Parents of summer born children


Please write to us with your experiences (example questions only below):

Have you been able to delay your child’s entry into reception class?

Are you facing/ did you face opposition from your local school and/or local education authority?

Why do you want your child to wait an extra year before starting school?

What has been the reaction from other parents or family members?

Have you been denied the opportunity to delay your child’s entry into reception but decided to defer their starting date until late in the reception year?

If you have an older child whose entrance into reception was delayed, are you happy with this decision or do you have any regrets?

If possible, please tell us the area you live in, as we’d really like to build up a picture of what is happening around the country. If you’ve had a positive experience with a very supportive school, please provide the name of that school, as we think it’s important to highlight good practice and to demonstrate that WHERE THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY.


338 Responses to Parents of summer born children

  1. El says:

    Does anyone have any experience of the opposite – asking for their child to be put forward a year?
    I have a son born 29 Aug, who has flourished in reception and year 1, but my daughter, born beginning Sep, will be the oldest in her class, going to school a year later and I would rather her go earlier!
    I know the discussion is about summer born babies being deferred, but it therefore makes sense that early Sep babies could go up? Anyone heard of this happening? I am applying for her to get a Jan 18 preschool place, as I feel to hold her back until Sep is not fair! Are there any local authorities that you have heard of that are flexible in both directions?


    • Corinne says:

      I was a year early and do not recommend it at all! I think it was a terrible decision,because there is no way a child can be put in a situation where his/her peers are1 year older in emotional and psychological development, and come out of it with more benefit than being in amongst real peers.
      Only my opinion, but through experience.


  2. Becky miller-barton says:

    Hi all,

    My son is turning 3 on the 28th Aug so is to start school next year. I really do not want this, but I also do not want to hold him back and for them to just put him in to year 1 the following year!!!! I have also been told that if I do manage to hold him back to start reception in 2019 he will then (before year 6) be moved up!!! Is this true?

    Trying for advice as to were to start…. thank you



    • Ruth Nilsson says:

      My son has the same birthday as yours. He did have delayed speech as well so I sent a paragraph explaining to Brighton and Hove Council explaining why I thought he should be allowed to join reception just after he turned 5 along with a speech and language report from the previous year even though he had been signed off. No problems at all – the council agreed it and he’s due to start this year on Sept 11th in reception which is 2 weeks after he turns 5. He is so much more ready for school this year than he would have been last year. Good luck!


      • Gen says:

        Hi, my son sounds very similar to yours – end of August birthday and speech delay. Can you remember what you said in your paragraph? Or how detailed the SLT report was? I am hoping to get a letter from the speech and language therapist but wasn’t sure what to ask her to put. Thanks 🙂


  3. Clare says:

    we have a daughter who is going to be 4 on the 25th August and have decides to defer her entry into reception till sept 2018. We have agreement from the local council admission team but have to go through the applying process again, so no guarantee we will get her in.
    A question I have is if she does get in – is she safe? Can she be moved down a year later on if we were to move schools or is it that once she is in reception and started school, that’s it? any help would put my mind at rest 🙂


    • Ruth Nilsson says:

      When I asked my local council about this (Brighton and Hove) they said my son would stay in the year he entered school and wouldn’t be asked to move years by an LEA school although to be aware that some academies may have their on rules. As far as I’m concerned, I am expecting my son (he turns
      5 on 28th Aug and has deferred reception until this Sept) will stay in the year group he enters all the way through. If a school tried to move him I would be very surprised and would fight it as can’t see any reason in the current education system (I’m a secondary teacher) to justify making a child miss a year. Have confidence in your choice and your ability to know /fight for what is right for your child’s
      All the best!


  4. Jules says:

    I would like my summer born child to go part time as I feel the school day is too long but our chosen school have said no. Is there anything I can do? Would the council support the schools decision?


  5. Craig says:

    lots of comment, articles and features around ‘holding back’ but very little I’ve found about helping Children already in school and possibly struggling and disadvantaged. Whats the solution for these children?


  6. Khan says:

    I am glad I found this site. My son is june 2014 born and due to start reception next year, he has just started preschool which he is not settling in very well and i am thinking of taking him off and deferring him a year . Our Warwickshire council says we can apply to defer but it depends on the school and then the council will decide. He is so small, and now i am scared after reading here that councils are not always easy to handle:)
    Any tips on do’s and dont’s will be really appreciated to enable me to put forward a strong case.



    • Caroline says:

      Hello! We successfully went through this process 5 years ago- can’t believe it still hasn’t been resolved. We met with the Headteacher of the school we wanted our son to go to and presented a calm, rationalised argument as to why he needed to be deferred. Be cautious of anyone saying that your child will need to go straight into year 1 as that’s not the case and may be an indicator of a wider lack of additional support. Once you have the heads backing they will complete the county paperwork to get this formally agreed. Never agree on a handshake- there are too many cases of heads leaving and with no official agreement in place the child gets moved up a year whether it’s detrimental or not. In our experience councils are not your battle here- they are so stretched and underfunded they won’t contest Heads paperwork- although it may differ county to county. The relationship with the school and the head is the key and get it formalise by the Local authority.

      Good luck!


      • Eva says:

        Hi Caroline, would you mind sharing on what your cased was based? And was your request based on any feedback from a specialist / GP?

        I have a son who was born premature (his due date was 30 Aug) and can see that his communication skills are far from his peers in nursery. We speak two languages at home which also delays the speech development. His attention span is very short and I can’t see him sitting calmly for activities for more than 10 min.

        I’m wondering if I could get any formal feedback from a specialists before heading to the head master?

        Thank you in advance


  7. Bethan b says:

    Hi. I am currently struggling to know the right decision for my 4 year old. (Birthday July 4th). He started school in September and I took him out for odd days and half days. I had to fight for this right as the school was reluctant. They were not willing to allow half time attendance or agree to let him be deferred a year which was my initial preference. Currently he is struggling to meet their learning expectations and there have been a few incidents of biting other kids! I will keep taking him out for occasional half days to give him a rest. But wondering whether I should take him out completely and demand to be deferred a year. Any thoughts whether this could do more harm than good or how likely a school would be to accept that? Thanks


  8. Anna in Enfield says:

    Hi everyone – does anyone have experience with a summerborn child repeating a year? My 5 year old is summer born and did ok in Reception but is struggling and very unhappy in year 1. It would be better for everyone involved if he either moved down to Reception or repeated year 1 at the end of the year. From what I hear this seems almost unheard of, anyone been able to do this?
    Any advice or ideas of where to look for more information are much appreciated.

    Many thanks.


  9. Michele says:

    I had no problems delaying my daughter’s start here in Hertfordshire. The council site states that all you have to do is refrain from applying then apply for reception the following year.
    Very straight forward. I hope this becomes the norm all over the country soon. Good luck to everyone out there!


  10. Jane says:

    I am considering deferring my son’s entry to reception (he is July baby so due to start this Sep). His development is totally normal and he’s a very happy boy. However, I’m concerned that he will be extremely tired, as he still has a sleep some days and can become quite unreasonable when tired. This is my main concern, along with knowing he is potentially at a disadvantage being one of the youngest. Having spoken to our borough (Havering), I feel I have no option but to put him in full time from Sep. They said it is very unlikely he will be allowed to defer as he has no SEN and I would need evidence to back up my request.
    Having also spoken Hertfordshire borough (where we are thinking of moving to in the next few yrs), they said there was no problem at all in deferring. No reason needed and he would stay in the same cohort throughout his school life. Very unfair that the admissions process is not the same in every LEA.


    • Mandy says:

      My son had SEN which was raised the year before he went into reception. I too was worried that he wouldn’t ‘catch up’ with his peers as he was also a summer baby (late May). However, we eventually decided to let him progress to reception instead of deferring. We have just started his second term. His first term has been amazing. He has made huge huge progress. If you thought they made leaps and bounds in nursery then wait till nursery. He has come back a little man. Full of independence. His SEN was mainly speech and language and social and interaction skills. He has been signed off speech therapy. He also can’t stop talking and saying hello to strangers and initiating play with his peers. Please don’t worry if he does follow onto reception without deferring. Sometime they need a challenge and reception quickly teaches them independence. Good luck.


  11. Chris says:

    Hi, father of a summer born child, born May 2013 here.
    I’m amazed at the battles and outright refusals some of you are having to deal with. My wife and I made a decision to delay our daughter’s reception year after a lot of research into other countries, including Scandinavia, and emotional and academic progress compared to starting ages.

    We live in the Newark and Sherwood admissions area, and when the applications for first admission for 2017 arrived, we phoned the admission office, and told them we wouldn’t be applying as we felt it in our daughter’s best interest, and in line with government guidelines, to delay her reception year. The lady I spoke to was very supportive, and asked us to e-mail staring what we’d just told her.

    After a few bureaucratic false starts (mainly getting the right people to read the e-mail), they granted the deferral. No medical or SEN reports were required, indeed we feel that our daughter would probably have coped very well if she had gone in with the expected intake.

    This year, we have just completed her application process, and every Head Teacher we spoke to agreed with our decision, said thar she would be their first such admission, but would happily take her for Reception (Foundation 2) year as normal. The only problem I had with the application, was due to the online system obviously not expecting an deferred reception, but a bit a creative form filling got around that, and a phone call to the LEA admissions office confirmes the applications are on the system correctly.

    I don’t know whether we were just very lucky, or whether Nottinghamshire/Newark and Sherwood LEA are better at dealing with it, so reading a lot of other people’s experiences with other LEAs is shocking.



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