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Just realized DD will be a year younger than most when she starts school - Help!

(48 Posts)
ilovemydogandmrobama Sun 26-Jul-09 09:51:51

Due to not understanding the British school system, have just been informed that DD will be 4 years old when she starts school. shock

She just turned 3, and was born in July, so will turn 5 in the academic year next year. 2010/2011

What have other people done? Am not sure she's ready for school in about a years time.

She will be going to pre school in September for the requisite 2.5 hours a day.

While I think she's ready for pre school, and extremely bright, she acts a bit young for her age. She asks children for cuddles, and wants to hold hands with children all the time.

Any thoughts?

VulpusinaWilfsuit Sun 26-Jul-09 09:55:49

I have one child who will start school two weeks after he turns 4 shock

It will be hard. Evidence suggests though that it is better for these kids to start earlier rather than halfway through the year. I think the only other option might be to hold her back a whole year but this may not be available or practical.

REception year is usually very play-focused in any case and teachers and TAs are used to dealing with kids who aren't quite ready for school on the whole.

GirlsAreLoud Sun 26-Jul-09 09:58:29

How come it's different in Bristol? I'm sure that's when my August DD will be going.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Sun 26-Jul-09 10:01:28

Sorry GAL I don't really understand what you're saying? smile AFAIK all children in the UK start reception in the year they are rising 5 (ie 4 and turning 5 any time in the academic year between 1 Sept and following 31 Aug)

So all August borns will start school a few weeks or even days after they turn 4...

GirlsAreLoud Sun 26-Jul-09 10:03:29

Hehe, it's early. I thought she said "due to not understanding the Bristol school system"

Was wondering what they do there that we don't do here blush

VulpusinaWilfsuit Sun 26-Jul-09 10:04:47


Well, actually IME, things are very weird in Bristol...

ilovemydogandmrobama Sun 26-Jul-09 10:09:08

Agree that everything is a bit weird in Bristol. grin

Does anyone know of any specific studies that show that children who start earlier are not at a disadvantage?

LIZS Sun 26-Jul-09 10:10:33

dd is end of August bday, started full time in the September and now aged 7 she is academically well up with those pretty much a year older but is still a bit less mature emotionally and physically. You will be surprised how much she changes in the next year. Soem schools do ease younger ones in over the first term or even with a January start so worth checking out what policy those near you have.

annmar Sun 26-Jul-09 10:11:33

DD1 is August born, She started Reception in January (Two intake system where we live).

Although she is amongst the youngest in her year, she is not the only one with a late summer birthday. By my calculations (dates of parties, split for Y1) there are about 10 with July/August birthdays. This is in a year group of 45ish.

What I'm trying to say is your DD may be a year younger than the oldest in the year, but there will be others who are only a couple of weeks older or younger than her.

As an aside, DD1 has been fine at school, I was worried that she wouldn't be mature enough to handle the social side, but she has coped well.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Sun 26-Jul-09 10:12:07

Unfortunately for us Ilove, what the studies show is that summer-borns ARE at a disadvantage. There are a couple of recent studies that do show this, including one commissioned by the govt. They are trying to address it - the recommendation that kids do the full year is one of those - but I'm not sure it is enough. Testing is supposed to be age-standardised also - so when they get to SATs and CATs they weight it for age - but I'm not sure this is enough also since I imagine many summer-borns just struggle from the get-go and lose heart...

...I think the answer is to be a pushy parent and make sure your kid is getting what he/she needs the most. I certainly will be watching like a hawk when my littlest goes to school.

Will post links to research later today...

lljkk Sun 26-Jul-09 10:19:25

They do mature a lot between 3 and 4 (thank goodness).

LoveMyDog: most the studies are definitive. The youngest children in the year are at a statistical disadvantage compared to the average age child, and even more so compared to the oldest children. This applies almost no matter what age they start school (3 or 7, etc). And probably continues until early secondary age, if not later.

However, and you must keep this in mind, the age disadvantage is much less significant (statistically) than other factors that you can control. Like everything to do with parental support, stability in the home, emotional support, expectations, etc.

I have a summer-born DC (boy) myself, who just finished Reception. AND he is Left-handed. AND he has significant speech delay (and is rather clumsy and quite emotionally immature, imo). So my hopes were pretty diminished about his academic career. Yet somehow at the end of reception he was in the top ability groups, and his teacher gushed recently about his writing being at a standard she would expect at the end of Yr1. HOW did THAT happen?

TheLadyEvenstar Sun 26-Jul-09 10:21:00

DS1 starts secondary on 7th September he is atm 10 yrs old....but turns 11 on 29th July...

BonsoirAnna Sun 26-Jul-09 10:23:59

Please don't worry. My DD started French pre-school at 2.10 (five mornings a week) and did full days (four days from 9 am to 4.15 pm) from age 3.10. It seems a lot at first, but your child will not be the only one who is so young (and probably not the youngest) and the school is used to it and will adjust their expectations accordingly.

IMO it is really very important that younger children do not miss out on the all-important preparatory and ground work that early years education covers.

Polgara2 Sun 26-Jul-09 10:25:09

Both my children are summer birthdays and have never been disadvantaged by it at either primary or secondary. At primary level reception involves an awful lot of play based learning anyway and if you held them back a year they would miss out on that year of getting to know the rest of the class etc. Honestly she will be fine smile.

snorkle Sun 26-Jul-09 11:27:05

Vulpus is right. I think all the studies show some disadvantage at the start, they differ as to by when & if it evens out. Here's a link to one that has some quantitative Key Stage 1, 2 , 3 & 4 results data showing there is some effect.

lljkk is also right though that the effect of birth month on educational outcome is small compared to other things like poverty for example. As virtually no children have everything set optimally to achieve as highly as possible, we all just have to make the best of our own circumstances & not worry about things we can't change too much.

karise Sun 26-Jul-09 11:27:38

Because DD was at a 'proper' nursery school part-time, we managed to convince the head of the school we wanted to keep her place open so she started at Easter. I don't think there is anyway on Earth our DD would have coped full-time at just 4! Legally they don't have to start until the term they turn 5 anyway do they? Or have things changed in the last couple of years?

snorkle Sun 26-Jul-09 11:31:22

Remember to she won't be a year younger than most, she'll be almost a year younger than some and about 5 months younger than average (assuming homogeneous distribution of birthdays and an end of July birthday for her).

That doesn't sound so bad does it?

edam Sun 26-Jul-09 11:32:28

ds is a July birthday and did seem very small to be starting school full-time. But it has been fine - he has thrived. So just because on average it can have an effect, don't forget your dd is an individual and it may well work out fine. Her teachers will be experienced in dealing with children born in August as well as September!

seeker Sun 26-Jul-09 11:34:07

My children are both winter babies, so 4.9 and 4.7 when they started school. About in the middle of the age range. But I insisted on a pretty gradual introduction to full time for both of them. They don't actually legally have to be at school til they are 5, so if you're determined and your child needs it, you can do part time or take the occasional Friday off while theya re acclimatizing to it.

But Reception is very gentle and play based - please don't worry.

gatheringstones Sun 26-Jul-09 11:38:51

i too have a dd born end of august so will be four and a few days when she starts school. there isn't much you can do about it - nothing in my borough. my main concern is that she'll only have had four years of growing up and i mean that emotionally, socially, academically. i just think four is too young. i do worry about it but am searching for a school who understands my concerns and i'll make sure they know who i am - without being toooo m/c, pushy, neurotic etc. ahem. wink
i don't think there is much else to be done apart from try not to communicate the negative thoughts and stress to the child. i want her to be oblivious to being at a disadvantage.
so i'll be in the shadows but i'll be there!

ps i also took heart from the fact that some classes can have a lot of summer babies. safety in numbers!

good luck.

hocuspontas Sun 26-Jul-09 12:04:32

Yes, as pointed out, she will only be nearly a year younger than probably 2 or 3 children. This year our Reception class had 10 children born in July/August.

Those who only have one intake in September - it's sometimes tiring being on the go for 6 hours a day at school so possibly advisable to cut back on after-school clubs and playdates for a while because you could get one hell of a tired child!

OP - although your dd will grow up alot in the next year, it is entirely up to you if and when you send her to school and pre-school. Nothing is mandatory until the term after their 5th birthday. So in your case - September 2011 to start in year 1.

lydiane Sun 26-Jul-09 12:18:22

My ds is a late August birthday. He is the youngest in the year. When he junior school this september he will once again be the youngest in the school. He started school in the september - 2 weeks of half days then full time.
I must say that it certainly has not held him back. He is bright, socialable and has coped just fine.
When he was little we considered starting him at school in year 1 when he wouldve been 5. but I am so glad that we didnt. he would have been very behind acedemically. he learnt so much in reception. they do a lot of play in reception as well.

primarymum Sun 26-Jul-09 13:06:05

I have a child in my class whose birthday is 31 August, so she was 4 yrs and 1 day when she started ( and my own son's birthday is 16 August, so he too was very young when he joined Reception,) They are very young but Reception teachers are aware of this They will not be sitting down to formal lessons for quite a while yet! The learning they do will be through play and social interaction and those who have been to nursery/playgroup can have a distinct advantage over those who haven't whatever their age! ( socially rather than academically) So try not to worry too much, accept that school is tiring-for children and Mums-and see how she gets on. If it is too much, many schools are quite happy for a child to "miss" the odd day every now and again (as long as they are still 4 and not legally required to be there!) to catch up on sleep!

seeker Sun 26-Jul-09 13:15:57

There's a little girl in ds's class who is only in that year by an hour and a half! And she was premature, so even younger. She more than holds her own though - the teacher calls her the Pocket Amazon!

However we do know another summer birthday boy who is just about to go up to Secondary school, and it is absolutely obvious that he needs another year of Primary - it varies from child to child.

Sorry - I realize that's not a helpful reply at all!

wilbur Sun 26-Jul-09 13:36:00

I have an August-born boy, just about the start reception. He is ready for more to do with his day than just a few hours of nursery, but he is going to struggle with 5 full days - they start with half days but move to a full week quite quickly. He is small for his age, has had quite a significant speech delay (which is getting better but still quite apparent) and just seems so little compared to the others. I am simply treating Reception as another year of nursery - if he learns a couple of letters and some numbers, great, but I am not going to get into any kind of "What he should be doing in reception" stuff. He has a massive personality, thankfully, so once he has got to know a few other kids, I hope he will fit in ok. I am an August b'day and I was behind academically until I was about 9, although tbh I didn't notice at the time and di very well at school eventually. What really strikes me know when I look back is the slight sense of confusion I had throughout the junior and into the first part of senior school - everyone else seemed to understand instructions, "get" what was going on or what was needed, far more easily that I did. I am going to make sure I take the time to talk to ds2 about what is going on a school and see if I can help with the emotional/social maturity. His teacher is really lovely too, and taught dd who also had speech problems, so at least she will understand some of his needs.

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