to be a bit disappointed with school

(68 Posts)
tryhard Sun 20-Sep-15 09:01:05

Please don't flame me! I'm genuinely wanting opinion on whether I'm being a bit precious or not. So PFB has just started Reception, no staggered start, straight into 9-3, 5 days a week. So far, so good, he seems to be enjoying it. But...the Recpetion teacher has a reputation for being very strict (she's already been heard by another parent shouting at the class from a different room) & getting 'results'. It's an OfSted rated outstanding school, but that's not why we chose it (we chose it cos it's down the road grin). It's a big class of 30, there will be shouting sometimes, I understand that. But some of them (including my son) have only just turned 4. They are getting 'homework' and I presume this is why they are an outstanding school, because they push them from the start. But I am a bit disappointed at the lack of heart, somehow, it all seems to be about academic achievement from the get-go, not settling in, not learning through play, nothing like that. When he was in the nursery class at this school, he'd come home with paintings and things he's made, he's now coming home with lines and lines of meaningless scribble which I presume means they're trying to get him to write? I see his time at home with me now as chance to recover physically from the day & have fun, not to do 'homework' at 4. It seems short-sighted and almost old-fashioned somehow to be pushing very young kids hard...or am I just being a bit precious?

InimitableJeeves Sun 20-Sep-15 09:02:52

What sort of homework? If it's just something like early reading that would be OK, if they're expecting more that would be pretty ridiculous.

Euphemia Sun 20-Sep-15 09:05:54

I'm a primary teacher in Scotland so our P1s are about six months older when they start school than your Reception children, but I can't imagine they're doing no learning through play. As I understand it Reception is more play-based than P1 - have you asked? Have the school not held any information sessions to tell you how the children's day is structured?

DamsonInDistress Sun 20-Sep-15 09:06:04

Yanbu, but sadly that's what the system is these days. The govt has decided that nothing at school is worth anything unless they can prove that it fits a tick box. It's stifling or children from the moment they walk through the doors. Teachers are having to work in a straight jacket system and the best of them do make school an enjoyable experience, but it's bloody hard work for kids and teachers alike.

rainbowstardrops Sun 20-Sep-15 09:08:13

Unfortunately, this is increasingly becoming the norm sad
Our reception classes are still pretty laid back and lots of learning through play but yr1 and yr2 is ridiculous.
You can thank our government and people in power who know nothing about educating children and getting the best from them, for this sorry mess.
It's supposed to be about 'raising standards'. In reality, it's setting children up to fail and causing teaching staff a never ending headache.
Rant over grin

KaraokeQueenOfTheNorth Sun 20-Sep-15 09:08:56

My kids are at an outstanding school and don't get homework til year 2. YANBU

rainbowstardrops Sun 20-Sep-15 09:09:59

Ha Damson! I didn't see your post as I was typing mine but we're spot on.

Sirzy Sun 20-Sep-15 09:10:44

Sounds a lot for them when so little.

I don't think ofsted can be blamed either - although maybe the schools interpretation of what they want - DS was in reception last year no reading books til half term, no homework til Christmas and then it was simple and flexible.

MsMargaretCarter Sun 20-Sep-15 09:11:01

Depends on what the 'homework' is - lots of children love bringing in something to show their teacher. And love pretending to write books.

I'd be a bit worried about a shouty teacher but the key thing here is he is enjoying it. He wouldn't be enjoying it if he wasn't doing age appropriate activities, would he?

Blackcloudsbrightsky Sun 20-Sep-15 09:18:30

Well, they don't have to do the homework - just tell the teacher you might not always get a chance to do it.

Other than that and at the risk of stating the obvious, schools are about academic progress grin that's sort of their job!

Kennington Sun 20-Sep-15 09:23:06

If he is happy I wouldn't complain
Schools cannot win either way
With a class of 30 you would have to be strict otherwise chaos would ensue.

Pilgit Sun 20-Sep-15 09:25:15

Our school reception was all about learning through play and it is the only part of the school that is rated outstanding. So it doesn't have to be like that.

HeadDreamer Sun 20-Sep-15 09:30:05

My DD1 has just started at an outstanding school in YR. I'm with you about the homework. I only chose it as it is our catchment school.

I haven't heard anything about the teacher being strict. Or any shouting.

But I'm genuinely shocked about the amount of homework. There are no staggered start like yours. Full time from day 1. I'm happy with that as we work FT. But at the end of week 2 we got flash cards and Oxford reading tree books. Then in week 3, we got a new letter every day, with a worksheet for DD to copy the letter. It all seem so quick.

So I think it is probably normal for some schools to be like this so early.

Lowdoorinthewall Sun 20-Sep-15 09:33:06

It's not about Ofsted- it's about the requirements of the new curriculum.

Much more is expected by the end of Year 1 and we are back to formal test papers at the end of Year 2. Many schools will have decided that there needs to be more of an academic focus in Reception in order to have a chance of keeping up. Mine certainly has.

TheRealAmyLee Sun 20-Sep-15 09:33:24

As someone who has seen friends do pgce in recent years the strict may be from that. They are taught to start strict so the class learns quick that they won't stand for messing then they ease off. I personally would be more flexible with infants but you do need control when dealing with so many kids. 30 kids is the norm now.

Ours have super basic homework but in infants they don't fuss if it isn't done. Some parents moan if homework isn't set (yes I've seen it) so they set short basic non compulsary tasks. It takes literally 5-10 mins a week in reception building up to about an hour per week in y6.

HeadDreamer Sun 20-Sep-15 09:36:33

Well we don't have to do the homework, blackcloud. But I don't want DD to be labelled as thick through lack of work. School has sent as a curriculum for the autumn term and there is a label for gifted and talented. I wanted to scream ffs. I wonder who they decide is G&T and do this extra work so early. We have a parents evening soon and I will ask about it.

tryhard Sun 20-Sep-15 09:36:35

What's P1? Is that year 1? So the homework is those little reading books without words, he gets about 3 a week and I have to sign to say we've 'read' it together. So not too much, but I was suprised by the formality of it, that I have to sign to assure them that I read to him every day. The shouting does worry me, again I wasn't sure if I was over-reacting, I shout when I'm at my limit and I've lost control (big caveat here - teacher has 30 to control, I know it will happen sometimes) but a grown up shouting at you when you've not known them for 3 weeks yet I think would be quite scary. I've not seen it myself, it's all through hearsay, if I do hear it I will say something as the idea of it makes me really uncomfortable.

Blackcloudsbrightsky Sun 20-Sep-15 09:38:07

My DD doesn't do homework and he's on the G and T register - not that that means anything smile

Blackcloudsbrightsky Sun 20-Sep-15 09:39:20

Thing is tryhard, I may have missed it - but have you heard the teacher shouting?

It is very common for children to mishear a stern voice or even an ordinary telling off as 'shouting'.

stitchglitched Sun 20-Sep-15 09:43:24

YANBU, so much is expected of such little ones. We were told at reception parents evening that my 4 year old DS needed to work on his penmanship. We now home educate!

Blackcloudsbrightsky Sun 20-Sep-15 09:45:58

I think teachers just say stuff at parents evenings to be honest. Ours are just levelslevelslevels.

tryhard Sun 20-Sep-15 09:50:26

No I haven't, which is why I haven't said anything, it's all hearsay. But from what I understand this is shouting as opposed to being stern.

Oliversmumsarmy Sun 20-Sep-15 09:52:15

Other than that and at the risk of stating the obvious, schools are about academic progress that's sort of their job!

But they are not doing their job. If they were then why the need for so much homework?

Blackcloudsbrightsky Sun 20-Sep-15 09:55:33

I teach secondary and even at that age I regularly heard children complaining that they'd been 'shouted at' when they meant 'told off'.

The 'need' for homework is parent driven in my experience and yes you do get the odd earnest type who genuinely believes in it. Just tell them he's not doing it - sorted!

Osolea Sun 20-Sep-15 09:59:46

Having a picture book to look at isn't really homework, you'd probably sit and read with your ds at some point in his evening anyway. The signing to say you've looked at the book together is just to help the staff keep track of which books they've given you, there's no point in them giving you a new one if the last one has just sat in the book bag not being looked at. It only has to take five minutes, so it's really not asking too much and you can make it enjoyable. If your child really doesn't want to look at his school books then let the teacher know, it's unlikely she'll want you to push him to the point where he's put off completely. Discussing what's going on in a picture story book is developing early reading skills, and the 'meaningless scribble' is early writing skills. Schools have to encourage this sort of thing, the EYFS (early years foundation stage) does expect a lot of children since it changed a few years ago, and it's very difficult to get children up to the expected standard without the support of parents.

Try not to blame the school or the teacher, it's the government that expects children to be able to read and write simple sentences by the end of their reception year.

As for the shouting, if you haven't heard any evidence of it yourself and your child hadn't come home upset about it, then it seems a bit unfair to judge based on playground gossip.

It is difficult when your small child moves into formal schooling, especially when you know they are one of the youngest, but it's still early days and the vast majority of children are fine with it.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now