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To be worried sick about son starting school to young!

104 replies

madmacbrock · 04/04/2013 22:32

I appear to be on my own with this.
My son was born on the 29th Aug, and i am dreading school time (his is only 19mths) This is not down to me 'wanting to keep him to myself a bit longer' but all the research i have read that suggests summerborn children (espesially boys) do not do as well as those born in the autumn. He will be smaller than the others, less developed emotionally, physically and mentally. I remeber the summerborn boys from my school years and they were all 'outsiders'
I realise he could start a year later, rather than a few days after his 4th birthday but would go to 1st year rather than reception, that has issues socially! and also seems pointless as he will still be 'behind' all the way through to high school. does anyone know of anyway round this?
I am concidering moving country to a place where the stupid rule doesnt apply or even lying about his DOB, is that fraud? everyone i speak to thinks im over reacting and that the system has been in place for years and he'll cope! Is it wrong of me to want my child to at least have the opportunity to thrive rather than to just cope and get by? Confused

OP posts:

Trazzletoes · 04/04/2013 22:36

It seems a little odd to be that stressed about it.

I know plenty of people (including boys) with late August birthdays. Yes, the first couple of years were comparatively more difficult but, in my experience, (and no doubt someone will have a scientific study to disprove this) they did the same as everyone else through senior school.

Was your DS planned and born at term? Because if he was then yes, YABU.


HollyBerryBush · 04/04/2013 22:40

FWIW my three went to a three form entry school, all children were in a class according to birth.

The Summer babies, predominantly boys stormed the 11+ every year (and still do).

Do they not do 'rising 5' intake in January anymore?

And lets be serious for a second. The school year has to start and end somewhere. Even if, hypothetically, all babies were born in the same month, some would still be more capable than others.


CloudsAndTrees · 04/04/2013 22:40

Both my ds's are late August borns, and I remember worrying about this too when they were small. But they are both now in the top sets at secondary school and are doing well academically. It is not a given that August borns will automatically be disadvantaged.

YANBU to worry, it's perfectly understandable, but you do need to put it into perspective. The system has been in place for years and he will cope. Think about it, you don't go around everyday life able to identify who were the children that were ff from birth, or didn't walk until they were 20 months, or who were the youngest in their year.


Lovelygoldboots · 04/04/2013 22:42

Yanbu to worry. My son was just four when he started in reception and not ready for school. Have you thought about starting him after Christmas. I know two families who did this with summer boys and they kept them in playgroup longer. The first term in reception is exhausting for littlies that aren't ready.


NeoMaxiZoomDweebie · 04/04/2013 22:42

Yanbu. I was scared about it too. My DD was born late a month older than your son.

She's 8 now and FINE! She did have a few issues after the move from infants into Juniors but that has all gone...she's JUST caught up academically though.

She was the last to learn to read in her class bless she is in the top 10% for reading and spelling.

It evens out and your DS won't be the only young one....teachers are all used to it...they know how to deal.


havingamadmoment · 04/04/2013 22:43

I was born end of August and had no problems. I have a daughter who is August born who will start in September,if I don't feel she's ready I will take her back out. I really wouldn't spend time worrying.


PacificDogwood · 04/04/2013 22:44

YANatallU IMO.

I think the early school start is madness, personally.
I know lots and lots of children do absolutely fine, but there ought to be some flexibility.

Having said that, I think you need to give yourself a bit more time to see how he develops. He'll likely not be the only August born child in his year.

What does him having been planned or not got to do with anything? Confused

The rest of Europe have age 6 as standard school starting age (Switzerland 7) and the evidence is strongly weighted against early formal education.


Changebagsandgladrags · 04/04/2013 22:44

I share your fear. DS1 is now in year 2, he's still behind, but not as much as he was. He still gets upset because one girl in his class is oh so amazingly clever. But she has a September birthday, if she wasn't top of the class I'd be worried as a parent.

Unfortunately, it seems the disadvantage continues all the way through their school years. There was some study about summer burns and Oxford.

However, there are some advantages. In sports, I generally competed against my year group, they were older, mostly. But one I started competing in age group eg under 15s, I had a bit of an advantage. I was used to competing with bigger and better, but the autumn kids were used to competing with younger kids...


PomBearWithAnOFRS · 04/04/2013 22:47

I have 5 DCs, three with Nov/Dec birthdays and 2 in July/Aug and honestly, it doesn't seem to have made/be making much difference.
Also, (and Im not 100% certain on the exact rules, but you could easily find out) children don't have to start school at the "usual" time. You can wait until the term after they actually turn five iirc, or something like that, it's later on anyway, so rather than being 4 in August and starting school the next week, your DS could wait a while and go later on.
It is more daunting since they did away with the January intake I think, my DD is 11 in August and started school in January after she was 5, but the system they have now, it would have been the September. That said, all of my DCs went to nursery for 15 hours a week from being 3 or 4 (depending on an available place) and were fine with the transition because they started at the school their nursery was attached to and moved up with all their friends through an integrated "Foundation Stage"
When the time approaches, have a look and see if your local school have this integrated approach to the early years at school maybe, and find out exactly when your son must start school, rather than conventionally would start school iyswim, and bear in mind it is a long way off, relatively speaking, he will grow and develop and come on so much from 19 months to being 5, you will be amazed, really.
If all else fails, look into Home Schooling - it is a last resort or measure of desperation for some families, but for others it's their first choice, and there's no harm looking into it - just try and remember, you need to decide what is best for your son not on your own anxieties and memories and fears. I don't mean that in a nasty way, but are you prehaps transferring your worries to your boy a bit? How was your own experience of school?


catkind · 04/04/2013 22:49

Don't stress it yet. Perhaps he'll be one of those kids who are reading at 3 and queuing at the school doors at 4. My son's September 13 entry, and has friends who are Sept 14 entry who are much more ready than him. If you still think he's not ready when it comes to it, defer a term or two, or ask to stay on half days or something. And remember reception isn't the heavy academic business it was when we were at school (or me anyway - perhaps you're younger!), it's much more play based now.


captainbarnacle · 04/04/2013 22:49

My son is 23rd Aug, in yr2 and top of his class in reading at the moment. Yes, the trend is that they are behind, but that doesn't mean they all will be.


Whatdoiknowanyway · 04/04/2013 22:50

Move to Scotland, the cut off is Jan/Feb


JudithOfThePascha · 04/04/2013 22:51

What research have you read? is it focused on YR? Because ai dont think beyond Y1/2 there's much evidence if a disadvantage. Anecdotally, I know my friends who teach in YR and Y2 say that by the time they reach Y2, it makes no difference. YR teachers work to the early years curriculum, so younger ones are usually well catered for. In fact, in DS's school I would say they are more well-suited to cater for younger ones, like my own DS, than the older ones. But that's not necessarily the case, of course. Wait until nearer the time and then speak to your proposed school about your concerns.

I promise I mean this kindly, but I don't think it's usual to be quite so worried about this when he's only 19 months old. Are you a worrier by nature? I know I am and sometimes issues like this can get me down. You do sound very stressed. Perhaps have a think if anything else could be getting you down at the mo?


FannyFifer · 04/04/2013 22:52

So just turning 5 in the August? That's quite average for starting school I thought?

Dd could start school next year.
will be 4 in the February so 4 and a half starting but I will be keeping her to the following year as think that's very young.


Myliferocks · 04/04/2013 22:58

Reception teachers are used to children being just 4 when they start school.
I've got an end of July born DS and a middle of August born DD.
It completely depends on the individual child as to how they cope and get on being a summer born child at school.


CloudsAndTrees · 04/04/2013 23:01

I agree with Judith that reception classes are often much better suited to the younger children in the year than they are the older ones.

I wouldn't recommend holding a child back from starting at the same time as all the other children in a reception class though. In my experience (as a TA in reception) children that have started in the January when all the others started in September have been done no favours by it, and can be disadvantaged by it quite often. You have to remember that there is a huge variation in children even when they are all exactly the same age, and plenty of children do longer days at nursery than they do at school. If its too tiring for them, keep them off for the odd day here and there, don't hold them back.


madmacbrock · 04/04/2013 23:03

Thank you for your replies, some have really helped but prehaps i came accross a little erratic, im just really trying to make sure that my son has the best start and it seems to me that this is something that could possibly go against him, it might not, but isnt it my job to at least find out options. I actually had a very good experience with school, im no genius but i certainly diddnt struggle, im oct, my sis (july) and dh(june) did. they are just 2 examples of many.
As i say my DS is 19mts, he started walking at 9mths can say sentances of 3 sometimes 4 words and can even count to 10 so im not worried about his development (proud mum Smile) if im honest im not overconcerned about how he'll cope with primary but more concerned with the knock on effect of high school when things get a bit tougher! AIstillBU?

OP posts:

Sommink · 04/04/2013 23:04

Why do September children have to be top of the class changebags?

My friend was an august baby. She got a scholarship to St Andrews and now works in nuclear physics. So made no difference to her learning.

Have you thought about a January start? Gives you and him a little more time together and a little more time to grow. I wouldn't worry to much. There are some children in DD's reception class that had naps for the first term or two if the needed it (TBH I think some still do now if they are feeling rundown etc). Classroom just had some beanbags in the corner so they could go lie down if they were tired!!!!!


NeoMaxiZoomDweebie · 04/04/2013 23:06

Yes YABU still. By the time they get to 9 or so, it evens out.


Trills · 04/04/2013 23:06

YABVU to be "dreading" it so many years in advance.

You don't know what he will be like in a few years time.


PacificDogwood · 04/04/2013 23:08

Much as I am in priciple much more in favour of a later formal school start, I do think who well an individual child does is impossible to predict.
I just wish there was a bit more flexibility... glad to be living in Scotland

He is very young just now, OP, wait and see. Chances are, he'll be fine.


PomBearWithAnOFRS · 04/04/2013 23:08

AWwwww mad calm your self Grin - high school is a LONG way off and a concerned, interested parent(s) who help out and take notice and read and "do stuff" and see there's enough food and sleep and not too much electronic crap and so on are a much better help than being born in whatever month could ever be.
Buy him a microscope and a telescope and a chemistry set, and a book called "Backyard Ballistics" and anything else you can find that looks interesting (not all at once and not yet obviously Grin) and let him out to make stuff and break stuff and blow stuff up and grow stuff and launch rockets and BE and he will be fine, I promise!
It must be true because Pom Bear Said So


ParadiseChick · 04/04/2013 23:09

This is why I prefer the Scottish system, an extra year means an extra year at nursery, starting p1 a year later. Not missing reception then joining kids with the same age range, just a year later.


Fudgemallowdelight · 04/04/2013 23:12

Was your DS planned and born at term? Because if he was then yes, YABU.

What does this mean Trazzletoes?


youarewinning · 04/04/2013 23:15

My DS is late August born.

He's way behind in literacy and way ahead in numeracy.

He's on SEN register as possible learning difficulty in relation to writing skills.

That's about him though and his abilty - not to do with birth date.

He's proof the birthdate doesn't make a difference necessarily. He wasn't socially ready for school but I feel the staggered starts (1/2 day etc) don't help them with this. Having poorer social skills and also having to make friends in less time is a little counterproductive!

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