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Do august babies have to start school at just 4?

18 replies

crabby · 14/10/2008 12:51

DD born at 35 weeks in August. As a late summer baby myself, always youngest in year etc was pleased that she would be one of the oldest in the year.

And then prematurity arrived ! Will she be forced to go to school at just gone 4? Can I keep her out until I want her to start - especially considering that she wasn't due until late Sept?

Thanks for advice.

OP posts:
ghosty · 14/10/2008 12:53

My niece did - she was 4 and 10 days when she started school. My sister was told she could hold her back but she would then go straight into Yr1 the following year ... what the point in that????
Anyway, DNiece is now 6 and doing very well.

bronze · 14/10/2008 12:53

I have the same problem with dd. She was due Oct born Aug. The problem with holding them back is that they will always start with their peers so would go straight into yr1 at 5 when they start. I think this could be worse than starting at 4 so I'll be sending dd at 4.

SharkyandGeorge · 14/10/2008 12:53

I think legally she doesn't have to be in school til she is 5, but if you wait a year she will go straight into Year 1 and not eased into Reception class.

So may be harder for her as she will be just starting when lots of kids will have had a year to get settled at school.

I may have got it wrong though as neither of my DC's are at school.

bronze · 14/10/2008 12:54

xpost
ghosty can type faster than me

notnowbernard · 14/10/2008 12:55

I think you can hold off til after Christmas if you really want to

But then she'll have to go into an already-established class and be a bit 'at sea' possibly

But in the grand scheme of things 3 months in Reception is probably not really that big a deal, IYKWIM

There are dc in my dd's reception class who are struggling a bit and they're in the older group

AMumInScotland · 14/10/2008 12:58

Legally, you don't have to send her to school at any age - you can home educate There tend to be a few queries on the Home Ed topic each year from people considering keeping their child out of school until they think they are ready for it - maybe 5, maybe 6 or 7 or later.

But, if you are sending her to school in England, then what others have said here is correct - you don't have to send her till 5, but then she'd join a class who have already been through reception together.

MadBadandWieldingAnAxe · 14/10/2008 13:01

It's the actual date of birth that counts but some education authorities split the school intake into two or even three. So it may be possible for your daughter to start in the January or summer term - have you checked what your council's website says about whether or not they start all reception pupils in September?

I'm sure someone will be along soon who knows the law better, but I don't think you're legally obliged to have your child in school until the term in which they turn 5. The potential problem is that if (say) your LEA wants your daughter to start in September when she's just four and you try to defer the place, they might refuse to hold it open to her and offer it to someone else. Of course, that's not a problem if the school isn't oversubscribed.

Does that help?

MadBadandWieldingAnAxe · 14/10/2008 13:01

It's the actual date of birth that counts but some education authorities split the school intake into two or even three. So it may be possible for your daughter to start in the January or summer term - have you checked what your council's website says about whether or not they start all reception pupils in September?

I'm sure someone will be along soon who knows the law better, but I don't think you're legally obliged to have your child in school until the term in which they turn 5. The potential problem is that if (say) your LEA wants your daughter to start in September when she's just four and you try to defer the place, they might refuse to hold it open to her and offer it to someone else. Of course, that's not a problem if the school isn't oversubscribed.

Does that help?

MadBadandWieldingAnAxe · 14/10/2008 13:03

Ooops. Cross-post and two of them.

MollieO · 14/10/2008 13:45

My ds was born at 33 weeks and was a summer born. We had to submit a profile to the school before he started so I included details about him being a prem and the current impact it has on his life. He is one of the youngest in the year and is certainly less mature than some of those who are already 5 but not hugely so.

For a myriad of reasons we chose private but had we chosen state he would have gone straight into yr1. I'm happy he has started in reception if only to get used to the structure and environment of the school. I always think it is hard on summer borns who are the youngest in the year and don't get the benefit of any time in reception where we live.

lingle · 14/10/2008 13:53

No, they do not. You must educate her from 5.

Moreover, if you would consider moving to the Bradford or Leeds LEAs then you could also go for the blindingly obvious solution of starting her in reception at just turned 5. So far as I know, they are the only two LEAs offering this. I believe is it arguably against the human rights act for other LEAs to insist on punishing children who start at the statutory school age of 5 by placing them straight in year 1. This reminds me, I ought to tell Bradford Council that various people on mumsnet have written saying things like "I wish I lived in Bradford" - possibly a first for Bradford's education system!

Keep your eyes peeled: Sir Jim Rose is due to send his final report to the Government in spring. He was specifically briefed to consider whether all parents should be offered a year's deferment if their children are born in the summer term. If he answers "yes" then his recommendations won't come into effect for our year but they will put power to your elbow if you want to argue with your LEA.

tbh, it's mainly the boys that suffer because they are usually less articulate. But I've seen the August-born girl in our year suffer in a different way. She has formed an identity of herself as the "pretty little girl who cries and is small". Sadly, it will probably stay with her for life. . As for the August born boys, both their dads use the same phrase: "they cope". Mine's a late talker and born 21st August so I'm 99% certain that I'll take advantage of Bradford's common sense stance and save the teaching assistants from wasting a year trying to teach him stuff he's not ready for....

Tommy · 14/10/2008 13:55

my DS is the youngest in his year. The letter about his school application arrived here just before his 3rd birthday

He went to school at 4 and a week. Loves it and is doing really well.

I suppose they have to draw the line somewhere - if the line was on 31st December we'd still be having the same discussions!

oops · 14/10/2008 13:57

Message withdrawn

Rapunzel100 · 14/10/2008 14:05

Legally i think they can start the term following the 5th birthday. Therefore for you you could legally start your child in the Sept following her 5th birthday.

However you have to take into account that the classmates would have had that first year bonding as a class and settling into routines. Also, the class may be full and they may be unable to offer a place at the start of Year 1. You need to take that into account also.

My DD started school 4 days after her 4th birthday. I was so worried but she coped admirably. She was always the youngest in her year but she held her own. Generally the YR R staff are most accommodating and understanding of the young one's starting.
Perhaps your DD could go part-time for a bit longer. My DD2 went part time until Oct half-term (She was a July baby), the School did not mind at all.

My advice would be to start at 4 but view your concerns to the Reception teacher. Then if need be she could just do part-time primary school for a bit longer if it makes you feel better about her settling in.Play it by ear!

sugarpear · 14/10/2008 14:05

Hi ds was born i towards end of august at 30 weeks. his profoundly deaf and he started school at 4 and he loves it.

His so intelligent he needs to learn every day he just thrives on knowledge.

DD3 is a june baby so she will be a young one in her class too when she starts,.

roisin · 14/10/2008 17:02

ds1 is a summer birthday (July). Due to different counties/education policies he went straight into yr1. Prior to that he went to a nursery just 2.5 hrs per day, with no structure or formal learning: largely just free play including indoors or out.

It took him a couple of months to settle in to yr1 and the expectations of school, but after that he thrived, and was certainly not at a disadvantage for having missed reception.

In retrospect I wish I'd done the same with ds2. But at the time we would have lost his place at the over-subscribed school. Now (in our County at least) if you apply for a place they have to keep it for you until the child is 5 if you choose to defer entry.

Littlefish · 14/10/2008 17:10

Lingle - I hadn't heard about Leeds or Bradford. Do the children stay an academic year behind their chronological age all the way through to 19, or do they have to miss a year of school somewhere along the line in order to finish at 18?

lingle · 14/10/2008 19:21

I know from letters from Bradford primary heads that they stay with their admission cohort throughout primary school

After that, I don't know. But given that the government accepts the evidence about August -borns, and the secretary of state's brief to Jim Rose clearly indicated a desire to increase flexibility, I'm willing to risk having to fight a battle in seven years's time. The key thing is not to put him off education, so primary is critical I feel.

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