A Sidcup mum wants to defer her three-year-old son for an extra year but claims he will be forced to skip reception – and then Year 7.

Gemma Ekrem, 31, of Goodwin Drive, does not want her son Ethan to start reception in September because of his speech problems – giving him the mental age of a two-year-old.

Ethan attends Acorns Early Years Centre in Dartford and Mrs Ekrem’s plans are to keep him at the nursery for another year and then start reception in 2017.

However, she claims in order to defer him for an extra year, Bexley Council would put him straight into Year 1 when he starts school.

Mrs Ekrem told News Shopper: “If Ethan starts school in September, it will ruin him. How can parents in similar situations be forced to send their children to school when they’re clearly not mentally ready?

“When he finishes Year 6, he can’t start secondary school with his friends because it’ll be hard to find him a place if he starts late.

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Gemma Ekrem

“I just don’t know what to do – if he’s not ready for reception in September, he will obviously not be ready for Year 1 in 2017.”

Bexley Council offers deferrals for children and it allows them to stay in nursery for an extra year.

Mrs Ekrem explained why Ethan is simply not ready to start school in September.

The mum-of-two said: “He has huge problems with his speech – he gets frustrated when he can’t communicate something to me. He has the mental age of a two-year-old.

“He’s nearly four but I’m still toilet training him.

“He will have no friends who are his age at school – the council just doesn’t care.”

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Acorns Early Years Centre in Dartford

She added: “There’s no way mentally that he can start school.

“If we put him in, it won’t just ruin him, it’ll knock his confidence.”

Mrs Ekrem went on to praise Ethan’s Dartford nursery which she says has supported her and her son’s needs.

A Bexley Council spokesman said: “A deferral would not mean a child would miss the reception year, unless the deferral was not agreed by the school and the parent chose not to send the child to school.

“They would not be forced to skip Year 7.

“But if the deferral was agreed for reception, they would need to seek permission from their preferred secondary school ahead of the secondary transfer process as the pupil would be outside the usual age bracket.”