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Twins starting primary school, hold back a year? Advice very welcome.

(36 Posts)
user1483967958 Mon 09-Jan-17 13:33:52

Firstly, hello everyone and thank you for any advice you can give. I'm not a mother but a father of two twin boys who were premature by 8 weeks meaning that they were born on August the 13th and thus meaning they are due to start school a year earlier than they should be.

Me and my wife don't think this is the right option for them as they won't be at the same skill level as the other children and don't want them to feel like they are stupid compared to the other children.

So my question is: Has anyone had any experience with holding children back a year without them just going into the year above the following year, as that just seems counter productive to us?

Any advice and help would be very much appreciated.


Frazzled2207 Mon 09-Jan-17 13:38:58

Hi there. Suggest as a starting point you join the facebook group "flexible school admissions
For summer borns" -loads of useful advice and chat there. Essentially it depends on your LA- some are far more flexible than others, people on that group will know.
Round here it's theoretically doable but you have to apply in the usual way (i.e. By next week) but once place is confirmed you apply to defer it.
Many authorities will insist that your children then go straight into year one rather than starting reception. I believe you'd have a good case though, mine isn't as strong as although he is an august born he was a term baby.

Frazzled2207 Mon 09-Jan-17 13:42:16

Just to say that when you do start looking round schools you might be pleasantly surprised how "geared up" they are to dealing with this problem- I was.
Probably worth going to see the main contenders sooner rather than later.

TeenAndTween Mon 09-Jan-17 13:47:29

I would definitely apply to defer in your case. They shouldn't have been born until October. Being prem is a lot to catch up on.

You need to get it written that they can stay out of year group throughout their schooling.

If you are in a grammar area, you need to check that this won't effect 11+.

I'm assuming they're not due to start this September? If so you are leaving this rather late!

HardofCleaning Mon 09-Jan-17 13:48:46

First port of call as previous poster said is the Facebook group "flexible school admission for summer borns" depending on your area this could be a simple admin issue (filling out a paper form as opposed to online) or a bit of a fight. The current policy means that you're kids don't have to start school until CSA (the term after they start 5). They are then meant to be placed in the school year according to their best interest. Some schools/LEA\s try to insist it's in the child's best interest to go straight to Y1 some don't. You can apply at the normal time (i.e. for a school place when they would have just turned 4) and along with this application state you want deferred entrance. If he application for deffered entrance is accepted you simply reapply next year. If not you can either accept a YR place when they just turn 4 (and go part time or defer for a term or two) or keep them out of school anyway and try again next year.

childmaintenanceserviceinquiry Mon 09-Jan-17 13:56:52

You may find this website of help. There is a facebook group as well. The group supports flexible admissions so it is a great place for people to read the files, ask questions (after researching options) and chat to others who are thinking about starting their children in school in Reception at age 5 not 4.

PinkFluffiUnicorn Mon 09-Jan-17 13:57:33

My ds13 has a January birthday, we are in Scotland so I know it's different. But he didn't start school till 51/2, he is the oldest in his year.
It has been the making of him, especially now he's in high school with kids all at different stages of puberty, can't imagine how difficult it would be being the youngest, he just wasn't ready socially for primary school.

namechangedtoday15 Mon 09-Jan-17 13:59:17

Can I ask how old your twins are now?

I see where you are coming from, my twins were born at 12+ weeks premature, but we did not defer (born April and should have been born end of July, so didn't in fact take them out of their school year).

Just a couple of things to bear in mind -
1. There is usually a massive amount of development between say 2 and 4 and although 8 weeks premature makes a difference at say 2 or even 3, the gap closes as they get older.
2. Readiness for school is a combination of quite alot of factors - you will see when your children start that there is a wide range of reactions to starting school for children - a girl in my DD's class was born at 11pm on 31 August and she was running into school (whereas there were children born in September / October clinging on to their parents' legs all the way through reception) - age is only one of those factors.
3. If your boys are sporty, the teams are often age related (so Under 9s or Under 10s etc). Your boys may not be allowed to play with their classmates.
4. Check the provisions about senior school as well as primary school - if your children start a year late in reception (according to their age), it may have repercussions for entrance exams (if you're in a selective area) or for the date of admission to senior schools (have heard of children having to skip Year 5 or 6 so they're in the correct year group - according to true age - for starting senior school).

Good luck with whatever you decide. Double the trouble but double the fun smile

smellyboot Mon 09-Jan-17 18:32:08

In our area that would be grounds to defer and enter into reception later. You would however apply in the normal year and then defer your offer.
You do not apply a year later.
I have an Autumn DC and who is at a massive advantage over summer borns from July / Aug. My Spring DC is fine but I'm glad they sit in the middle of the year.
I would definately defer if I was in your position and had the choice.
They may keep up or not academically but may well end up socially quite behind. Why not help them overcome what could be a disadvantage???

smellyboot Mon 09-Jan-17 18:34:13

The other thing re sport is that if they are sporty they are less likely to ever make e.g. The Yr5 footy team as they will be a year younger than the older ones. This is a well documented fact. Lots of sports do let them play in their school year group under those circumstances

BackforGood Mon 09-Jan-17 19:19:11

Do they currently go to Nursery? What do the Nursery say? Are they developmentally behind ?
If they are then it is certainly worth looking in to, and getting something in writing from yout LA that they will always be able to stay in the Yr behind (ie not go straight in to Yr1, or not have to go from Yr5 to Yr7 without doing Yr6, etc.). Also - if you are in a grammar school area - find out if they will be allowed to sit the test, when effectively a year older than they should be.
If they aren't, then I wouldn't. Someone is always going to be the youngest. Although there is a correlation. between being Autumn born and doing better, it does not mean will will apply to your dc. Of far greater importance is parental input (and other things like the level the Mother is educated to - yup, honestly!).

MoreProseccoNow Mon 09-Jan-17 19:32:22

I deferred my 29-weeker; it was definitely the right thing. He was small, a little bit immature & just needed a bit more time before going to school. He would have managed the 1st term or two academically, but socially he would have struggled. think it will also reap benefits at the teenage stage (a bit more maturity for exams etc).

Bliss have a parents information pack re: deferral - maybe have a look at that.

If you are in any doubt, and you have the option of deferring, then do it.

smellyboot Mon 09-Jan-17 20:11:54

My reference to age and success was only in the context of schools type sports e.g. Football / rugby / running where physicallly they would be a lot younger and therefore confidence can be knocked as they never get picked for teams. Can happen in some sports clubs too, but not all, if they have equal opps policy. I have seen it first hand many times.
The difference between Sept born boys and Aug boys can be really quite big

namechangedtoday15 Mon 09-Jan-17 20:16:10

Just one thing to bear in mind OP. When people say there is a correlation between being a summer born and doing less well at school, they don't realise sometimes that the evidence is quite old. There are few recent scientific studies.

When I started school, the year group was divided into 2 - those with birthdays Sept - Feb started as normal in September, those with birthdays March to July started after February half term. Certainly where I live this was still the norm 15-20 years ago (when some of these studies were done).

Of course children who have been in school for half a year more than their peers are more likely to have settled / done better in tests. It stands to reason that children who have been in structured education for 6months longer than the other set are going to do better.

As everyone suggests, arm yourself with all of the information, for your LA, the schools which are closest to you, both primary and secondary. See what options you have and keep those options open until the last minute when you have to make the decision.

smellyboot Mon 09-Jan-17 21:23:10

I know many summer born (Aug July not just April ) who are very bright and in top sets etc. This is partly of course due to supportive but not pushy home environment. I have a family member who was Aug and was always at the top academically. They did struggle socially however.

meditrina Mon 09-Jan-17 21:28:52

You need to talk to the Admissions Office din your LEA as a matter of urgency if they are 3 and 'normal' entry is for Sept 2017.

Because you do not want to find you have missed the application deadline without agreement on whether they can be held back.

Have you got professional evidence of the effect of their prematurity and why this cannot be accommodated by differentiation in their normal cohort? This is likely to be required to support your case.

wetotter Mon 09-Jan-17 21:32:49

"The other thing re sport is that if they are sporty they are less likely to ever make e.g. The Yr5 footy team as they will be a year younger than the older ones. This is a well documented fact. Lots of sports do let them play in their school year group under those circumstances"

And they definitely cannot make the team if they are Y6 age in Y5 for any but very informal friendly matches. Do bear this in mind for things like extra curricular footie clubs where they will have to play in their age cohort once about 8+ (FA junior rules) so will not with any of their friends.

smellyboot Mon 09-Jan-17 21:53:43

Some clubs do allow some flexibility but so much will depend on area / club / league / sport etc.

smellyboot Mon 09-Jan-17 21:59:15

It may not always matter about the friends bit either. A lot of DC will join sports clubs with friends and in small towns and rural areas there maybe only a few. Near us, there are lots of big clubs for all sports (city) so in reality there is a mixture of DC at each one from any one of about 10-20 schools. Not all DC from one school go to one club etc
It is worth being aware of however.
On the original question, if my DC had been summer born June-Aug but not prem I wouldnt have deferred in your shoes but if they actually 'belong' to Oct, then I would. My Oct DC would have coped/survived in reception if he had gone a year early but certainly would not have thrived like he did, despite being in an awesome nursery / school nursery since tiny. Year 1 gets harder quite quick too.

nursy1 Mon 09-Jan-17 22:12:39

Definately keep them back a year IMO. All my children were born in Nov or Dec apart from my youngest. I didn't keep her back, I considered it but was told I would lose the school place if I did.
Namechanged is right that the developmental gap narrows at say age 8 rather than at age 3 or 4 but in my experience this becomes relevant again as puberty hits. Even more so for boys I would think! Some 14yr olds 6 ft 3 and doing a full shave. If yours are late developers the gap could be extreme.
I don't think my youngest ever got over the feeling of struggling along in the bottom set. Perhaps if she had been very bright it would have stimulated her but there are still issues of emotional maturity to consider. She was not unintelligent but developmentally was unable to grasp some of the concepts especially in maths. It improved when I got her extra tuition and she was able to go over things again but damage had been done to her self esteem.
Wish I could do it over again.

namechangedtoday15 Mon 09-Jan-17 22:51:14

I do think the generalisation doesn't help. Their age is just one factor. You need to think of your children with the schools you have locally and how your LA approaches it.

user1483967958 Mon 09-Jan-17 23:21:07

Thank you all so much for all your advice and help, I didn't expect such a huge response.

So to answer a few questions and update you as to what has/ is going to happen:

1. Our twins are currently 3 born on August 13th 2013 8 weeks early by emergency C-section and were in critical care for the 1st month.
2. We honestly have no idea on what development stage they will be at come next September as they are growing and learning very fast ATM, however, they have generally been behind in nursery and behind for their age (not through lack of help at home, my wife is a secondary school teacher, witch helps a lot).
3. Yes we have left the actual application to school very late, but we have done all the research and our area (Tendering) doesn't run on a first come first serve basis (Confirmed with each school).
4. We have decided to still put in the application for school to be safe just in case our case for deferring them gets denied.
5. Yes we think it's best for our children to hold back a year, however after a lot of research and help from you wonderful people we wouldn't agree it would be right for everyone.
6. We have written statements from their nursery, speech therapist and health visitor to validate our decision, so it will hopefully get granted.
7. And finally, after checking with the school administration (Essex), they have confirmed that a deferred student under their control will not skip a year at any level and that it will not affect any important tests, classes or activities apart from ones that may have legal implications.
8. Because I do not like odd numbers smile

Thank you all again and have an amazing 2017

Billy Matthews

Campfiresmoke Mon 09-Jan-17 23:24:49

TAMBA are great for help with this sort of thing.

Theworldisfullofidiots Tue 10-Jan-17 06:51:51

I have an August boy, currently yr 6. Not a twin and born late. I would have, if I could kept him back a year. He is doing fine now but it has taken a while. He is middle of the heap now and has worked hard to get there. He is bright and will be fine and it is noticeable that he has been on constant catch up.
It is noticeable at primary that the majority of the 'higher attainers' are September and October birthdays. This was true with my dd as well who was the only one that wasn't (March bday).
My son is relatively tall (v tall dad) so he looks the same age as the majority, even though he is almost a year younger. He is frustrated by being age wise behind his friends (only two of them left in cubs now, all the others have moved on) and will leave school at 17 when his friends will have learnt to drive and be starting to go out clubbing etc when he won't legally be allowed to.
My son us doing v well and I still would have kept him back a year. Lots of how well you do is set by self belief. I lot of that for children is comparison to others, I'm afraid.

MollyHuaCha Tue 10-Jan-17 07:34:07

It will depend on the children. My own birthday is in the last few days of August. I was always the youngest in the year. But I was academically able and often very bored at school. If I'd have been in the year below I would have gone crazy!

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