Did you know that delaying summer born children from starting school for a year is an option? If you have a summer born baby in the the UK, you can apply to delay your child’s school entry for a year. This means they will start school, the following school year; the year after they should and still go in to reception (despite what many Headteachers will argue!)
I had pretty much made my decision that the twins would not start school in their correct year group the day they were born – 15th August 2015 – Two summer born children! I have written an article on why I made this decision and if you are interested, it is worth a read.
By profession, I am a teacher and having taught children primarily at the ages of 4-7 for 15 years, I know only too well that all children are different and progress at different rates, however, starting school isn’t always about how ready you are academically, but in my opinion more importantly, socially and emotionally. So what I am about to write are my own personal feelings about when my girls will start school, and the facts are based children starting school in England.
September 2018 came around too fast, I hadn’t really thought about schools until then, I refused to, it meant that the girls were growing up! These first three years have been the fastest three years of my life – seriously. Please enjoy as much time with your little ones as you can because you will be applying for schools just like me in no time!
I’ve always known that the twins were a little behind their peers. Not always academically, more emotionally. They find it hard to express themselves and tell me what is wrong. It takes them a long time to let go and try new things even if they are in a familiar settling.
As a teacher, I knew that there was such a thing as being able to apply to delay or defer your child from starting school depending on when they were born but I didn’t’ know much about it. You may also be surprised to hear that not all Headteachers know about this so you could be the ones doing the educating and you need to know your rights and the grounds you stand on.
Today, I am going to speak to you through my experience of having summer born children. Currently, you can request that your child’s school starting date is delayed by a year if they were born between 1 April and 31 August.
Although most children start school in the September after turning four, they are not obliged to be in education until they are of Compulsory School Age. So in the twins case (or for any summer born out there) it would be the autumn term after their 5thbirthday. So if your child was born between 1 April and 31 August, that’s you! And currently, if your child was born during this time, you can request that your child’s school starting date is delayed by a year but to start in reception the following year, not year 1.
The difference between delaying and deferring are as follows;
Deferring – Your child can have a staggered start. So maybe you would suggest to your school that your child does mornings only, or starts a term later than everyone else.
Delaying – Start school the following year.
My personal opinion on this is that I wouldn’t want a deferred start because I don’t think there is any benefit to actually missing school. I want my child to embrace the whole experience as much as they can but when they are ready.
You can apply to delay your child’s entry by a year, AND start them in reception the following year NOT year 1. Who wants to delay their children’s start for them to go straight into year 1?
If you want to delay your child’s start date, this is where you start…
The very first thing I did was to ask for some help from TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Birthing Association). They have trained consultants in this field and can help you every step of the way. They also supplied a supporting letter for my application. Just go onto TAMBA’s website and ask for an ‘honorary consultant appointment’. I have added the link HERE for this. From here, they will initially get in contact via email to arrange a call.
If you want to delay your child’s starting date, you’ll need to apply for a school place for them to start at the normal time (i.e. the September after their fourth birthday), but should submit your request for delayed entry at the same time to your local authority. Now this is where it gets a little complicated…
Depending on the type of school you are applying to, depends who makes the final decision as to whether a delayed start is granted. So, for example, if it is a community primary school, then the local authority makes the decision, if it is an academy, then the school makes the decision. If you don’t know, you could give either the school or your local authority a call and they can tell you. Everyone is very helpful.
The law states that if you defer your child’s school starting date until the term after they turn five, the admission authority (the local authority or the school’s governing body, including the head teacher) must take account of the child’s individual needs and abilities in making a decision about whether they should be admitted to Reception or Year 1. The decision must be made in the child’s best interestsand remember you their parent know them best!!
When making your application, you will need to also attach some supporting evidence. This can be in the form of;
- Your own statement of reasoning as to why it is in YOUR child’s best interests and why you feel that a reception start would benefit them over missing the whole year of reception, and going straight into year 1.
- A letter from your nursery/pre-school
- A letter from a health professional – Maybe they have speech delay, hearing problems, they were premature etc
- A letter from TAMBA (the Twin and Multiple Birth Association)
If your request is granted, you’ll need to withdraw your application to the schools and re-apply the following year. Your application will be treated as a new application, and you’ll be subject to the same admissions criteria as every other child applying for a Reception place. However, you will need to fill out a paper copy as the online system gets confused!
If you too have a summer born and are concerned that school just isn’t right for your child at this time, then you can do something about it! I will say that not all cases get approved and each local authority is very different but I’d say give it a go.
There is a great Facebook page called Flexible School Admissions for Summer Borns where lots of people are going through the same process and have loads of advice. There are even template letters.
If you want to read about why I chose to delay, then read on in this article – Why I applied for a delayed school start
Josie from Me, Them and the Others also tells us why she wished she had delayed her son. This is a really great read if you are not sure what to do!
I am by no means an expert in this field, I am just doing what I feel is right for my twins as their mother. However, I am very happy to answer any questions and will help as much as I can. Why not pop over to my Facebook page to say hi!
You could also check out these school starters articles;
Preparing your child for big school 1
Preparing your child for big school 2
GO ON, PIN IT!