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JueG
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PostSubject: School .......    Wed 23 Mar 2011, 1:10 pm

Having a bit of a day today…. I had come to terms with the fact Arthur would have to go to school this Sept, he was born in the July and shouldn’t have arrived until the October. He has reached all his milestones (apart from speech) at the timescale of his due date. So, him going to school a year earlier than what he was suppose to makes me feel sick. Anyway, I had accepted it, and had lots of reassurance from friends etc. His speech development has been very delayed, and he is assessed and set targets on a regular basis and he is doing so well now, but he isn’t mature enough for school yet.

However, his nursery are under the impression I could defer him for a year and he would go into reception, I have researched this and yes I could do this but he would start in year 1. I worry that if we took that option he would start school not knowing anyone and in a class of children who have been together for a year.

Don’t know what to do, or what plan to have incase he doesn’t get on with school straight away. Has anyone had a similar experience? Or have any advice it would be greatly appreciated.


Julie
Mummy to Arthur born at 28wks, 25.07.07, weighing 900G... now a lively 3 year old
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amanda9
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PostSubject: Re: School .......    Wed 23 Mar 2011, 7:33 pm

HI - I'm no expert but here's my experience

My daughter Amy was due in September and born in June at just 29 weeks, so we had a very similar problem. Amy's Nursery prepared her well for school, and she started in Reception at 4 and three months. although she found it tiring to begin with, she did well and I'm glad we did what we did. I was very worried, but she coped well, and I've had no regrets.

I think careful preparation in terms of them WANTING to go to school helps. Make sure teachers know the situation. A good reception teacher will make allowances. But you might have to explain the lag in real time age (I've never gone along with the theory that they catch up by the time they are two. I think its just that the gap become's less noticeable!

And remember that he will progress even in the next few months. Amy was a bit slow on the speech front, and VERY slow on toilet training.

I think boys mature a little more slowly too. But I think if you encourage the teacher to understand the problems, and your concerns, he should be fine. And I agree with you, that coming in a year late to a group who have been together for a while, can be a problem. Do you go on to the Bliss website? I know this comes up often, and there are a wide variety of opinions. And remember you know your child better than anyone.

One of the real problems we had was that Amy found the gap between breakfast and lunch was very long and also between lunch and tea. She was always very slight and needed food at regular intervals ... I used to take a snack to school when I picked her up, otherwise she was unspeakable on the way home. And there were times when I had to seek permission to let her have more than the regulation biscuit at break time. But her wonderful teachers were always helpful.

I hope that is reassuring.

good luck!
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Liz Pidgley
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PostSubject: Re: School .......    Thu 24 Mar 2011, 11:27 am

Hi Jue,

This is a very familiar topic for me. I did an interview last year about this very subject. Here is a link to it! The Guardian


Having said that, you know your child best. With my daughters transfer because she was a summer prem baby she was so much younger in every sense than her class mates. Although the law says a child must be in education by its 5th birhthday it doesnt specify what 'education' is. Its not always full time schooling. I therefore arranged an execptionally long induction period for Aimee to enter in reception. Starting at 3 mornings per week and slowly building it up over the year. This really encouraged Aimee to move forward and wasnt so scary for her entering year one.

Sadly for Aimee, she had a teacher in year 1 who didnt want to understand her needs which left Aimee feeling vulnerable.

It might be worth asking your school or contacting an educational psychologist now to help prepare Arthur and his new school for any extra help he might need in advance.

As always follow your instincts and as Amanda has said, Bliss talk about this topic frequently so they too Im sure will be able to offer you more ideas.

I hope this helps.

Best Wishes
Liz

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JueG
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PostSubject: Re: School .......    Thu 24 Mar 2011, 12:10 pm

Dear Amanda and Liz,

Thank you so much for your replies, you both understand exactly where I am coming from, Arthur wants to go to school, but I don’t think he realizes that more will be expected of him. I have a great friend who is a primary school teacher, and she is their senco too, so she has been really good and telling what the options are when he gets to school, especially if there are any issues, she has volunteered to be my sounding board, so I felt okish about the leap into reception.

However, when Arthurs pre school assistant started to say about deferring him, I felt a bit shocked ! As, his senco there and the speech and language assessor feels he will be ready for school in sept, as his attention span has improved greatly, and he has language, just needs to be clearer. Although it has been mentioned he may need some support for the first year, which too be honest I would rather he did.

When we visited the school, (who only have 79 children in the whole school,) we are hoping he will attend, we explained the situation, they have some experience of the issues Arthur has, so I felt reassured. Now I am not so sure, I know I could defer him going to reception until April 2012, but then is that wrong as he will start on his own, when all the other children would have been together for months. I feel so frustrated that the education system puts this kind of pressure on parents with premature children.

So, I think my plan at the mo, is to sit tight see what school he has, fingers crossed it’s the little school, and then liaise with them to see what plan we can come up with for him, so its not such a shock, and I feel more confident that he will be happy and not struggling.

I wish there was a way I could get involved to push this issue for the future, I know that I am stuck with the system we have at the moment, but I feel its complete unfair, but who listens to issues about premature children, I do get annoyed when parents of full term children are flippant about Arthur going to school, and that by rights he shouldn’t be going for another year, I get the feeling that sometimes they are thinking, yes ok we get it he was premature, stop making excuses.

Anyway, sorry to have gone on and thank you so much for listening, I am so grateful !

Take care

xx

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Mossy
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PostSubject: Re: School .......    Mon 04 Apr 2011, 8:47 pm

I'm coming from this as both a teacher and a prem parent.

(My DD was prem but still born within the same academic year as she was supposed to be)

I honestly feel there is a flaw in the system of them allowing children to defer and then they have to start in year 1. To me this means they have missed out on so many things. Simple things like school routines - sitting in assembly, where they have lunch etc. I also feel they would miss out on friendship groups -although this does change so many times when the children are little.

I'm all up for prem children to be allowed to be deferred. However, they should be allowed to start in reception the following year. As this is not the case I personally would send my child with the others to start at the same time. I also say this in terms of looking for additional support. If the child needs this it is usually really hard to get things into place in KS1. However the sooner the ball is rolling the sooner things can be requested.
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JueG
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PostSubject: Re: School .......    Tue 05 Apr 2011, 7:43 am

Hi Mossy,

Thanks for your reply, I feel the same way, I want him to experience the same as everyone else at the same time just for once. I would love it, if he could go next sept into reception, but that would be a really hard thing to do and he would have to more reason than just being a prem, so we will get on with it, and keep communicating with his teacher etc, about what they feel would be beneficial for him in the terms of extra support.

He already has regular assessments by the speech and language dept, who has been really pleased with his improvement so far, fingers crossed this continues. It was just when the head of preschool room, brought the question up, it just unnerved me, his senco at the nursery hasnt so thats what I have to keep in mind.

Keeping fingers crossed !
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Liz Pidgley
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PostSubject: Re: School .......    Tue 05 Apr 2011, 9:30 am

Hi Jue,

If you really feel he is not ready, like I said before you can plan a longer intergration for him. In view of his S&L though, it would be really worth asking his nursery to refer to the Educational psychologist now - they are like gold dust so as Mossy says, getting the ball rolling now is preferable. She would come and talk to you about his birth and what he is good at or struggles with now before observing him at play in the nursery & talking to the staff there. All this info is often vital for our premies as they enter the school world and for the teaching staff to be already one step ahead in identifying any additional support he might require.

Aimee was a summer baby and is consequently the youngest in her year but she should have been one of the eldest in the year behind - it can really make a difference when starting school.

Good luck!
Liz


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