All this angst about summer borns. Can someone tell me why we don't just go over to the Scottish admission system?

(135 Posts)
Worriedthistimearound Fri 22-Nov-13 11:28:31

On the other thread there seems to be lots of people saying its not ideal but what can you do.
Well, maybe someone can tell me why we don't move over to what seems to me like a far more sensible system. DH is Scottish and we know the parents with children in the system and there is nowhere near the same level of anxiety up there.

Basically, it would seem that the cut off is the end of February rather than the end of August for children starting that autumn (well aug in Scotland) therefore, the youngest child starting school in that year group would be at least 4.5 as they turned 4 no later than end of feb. unlike here where a child could theoretically turn 4 on the 31/8 and start school the next day.

I know parents have more choice to defer up there too but that aside the timings seem so much more sensible. I also know that in England the child doesn't legally need to start until the term after they turn 5 but that's no solution if your child misses a whole year if reception.

So, what's stopping us saying ok, for 2017 admissions we're moving over to this new system so that all children will be more ready for school?

cupcakeicing Fri 22-Nov-13 11:36:53

I agree, the system up here seems much better. My Ds was 5.5 when he started as we were positively encouraged not to put him to school at 4.5 when technically he could have started.

Worriedthistimearound Fri 22-Nov-13 11:43:45

I should add that my 3 are all autumn babies and I planned it that way to hopefully, in theory, give them an advantage. And I certainly saw that advantage when they were all in reception. But it would be so much fairer if it was evened out a bit. The Scottish system seems so sensible I don't understand why we don't change over. Yes, you still get some children almost a year older but with the youngest being at least 4.5, that gap is narrowed.

MinionDave Fri 22-Nov-13 11:55:41

I think it's a better system up here too. My DC are April and May birthdays so I didn't have any of this hassle, as they were approaching 5 1/2 when they started school. I know loads of parents who keep their younger winter borns back a year too, and say they are glad they did.

I personally think 4 is too young to start full time school.

tabulahrasa Fri 22-Nov-13 12:02:33

I don't see that it makes much difference what month is used as you still have children a year younger than their peers - which is the real problem, not their actual age.

What does work though is the ability to defer if their birthday is near the cut off just to avoid being so much younger or to defer if there's a reason to...there's no missing a year or having to be moved back up later, they're just in that year of school.

prh47bridge Fri 22-Nov-13 12:09:41

Yes, you still get some children almost a year older but with the youngest being at least 4.5, that gap is narrowed

No it isn't. If all children enter at the normal age in Scotland the youngest will be 4.5 and the oldest will be 5.5 so the gap from youngest to oldest is still a full year. If parents have deferred entry the oldest in the class could be almost 6.

Changing to the Scottish system would have wider effects than just entry to primary school. Because of the way primary admissions work most Scottish children can leave education after fourth year which is equivalent to Y10 in England. The English system is geared around pupils sitting most of their GCSEs in Y11.

There has been limited research into the effects of the Scottish system. I am only aware of one study that looked specifically into children where the parents had chosen to defer entry. This found that the children concerned were performing at broadly the same level as their peers at the start of P1 (equivalent to Reception) but had fallen behind by the end of P3 (equivalent to Y2). This does not, of course, prove cause and effect nor does it tell us how this translates into performance at Standard Grade (broadly equivalent to GCSE).

cupcakeicing Fri 22-Nov-13 12:10:01

Up here, however, you do get anomalies. My DS and his friend in the same class both have January birthdays but my DS is just over a year older than his friend.

cupcakeicing Fri 22-Nov-13 12:12:40

The headmistress of DS primary advised that the difference is most noticeable at exam time at secondary with 15.5 year olds sitting standard grades, highers etc alongside 16.5 year olds.

LemonBreeland Fri 22-Nov-13 12:14:03

My dc are in the Scottish system and I do agree it is better. My friend who teaches in England also wishes it was more like the Scottish system.

tiggytape Fri 22-Nov-13 12:14:08

As tabulahrsa says - there will still be children who will be on the borderline i.e. too old to be allowed to defer but too young to cope with being the youngest in the class.

No matter how flexible a system is there will always be a date that is considered the least favourable one and a child who might be forced to be the youngest in the class.

In Scotland it is the Autumn children in this situation because the January and February babies are allowed to defer for a year but the Autumn ones aren't so they become the default youngest.

The English system is also set up differently. Children enter at a younger age but they don't start formal learning at that age. It is all very much like pre school or nursery so in that sense they don't have to be 'ready' for schooling because it won't be that rigid for the first year or so.

IME you can defer any child born after August if there is support from nursery,etc

CrazyThursday Fri 22-Nov-13 12:19:19

Why did we move away from staggered starts? My birthday is in march and I started school in the jan term ie the term before I was 5...

CrazyThursday Fri 22-Nov-13 12:19:46

I hasten to add that was nearly 30 years ago!

Sorry that should have been IIRC not IME

Crazy, yupI started after the Easter holidays before turning 5 in JUne (was in England then)

MorrisZapp Fri 22-Nov-13 12:26:59

Also we have Irn Bru and Oor Wullie. Win win.

Worriedthistimearound Fri 22-Nov-13 12:28:10

I know there is still almost a year difference in age between children starting but much of the angst expressed on here and elsewhere is not that some children are almost a year older but that their child who just turned 4 on the Saturday is too young to start school on the Monday.

IMO and ime there is quite a difference between a just 4yr old and a 4.5yr old in terms of their ability to cope with the formalities of school.

Worriedthistimearound Fri 22-Nov-13 12:29:58

Reception may not be rigid but it is exhausting for most children, even those transferring from daycare.

CrazyThursday Fri 22-Nov-13 12:31:21

Well this is even more pertinent to me now that we've recently found out we're expecting dc2 at the end of July!!

offblackeggshell Fri 22-Nov-13 12:36:13

I think that it is the OPTION to defer that makes the Scottish system better. If you feel your child is ready, then great, off you go, and if they really aren't quite there yet, then defer, at no later cost.

It may vary from school to school, but I've had DC start their education in both systems. We found that P1 was actually more like Y1 than Reception. That might just have been the school though. That said, since Scottish children can have two years in nursery, that makes a difference too.

prh47bridge Fri 22-Nov-13 13:30:06

Why did we move away from staggered starts

We have staggered starts now. If a child is under 5 in September you can defer to the start of term following their fifth birthday, although deferring for a full year is not generally a good idea.

ability to cope with the formalities of school

Reception should not be formal. It follows the same curriculum as nursery with the emphasis on learning through play. The idea is to act as preparation for the more formal schooling that starts in Y1.

LemonBreeland Fri 22-Nov-13 13:30:21

I think eeception is just as rigid as Scottish P1. Children are pushed to learn to read etc. right from the start.

LemonBreeland Fri 22-Nov-13 13:30:36

* reception

Worriedthistimearound Fri 22-Nov-13 14:02:04

Actually prh, I think the EYFS is too formal for children under 5.
As I said, mine are all autumn babies and DC1&2 in particular are very bright but I would still have preferred them not to have spent nursery/reception years covering letters&sounds and place value. I would much rather they collected leaves, painted etc. and yes I know that good EYFS settings do this too and ths best of them use these activities to teach counting etc. However, I would still have preferred no time in the day whatsoever was spent on basic reading skills or numeracy.

Metebelis3 Fri 22-Nov-13 14:06:18

That would be ridiculously unfair for those summer borns who aren't struggling. My late August born Y6 is top of her whole year at primary school. And pretty bored. I can't imagine what it would be like if she had been forced to wait a whole extra year.

The summer born thing has a kernel of truth but it's mixed up with all sorts of bias and special pleading.The younger kids are treated differently, from the off, so many of them are denied the opportunity to perform to their potential right from the start. In some LEAs until recently they weren't allowed to start school till January or even Easter. Another institutionally imposed handicap. No wonder some of them performed less well than kids who had had a whole extra term or even two terms of schooling when they did their KS1 SATs. And once those are done, in many schools that sets the ceiling of potential achievement at KS2.

Parents of summer born kids doing less well refuse to accept there may be many reasons for this - so do teachers. They all want to pin it on birth date even when there are clearly other factors at play. Parents of summer born kids who aren't struggling often find it difficult to get teachers to accept that they don't have to 'dumb down' for their kids even though they might be 'so tiny' (a genuine comment I got from one (supply) teacher who was amazed that DD2 had been 'able' to read a book she'd actually read two years earlier when she took her class in Y4 for one afternoon).

NewBlueShoesToo Fri 22-Nov-13 14:06:36

I remember when reception was a staggered start to school. It was very gentle and sometimes part time. Then the reception year became more formal. Now it seems that nursery children are learning phonics and babies are going to music classes.

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