

I'm exactly like Groovee.

DS is January birthday so can (and will) defer. It means he will start at 5.5 instead of 4.5. He is very bright, doing really well and I have no doubt he could start and cope. But why cope or worse, struggle, when he could wait a year and find learning easier and more readily accessible. They are only small once, I want him to enjoy being carefree and out of the system for as long as possible. Once you're in that hamster wheel, that's it!

Our main reason for waiting is so that at exam time/leaving school he will be older and hopefully more mature.

Miloarmadillo1 Mon 27-Jun-16 13:16:34

You can't defer a child with a January birthday, or only until the summer term, as they have to start the term after they are 5.
It just means they only get one term in Reception.

My DD is a summer baby and has significant SN. We are hoping she'll attend mainstream but are intending to hold her back a year. There is no automatic right to enter YR at 5 and a bit, you have to prove to LA and school that there are good reasons. It depends on the LA what evidence you need to supply of that.

worrierandwine Mon 27-Jun-16 13:21:02

Following with interest as DD1 is September born but DD2 is May so will only be 4 years 4 months. My hope is that having an older sibling will mature DD2 quicker and I'll hopefully be less precious about it all than I have been with DD1, even though she's one of the oldest in her year every " first" is a big deal!

AndNowItsSeven Mon 27-Jun-16 13:29:02

I have an August born ds he was due to start reception this Sept and now will start in 2017.
We made the decision because we want him to have an extra year of play based education and more time at home with me.

royalair Mon 27-Jun-16 13:30:13

worrierandwine that made me smile- i guess we can all be a bit precious and rightly so but i'm hoping the school system will seem less scary once in it.

Miloarmadillo I'm sure that cant be easy for you and I hope you get the right year for your little one.

Groovee Mon 27-Jun-16 13:33:59

Milo, in Scotland you can defer a January birthday as our school year ages are 1st March to 28/29th February. January and February children have an automatic right to deferral. This means they go into school in P1 and stay within that year group until they leave school! The youngest they start school here is 4 years 6 months. Not days after their 4th birthday.

The English way of making them go into the right year group is wrong in my opinion and also the way secondary schools can make them move into the correct year group is also wrong. Deferral should be allowing a child an extra year because it is beneficial to the individual child.

Zodlebud Mon 27-Jun-16 14:10:42

My eldest DD was born at the end of August and DD2 at the very start of September - their birthdays are only 10 days apart but I get to see both sides of the "cut off".

DD1 was so ready to go to school aged just 4 months and 1 day. Even if the option had been there to keep her back I wouldn't have. Socially, mentally and intellectually she has thrived. Top sets for everything, a wonderful group of friends and a very happy little girl. Her handwriting is messy in comparison with a lot of her peers and she still plays catch up on the more physical things (skipping was a big one in reception) but these are significantly outweighed by the benefits. She will also get an extra point or two at 11+ to make up for the reduced years.

Compare and contrast to my friend's August baby. He really struggled from day one. He just wasn't ready in any shape or form. Eight months in and his parents removed him from school and he then repeated reception year at a private school. He's a different little boy.

It is totally down to the child as to whether it's right for them.

I then look at DD2 and see the other side. I guess being a second child she is more socially mature than a first born. She is currently in the nursery at her sister's school and still has another year to go. She looks huge compared to the others in her class and often "complains" they are too babyish to play with. Speaking to the teacher this is really not the case but my daughter has noticed a difference. She is just more interested in learning her letters, counting and doing cutting than a lot of her peers. Sometimes being the oldest can have it's downsides too. There is also an expectation that she will be towards the top of the class because she is so old in the year.

Holding a child back to give them a competitive edge just seems so wrong. If they are really not ready for school then it's wonderful that parents have that choice.

Icecappedpinetrees Mon 27-Jun-16 14:15:23

Miloarmadillo1 - you can defer January and February birthday children in Scotland

Oh hang on, Groovee has answered that - better than I could have! grin

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