Deferring Reception Places by Cara Gant

As parents to August born girl/boy twins we have always been conscious that they would be the youngest in their school year. However it wasn’t really until they spent mornings in the school nursery that we realised that our son didn’t have the same social skills as our daughter. He wouldn’t interact with other children and always needed his sister to be within sight. I believe the first real conversation with a teacher occurred only in the second term. It was this realisation that cemented our decision to request a deferral for both twins.

The process in the end was relatively simple, in hindsight, because our request was fully supported by the school (Isleworth Town). We met with the head, who I think just wanted to check we weren’t off to travel the world for a year, and she was very supportive. She did advise that the school wouldn’t be able to confirm that either of our children were not on track from a learning perspective, but once we laid out our concerns she spoke to their teachers who agreed that Nathaniel was behind in his social development. We were asked to write a letter making our claim which the head then sent to the local authority (Hounslow) along with their recommendations. Then we had a nervous wait! We were delighted when the local authority allowed us to keep both twins back based on the needs of our son. For us it wasn’t an option to separate them.

The fact that the government are giving parents more of a say can only be a good thing but at present you will still need to have good reason for them to defer for a year. I fully recommend getting the school on side first so that they can back your decision.

Surprisingly we had a few friends who didn’t understand our decision to ‘keep our children back’ and whilst perhaps they were considering any stigma attached to being out of their year group, we are yet to find a negative. Watching my son walk into nursery with far more confidence this term than the whole of the last year just proves to us that time was what he needed and assures us that he will be ready to attend reception come September 2018. My daughter seems happy enough to continue in nursery and the question as to why their friends have all gone to a different class is yet to be asked.