Summer baby – to school or not school?

Summer baby – to school or not school?

The summer holidays are drawing to a close, everyone is out buying school shoes and uniforms and parents are getting ready to bid their babies goodbye for six hours a day as they head off into school. For some I have no doubt September is a welcome time after a long, hot and exhausting 6 weeks holiday, but I do wonder if they are anxious about the coming weeks and their little ones either heading back to or starting school for the first time.

It is after all a big deal for child and parent. Watching as your children head off without you gaining another bit of their independence from you. It is not however as clear cut as it once was. Currently children do not have to of to school until they are 5, however those who start school at five have to go into year 1 and not reception. Although they are starting school a year later they have effectively missed a year of school and are a year behind their class mates. It is however looking likely that it will become possible for parents of summer babies i.e. those born between the 1st April-31st August not to be forced into year 1, rather reception, should they start school at age 5.**


Both my children are summer babies. My daughter was due at the very end of August. She came at the very beginning so she will be the youngest in her year. She will just be 4 as she edges through those school gates when her time comes. Admittedly she is only two so we have two years to go yet. Before she was born I remember wanting her to go over her due date. I wanted her to be born in September because I wanted her to be the oldest in the year. I am a September baby and I liked being the oldest.

I wanted a September baby so she would be old enough to cope with starting school, the work, the other children to my mind there is a big difference between a four year old and a five year old. My Grandma however sang a different tune. She was very much in the August baby camp. ‘You’ll be glad of it when the time comes’ ‘They catch up’ They’re better in school anyway, they will just be bored at home’ she would repeat every time we had the conversation. She wasn’t the only one with that thought process. I remember having a conversation with another relative who said ‘Oh I was throwing him over the gates when he started school after five years’.

I can see both sides of the coin. Both my children will be almost a whole year younger than some of their counter parts. I am told I was able to read by time I started school, but lets face it thats because I was older. Developmentally there will be a big difference between the August babies and the September babies. I feel for my babies going off to big school and not being on same page as some of the others. Will they be too young or immature to deal with and cope with the school days? Are we asking too much of them?

empty classroom

That being said, I know a fair few teachers who have all said whilst the difference is notable at the start of their schooling career by time they have progressed to primary school it is negligible. Further the teachers are of course aware of the age gap and are trained to accommodate. There are of course those who at 4 will be ready and another year at home, wouldn’t be the answer as they would indeed be bored, as dear old Granny said. I do also wonder if it is better for the child, will the teacher and the school environment be more stimulation than the days I could offer them at home?

I think a large part of the decision will come down to the individual child. Judging by the child my two year old is now, I cannot, at this moment in time, foresee how keeping her home an extra year will be of any benefit to her (or me!). She is busy, into everything and always on the go. She loves being sociable and kept busy. I do not think I would be able to stimulate her in the way she would require come her 4th year. I also think she will flourish in the school environment.

My boy however, the jury is still out. He has only just turned one so it is certainly too early to tell. His development to date has been a little slow, which has been put down to his prematurity. Accounting for his prematurity should be a thing of the past by time he approaches his fourth birthday, so in theory he should be ‘the same’ as any other 4 year old. If he were to have to go into school into year 1, I doubt I would keep him home an extra year. If however is able to start a year later but go into reception and I felt he wasn’t ready or that he needed the extra time at home, would I keep him home or at pre-school? Its hard and I can honestly say I am unsure. I think it would take a lot for me to think he should stay home an extra year but if he really needed it then its nice to know I have the option.

What about you? What do you think? Do you have a summer baby? Would you, or have you delayed starting school until they were five? If so was it the right choice? I would love to hear from you. #whatwouldyoudo?


**Information taken from a paper published by the Department for Education, September 15.

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  1. September 2, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    Our youngest is an end of the July baby and whilst she’s only 13 months old at the moment, I have to admit of worrying for her starting school so young. BUT in my experience, children generally settle in any the schools around here have additional nursery nurse type staff in Reception to help the youngest ones get by. I’m quite confident that our daughter will be fine though as she is displaying the same head strong independence her older sister has so she will be going to school just after her 4th birthday.

  2. September 3, 2016 / 7:35 am

    My son is a summer baby (born in July) and was due to start Reception this year, but we have made the decision to hold off for the time being. He probably could hold his own, he has made great strides over the last year, but he is so very little, and it’s not often we have the opportunity to spend longer with our children – so we made the decision to keep him home with us for a while longer. My daughter is also a summer born and would absolutely have benefitted from being home longer – she is 2 years behind at school and so we are going to homeschool for the year to help her catch up (both our children are adopted and have only been home for a year – so I guess this also influences our decision to keep them close for longer!) #fortheloveofblog

  3. September 3, 2016 / 10:47 am

    My daughter was born at the end of July. so she was one of the youngest in her year. But she had an older brother who went to school and could not wait to be like him. It hasn’t made a difference to where she is now (doing very well for her age). I would definitely be in the send them to school at 4 camp.

  4. September 3, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    This is such an interesting post. We didn’t have Summer babies but it was still helpful to read your feeling about the whole “my kids are heading to school now” thing. Big Munch will be starting school next year. I’m trying to teach her about it now so it’s something she hopefully enjoys! #fortheloveofBLOG

  5. September 3, 2016 / 4:59 pm

    A really fascinating post. My baby was born in February so I won’t have that decison. My sister on the other hand with my nephew who is a late Summer baby as well decided to put him in at just 4. It was the right choice for my nephew as he is so bright and the top of his class at the end of reception year despite him being the absolute youngest. xx


    • tammymum
      September 6, 2016 / 6:19 am

      Thank you for your comment. Yes it really does depend on the child I think. It’s a little early for me to tell yet as a lot can change in a year or two but I am always keen to know what others have decided x

  6. September 3, 2016 / 9:36 pm

    My daughter is an April baby so we have the choice to delay her starting school, but I don’t think we’ll choose to. A lot of it really does depend on the individual child – I’m a July baby and I was so ready for school, another year at home would have bored me rigid and I absolutely thrived, top of the class all the way through primary. Others might just need that extra year at home to build them up ready for it. I think it’s good that we have the option there to keep them at home if we feel we need to! #KCACOLS

  7. September 3, 2016 / 9:58 pm

    I do think that sometimes we ask too much of children at school. SO much actually that they sometimes can’t cope with it and fail or are discouraged and when they arrived in secondary school, they don’t know the basics or really struggle with important skills that they will need later on in life. Blame it on ministers who don’t know what they are doing. Teachers have so much pressure these days, it’s insane…Good luck to your little one. If you help and support your kids, they will be fine, whatever month they are born x #KCACOLS.

    • tammymum
      September 6, 2016 / 6:17 am

      Thank you you’re right, bit of help and support goes a long way. Xx

  8. September 4, 2016 / 12:48 pm

    My elsest starts at school tomorrow and only turned 4 at the end of July, i definetly think he is ready to go now but 12 months ago he was behind his peers. I found sending him to the school preschool as well as his private nursery have him a great grounding and improved his education. On the flip side my daughter was born in early September so she will be the eldest in her year #KCACOLS

  9. September 4, 2016 / 7:02 pm

    My friend is now a week and two days overdue… I am trying to persuade her it is a good thing which she isn’t quite buying, but none of these decisions to make! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

  10. September 4, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    My eldest is an August baby and the youngest in her year. She is doing great at school and has found a passion for history which she likes showing off to her older classmates.
    I’m not trying to brag, all I’m trying to say is that they will be fine and they find their footing.
    We had the same concerns but she has done no worse than DD3 who is a September baby.
    I hope my rambling helped #KCACOLS

  11. September 4, 2016 / 8:35 pm

    I hadn’t ever considered this. My son is a summer baby. Part of me thought that if he didn’t seem ready or didn’t like school I would find a way to homeschool him. He was a velcro baby and I was afraid he wouldn’t enjoy school at all. However, as he approaches 18 months he’s become more and more confident and now absolutely loves children and other adults. I’m pretty sure by the time he reaches school age he’ll be furious if I keep him home! If his confidence continues to grow, I’d happily send him to school at four. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • tammymum
      September 6, 2016 / 6:11 am

      Yeah I think that’s a great example of how it depends on the child. My girl had always been quite independent but iv noticed she is getting a little shy as she gets older which worries me about sending her to school but a lot can change in the time before she starts school. Thanks for your comment xx

  12. September 4, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    This is really interesting. My son, Cygnet is an end of August baby and also a little slow developmentally. He’s bright, he is just shy and quite needy in social situations. He doesn’t throw himself into things like other kids do. I think he would really benefit from waiting a year before starting school. I would be worried that he would miss out on the reception year and have to go straight into year 1. That defeats the object in my view. Good luck with your choice. I’ll be watching with interest as you make it. Pen x #KCACOLS

    • tammymum
      September 6, 2016 / 6:07 am

      Yes I don’t think I’d like my daughter to miss reception either but if they can when they are five but into reception then I think they’re might be some merit in that, it’s definitely an option worth considering xx

  13. September 5, 2016 / 6:38 am

    Personally I’d start my child at school as sure they’d catch up, plus it would save nursery fees! As you say though it’s down to her child so I’d just see nearer the time #marvmondays

  14. September 5, 2016 / 7:38 am

    As a mum to a september baby, my daughter was five when she started reception, but most of the other children in her class were Feb-August babies, and they have all come out of the year at pretty much the exact same. She wouldn’t have been ready if she’d come on her due date, she would have struggled, but the summer before she started school she was an absolute nightmare at home. Nursery just wasn’t stimulating enough for her and she needed the structure school offered. I’m pretty sure you can opt for the ‘term they turn 5’ and start in Reception, at least, that’s how it is in our school anyway, there was an August born little boy that started a little late in the year, I think around November time, he struggled for a week or so but he loves school now and has so many friends. Either way, your girls will be absolutely fine when they start :) #marvmondays

  15. September 5, 2016 / 8:22 am

    Baby Lighty falls into this category an, same as you, I do worry but am waiting to see how he is come school age. At the moment – at 15 months – I don’t *think* I’m going to keep him off for another year. My worry is not so much the academics but the tiredness that a full day’s schooling may bring for a 4 year old as opposed to a 5 year old. Having said all of this, one of my friends was born 24th August and was the only one out of our crowd to get a first at uni, so I do think they catch up eventually!! #bigpinklink

  16. September 5, 2016 / 9:35 am

    It’s a really tricky one isn’t it? My son is a May birthday and so it doesn’t feel like he is way behind so I wouldn’t mind sending him at 4, but I do feel sorry for August born babies. A whole year is quite noticeable in development terms when they start, but I think they quickly catch up and by the end of primary school you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I personally wouldn’t want them to miss the whole of reception – it is a nice year in which they get to play lots while they learn, get a nice introduction to big school and make important friendships. #KCACOLS

  17. September 5, 2016 / 10:14 am

    My daughter is an April baby and it’s only recently that I’ve begun to realise the possible implications for her as she approaches school age. I am also a summer baby and I know my mum did notice the difference between my development and some of my friends who were months older than me, but I did catch up. I think I’d rather my daughter went to school aged 4 unless it’s clear she will be unable to keep up with the rest of the class – she’s likely to go with her friends at nursery and it’s good to have familiar faces at such a huge change in her life. #bigpinklink

  18. September 5, 2016 / 11:29 am

    I’m an August baby and I refused to go to pre-school – I just wasn’t ready emotionally. My mum kept me home until 5 when I started kindergarten (obviously the US system is slightly different). I never had any problems academically even though I was younger than some. My husband has a December birthday so was only 4 when he started school, but he was ready for it. I think it all depends on the child. #bigpinklink

  19. September 5, 2016 / 11:53 am

    My son is a May baby, he starts school next week, arghhh! I’m hoping he’ll be ok, it’s a difficult choice to make though isn’t it depending on their age, I think you just have to use your judgement as a Mum. Popping over from #marvmondays

  20. September 5, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    There is a HUGE difference between September and August children in school so I completely understand your apprehension. Of course that gap does reduce which I’m sure is of some comfort. Of course it’s down to the individual child some would cope with that gap better than others. Both my girls are Spring babies which in relation to school I’m pretty happy about. I’m hoping their ‘mid-way’ birthdays will help them settle nicely into school without having spent too long getting bored at home with me.

  21. September 5, 2016 / 2:58 pm

    My son is a summer baby (August 12th) so youngest in his class. I was happy for him to go after 3 years at nursery. He was used to routine & separation. I have noticed he is slightly behind developmentally. He struggled with reading & it’s his least favourite thing but I’m not worried he’ll catch up. He is making progress but is in the bottom set but he’s average or slightly above in everything else. #bigpinklink

    • tammymum
      September 6, 2016 / 6:01 am

      I think that’s the thing isn’t it, when they’re used to a routine it may well help. It funny as if he was born a few weeks later in September he’d be considered the brightest in his year, I like to think they all catch up and even out with time and it’s just the first few years they struggle. Thanks for your comment xx

  22. September 5, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    My older son is starting school this year, but he’s not a summer baby. He was born in February. It is still nerve-wracking to see him starting school. I think all children develop at different paces and I don’t like the way nurseries and pre-school have taken a tick-box approach to my son’s development – expecting him to be equally good at all the different aspects of learning. I’m hoping school will have a more balanced approach! In a lot of ways, the school already seems more supportive than my son’s preschool was, but that’s just my circumstances. #KCACOLS

  23. September 6, 2016 / 9:44 am

    My son is a July baby, and having only just turned 1, I have a while before I have to think about this. But I have spoken about it with friends and family who have experience – my nephew was born on 21st August so he is the baby of his year group, but so advanced he is ahead of a lot of the older children. He started with the rest of his friends and has had no negative effects at all. My youngest sister however is also a July baby and I remember her starting school slightly later in January (that was how they staggered intake 20 years ago!) and she definitely struggled to the point she refused to speak at school – she didn’t say one word for almost the entire year. My best friend is a primary school teacher of reception, year 1 and 2 and she is of the opinion that starting kids in the correct year is the right thing to do. I believe it is wholly down the child – if my boy continues to develop as quickly as he is now, I have no dobut he’ll be ready for school by the time it comes around! #marvmondays

  24. September 6, 2016 / 11:23 am

    Children are all different and develop at different rates. So why do we insist on treating them as though they are the same when it comes to starting school? My two boys could not be more different. My younger son is an August child and has learning difficulties. Individual needs should be taken into account. #bigpinklink

  25. September 6, 2016 / 8:11 pm

    This is such a difficult decision to make. I definitely think that it’s different from child to child. It was really bad when they were forced into year one if kept back and I know a lot of people have made the decision to keep their summer babies off for a year since. Glad they have the option now. Thanks for linking up with the #bigpinklink

  26. September 6, 2016 / 9:18 pm

    Personally, if I had a summer baby I’d be wanting them to wait another year before starting school. They get so so tired even when they are the eldest in their year, when they first start out that I just can’t see how a child who is almost a year younger can really cope with it. I didn’t know that you are allowed to skip reception – if I’d known that I would have chosen that for my son (who was the oldest in his year) because it was an utter waste of time. They did more learning at nursery then they did in reception! I guess there’s no right or wrong answer though and ultimately will depend on the parents choice. Thanks for sharing this great post on #fortheloveofBLOG x

  27. September 9, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    I have and October girl, a January girl and a May boy. I should have had the boy in October because they do struggle more so than girls I think. He’s now just started year one and is doing well though I was apprehensive when he started reception as he was nowhere near as developed as the girls! He’d sooner put a pencil up his nose than write with it! They do begin to even out by about year 2 but even in year 6 there is dispensation in exams for summer babies so it is recognised as an issue. #KCACOLS

  28. September 10, 2016 / 7:10 am

    I hadn’t thought too much about this but I just had a Summer baby so he’ll be among the youngest. It’s nice to read about the potential benefits of that though! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

  29. September 10, 2016 / 7:52 am

    Oh I totally feel for you. I’ve got 2 daughters and they are both summer born. My eldest has her birthday at the end of August. She started school last year and we didn’t have the option to hold her back. We had a good few months of hell when she first started which I’ve blogged about! She managed to cope with the work, in fact she excelled, but it was emotionally quite tough for her. I think some of this is down to her being the youngest in the class but I think her personality is quite a worrier too. She’s now in Year 1 and despite a few back to school wobbles this week, she loves school.
    My youngest daughter is born in July and she starts school next year. I have no qualms about her starting, she is so ready for it and seeing her big sister at school every day she is familiar with the environment.
    I think it completely depends on your child, their personality and ability. You know your child best so go with what you feel is right. Good luck! #KCACOLS