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Help!! I truly believe my just turned 4 yo boy is NOT ready for school in sept...... what do I do??

(70 Posts)
jemimap Sat 09-Aug-08 23:27:05

My just turned 4yo is due to go into reception (in a private school) in sept.. I've always had concerns over his 'readiness' both emotionally and socially, to begin fulltime in sept but having thought long and hard about it over the past month I feel determined that it would be the wrong thing for him at this stage.. I just dont know how best to tackle this. My ideal would be that he attends mornings only in reception, probably for the whole academic year as I dont see any reason to push him into full days until next sept (when he will just have turned 5)

I've spoken to the head who has extremely reluctantly agreed to let him start with mornings only but only until oct halfterm then he must go fulltime. I dont know with it being an independant school whether to just stand my ground and basically say its 'mornings all year or nothing' kind of approach (I have 2 younger children too so the school would be losing the fees of 3 pupils if they say no)

Or should I just keep him at his (fabulous) preschool 5 mornings a week for the next year and start him in year 1 in sept 2009??

any opinions greatly appreciated..

DillyTanty Sat 09-Aug-08 23:28:22

wouldn't it be better to keep him back altogether? i don't like your half-way house idea at all, sounds like it would be most impractical for group work etc.

pinkteddy Sat 09-Aug-08 23:30:26

Might a state school might be more sympathetic to his needs? I know of schools that have allowed half days until xmas for example. A private school is never going to be sympathetic as they want the fees. They have no guarantee that you will put the 2 younger children in after all. If you keep him in pre-school he will just go straight into year 1 in Sept 2009 and will then be a year behind everyone else which I don't think will help him.

RusselBrussel Sat 09-Aug-08 23:38:46

Do not keep him home and then start him straight off into Y1. There is a huge difference between reception (where all learning is play based) and Y1 (where most learning is more formal)

I think your ds would benefit from a state school (although I am sure you had your valid reasons for selecting a private school for him) as they are more likely to be flexible re time etc.
My ds was born end of August, so started in reception 2 weeks after turning 4. His brilliant school allowed him (and most of the summer born ones)to stay half days for the whole of the first two terms. They did not start getting him to read or write until he went full time. So basically he was there half days for two terms just getting used to 'being at school'. It paid off, he is now about to go into Y5, academically is keeping up with the older children in his yeargroup and is doing very very well in a very high performing school.

Find a school that will work with your child - not force him to conform because it suits their timetable / budget.

Tortington Sat 09-Aug-08 23:40:24

send him to school and stop making him a mummy's boy

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

misi Sat 09-Aug-08 23:46:48

in a state school he would only be going mornings for quite some time anyway. my nephew, born at the very end of august went mornings only till christmas in his reception year. where my ex is though, the school she wants to send my son to doesn't start kids of that age till january anyway and then mornings only till easter, strange as I thought the law had changed but thats what it said in the school 'brochure'

jemimap Sat 09-Aug-08 23:55:33

We chose the private school as the state school nearest to us hasnt given us any choice as they only have 1 intake in spetember and I was told all children had to start fulltime.. I wonder though what would happen if I was to say no, an insist that I picked him up at lunch time each day ..Surely they couldn't refuse in a state school??

3andnomore Sun 10-Aug-08 00:03:06

It's so shite that you can't hold them a year back and start them still in Reception....it really should be an option, imo....I feel for you...my ys is turning 4 on Tuesday and he is due to start in September....!
However, I know, that our school will take it into consideration, if a child isn't ready and lets them longer go half days....however, I do not know what would happen if a parent really does decide that they want to keep their child halfdays for the whole year....!
Not sure where you stand with this officially, sorry....

LadyMuck Sun 10-Aug-08 00:03:37

What is the ethos of the private school? Often they are less able to cope with a huge ability gap in a class, so would be nevous at having someone who would be missing half the sessions in their first year. Similarly all schools will be used to the fact that some children are young in age (and for their age) especially when they start reception.

Personally I would let him start (at whichever school you think would suit him in the longer term), and see what happens. If he isn't coping then you can have an informed discussion with the school, who will have got to know your son. Otherwise, unless your son has SN then you have a risk of coming across as an over-anxious parent. And most heads of successful schools know that they will fill their places, so your younger children won't help.

3andnomore Sun 10-Aug-08 00:05:38

misi, that is from school to school different....when Es was starting, we lived in a different county and he went for a much longer period of time half days, in the school that my ms and now my ys are starting it is only 2 weeks...so, I think it does vary....

jemimap Sun 10-Aug-08 00:10:11

I felt so sad for him today shopping for his uniform!! He would be so much happier with another pre-school year... I feel so stongly that our schooling syatem in england is just bonkers!! How can there be no flexibility??

The private school class is not full for september which is why I hoped I would have some bartering power.. We're in the midlands in an area where private schools are usually below numbers.. My husband (who feels the same about school start age for our son) thinks we should just go and speak to the head and explain exactly what we hope to do with the part time reception and if its not possible then look elsewhere..

3andnomore Sun 10-Aug-08 00:15:11

it is a bomkers system over here....for school starting age I defiantely prefer the system I grew up with. I am german, and they actually give a child a pre-school test to see if they physically, emotionally developed enough to cope with school, and school start age is generally at 6.

It's weird really, with my es, he was 4 in the June and had to start that september and he was so not ready, and this has caused him so many problems for so many years....he is now 12 and finally catching up more and more.
My ms is a november Baby and therefore was nearly 5 by the time he started....and he was so rready for school before that....and well, with my ys time will tell....he probably will be fine anyway...but doesn't stop one worrying, does it!

pinkteddy Sun 10-Aug-08 00:15:26

well I suppose you have nothing to lose by doing that jemi. If they won't play ball you could speak to state school about it as well. I would have thought that the state school would be sympathetic but obviously all schools are different.

I feel really fortunate that I have had dd for an extra year as she just missed school last year. I am the opposite from you though as the school want her to do half days for 6 weeks and I feel she is ready to start full time straight away!

LadyMuck Sun 10-Aug-08 00:15:39

You may still get hit for a terms fees at this stage.

You could just keep him out of school altogether until Jan/Apr. Most schools are less keen on one or two children going part-time though as it can unsettle others in the class, and is a pain in terms of the various class events that get put on (assemblies, nativity etc). Whereas if you're not at the school at all then it isn't the same sort of problem - you're not setting a precedent, and you don't impact on the timetable.

Have to say that I'm surprised that all the local state schools start full-time in September. Some of our local state schools have half-days for the entire first term (to the disgust of working parents)

3andnomore Sun 10-Aug-08 00:16:50

How does he feel by the way?

It's jsut, that whilst I feel my ys isn't big enough yet....I know he totally is looking forward to big school, as he wants to be like his big brothers....it probably has helped that he has brought his older brother to school every morning for the past year, so, he has a feeling for the school....

jemimap Sun 10-Aug-08 00:21:44

He is a very quiet little boy and lacking in confidence with basically everything Extremely over sensitive. He went for a couple of taster sessions and was ok (he's not a tearful clingy type) but was very ready to go home 3 hours later and was terrified at the prospect of lunch in the 'big hall'..!! DS#2 completely the opposite nd will no doubt be ready for fulltime school at 4 (as he is also an august birthday!! great conception planning eh?!

AbbeyA Sun 10-Aug-08 09:17:33

He doesn't have to start until he is 5yrs. What is the position on fees?-I would have thought you were committed to paying at this stage-whether he goes or not.
I think that we should be more flexible over ages in this country. My middle DS has an August birthday and would have been much better in the year below. Good luck-whatever you decide.

ThatBigGermanPrison Sun 10-Aug-08 09:20:08

Don't try to predict how happy/unhappy he will be in big school. Ds1 used to cry every Saturday of his first term, because there was no school that day. I am so GLAD I didn't keep him at preschool, he has sailed at school.

sarah293 Sun 10-Aug-08 09:22:59

Message withdrawn

juuule Sun 10-Aug-08 09:25:14

You've arranged that he goes mornings until half-term. Go along with that for now and reassess around half-term. If he's really enjoying it then you've no problems. If not, why not negotiate the rest of the term and then take it from there.
He might love it.
I'd see how things went in the first half-term.

becklespeckle Sun 10-Aug-08 09:26:36

Like others I wonder if a state school wouldn't be more suitable? Don't know what it is like where you are but here they start the child in the term they turn 5 so for DS1, who has a summer birthday, it was better as he didn't start until Easter, he would not have been ready at just past 4 for full time.

yomellamoHelly Sun 10-Aug-08 09:28:15

Surely the thing about sending him to an independent school is that the class sizes are much smaller. At the one we looked into it was 15 max. So the staff would be able to be much more attentive than in a class of 30 which is what he would experience in the state system. So I say see how he does. You may find by October he's quite happy to stay with his friends all day.

Heifer Sun 10-Aug-08 10:20:52

The school will be used to having children like your DS.. And with smaller class sizes will be able to cope.

Not all state schools start off with half days I think it depends on LEA.

I would certainly NOT keep my DD back a year, as others have said there is a big difference in learning style between reception and year 1.

MsDemeanor Sun 10-Aug-08 10:50:15

YOu should be able to send him into reception next year (ie not into year one)in an independent school. Have you asked about that option. It will just mean he is the oldest instead of the youngest in the class. I know plenty of independent schools are flexible about children moving up or down a class in a way state schools never are.

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