Deferring summer borns- your experiences please.

(128 Posts)
JoeGargery Mon 08-Jul-19 17:07:06

I have had approval to defer my summer born almost 4 year old such that he starts reception at 5 and one month.
Those who have done this, have you found any downsides?
FWIW he’s very independent and bright. I don’t doubt he’ll cope. I’m just struggling to see any advantage to starting school so young if he can start later.
I’ve been told he can continue in the adopted year group throughout school and can have funding to stay in nursery another year.

OP’s posts: |
Zinnia Mon 08-Jul-19 19:34:32

I am summer-born and so is DD1. She started Reception at 4 yrs 6 weeks and is now leaving Y6. I wouldn't hesitate to do the same again. My own view is that it's more of a burden to be the oldest in the year than the youngest; if your child is "ready" for school you are making a decision on his behalf that will affect him throughout his entire school career. My DD has never lagged behind at any stage of Primary, and the differences between summer- and winter-borns even out hugely between 4-11.

Personally I would never want my child to feel they had been "kept behind" their peers. I know there will be plenty of views opposing this however! Good luck, whatever you decide.

BubblesBuddy Mon 08-Jul-19 20:11:50

Actually I agree with Zinnia. What happens at secondary school? Is he staying a year down for ever? My brighter DC definitely outgrew nursery and was bored. She started reading very soon after going to school so why does he need to go down a year. Won’t he want to learn to read and do maths fairly soon?

Zodlebud Mon 08-Jul-19 21:17:57

I have two children - one born end of August, one the very start of September. Both extremely bright and no SN.

The youngest has struggled far more being the oldest in the year than the one who was the youngest. We thought about starting the Sept one in the year above - her school were more than happy to do so - but we decided against it to give her the “advantage” of being the oldest in the year.

In reception she was bored stupid. School did lots of extension and enrichment work with her but most of her problems were socially. She was much more mature than the rest of her year and only really connected with one other pupil in the class. She was ready to learn and would get very frustrated as to why x couldn’t even sit still on the carpet.

Y1 has been better. School mixed the classes up to give a better balance and obviously she finds the work more interesting. In hindsight I wish we had moved her up a year but she’s happy and settled now so there seems little point.

I think that deferring entry is a great option where the summer born is a little behind. I absolutely would not do it just because you can though. It DOES cause problems as they get older, particularly in sport. Your child would always be too old to be in their year group team. Probably not an issue for most normal school teams but if they play in county leagues or for national school teams then they will have to play in the team for their birth year not school year.

Tootytata Mon 08-Jul-19 21:20:50

Not got any experience but I'm thinking of deferring my DD when the time comes. She was born on 31 August at 11:58pm! 2 minutes before 1 September!

I really wanted her to be a September baby so she would be the oldest in her class!

CherryPavlova Mon 08-Jul-19 21:23:39

We didn’t defer as our August born girls wanted to go - it was before deferment anyway. There would not have been any reason to do so. They went in more academically ready than most of their peers and well able to self care. They loved school from the outset. It also saves money on childcare and daytime activities.

Laquila Mon 08-Jul-19 21:34:27

I honestly think there’s no right answer here - you just have to weigh up your child and their strengths and go with your gut. The only comment I’d make is that things can change A LOT in a couple of months and you might be surprised how much more ready your son seems by Christmas, or even by September.


Rumboogie Mon 08-Jul-19 21:36:54

I did not defer my summer-born twins, (born August, and 3weeks premature) though I felt in my heart they were just not ready for school. They were close in age to my oldest, and were slower in development than my oldest.

Whern the time came for their assessment at school, I was reassured they would be fine, but I had severe doubts. I wish I had had the courage of my convictions because they struggled for several years, not just academically but socially and physically, in sport, etc.

Circumstances in year 4 led to us moving school and it was suggested they repeat Yr 4. They never looked back from that moment. They went on to acheive very well and have both graduated from Oxbridge with excellent degrees.

What I am saying, I think, is that you probably have a reasonable idea of your own child and their stage of development. I don't think that holding back a child who might just cope will lead to any real detriment - they can always be given extra work, further reading, or extension work if it becomes clear it is needed, and 'accelerated' if necessary, but not holding back a child who really needs it can be a disaster.

Rumboogie Mon 08-Jul-19 21:39:49

BTW, I was September -born and was never conscious of being the oldest in my year - don't know where that comes from as a perceived disadvantage!

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 08-Jul-19 21:39:51

We decided against deferring for ds. For a number of reasons - the biggest being that deferring had only just come in and I didn’t trust the governments of the next 8 years not to fuck it up somehow!

And I really really didn’t want him ending up missing Y6 or Y7 because things outside my control have changed.

In fact he started school and he has flown! (Now finishing Y1.) I can’t imagine him being still in reception now. It just feels wrong.

morepeasinapod Mon 08-Jul-19 21:41:40

We deferred one of my DC’s.

DC was a premature August born baby, who would have been in the next school year if born at term, and who was emotionally immature and unready for school at just turned 4 (that was backed up by nursery reports).

DC was diagnosed with ASD at about 5.5 years, which explained a good deal about their immaturity and unreadiness for school at just turned 4. Deferring was the right thing for DC.

But, the big downside - we had to move DC to a different school in a different LA during Year 2. The move wasn’t avoidable.
This LA is very anti-deferment, insisted that only deferments agreed by them when a child starts Reception counts, and as a result, DC was placed into their “correct” year group. So DC has now been skipped up a year and has missed out on a year’s education. We were basically forced into a choice between that and home-schooling.

So, you’ll probably be fine if you stay in your LA throughout your DS’s school life, but I’d advise being very wary about moves that will take you to different LAs.

TellerTuesday4EVA Mon 08-Jul-19 21:42:12

Head over to the Facebook group 'Flexible admissions for summer born children' for more info.

For some reason deferment always comes off negatively on Mumsnet.

twistyturnycurlywhirly Mon 08-Jul-19 21:47:11

I don't think it's useful to listen to the experiences of kids who didn't defer when you are choosing to go a different route. Only you know what is right for your child, other people's criticisms are irrelevant as they don't know your child.

As a teacher and parent of a summer born, I have no regrets. It's absolutely the right thing for my child to start Reception at 5 instead of 4. He's above average intelligence, but wasn't ready for school.

Shantotto Mon 08-Jul-19 21:47:37

Agree with Teller you’ll get lots of correct information on the flexible school admissions for summerborns Facebook page. If it’s been agreed do it! Some people have such a battle for it which is so unfair. Mumsnet in general seem very against it!

I was set to do this for my late July born DS but we’ve moved to Scotland so he won’t start until 5 anyway. In my view just 4 is far too young for school.

mockorangey Mon 08-Jul-19 21:49:34

My DS is just fiishing reception and we didn't defer him (he will be 5 at the end of August). It has been a mixed year but he has enjoyed it mostly and it's definitely finishing well.

He is quite bright, and academically I think he has been fine. I imagine he will meet the reading, writing and maths targets, though his writing is messy. I can say wholeheartedly that he has really enjoyed learning so much and in that respect it has definitely been better than nursery. Socially it has been more difficult. He has only really started to play with other children in the last term, but at the same time I have seen his confidence grow a lot and his interests begin to mature and broaden.

I think the ideal for him would have been a halfway house - a more challenging version of nursery. If the local nursery school had been willing to take him, that would have been attractive (versus going back to his private nursery which was great at 3-4 years old but he would have been bored at 4-5 years.) However, the nursery school would not commit to taking him so it seemed fairly obvious to us that school was the best option.

Justajot Mon 08-Jul-19 21:55:02

I'm another with a September born who would probably have been better suited to being in the year above. She's bright, capable, mature and tall. She seemed more ready for school than some of the children who started school the year before her. She is still quite different to a lot of her friends - being more mature - and that is a few years into school. She also gets a bit bored at school and would easily cope with being in the year above academically.

It never occurred to me to ask for her to start school early and I don't think she'd appreciate me asking for her to move year now.

I am not at all against deferment, for a child who needs it and I know of parents doing it for absolutely the right reasons. But I'd think twice about making a capable and school ready child defer.

ColdCottage Mon 08-Jul-19 22:13:36

I deferred my son so he started at 5 and 3 months. Really happy with our choice. So much more ready for school.

Agree go to the Flexible summer born Facebook page. There is factual advice links there to university papers etc

Leggyfrog Mon 08-Jul-19 22:23:31

This is normal in Scotland - there is a 2 month calendar window where parents can decide.

Almost everyone who can defers - the advantage of being one of the oldest at High school vs the youngest in the year is well documented - there will be decades and decades of Scottish examples / educational studies.

ColdTattyWaitingForSummer Mon 08-Jul-19 22:27:50

My son is an October born, but being in Scotland we had a choice of him starting at nearly 5 or nearly 6. At that time we were considering a move back to England, so I didn’t defer as I wanted him to be in the “correct” year if our move went ahead. With hindsight even at that age he wasn’t ready emotionally for school. I actually ended up home edding from mid primary, and I’m glad of it because he “should” have just finished the first year of secondary, and I don’t think he would have coped well from an emotional maturity perspective.
All that to say if you have the option of deferring it could benefit them not just now, but so they aren’t navigating high school just a few days after turning 11.

JoeGargery Mon 08-Jul-19 22:32:17

Thanks, all.

I see your point, @twistyturnycurlywhirly- I didn’t actually ask for the experiences of those who hadn’t deferred. (I was a summer born and fine with it. But doesn’t mean an extra year of play might not have been better. The pressure on schools to achieve certain targets is depressing, and I feel a bit glum when I see my capable summerborn eldest have to stay in doing homework when his sibs are running around the garden. Why not have an extra year of freedom?)

It was more the kind of issue that @morepeasinapod raised that I was asking for. I wouldn’t have thought of that as I thought that a school/LA had to argue that a move in year group at a later date would be in a child’s best interests. That’s a worry. We don’t plan a move but sometimes things change.

Thank you, it’s really helpful to consider potential downsides.

OP’s posts: |
stucknoue Mon 08-Jul-19 22:32:26

Remember your 4 year old will one day be an 18 year old who still has a year of a levels left - he may resent you putting him a year behind. I'm an August birthday and happily left home in the September for university, couldn't leave fast enough.

morepeasinapod Mon 08-Jul-19 23:54:53

stucknoue he may equally grow into an 18 year old who’s glad that he was given a bit more time to gain confidence and emotional maturity.

morepeasinapod Tue 09-Jul-19 00:08:46


Our current LA’s stance was very rigidly along the lines of it’s automatically in a child’s best interests to be in the “correct” year group with their peers.
Regardless of inconvenient facts such as a child previously being educated out of the normal age group, and the reasons for that decision.
And when it comes to peers, I don’t see why a child with a late August birthday wouldn’t fit equally well within the “correct” year group or the one below. It’s practically the same average age gap between them and the rest of the kids in the year (assuming an even spread of birthdays throughout the year).

PatricksRum Tue 09-Jul-19 04:35:21


LoveYourHome9 Tue 09-Jul-19 04:47:43

This thread is really interesting.

I now live abroad where school isn’t compulsory until age 8! But most start school at either 5 or 6.

My youngest DS is just turned 5 and I’ve had the decision this year of sending him
this year or next. If we had remained in England he would have already be finishing up reception.

I don’t see any downsides for deferring for. Year in your circumstances. An only just turned 4 year old seems really young to be starting school.

Most families here defer for as long as possible which I don’t really agree with.

It’s an interesting area with no right or wrong answers.

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