to think the whole "phasing in" thing at school is just a PITA!

(293 Posts)
Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 12:14:32

DD2 starts school tomorrow, the equivalent of reception class. We have first day she stays for an hour with mum or dad (great idea). Rest of this week shes in for 2 1/2 hours a day (OK I'm still with the idea in general).

Then some more kids start next week so we've another week of in til 1130.
Then the week after its 1230.
Then finally in the 4th week it's full day til 2.

And this is the improved version of settling in, it used to take nearly til halloween to get them all in with a couple of kids starting every day.

I can understand the teachers needing a couple of days, even a week to properly get to know everyone but is 3 full weeks of it not a bit ott???

They then repeat a slightly shortened version of this in P1.

Add to that that our junior school finishes at 2 and senior school at 3 and you have some parents doing collections at 12.30, 2 and 3. Total pita.

Surely its all just a bit unnecessary given that most kids these days will have been at some form of nursery before??

Or AIBtotallyU?

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 12:19:14

you are right most kids- not all. so for those that haven't the phasing in is very important if they are to have as positive start to their schooling life.

it isn't about you- it's about the children going through a massive change and the teachers wanting it to be a gentle and non daunting experience.

Fakebook Sun 01-Sep-13 12:22:08

4 weeks to "phase in" seems too long to me. That must be annoying for working parents too.

Our school did it in 2 weeks last year for dd. one week 11.30 pick up, next week 12.30 pick up after lunch, third week 8.45-3pm.

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 12:24:39

i think OP talked about 3 weeks not 4. the forth week is when they're in til 2.

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 12:25:06


MamaTo3Boys Sun 01-Sep-13 12:25:24

My DS starts reception on Wednesday too. He has wed-fri in until 11.45. Then the week after until 1.30 staying for dinner, then after that its full time.

I can understand the awkward pick ups though. For the past nearly 2 years ive been dropping off at 9, picking up at 11.30 then picking up again at 3, which was quite annoying, as I couldn't really go anywhere other than the local corner shop.

soverylucky Sun 01-Sep-13 12:26:16

My kids did one day just the morning. then it was morning plus lunch and then it was a full day. Full time from there. Most children had been to pre - school or nursery. I think that there should be support and phased starts for those that need it. The rest should just get on with it.

Fakebook Sun 01-Sep-13 12:26:43

Even 3 weeks is too long.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 12:26:48

I know, it's ridiculous. DS's nursery school are doing the same thing, then we'll have to do it all again next year for Reception.

Stephen, but why should all kids have this long phasing in just for the one or two who need it? Why not have everyone starting in a week except for those whose parents/teacher agree need longer?

DS is desperate to get started at nursery. Making him wait ages to start and then have to come home after an hour or two is not in his best interests at all.

aGnotherGnu Sun 01-Sep-13 12:28:19

Ridiculous. How on earth are working parents supposed to cope with that? Children who have been in nursery won't need anything like that amount.

Not sure that a lot of primary schools actually realise that most women have to work these days.

cashmiriana Sun 01-Sep-13 12:30:04

It is a PITA for parents, but the system is organised for the benefit of the children. Even if a child has been in a nursery before school, they need the time in small groups not to get used to separation from parents but to learn the rules, expectations and environment in their new setting.

In a good quality Foundation Stage/ Phase/Early Years class, the children will have a high level of autonomy for a significant part of the day. Throwing 30 3 or 4 year olds in at the deep end for a full school day with no gradual introduction is a recipe for hell, quite frankly. They need time with adults in small groups to learn where everything is, how to use it, take care of it, put it back safely etc. The staff ratios are shocking too, as legally a Reception teacher does not need to have any support in class. Even in a nursery class, with children barely 3 years old (and many not toilet trained) the ratio is 1:13.

Staff also need the time to get to know the children properly, do baseline assessments and plan for their individual needs. At the end of the year those staff will be held individually accountable for the progress of every child across several curriculum areas. If you don't get the time to do the baseline assessments when the children are in small groups, you spend a whole year adjusting expectations, which doesn't help the children's progress.

Doesn't stop it being a nightmare for parents though, I do sympathise.

kungfupannda Sun 01-Sep-13 12:30:07

I understand the phasing in theory - but it's a spectacular pain in the arse!

We have a full month of part days. Our childcare arrangements are probably more carefully planned than a military operation.

Tiptops Sun 01-Sep-13 12:30:12

YABU. The phasing in is not for the teachers.

AnneUulmelmahay Sun 01-Sep-13 12:32:05

Parents can request full time from the start now regardless of what suits sch. Buried in legislation, do a search on here in Education. Came in three? Years ago. Apols for brevity, crappy mobile, sigh.

Bunbaker Sun 01-Sep-13 12:32:08

When DD started in reception we still had a two tier intake. As her birthday is in July she started in the January. Her school didn't do a phasing in system, it was full time from day one. As far as I know it didn't cause any problems for anyone, but then there weren't any children who were only just four years old.

coco27 Sun 01-Sep-13 12:32:42

I thinklegally you have a right to insist your DC is there fulltime from the first day.

everlong Sun 01-Sep-13 12:33:44

I agree. Total arse pain.

Mine are well past that stage and I don't work but I remember being inconvenienced because I wanted to meet friends for a day shopping having lunch

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 12:35:09

Anne - I have a feeling that Gove recently re-did the admissions code and took out the words "full time". 4 year olds have to be offered a place but not sure you can insist on full time anymore.

I understand that it is much easier for teachers to have the children start in dribs and drabs but it should be about what works for children and their families rather than just the teachers imo.

ModeratelyObvious Sun 01-Sep-13 12:35:32

If there is a "best" way to do it, why is every school different?

Ours started a few at a time but only had three half days for each set starting.

If they'd gone for half days for a month, I would have been looking up the Education Act.

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 12:36:04

ha!! yet another person who thinks school is there to accommodate their career!

it is not about what is convenient for your employer!

most children that start school in September have never attended that school before. new teacher, new classroom, new friends, new routine, new journey to school (for some), new food, new toys, new rules. there's a lot of new going on and when a lot of the children are starting after being out of nursery for 6/8/10 weeks then it can be quite tiring to suddenly spend 6 hours in this new setting taking in all the 'new' everything. my son started on Friday and was in for 3 hours- he came home and fell asleep! it doesn't do anyone any good (teachers or children) to be trying to cope with all that whilst being tired and grumpy or whingey.

it's 4 weeks of your child's school life- if you don't like the way the school does it then why on earth did you send your child there? you knew this was going to happen. if you need to be at work then arrange childcare for the first 2/3/4 weeks. it's really not a massive chunk of your life.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 01-Sep-13 12:37:29

We couldn't have coped with that as do & I both work & dh is a teacher do can't book holiday

Both mine went full time from day one.

I'd keep them in nursery for a bit longer rather than faff about with all that

hermioneweasley Sun 01-Sep-13 12:39:47

My DCs school staggers the start days over a well but they go "full time" (9-3!). nobody seemed scarred by it, in fact they all seemed perfectly happy.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 12:39:59

School is no use to anyone if it compromises a child's financial stability. Schools these days have to take into account that in most families the parents work. Children's best interests need to be looked at as a whole, not as something quite separate from the functioning of their family unit.

coco27 Sun 01-Sep-13 12:41:37

'ha!! yet another person who thinks school is there to accommodate their career!

well to be fair the government does take that view with regard to getting parents back into the work place.

aGnotherGnu Sun 01-Sep-13 12:43:03

Erm I don't think it's about "accommodating your career" what a ridiculous and insulting thing to say. It's a fact that most women have to work, and a lot of them full time, with a limited amount of annual leave. (which presumably is best spent in full days of quality time with one's offspring).

It's a fact that lots of people don't have much other support, from families etc. and it's a fact that childcare is often not flexible to accommodate dribs and drabs. So for people who have to use wraparound care and holiday clubs, there is no provision for periods which would normally be within the school day.

So for people who have to work, to feed and clothe their children, this is a very difficult situation which goes way beyond affecting their career aspirations.

Your post makes you sound like a twat Stephen

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Sun 01-Sep-13 12:43:32

Yanbu. It is a fuck on. Kids who have been to pre school can cope with a 'normal' school day. If you have not sent your kid to pre school then you have failed to prepare them properly

GrassIsntGreener Sun 01-Sep-13 12:44:30

Wow that's a long time. My girl starts on weds and just goes full days. She had two half days and a full one before summer holidays.

BrokenSunglasses Sun 01-Sep-13 12:46:56

I work in reception, I think the way your school is doing it is overkill!

But maybe it helps them have time to get to know the children properly if there are a lot of them and it's more than one form entry, my school is quite small so we never have to deal with large numbers of four years olds all starting at the same time, and I can imagine its very different when there are a lot of them.

I think for the vast majority of children, a few days of going home after lunch before doing full time is enough.

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 12:48:36

" It's a fact that most women have to work," most men do to. did you mean parents?

It does seem a lot!

Where we live the kids can do a full day from the start (and this is at 3, not 4). You can pick them up before or after lunch if you like, and they don't have to go every day. The parents stay with the kids for much of the first day to help them get settled but then that's it.

My understanding is that for any kids that don't settle well, the school works out a plan with the parents for that specific child. But they don't assume everyone will have problems.

DS and half the class are going for the first two afternoons, then full time from the following Monday. The other half the class do the two mornings.

I am happy with this. He has also had 2 settling in sessions. I think it's enough.

3-4 weeks of settling in does sound a long time. My DD is starting school next week, she just goes straight in full time, the only settling in she did was before the summer holidays when they did a morning 'meet the teacher' where parents could stay with them or not, depending on how the child felt.

When DS started school he had just turned four a few days before he started full time. Our school seem to like the in at the deep end approach!

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 01-Sep-13 12:57:00


School is not free childcare. It is education for your child, and for the majority of children this is the best way to ensure they have a positive start.

samu2 Sun 01-Sep-13 12:57:11

My dd starts reception and it will take four weeks until she goes full time.

It is annoying. I like the sound of the way dreamingbohemian's school does it. My dd is more than ready to go all day.

samu2 Sun 01-Sep-13 13:00:15

Also, my dd already goes to nursery so she knows all the children going into her class, she has already spent four hours with her reception teacher and she had dinner at school twice just before the summer holidays.

I don't think she needs another 4 weeks of half days.

indyandlara Sun 01-Sep-13 13:01:07

Most children have not been in Nursery FT before. Some have but far from a majority. It is nothing to do with what suits the teacher but what is best for the children. Our P1 teacher is still working FT as she sees all the children individually to do their Baseline Assessments. Our after school club is open for extended hours to accommodate childcare problems during those few weeks.

Barbeasty Sun 01-Sep-13 13:01:51

I don't know what the school we're looking at for DD does now, but last year phasing went like this:

Week 1: 1hr on Wednesday, with a parent.

Week 2: 1hr plus lunch on Wednesday, with a parent.

Week 3: half days, no lunch.

Week 4: half days with lunch.

Week 5: full days.

Week 6: half term.

The half days are random, so not a week of mornings or afternoons.

No childminders who pick up or drop off at the school.

I don't know what the point of week 2 is, if you aren't going to give them lunch for another week and a half. I don't know why they have to use utterly random half days. And, when plenty of nurseries won't take children for one session a week, how is 1hr and then another week before the next contact with school in the children's best interests?

I'm not going to not choose a school for the next 7 years of my child's life solely because of ludicrously inconvenient settling arrangements. But I will feel justified in moaning.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 13:02:47

Of course school functions to allow parents to work - even lone parents are expected to find work once their children are of school age.

The attitude that schools have nothing to do with childcare or parents working is an outdated one.

samu -- yes my son is ready too, which is why I'm particularly happy about it. But I'm glad that if for some reason he does struggle, we have the option to take him out.

Why not give the kids a chance before assuming they need all that phase-in time?

indyandlara Sun 01-Sep-13 13:03:44

Pre-school is 12 and a half of 15 hours a week. Not the same as a school full day. Only children who have gone to private nursery will have had longer days.

Loa Sun 01-Sep-13 13:04:09

Was 6 weeks with my eldest 2 - they used to be in full time just before they broke up for half term. Was the same time of day or amount of day either but constantly different.

It used to cause all kinds of issues for all parents especially the working parents.

It used to unsettle the DC as no routine could be maintained and a lot had no idea who they'd be with rest of timeas the were shuffled round family and friends.

Thankfully it now down to two weeks.

Loa Sun 01-Sep-13 13:04:48

Was the same time of day - was not the smae time of day

GibberTheMonkey Sun 01-Sep-13 13:06:43

I don't work and even I find it a pita as I don't drive and it's 2.7 miles so mine get bussed in. I can understand a couple of days so they can have mum or dad to help them settle but I've had to find a way to pick mine up for those few weeks

Almostfifty Sun 01-Sep-13 13:06:59

OP, this is pre-school if your child is going into P1 next year yes?

So your DC isn't going into reception equivalent, he/she's going into nursery.

I'm not surprised they're phasing it in slowly.

indyandlara Sun 01-Sep-13 13:07:09

Hettienne my job is nothing to do with childcare, it's to teach. They are not the same thing. If it was simply to keep kids out of the way so parents can work I wouldn't have to spend quite so much time planning.

indyandlara Sun 01-Sep-13 13:09:32

If this is Nursery in Scotland (pre school year) then it is not the same as Reception and its no surprise the settle in is over a long period of time. Many children will never have been in Nursery before as not all ante-pre kids are able to get a place these days.

aGnotherGnu Sun 01-Sep-13 13:10:08

Of course it applies to men too. But I think that the flexibility some schools assume is possible to accommodate is based on the presumption that there is a parent able to rock up at the school at any time of day, ie a SAHP. And the transition from 1 SAHP to 2 WOHP over the last 30 or so years has largely involved women going back to work, not men.

So whilst it is clearly both parents' responsibility, my thought is that these policies are based on someone playing a traditional SAHM role.

More than anything, it is simply a practical issue though, irrespective of what you think the rights and wrongs are; how are you supposed to sort it out?

Doubtitsomehow Sun 01-Sep-13 13:10:33

There was an article in the Times last week I think, about a parent who had challenged this sort of induction, and the LEA was legally required to offer a full time place from the start I.e no graduated start.

So may be possible to challenge.

It is a PITA for working parents whose kids are used to full days at nursery.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 13:10:49

indy, I'm sorry if you feel my comment devalued what you do as a teacher, but education is not the only function schools perform (or have ever performed). Schools have to understand that most parents work now.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Sun 01-Sep-13 13:13:02

shock at the faff it is to "settle them in" in some schools! DD had a week of mornings, a week of afternoons then full time. I've heard that if you wanted a different approach for your own child the teachers were happy to accomdate it where possible which I think is fair enough. 6 hours of school from the start was fine for my DD who is a September birth but might be a very long day to an August child.

Think its massively unfair to accuse people of caring more about their jobs than their own child because they're confused at the long settling in process. I'm sure most people would struggle to work round those school hours for 4 weeks (or more!) if both parents work full time and they had no family to help them. Not to mention if youre single parent working full time with no help from family/friends.

Surely it's not that hard to understand that schools are a source of education AND childcare. It's not either/or.

FunnyRunner Sun 01-Sep-13 13:14:25

Doubtit do you have a link for that story? Would be interested in reading it.

My sons school is fucking stupid.
Small village: 14 kids in the whole year.

Week one:Until 12
Week two:Until 1
Week three:Full day Mon, half days Tues-Fri
Week four:Full day Mon and Tues, half days Weds-Fri
Week five:Full day Mon, Tues Weds, half days Thurs-Fri

And so on. What a pile of wank.

Doubtitsomehow Sun 01-Sep-13 13:15:54

Sorry don't know how to link - Sunday times, August 25, Mother wins fight for full time lessons for girl, 4.

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 13:17:13

"Think its massively unfair to accuse people of caring more about their jobs than their own child "

did someone do that on this thread?

MadeOfStarDust Sun 01-Sep-13 13:17:14

At ours, the youngest kids start on Wednesday, the after Christmas, before Easter, start on Friday and the September to Christmas start on the Monday after. All full time from the start.... with the provision of a quiet book corner in the afternoon for those who need it.

parents can also choose to send them half days til half term if they wish.

jellybeans Sun 01-Sep-13 13:17:40

I prefer the long staggered starts to be honest as I think it is better for the DC. Our school does only 1-2 weeks and I wish it was longer really as my at the time just turned 4 year olds really struggled. School should not be just about childcare. Maybe before and after school clubs could help out though with childcare at these times for those who work. Yes I am a SAHM but have worked and used childcare in the past.

teacherwith2kids Sun 01-Sep-13 13:18:31

DS went in full time, day 1, from 12.5 hours of pre-school in the previous 2 years.

DD had 2 weeks of part days.

My old school - a large minority of whose intake had never attended any setting at all, not pre-school, not toddler group, nothing - started full time on Day 1 (and for many years that was 20 intake + 10 from y1 in the same classroom). If it was genuinely a 'settling in' problem, then my old school should have had lots of disruptive, unhappy children ... nope. It was VERY, VERY hard work for the class teacher, though, mostly in terms of paperwork (because so many of the children came with no baseline assessments from pre-school or nursery so it really was a blank page).

I do not, in general, criticise my own profession. However, I do think in this case that it is rather more to do with managing the staff workload than it is to do with what is best for the children. I understand the need to manage workload - teaching's a hard job at the best of times and that first half term was exceptionally hard for the Reception teacher.

It also made teaching e.g. Phonics a lot easier. They started the first sound on day 2, as far as I remember, and there was no need to keep re-starting because of another batch of children starting that day. As progress was a HUGE issue given the exceptionally low starting points of many of the children (children arriving with no spoken language, just sounds and grunts, was not uncommon), those extra teaching weeks were vital.

Doubtitsomehow Sun 01-Sep-13 13:18:59

Parent is a law lecturer and even a university couldn't provide flexible working to fit with her dauther's induction (mornings til 11.30 5 days a week). She challenged it. Schools adjudicator found the school had broken her admissions code.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 13:19:21

Better for your DC jellybeans, but why should all children be forced to do these staggered starts just to accomodate a few?

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 13:20:58

Thanks for the thoughts.

For clarity, I know school is not about childcare (knew that would come up pretty fast). I think an element of any parent's life will be about organising school pick ups and I don't think it's unreasonable to highlight things that make it more difficult.

Nor do I dispute that a little bit of settling is beneficial for children. However I do believe most children adapt readily to the new routine and agree with another comment able that perhaps extended settling in could be done for those children who need it.

What about the poor kids who don't start at all until week 4? I'd imagine it's tricky to settle in and make friends if everyone else has already been doing it for weeks. My older dd was one of the last to start and she couldn't understand why others got to stay for lunch and she didn't, she thought she had been naughty. So I don't buy this whole it's for the good good of the kids thing.

And to the poster who said why did I pick the school at all grin it would be a bit weird not to choose what is an excellent school cus I'm a bit peeved for 3 weeks... And before you say perhaps the phasing in makes it a good school, nope been good for donkeys years and this is a new thing. I'm allowed to disagree with one of their policies and still believe it's a good school.

Two of my siblings are teachers, neither of their schools do it, and their kids seem just fine. I should note there's a teacher and two teaching assistants for 20 kids so the ratios sound ok to me!

As I said, it's just a pita for parents (I'm well aware it's not about me!) and I don't believe 3 weeks settling in is necessary for the vast majority of the kids. Some settling in, absolutely! And flexibility for those kids who need it, but 3 weeks?

cece Sun 01-Sep-13 13:22:37

I think if they want to do this then they should take into accound which parents both work and which don't. They could therefore take the working parents kids first...

My ds2 does even start until the 16th. It is going to cost me a small fortune to pay the cm to have him till then.

indyandlara Sun 01-Sep-13 13:22:45

I have to manage too though. I am a working parent with absolutely no flexibility and I have manage my childcare and my job. I can't leave my class to go to any school event or use annual leave to accommodate long settle ins. I don't however think that my local school should change their whole settle in process because it doesn't suit my working life. Schools don't actually do these things to be as awkward as they can. They do them because they feel it will give all the children the best chance for a successful start.

Hulababy Sun 01-Sep-13 13:22:53

We were lucky. Dd started ft from the first week.

At my school they don't start for a while. Home visits this week, then or (with no choice as of am or pm) and takes ages.

As a working parent it's a nightmare IMO. Also as teaching staff we would really struggle to be allowed the time off. Doubt our HT would authorise so much time off to cover it yet obviously she expects our parents to manage! Seems like double standards a bit though.

Tbh dd and her class seemed to settle much quicker than the children in my school do too so not convinced as to the reasons behind r.

teacherwith2kids Sun 01-Sep-13 13:24:26

I think that having the OPTION to do part days (leave before / after lunch) for some children, up to say half term or even longer for very young / immature (young does not always mean not fully ready for FT school) children or those who e.g. were born prem at the end of August would be fine.

Those parents for whom the FT hours are likely to be the most critical are likely to be those who have had their children in FT nursery before school, and by having the whole class in every morning from the beginning, the 'formal learning' [if there is such a thing in Reception - Phonics etc] can be delivered for every child before lunch.

My children school stopped this a few years ago.

Now they do 10 children per day (going on birthdays) each child starts about 15min apart and they are there all day. So by the second Friday of the term all children are in school FT.

NoComet Sun 01-Sep-13 13:25:56

It's a pointless stupid waste of parents time, a child care nightmare and very very bad for some DCs.

DD1 is very bad at making friends, being in the opporsite settling in group to the girls in her nursery per group, did not give her a good start to school.

DD2 was used to doing 9-5.45 at nursery one day a week and just thought it was daft!

Doubtitsomehow Sun 01-Sep-13 13:26:42
indyandlara Sun 01-Sep-13 13:26:57

Maggietess its worth remembering that there may be that ratio as there are children with very specific needs coming in who need 1-1 support.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 13:27:21

I think in most cases it does come down to what works best for the school - easier to deal with smaller groups of children, more time for teachers to do assessments - than for the children or their families.

Doubtitsomehow Sun 01-Sep-13 13:29:05

Gah. Can't work out how to link and have to run out. But the article is there...No idea if this would apply nationally to all schools.

littlemisswise Sun 01-Sep-13 13:30:15

When my DC started school many moons ago, they took 4 or 5 DC a day on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the whole class was in. They all stayed all day from day 1. Everyone seemed fine, I remember the HT saying they were going to be tired the first time they stayed all day, so they might as well get used to it from the word go.

Groovee Sun 01-Sep-13 13:32:42

We used to have 5 weeks of half days. But this year the LEA gave 3 days for all children to be introduced to school and a week of half days and full time.

My friend is a P1 teacher and says all the stuff which would be done in the 5 weeks where baseline testing could be done in the afternoons etc, has become really hard and she found keeping the attention of some of them as it's such a change from nursery.

What works for one child doesn't always work for another. I took parental leave of 5 weeks when both children started school to ensure we could cover it. Completely unpaid but just as well when ds started school as dd broke her heel and was off school.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 13:34:47

indy one boy with special needs which is why they have the extra teaching assistant. But this doesn't change how they settle them in!

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 13:37:40

Oh and I know the school isn't doing it to be awkward, I'm more questioning the rationale for the length and wondering if there's been some studies into how best to do this. If there has then why do it so differently in every school. I suppose (answering her own questionwink) it could be done differently based on the school's pupil profile and how many kids they think may need extra support? (although that wouldn't answer why mine does it)

exexpat Sun 01-Sep-13 13:38:41

It's not just working parents who think the whole phasing in thing is ridiculous.

I wasn't working when DD started reception, but still found it crazy - she was completely unsettled, no chance to get into new routines because times she was at school kept changing, she found it confusing being switched between mornings and afternoons for three weeks, she had to be dragged back and forth to school several times a day as we had to drop off/fetch DS. She was far more tired, whingey and out of sorts with all that than if they had gone straight into full days.

When DS started school (not in the UK) he went straight into full days, no settling in period, and it was absolutely fine.

lljkk Sun 01-Sep-13 13:40:06

Only one of mine settled in well & quickly, I think 3/4 needed long settling in periods. Yes, I was lucky that wasn't inconvenient. But school isn't there for my convenience.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 13:40:37

Yes that's exactly it *exec I've spent so much time explaining the routine of school and then spend the next few weeks saying well no you don't have snack today, you do have snake now but not lunch, you do have lunch and then come home. I thought it was all way more confusing for her than it needed to be! Kids thrive on routine ime, whatever it is!

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 13:41:30

Sorry exex...
Anyway off out with dcs for a day trip. Will check in again later! Thanks for all the thoughts

At DS2's school they do 1 afternoon a week for 4 weeks of the summer term including 1 instance of having lunch with parents. This at least means that pick up can be combined with children already in school and means children are settled before the summer holidays. The reception children then do full days from September BUT this is a tiny village Primary with c.13 children in reception so I suppose easier to get the children settled into the school routine.

indyandlara Sun 01-Sep-13 13:51:28

Maggietrees you seemed to be using the ratio as a reason why they should settle in more quickly though?

Lambsie Sun 01-Sep-13 14:07:08

My sons school does a phased start with 5 or 6 children starting every few days. Once they are in they are in full time. Some children really benefit from starting with a smaller number of children in the classroom.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 14:10:15

I don't understand StephenFry's point and others who say that school has nothing to do with facilitating parents to work.

People who work get on average 5 weeks a year holiday.

Clearly if settling in takes - as some have said on this thread - 4 or 6 weeks, then this presents a problem.

Many (most?) employers will not allow you to take more than 2 weeks holiday at a time.
If you are a single parent, then the amount of leave needed could exceed your annual amount.
When you take into account the other school holidays - clearly if you have used up all of your leave for settling in for one child that is going to be a problem.
Childcare for settling in is very hard to find I imagine - as it is a short period not ongoing work. And doesn't making the period so long that the parent/s have to hire someone else to do it, defeat part of the object of settling in. A child will be better off surely having a parent do it for a couple of weeks than a stranger do it for 6.
And so on.

Are these people suggesting that in families where there is a school aged child, one parent should not work? Because a lot of what is happening here is more or less incompatible with work.

There is talk about letting schools set their own holidays, so that children will be off at different times. This is going to mean much longer periods to cover where people have children at different schools. Presumably these people think that is OK?

It is difficult enough to juggle, organise and pay for childcare as it is, without schools organising things around an outdated view of family life. And actually, many schools recognise that many families do not have a SAHP on hand these days and take that into account. It's a shame more don't take a pragmatic view.

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 14:22:18

actually i think it's the whole work/home life balance that is outdated. i think people need to be paid (much) better hourly wages, working hours need to be reduced (and could be with better wages) to fit in better with family life, working days shorter and annual leave more family life friendly. i think the world of work should be adapted to allow families to spend more time together rather than school hours for 3/4 year olds being extended to allow parents to spend more time away from them. it's all arse about face IMO.

That's a lovely thought Stephen, I'm sure we would all like that as well. But it's never going to happen so perhaps schools should work with reality as it is now.

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 14:30:34

or maybe parents should find out what their school's policy is before the child starts and then decide if that fits in with their life then come to some other arrangement before September rolls around? your child starting school does not come as a surprise on the 1st of September. there is lots of time to decide what you are going to do, whether that be find childcare, take unpaid leave, delay the child's school start, ask the school for full-time hours.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 01-Sep-13 14:33:18

That's lovely in theory Stephen but the company I work for is already desperately trying to keep afloat as it is. Giving employees that amount of flexibility just wouldn't make us viable (I do payroll) & also see how jobs are costed to customers & we've already had to make redundancies.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 01-Sep-13 14:35:15

Some of the parents on the thread have probably spent all summer trying to find childcare. Often it will have been July (in induction/new parents days) that they will have found out.

It's not a lot of time to arrange things.

Melfish Sun 01-Sep-13 14:35:23

DDs school had a full term of half days for all the reception kids. It was very difficult to sort out childcare for the remainder of the day but with a combination of family help and half days from work I could sort it. Couldn't have done it otherwise. I think half a term would've been sufficient- 2 of my colleagues whose DC started reception at the same time said that their 2 weeks-1 month of half days at their schools (different councils) was fine.

aGnotherGnu Sun 01-Sep-13 14:35:46

Well I won't argue with that stephen but until that happens, things like this just make the lives of working parents even more stressful and potentially actually reduce the time spent together as a family

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 14:36:22

i'm not talking about individual companies suddenly paying out triple wages and halving the hours. i mean a change in Govt policies, over time to get to a point where that is the case. i'm sure many years ago they all had very 'good' hmm reasons why it just wouldn't work giving women the vote or giving them the same jobs as a man does. it's called progress.

I don't see anyone saying they just found out about it now. It doesn't matter how much time you have to prepare if all the options for dealing with it are very disruptive and/or expensive.

If legally the schools have to provide full-time hours, why don't they tell parents that and give them an opportunity to request it?

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 14:53:57

"I don't see anyone saying they just found out about it now"
neither do i, which is exactly my point.

"If legally the schools have to provide full-time hours, why don't they tell parents that and give them an opportunity to request it?"

you would have to ask your own school why. do they all not tell parents in their induction literature? mine provide a number to call should you have any concerns regarding your dc starting at the school. i would have thought for anyone that this was an issue for they would have taken that as their invitation to discuss it with the school.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 01-Sep-13 14:59:53

I also think its very disruptive for the children

My ds (who we now think has ASD but we didn't know then had a very disrupted start to reception class & took a long time to settle partly because he had an accident a couple of weeks after starting, had a few days off, then was sent home when his wound got infected etc. when he returned to school u had to go in to give antibiotics every day (cellulitis)

He didn't have the structure and routine from the start that would have helped him to settle in of knowing this is what happens I feel secure in my routine.

When children faff about with mornings first then it changes a couple of weeks later to afternoons etc they don't know where they are.

No, your point is that people have plenty of time to make arrangements. But the point of this thread is that those arrangements are difficult for many people, no matter how much time they have to prepare, and it's frustrating because for many children this kind of long phase-in simply isn't necessary.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 15:08:24

I wouldn't presume to call up the school and tell them that I want some kind of special arrangement because their plans which are set don't fit in with my life. They have loads of children to look after and I am one person.

I only found out about the asking for full time thing here today. That doesn't sound great for the child though TBH being sat in a classroom potentially by itself for 1/2 day for up to 6 weeks.

That's just a terrible way to start a relationship with the school. And really presumptious.

Our school has a high % of families where both parents work. Settling in is a PITA but is only 1 1/2 week til before lunch then 1 week til after lunch. Children who need longer can have longer that gets arranged between parent and teacher but I am not aware of that happening in DD1s year.

We are really lucky as we have help from my parents and also another family member who we pay on an ad-hoc basis to help out. DD2 starts this year and I am taking a couple of days off work and DH has a week of unpaid leave. D is having an operation a few weeks into term which means a week off, for which I am taking more time off and so on.... It is terribly complicated especially as one of us works irregular hours and frankly I am impressed that we haven't had a "fail" on arrangements yet or confusion as it's so damn complicated.

So yes arranging all this stuff and making sure it is taken care of is my job, and it's not my job to ask the school to do special different things for me as I don't feel that's fair to them. But to think that schools could maybe think of the situations of parents when setting these things up I think would be a good thing to do in return.

StephenFrySaidSo Sun 01-Sep-13 15:11:39

hmm why are you telling me what my point is? i know what my point is. people have plenty of time to make arrangements, they don't find out on the first of September. you said you didn't see anybody saying that- exactly nobody said they found out on 1st sept because nobody did find out on 1st sept. exactly my point.

Therealamandaclarke Sun 01-Sep-13 15:12:56

Utter pita and very likely to be wholly unnecessary.

Hulababy Sun 01-Sep-13 15:25:20

There's no way my school would give me 4-5 weeks of parental leave, even unpaid!

Also always seems odd way round. We claim that the youngest children need the most support to settle yet these are always the last children in, usually going into pre established classes, more children in and more busy. Surely it ought to really be the other way round?

School isn't child care - believe me I know, I work there! But they have to think about how this can all work. I wouldn't chose my school for my child based on the lengthy phased start. My school wouldn't give me the time off to permit it anyway. It's something I would check with a school before choosing it infact.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 15:26:37

I think the idea is that the notice period isn't the issue. It could be 6 months notice and still be a nightmare to sort out.

Hulababy Sun 01-Sep-13 15:29:36

I do think at many school they do it simply because its how it's always been done ESP those who have had January as/or Easter starters too. But times have changed. It is now far less likely that mum stays home and doesn't work. Schools should, IMO, change too to take this into account.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 15:29:47

That's good for people who don't live in areas where there isn't much of a choice when it comes to schools Hulababy.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 15:30:45

YY our school has changed some things recently quite happily when parents asked them to, on the basis that there was no-one available to attend meetings at lunchtime etc.

Hulababy Sun 01-Sep-13 15:31:56

Oh I know. I know that in many areas there isn't really parental choice at all. Just that where there is it is something I would use in my decision making, and it is something I would ask about regardless when looking at schools.

Mumsyblouse Sun 01-Sep-13 15:36:28

The school my children attended did settling in over the term before Sept, it was chaotic, six weeks of two hours, then lunch as well, then half days and so on, a few times a week, then the six week holiday and then straight in. I just didn't do the settling in period and just started my dd in full-time which worked just fine.

The extended settling in period doesn't seem to stop some children being upset, I'd say the school where they did that seemed to have more children crying in the mornings and this went on all year. A few children don't take to school straight away and all the half-days/go home before lunch change in routines seems to make it worse, not better.

I think this system is designed for the teachers to do the admin (baseline assessments) of each child over a longer time period and not have to teach them full-time. But, why does every single child need to be tested so extensively so quickly and with tonnes of form filling? They are not all starting on the alphabet day one? I think it is tied up with the immense bureaucracy around even tiny children (at nursery and in foundation) and I'm not sure the children benefit from this (I don't blame the teachers, they are reacting to their circumstances).

Yanbu. My dds school gave option of full time in September, starting full or part time in jan with merely the expectation that by spring term every child was full time. They still insisted on three weeks of half days despite all the other options available. To say it was a PITA was an understatement. Especially as we rely on public transport to get to the school so I didn't get to go home for three weeks and dd2 had her lunch on the bus.

Therealamandaclarke Sun 01-Sep-13 15:43:05

The fact that starting school doen't come as a cunting surprise doesn't mean that such a protracted "settling in" period is not Botha PITA and a fucking stupid idea.

Therealamandaclarke Sun 01-Sep-13 15:48:26

It seems schools have a choice. Fuck about and make parents' lives difficult.
Or not.

PiddlingWeather Sun 01-Sep-13 15:55:40

YANBU. I'm sure it's better for some children but not all. I know plenty of DC including my own, who find the settling in period very upsetting as they are constantly adjusting to the different days- lunch at school one day, home early the next etc.

wimblehorse Sun 01-Sep-13 16:01:52

Dd starts Reception on 23 September & only does half days (at most - starting with 1 hour sessions then a mind-boggling matrix of different start & finish times straddling lunch or not) until half term.
They are getting far fewer than the 15 hours a week that 3 year olds get for 1/6 of their first year at school.
Luckily I am on mat leave so can accomodate this, but it is a nightmare for working parents trying to cobble together childcare & time off work around this, for SAHP with older children at school making several trips a day to drop & collect AND for the children who don't know if they are coming or going from one day to the next.
Completely agree with the poster who said children thrive on routine.
IMO it should be staggered entry for 1-2 weeks, a week of half days & then full time for all but those who parents/teachers don't think are ready.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 16:10:06

Sorry indie I had been referring to someone up thread saying maybe they phase because of ratios. And I don't think that's why they do it. Didn't mean to be confusing!

Nicetabard I totally agree. I think there is an element of well that's just how it's done, rather than any applied science that it is better for the kids. And I think parent power may be part of the answer in getting things changed. That was certainly why they reduced it from 6 weeks to 3 and apparently it was more successful at the 3 (according to the teacher). So I think there's an argument for trying a little less again until you find the optimal balance and then living with that for a while until you test a change again.

Some schools are definitely changing, eg parent teacher meetings in the evening rather than at alloted daytime slots like in ours, offering the parents/grandparents 2or 3 open mornings a year to come in and see what the class is like (apparently great at building trust with teacher and parents complain less the dcs aren't progressing etc etc).

I'm still happy to be told I'm totally wrong and their is great evidence that it's best for the kids but I'm yet to come across this. I think it's done for all the right intentions but, certainly for some kids, confuses them and delays them getting into a routine more than necessary.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 16:11:39

*there not their

Hulababy Sun 01-Sep-13 16:11:44

Maybe more parents need to complain to schools and higher, and louder too. Then maybe schools will start listening and acting.

The whole home visit thing can be a pain too whether in July or September. Working parents can't all ensure they are at home in the week to accommodate and yet some schools long down on parents who can't do them and really put the pressure on. Yet again my HT wouldn't have oven me the time to stay home for such a visit but still expects our parents to be able to do so. Dd's school visited dd at her nursery setting and she had an hour or so at the school in the July but that was worked around us very much and it worked perfectly fine. Yet many schools, my own included, insist on all three.

What's odder is schools where they have an attached preschool who still insist on the whole phasing in thing. and even more so those who then won't allow the child to remain in the preschool during the phasing in stage either.

5madthings Sun 01-Sep-13 16:13:27

Yanbu it is apita, I don't work but had three older children at school and a baby and ds4 was meant to do half days until October half term. Its a good half an hour walk to school and so I already do two hours of walking a day, with half days it qwould have been three hours, drop off at 9 back home by say 9:40 and then leave at 11:30 to be there for 12 there home by 12:40 depending on pace of ds4. Then out at 2:30 to collect the elder ones at 3pm. Utterly exhausting for a four year old and a complete pita. I refused and said he was legally entitled to full time and so he went full time. He had been doing 9-3 at preschool two days a week and wanted to go all day.

Lots of other parents complained as well and spoke to the Lea who said school had to offer full time. So they made it optional for those that wanted it.

Incidentally when ds3 started they didn't have so many half days, it was over two weeks rather than six weeks. Still a pita but manageable and he actually went part time until after Xmas as that was what he needed but he did full days, so all day Mon and Tues, wed at home and then all day the and Fri.

It depends on the child but protracted settling in periods over weeks that change each week etc are often confusing for the children and a complete pain for parents.

Plus there is actually no evidence it benefits the children, no studies have shown a benefit etc.

Bumblequeen Sun 01-Sep-13 16:15:32

I understand that some children may need more 'phasing in' than others because they only attended child care for p/t hours if at all or if they struggle in new environments.

My dd attended ft nursery and adapts easily in new environments.

It has been difficult organising mine and dh's leave to cover the whole month. As I have a long commute I am taking full days.

primallass Sun 01-Sep-13 16:19:11

Thank goodness it is much simpler in our region (Fife). 2/3 days (9-12.40) for the first 1.5 weeks then straight into full days. However, all but two of the children had spent 1.5-2 years in the school nursery in the next-door room. No settling in needed as they were already part of the school. Things are mostly so much simpler in Scottish schools because most children go to school nursery first.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 01-Sep-13 16:19:28

But is the phasing in any more of a PITA than school in general? Not many jobs allow you to drop off at 9 and pick up at 4. So you need childcare am and pm to cover that. Then theres holidays. And inset days. School is just a generally crap solution for those who work FT.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 01-Sep-13 16:19:55

DD's school the entire class goes full time from day one 8.30am to 3.30pm. They have done this for years, their don't appear to be any problems and the children settle well. They know exactly here they are from day 1.

celticclan Sun 01-Sep-13 16:20:17

The schools round this way stopped doing this a few years ago as it was felt to be unsettling for the children. Children do full days from day one.

Most children have attended some sort of preschool setting and are used to a school environment it does seem counter productive to drag the process out.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 16:46:37

Organising childcare 8-9 and 3-6 on an ongoing basis (or even just having children in before and afterschool clubs) is much easier than organising childcare for mornings or afternoons for a period of weeks. Nurseries won't take those children, lots of childminders won't take them either as they count as under 5s until they start school full time.

Once DS is actually started full time at (nursery) school it will be fine as he can go to tea club between 3.30 and 5.30pm. The week of nothing, followed by a week of 2 hours, then 3 hours etc means one parent can't work at all during that period.

wigornian Sun 01-Sep-13 16:58:19

Didn't happen in my day. I can see perhaps some doing mornings and the other half doing afternoons for the first half week - they go back on Wednesday here. Beyond that and I think it is counter-productive.

My DC starting reception this week is doing full days form the start.

CokeFan Sun 01-Sep-13 17:07:38

We've got several stages of settling in - each 3 days. First 3 days are half the class in the morning, next 3 days are half the class in the afternoon. Stage 3 is 3 days of the full class in the morning, Stage 4 is the full class for mornings including lunch and then it's full time for everyone from 19th September. I'm hoping I get it all right!

I've tried explaining it to DD but it's quite confusing to understand. I'd much prefer if they said a week of mornings and then full time.

neunundneunzigluftballons Sun 01-Sep-13 17:11:07

Settling in is from 9 to 12 for a month here I think it is too long since it is 2 weeks virtually every where else.

MammaTJ Sun 01-Sep-13 17:11:59

At the school my DC go to, the first week they do a full week is the week before half term.

They do take a long time leading up to it, part day till lunch, part days including lunch creeping in, then with the odd full day.

It works well though, so don't knock it. Not all children have done full days at nursery.

Hulababy Sun 01-Sep-13 17:13:26

MammaTJ - but that's 7 weeks PT - how do working parents manage it?

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 01-Sep-13 17:14:28

Haven't read all the posts. My daughter started school last week in Scotland. She starts at 8.30 and finishes at three every day. There was no fazing in and she has been absolutely fine, as have all her other little friends.

McNewPants2013 Sun 01-Sep-13 17:29:45

Dd will go from 1:10 till 3:10 first week then 8:50 till 11:30 2nd week and 8:50 till 3:10 third week and from then on.

5Foot5 Sun 01-Sep-13 17:39:55

When DD started we had the option of starting full time or some form of phasing in. AFAIK almost everyone chose the full time straight away. The sort of phasing in described here would have been a nightmare to work with.

And of course I didn't see school as free child care. I had been paying for reliable child care for years and had organised suitable wrap around care to suit school hours. But that would have been blown out of the water by this sort of staggered start.

TBH DDs days out of the house actually got shorter when she started school. Before then I worked 4 days a week and she was in a private nursery so one of us was dropping her at nursery at about 8:30am and picking her up shortly before 6pm. When she started school I changed to 5 short days instead of 4 full one so I was able to take her to school myself and leave her there at 9am then pick her up from after school club before 5pm.

Astr0naut Sun 01-Sep-13 17:54:17

I'm dreading this next year (that, and the fact that breakfast club opens at 815 and I'm in work at 820, dh at 730). I just don't get it. ds has been in nursery every day from 745 to 430 fur the last 3 years. school is going to be a shorter day, albeit without all the snacks.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 18:04:08

Oh don't get me started on breakfast club... We don't have one and you can't drop them off before we have to pay a clean fortune for breakfast club at a nearby nursery as both of us start before then.

teacherwith2kids Sun 01-Sep-13 18:06:27


I know that it seems for some parents as if their children could cope with a much longer school day, given the comparison with nursery.

The point is that, while nursery has 'childcare' as its prime aim, and so it is fine - indeed good - if the child spends some 'downtime' there, school doesn't have that downtime. Reception may look much like nursery, and in the first few weeks often is to soften transition, but there IS much more need for focus, much more of the day when things will be demanded of your child.

I teach much older children now, and tbh I think some of them WOULD be fine with longer days (although very many of them have days lengthened by childcare / out of school clubs and activities anyway - my 10 year old is out of the house for over 13 hours continuously 1 day per week, and never for less than 10, mainly with activities that cann for at least as much focus and energy as school). But at 4 / 5, school hours, in a properly planned Reception setting, is plenty.

ermumof2 Sun 01-Sep-13 18:14:45

our council started all day intake from day 1 nine years ago , and has been a great success. most kids have parents who work so are used to separation.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sun 01-Sep-13 18:51:39

I agree and think it's completely unnecessary and counterproductive. We are a family of 2 parents working full time so perhaps I'm biased but I honestly think most children would be absolutely fine with full time from the off, straight into the routine. It's just a couple of weeks of mornings only at my daughter's school but has still meant my partner and I having to take 5 days each off, unless we can wangle some of it as "working from home." If we can't, it will be a full working week each of our precious annual leave and 10 extra days we will have to find childcare for all our children and miss out on seeing them during the Christmas or Easter or half term breaks.

We are lucky there are two of us. I just don't know how working single parents manage to spend any time with their families sometimes. We are also very fortunate to have relatively generous annual leave agreements (6 weeks each plus bank holidays) and flexible employers. The statutory minimum annual leave entitlement is just 28 days inclusive of bank holidays. Surely very few people want to spend over 1/3rd of their holiday entitlement wrapping around their 4 year old's very short school day, especially if they know that said 4 year old has managed full time daycare since babyhood? I agree that school is different in kind from daycare, but reception is the first gentle step into school and should not really present a massive shock to the system of a child used to being in an early years setting.

MammaTJ Sun 01-Sep-13 18:52:27

Hulababy, the better of the two local nurseries does pick up at whatever time they finish, as does the creche run by the largest local employer, so that is ok. I worked full time by the time my DC started school but worked nights, so just didn't sleep, not much different from when they were at pre school.

It was a PITA though, you're right, but as they are quick to say, school is not chil care, it is education, it is up to the parents to deal with child care.

YANBU - DS's school did this last year and I think it led to DS being really unsettled. Unfortunately I had no idea until July when they sent round a letter telling us there would be 4 weeks of settling in. DH was working two contracts simultaneously in September, and September is one of the busiest months of the year for me, so even if I had had any AL left, I couldn't have taken it (moot point anyway as AL generally gets booked at least 8 months in advance).

The nursery DS had gone to since he was 6 months old couldn't take him, so I ended up having to find a childminder for 3 weeks, who DS had never met, which was far more unsettling than just starting school.

I agree there may be children who would benefit, but in DS's case (full-time at nursery from a baby), it made the introduction to school far more stressful and unsettlling than it might otherwise have been. I don't really understand why it couldn't be optional - if you feel your child needs it, as I understand some children may benefit.

Oblomov Sun 01-Sep-13 19:11:23

Ds2 starts. Fortunately he is only part time for a week.
That's because I asked for him to go full time.
The new law, introduced in 2011, to support working parents, says that Children should go full time, if parents request.
I requested. I got it. Other working parents shod do the same.

pointythings Sun 01-Sep-13 19:23:53

DD2's school used to have a system whereby all children with birthdays in autumn term started f/t from day 1, those with spring or summer term birthdays had to do half days until the term they turned 5. This was a nightmare as when DD1 started at this school there were no childcare providers of any sort who would do a midday pickup. Fortunately the school allowed us to defer her start until January when she could do f/t and she settled in just fine. With DD2 there was provision and I took it - and I wish I had deferred her too. She was miserable at having to do half days when so many of her friends could stay all day and have lunch at school. Add to that the fact that all the numeracy and literacy work was in the mornings and all the 'fun' stuff was in the afternoon when she was missing out - and she knew this full well - and we had to deal with a very angry, unhappy, unsettled, difficult little girl for a term. None of that would have happened had she been allowed to start f/t.

The school in this case wanted to accommodate her f/t - they agreed she was ready - but it was the LEA who imposed a blanket rule (this was before the change to allow full time from the start).

Schools should be allowed - and made - to be fully flexible in the interest of all children - a prolonged settling in period is definitely not best for all children.

I also found that my dd was so excited to start school that it was a huge disappointment to only have a morning.

Provided schools are flexible and prepared to make allowances for those children who's parents feel need the gentle introduction then I don't know why they can't just go straight to full time.

I realise schools aren't child care but at the same time it is just not always physically possible to find people to do it.

Astr0naut Sun 01-Sep-13 20:16:47

See, I think schools and childcare providers are missing a trick. I have no desire to provide childcare- although the age group I tesch are all too desperate to be out of the door- but I can't understand why schools don't start having on site facilities for childcare. If there'd been something line that where I work, it would make a fortune. and been useful for childcare students.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 20:18:14

Many schools now do have before and after school childcare.

But they start and finish at the normal school times so not any good fir staggered starts.

VashtaNerada Sun 01-Sep-13 20:23:23

YANBU. DD started on full days and was fine. When DC start school you need to save your annual leave for school holidays, why on earth would you want to use it all up in September!

teacherwith2kids Sun 01-Sep-13 20:23:46

DD's primary has excellent on-site before and after school care. It's brilliant. However, it can't help with the part-time beginning of Reception, because it's in the school canteen - so exactly when the half-day starts or finishes (depending on whether you are a morning or an afternoon child) the canteen is full of the rest of the school ... and the playground (which the after school club makes extensive use of) is full of 400+ hurtling bodies.

Before and after school care is, though in school buyildings, not run by the school, but by a committee of parents, who then employ professional staff (like most pre-schools). I seem to remember that if the school itself runs it, then it gets attached to e.g. their Ofsted inspection, with any weaknesses being counted against the school. I don't know of any schools where such clubs are run by staff emplyed by the school, though i know of many run in the school buildings.

Allegrogirl Sun 01-Sep-13 20:28:46

YANBU. No one in the school could explain why the entire class started on day one but left at 11.45 for three weeks. DD1's new CM did pick up but she was on her own until the other charges were picked up at 3.15. CM is lovely but a weird way to start the school year, all alone with a new childcare provider. DD was so unsettled as she didn't know whether was coming or going. Got much better as soon as they got in to the proper routine.

I would have been more accepting of the situation if the school could have offered some explanation for their system, or if all local schools followed a similar pattern. Some started full time from day two. The DCs were absolutely fine with it.

I am seriously thinking of keeping DD2 in nursery for a few weeks more when she starts next year.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 20:30:32

astr0naut yy to this! I have often thought a savvy business could be making a mint with wraparound childcare on the premises and the school could increase their funds by charging a rental (enough to cover any insurance issues plus a margin).

School isn't supposed to be childcare but my goodness the sites are well designed to facilitate it! (I recall a thread about using schools for summer schemes, that is in the same vein!)

MrsPnut Sun 01-Sep-13 20:35:27

Dd2's school does a split intake,the kids born before march will start full time from Thursday. The rest of the kids will start full time from the following Thursday - and they get shown the routines by the kids that were in the first start.

Dd2 was in the second start when she began and I just kept her at her day nursery until the day before she started.

BoozyBear Sun 01-Sep-13 20:35:38

the settling in at my DD's school lasts 4 days.

tues/weds they do til 12.15. Thurs the stop for lunch, parents optional. Friday they do a full day, then into full days as normal from the second week.

I think this drawn out staggering is ridiculous!

Meglet Sun 01-Sep-13 20:35:58

yanbu. Thankfully DD only has a week of half days.

teacherwith2kids Sun 01-Sep-13 20:37:23

I don't know of any local schools that AREN'T used either for before and after school clubs, or summer schemes, or both - though some don't offer schemes throughout the summer because it's prime building-work time in schools.

coco27 Sun 01-Sep-13 20:39:42

..and of course the school are getting funding for full days aren't they even though the child may have 4 weeks of full days

coco27 Sun 01-Sep-13 20:41:01

'4 weeks of half days'
I am surprised more parents don't just think sod this and send them to nursery for the first month til fulltime starts.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 20:42:26

Nurseries often won't keep 4 year olds for the first month, as they have 3 year olds wanting to come in for a year-long place.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sun 01-Sep-13 20:45:50

At dd's school the children who go to the pre-school nursery spend the last few weeks of term as "reception children". It works all the way up the school and I think the Y6s go to the secondary for at least some of the time. (Where there is space as the Y11s have left.)

They carry on their nursery hours so no difference to parents but it means that they are then used to their teacher, their classroom etc before they start.

Obviously not everyone sends to the nursery but a reasonable number do for at least some of the week so those that don't will be able to have more attention in the first few weeks. I don't know how the settling in process works (dd is about to start at the nursery) but I am guessing it is reasonably minimal because of this.

Which is great for us as I'll be back at work by then so every day spent "settling" is one more day dd will spend in childcare in the school holidays.

I know of at least two or three people who are going to find it extremely hard when dc 2 goes. People who live outside of the village and who don't drive. The choice is either spend entire days hanging around the village (pub anyone??thats all that's there where you could wait) get bus to next town hang around there for an hour then get bus back, or defer til January when the kids can just go full time.

teacherwith2kids Sun 01-Sep-13 20:49:49

I'm not entirely sure how school funding works now, but I know that when DS started school, there was only part-day funding until the term in which he turned 5. So when the school admitted him full-time on the first day, he was in fact only funded for part of it - and for the August-borns who started with him, they only got part-day funding for two terms even though they attended full time right from September.

i don't know whether they have sorted that now, because iut was a really silly system.

Euphemia Sun 01-Sep-13 20:56:18

I'm a P1 teacher: the children have four weeks of half days to settle in. We've just passed the end of week three and the children are tired. They're going to be very tired once they're in all day! smile

The staggered start sounds crazy: how is the teacher supposed to do anything meaningful if s/he is constantly playing catch-up with the new starts?

Astr0naut Sun 01-Sep-13 21:00:59

I don't mean just before and after school-although I would like one starting before 815, but actual nurseries on site that could cope with all the faffing about transitioning from full time nursery to school entails. It would mean 1 drop off too, when you have a 5 and 3 year old.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 21:01:23

They'd be tired if they were in full days in week 1 or week 5 though.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 21:06:04

It would be hard for any nursery to cope with the faffing though Astr0naut - they'd have to have extra staff and space for just a few weeks a year, it's unlikely to be financially viable.

SundaeGirl Sun 01-Sep-13 21:07:50

DS had four weeks of half days when he started P1 and I'm really thankful for it - he was knackered! I'm sure most children can 'cope' with full days but for a lot it won't be ideal.

Why are people demanding and insisting that a school's role is childcare? It isn't, it's education. (Although, historically schools have also been used to improve nutrition).

Of course, this raises issues about both parents working (or one parent in single parent homes) but that doesn't mean the school have a responsibility to sort it out. Just let them teach and do what's best for DCs - don't dilute schools' purpose. It is a PITA - but presumably most of the people on this thread planned their children and had a pretty good idea of a) standard holiday allowance and b) term lengths, holiday lengths, and so on. No point in being indignant now.

indyandlara Sun 01-Sep-13 21:10:40

Lots of schools don't have room to provide breakfast/ after school clubs. Our school has one room used by after school club. If our roll continues to increase at the same rate they will need to leave by August 2015 as the room will be needed as a classroom.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 21:12:16

Standard holiday length and term length doesn't have anything to do with the extended, random settling in hours that some schools do.

Schools function as childcare, the govt. insists on this. Education may be the primary purpose but it is silly to ignore the fact that schools allow parents to work.

ElvisJesusAndCocaCola Sun 01-Sep-13 21:13:08

DD1 is not able to go full time till Monday 30th September angry

teacherwith2kids Sun 01-Sep-13 21:14:22

indy, Ours is a 'pack away' one - it uses the school canteen and has specific storage units all round the room where the After school Club stuf is kept. No need for a full-time room.

Interestingly, there is also a pre-school on the school site, though not a full-service private nursery.

No ones demanding their role is child Care. Just that times have changed so much. Parents work more now, increasing amounts of pupils come from outside the catchment areas. This lovely little picture of kids walking to school and mum being home no longer exists in the way it did before. For many parents its not a case of an easy quick pick up at lunch time.

They are merely asking that this is recognised and perhaps that the situation is reversed. There is already the option of deferring til January (or the term after they turn five) and the option of part time in many schools. What there isn't , is the option to start full time straight away.

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Sun 01-Sep-13 21:17:05

It seems that putting your child's needs before your own is a thing of the past.

SundaeGirl Sun 01-Sep-13 21:18:31

They may function as childcare but that is not their purpose nor should it be.

Same as my car functions as a mobile make-up bag/mobile dog kennel/mobile umbrella but that is not it's actual purpose. It's purpose is to get me from A to B.

Really? Does a child not need home and food then? You know that work pays for that right and that to much time off results in dismissal these days?

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 21:19:42

To ignore a child's need to have financial stability is ridiculous though. The reality is parents need to work, they need their children to be at school.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 21:20:21

OverTheFields - staggered starts work best for teachers, they don't work best for all children.

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Sun 01-Sep-13 21:21:44

Then fit your job around your child not your child around your job. If you cannot afford to do that you cannot afford to have children.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 21:24:10

I see - only SAHM in a relationship with their children's father should have children! Unfortunately many schools seem to work on this principal too.

OverTheFields - and what about the posters on this thread who are SAHMs whose children were upset and unsettled at extended phasing in periods, not being able to stay for lunch or afternoons etc?

And where are these employees that offer such flexible hours whilst still paying you? Where you can cater to a schools ever changing whim and not be in breech of a contract??

FunnyRunner Sun 01-Sep-13 21:24:40

biscuit for overthefields

cake for all the parents and teachers trying to juggle the annual madness of new starts. And some wine and thanks for good measure.

Even those who can afford child care CAN'T FIND any to take on such a short term post.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sun 01-Sep-13 21:27:33

But what is best for children could include not screwing up their parents' annual leave so that they have to do more holiday playschemes because there is no annual leave left. All this "school is education not care" stuff is too simplistic. These are little children and education and care meld into each other for many years to come. Schools should, can and do respond to young children's tiredness (if it transpires) by building rest times and free play into the school day. It's part of a rounded education. It's not new. I remember sleeping curled up in the book corner through the last hour of reception every day for months and months. No one minded. I still learned stuff. My mum did not have to faff with half days. It was fine.

Elvis- that is ridiculous.

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Sun 01-Sep-13 21:28:59

smile have I touched a nerve? Oops

teacherwith2kids Sun 01-Sep-13 21:29:02

I feel that the point is UNLESS there is a very strong arguument for a lengthy part-time start (and the experience of schools where all children start full time immediately with no significant problems suggests that there is no very strong argument), then full time should be actively offered from Day 1. part time (mornings only) should be requestable by parents who wish it, or (in a very few cases) where school and parent together decide that it is the option in the child's individual best interests.

It is not fair to say that if parents find lengthy staggered starts a problem that they cannot afford to have children. The issue being discussed here is not the need for childcare before and after normal school hours, but the EXTRA, and often very hard to find, childcare to fit around highly changeable short-term part-time school hours at the beginning of the Autumn term.

Schools should be weighing up the genuine educational advantages (if any) of staggered and part time starts against the inconvenience caused to parents. If the educational advantage is massive, then of course the inconvenience is justified. I personally don't think that the evidence for very significant educational advantage is there.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 21:30:52

ROFL @ overthefields.

So anyone who finds it tricky to cover 6 weeks of un-necessary total routine disruption should not have had any children in the first place! Love it.

Will you be alerting SS to this thread. I think you should. I am sure they have an emergency number.

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Sun 01-Sep-13 21:33:49

ROLF....I am SS.

Hulababy Sun 01-Sep-13 21:34:03

"OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Sun 01-Sep-13 21:17:05
It seems that putting your child's needs before your own is a thing of the past."

But why do we assume all children need such lengthy settling in times?

I assume my DD benefits from the fact me and Dh go out to work and earn money in order to provide a home, food, clothes and the likes - however, many workplaces do not have the flexibility to be able to work round lengthy settling in periods, so would it be better for one of us to not work in order to fit in around it instead?

I work in a school, an infant school with a lengthy settling in period. My own HT would not be able to allow her staff to have flexible working hours in order to accomodate this for their own children!So, if the HT won't allow it for their own staff - why should they expect other parents to have to do it?

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 21:34:15

overthefields telling people that they should never have had their children is always going to upset people. I think you know that, though.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sun 01-Sep-13 21:34:35

smile Speaking for myself, you haven't touched a nerve so much as revealed yourself as rather out of touch, over. Oops.

teacherwith2kids Sun 01-Sep-13 21:36:38

Overthefields, can you see that there is a difference between the long-term balance between work, school and childcare for working parents throughout children's school years (which people do juggle, successfully, all the time) and a very specific, very hard to cover, short term need caused by extended staggered and part time starts? Suggesting that parents should not have children, or that they are fitting children round their jobs, because of a single 4-5 week blip in otherwise well-balanced arrangements is overstating your case.

Take a working mum who arranges good-quality nursery care for her very young children, then arranges good before and after school care for them once they are in school. Se can absolutely afford to have children, and balances children and work brilliantly.

Then, for a single 4 week period, she can only attend work for a couple of hours each day, because descpite having great chiuldcare around a full school day, she doesn't have it around a shortened one.

Are you really saying that someone who finds this very, very difficult should not have children??

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Sun 01-Sep-13 21:37:02

I must be out of touch...but I have very happy kidssmile

Hulababy Sun 01-Sep-13 21:38:17

Not touched a nerve for me, no. DD's primary doesn't have a lengthy settling in period - they go FT from day 1. All cope perfectly fine as school offer flexibility in the initial weeks and if a child needs a bit of time out then parents can chose to take them home a bit early or have a day off then that is arranged between them. So actually I have never been affected by any of it.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 21:38:21

teacherwith2kids... Yes!!! What you said!!!! That's exactly what I'm been trying to say in a not-so-concise and coherent way since my opening post!!! [smilesmile

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 01-Sep-13 21:40:37

As I said further up thread read I had a very unhappy little bit in reception who needs routine & continuity

This phasing in, change to routine is a nightmare got ASD children.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 21:40:53

teacher well yes I think she is.

And she is a social worker.

I must admit that watching the news, I thought the SS bar for "they should never have had children" levels of concern was a bit higher than this confused

I think her posts are goady, personally, which doesn't imply a "happy" personal situation to me.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 01-Sep-13 21:41:42

Although I emphasise it wasn't his school that was the problem who go full time from day one - it was a medical problem.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 21:41:44

Surely not a social worker while her children were of school age though shock

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 21:42:25

And overthefields I find it a bit sad if you are indeed a SS and are so judgemental about parents having concerns over things they find difficult (and cant understand the reasons for them) that your response is well you shouldn't have had children.

As a parent one of the things I've leaned is to always question "why" when someone tells me something is best for my child. I know my children really well and I'll happily take advice on what's in their best interests but I don't think questioning whether phasing in is either necessary or in my dcs' best interests means I shouldn't have had them in the first place.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 21:46:17

The SW has spoken magietess.

Any chance you can pop them back up?

lougle Sun 01-Sep-13 21:46:54

I think our school have got it right:

Each Parent chooses from Option A or Option B.

Option A: Full-time from 12th September (Home visits take place between 4th September and 10th September).

Option B: Part time from 11th September (to allow a quieter beginning for more nervous children). Parents choose between 5 and 9 sessions per week (a session being either morning or afternoon) that their child will attend between 11th September and half-term. Parents commit to those chosen sessions each week - no changing from week to week.

That means that parents can choose to have their children in all mornings, all afternoons, full day on Monday and Wednesday plus half days Tues, Thurs, Fri...whatever works for them their child.

DD3 will be taking Option A. I'm there morning and afternoon to drop and collect DD2 anyway and DD3 will not cope with seeing friends come and go at different points in the day while she is/isn't at school. For her, it's much better to know where she is.

And over bare in mind that many children are at schools that parents did not choose. specifically for that reason. That severe shortages of places has meant that all plans have had to go out the window as they are not possible at the school that's five miles away that even parents moved into catchment for another school never foresaw they would get.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sun 01-Sep-13 21:50:28


Who is Rolf? Do you mean Rolf Harris?

SuffolkNWhat Sun 01-Sep-13 21:56:48

The only way we are going to be able to cope with this is the fact I'll be on maternity leave when DD1 starts (Sept 2014). I have no idea how our chosen school does this yet but as she's a September birth I'll be pushing for full days sooner rather than later.

I find the whole thing bonkers (and I'm a teacher albeit not primary!)

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 21:59:10

ROL@ acrylic

SS got no time for Rolf

Too busy telling parents who are experiencing potentially unnecessary organisational difficulties that they should never have had children in the first place. They should have foreseen the 2-6 weeks difficulty in Reception, and their family's employment situation, a few years later and on that basis stopped with the whole impregnation scenario.

It's only fair and reasonable.

I mean why should taxpayers have to support... oh no hold on... erm. Something like that anyway.

indyandlara Sun 01-Sep-13 22:00:56

teacherwith2kids that is really interesting. I do wonder if ours will move into the local community centre when the space is reclaimed. If they moved into the canteen they would have to stop all sports after school clubs as it is also the gym hall. We have a pre school too but that is strictly in school hours- no weekend or wrap around. It would be pretty controversial if the council were to call for it to open longer hours as it would radically change the contracts of the staff.

Yes how dare people get made redundant and have to take a new job or loose their home. How dare we not foresee high birth years to avoid not getting chosen schools. How dare we not quiz head teachers on their starting polices from date of conception just In case it changes. How dare we not enforce buses to run to our own convenience. We must all make our parents retire and learn to drive or re locate near us so that they can indeed collect children to avoid this hassle. Yes we should see five years into the future to stop it all being so bloody tough.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 22:11:22

Nicetabard a couple of mine came out the sunroof and they're lanky kids these days so I don't think they'd fit pop anywhere!! wink

Just going to think about potential universities so I don't screw that up by not planning adequately for being stressed during freshers week....

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 22:13:02

I've just thought of a business idea to support me on my career break.... Crystal ball for couples thinking about conceiving to check if they're going to be up to scratch in years to come!!

Any takers??!! ... Fiver for you lovely lot on my thread grin

AnotherWorld Sun 01-Sep-13 22:13:27

I've had two go in through these short hours. Both are summer born so towards the youngest in the school year. It's a pain yes - but it's a short term thing and I support the need to settle them in gradually.

Our school has a sensible approach and will work flexibly with parents.

But I have to point out - whilst trying not to goad a reaction - that you KNEW your child would start school now. And have known for 4-5 years so have had plenty of time to sort something out. It's a once in a lifetime event for them.

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 22:16:00

Knowing that your child will start school and knowing whether or not the school will do a long settling in period and what form it will take is not the same thing, is it?

jessieagain Sun 01-Sep-13 22:17:56

I think it is too long. 1-2 weeks max is all that would be needed imo.

Yes we knew that they would start school. But that dies t change the fact that circumstances can suddenly change and what would have been no big deal suddenly becomes extremely difficult. When dd started school, the results came out in April. The second round results came out weeks later. Between sending back acceptance letters and half terms it was actually quite a while before we knew timings etc. it was ok first time around , we coped but second time around is going to be extremely hard.


Xmasbaby11 Sun 01-Sep-13 22:19:49

That sounds impossible! How on earth do working parents deal with that? Presumably you have to hire a childminder just to drive your kids around? I am so dreading that stage!

AnotherWorld Sun 01-Sep-13 22:20:18

True for first timers who don't know anyone with school age children (this was me when DD started school)

But for the repeat customers complaining upthread - they'd have an inkling wouldn't they?

ModeratelyObvious Sun 01-Sep-13 22:20:57

AnotherWorld, when the current crop of infant school children was born, there was a September intake and a January intake. My day care arrangements were fine for that as I just had to give a month's notice, so a January full time start was absolutely fine.

Whaddya know, education policy changed in five years. Well, huh.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 22:21:56

maggie think ahead.

If you think you might struggle to foot the university bills, then it will be much more comfortable for you to put them back in now, than when they are 18!

SuffolkNWhat Sun 01-Sep-13 22:22:59

You also do not know for certain which school your DC will attend until the Easter before they start so no amount of forward planning will help if the school you are allocated has a much longer phasing in time than the school you were hoping for.

AnotherWorld Sun 01-Sep-13 22:23:22

Not here there wasn't

Nothing has changed here since DD started 5 years ago? Variation in areas maybe?

nonameslefttouse Sun 01-Sep-13 22:24:30

When ds started school he had two half days including one lunch prior to the end of school then one week of mornings and one week of afternoons, this really unsettled him as he was used to full days so it just messed up routine, the same as most kids in his class I'm sorry I really didn't see the point in it.

I do believe this will be the case when dd starts next September, she turns 4 tomorrow and already could handle school she'll be 5 when she starts I dont think it will help her at all.

All children receive 15 hrs pre-school some are even eligible to more, children do have this opportunity to socialise if private nursery is out of the question.

Schools should consider working parents, nothing to do with free child care etc, because a) it's not free for all my dh and I pay substantial amounts of tax to fund education b) times have changed substantial amounts of households do not have a sahp

hettienne Sun 01-Sep-13 22:25:17

AnotherWorld - even if you know that there will be this prolonged phasing in, it doesn't make it easy to deal with does it? Few parents can take weeks off work, it is hard to find nurseries and childminders to fill in, it's unsettling for children to have new childcare for just a couple of weeks etc.

And your forgetting employment. Is someone really meant to not take a job because a school they don't even know their kid will attend yet has an awkward settling in time ? When the alternative is loosing your home or the benefits you receive?

Quenelle Sun 01-Sep-13 22:26:02

DS starts reception this year and there are NO classes until Monday the 16th due to home visits. Then half the class does a week of afternoons only while the other does mornings only, then they swap the following week. The whole class goes full time from the 30th. We both work so DS will have to go back to pre school for two weeks, without the 15 funded hours though. Then DH and I will take a week of half days each. We didn't find this out until mid July, so had already booked up our annual leave, not knowing we had another four weeks to cover after the six week summer holiday.

It's a complete pain in the arse tbh.

SHarri13 Sun 01-Sep-13 22:26:25

At my sons school they go full time from day 1. I think it works well for them an what they've experimented with.

The other two local schools are part time (morning or afternoon) until after Christmas!!!

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 22:27:39

anotherworld I totally agree I knew it was coming... But point of this thread was to try and explore why it was (or even if it was) necessary, what is the ratio already behind it and have other people the same experiences settling in.

Nicetabard ouch hadn't thought of that. We're tall and in my case of ahem big bone structure folk in this family, that would definitely hurt.... DH is holding me back from rushing upstairs to give it a go now.

<hangs head in shame at horrible mental images she is creating>

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 22:29:30

*rationale not ratio... Darn fat fingers small phone scenario..

AcrylicPlexiglass Sun 01-Sep-13 22:35:09

How does knowing when your child is due to start school help?

1. You don't know which school you will get and or what their policies are.

2 even if/ when you do know 1, if you work and are single or with a partner who works too, your only options are take time off, rely on local family or friends, employ local childminder for 2 - 6 weeks. None of these are ideal for most people. For us family are too far away, all local friends work, childminders are like golddust. Annual leave is our only option. It will be lovely to be around and see our daughter settle into big school but as we have every confidence she will be fine we are sad that it will mean less time together as a family in the holidays.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 22:37:00

Another world it's not to to with areas, around here each school sets their own policies wrt settling and and so on. And of course the governers / whoever makes the decisions can change them whenever they see fit.

AnotherWorld Sun 01-Sep-13 22:38:41

Like I said previously our school is sensible about it. They take into account only the needs of the child. Some children are ready for full time school at an earlier age than others. All children are different and will react differently so they plan for the worst case and you should too.

It's very different in most cases to preschool, usually with more children per adult. They may not know anyone. Or any of the little things like where is the loo, or how can I get a drink. This phasing in with smaller groups lets them get to know these things in a smaller environment so when they're in with the full class of 30 they know the basics.

I can't imagine a worse situation - for the child - than putting a child who's not ready into full time school from day 1 purely because the parents need to be elsewhere.

That said it will be a challenge to manage so plan for it ahead - take heed parents for next year and beyond.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 22:39:39

Acrylic there is also parental leave. I think that stops at 5 though and I don't know what happens with that with children who turn 5 at the beginning of september it might not be available.

With that obviously it's unpaid and also dependent on how your employer is.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 22:41:20

I just checked parental leave and it's up to the child's 5th birthday so if you have a child with a sept (or even oct) birthday that won't do you any good for settling in.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 22:43:53

Anotherworld many schools don't do the phasing thing. That is not part of their settling in process.

Like no schools around here do home visits. Sounds bizarre to me! But still.

Every school is different, no point thinking that what goes on at one / in one area is how it is across the board.

motownmover Sun 01-Sep-13 22:46:47

I thought the law was changed so that your children could settle in quickly and you did not have to have ridiculous settling in periods.

wonkylegs Sun 01-Sep-13 22:47:51

Staggered starts for my DS at reception actually caused huge problems with him settling in. He'd been at (a different) nursery full time since he was a baby and was used to a full 8-6 day... A week of an hour or so a day, then just up til lunch had him confused as to what the hell was going on. Teacher took me to one side and said she wasn't sure he was coping, must be the long day without mum blah blah, I explained actually this was a much shorter time without mummy and I was sure it was the mucking about with the day and sure enough as soon as he went FT he was fine.
It seemed particularly daft in his year as all but 4 kids had been in the exact same classroom(shared nursery/reception room) & group for nursery yet everybody had a long winded settling in period.

I don't think it is necessary to faff about for weeks and weeks.
Our school does full days from day 1. They start on a Thursday (usually about 10 days after the rest of the school go back) and do two full days, then they have the weekend to rest up, then it's business as usual on the following Monday.
It really doesn't seem to cause any problems.

AnotherWorld Sun 01-Sep-13 22:53:25

But this is my point they are not ridiculous for some children and you don't know how your child will react - and neither do they - so school and you talk and then plan for the worst.

Yes it's difficult to plan around. But it's also a one off thing.

No, it's a one off thing PER CHILD.

Retroformica Sun 01-Sep-13 22:56:10

Our phase in involves 8 weeks and doing mornings or afternoons each week. Seemed to work really well for most kids. Mine especially. The few that had been in institutions pre school seemed to have better stamina. They were not the norm though.

AnotherWorld Sun 01-Sep-13 22:57:51

Yes. Sorry. Per child. I only have three.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 22:58:36

Our school does 2.5 weeks settling in and says that if any children need longer that will be arranged between parents and teacher.

In DD1 year no-one needed that.

4 weeks or 6 weeks settling in is unnecessary for most children and disruptive for families.

School should plan for the majority - which will be a shorter settling in - and make arrangement for ones for whom that is not long enough.

Plenty of people on here have said their children were unsettled by the varying routine with settling in and would have been happier FT from start. Why are their needs less important than children who need longer.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 22:59:19

8 WEEKS? shock

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 23:00:26

Do you have many working families at your school Retro? Did they say how they managed that? What an absolute nightmare.

One school I know of was still settling children in up to February half term.

AnotherWorld Sun 01-Sep-13 23:02:03

(Sorry - my last comment was a bit goady)

Still comes back to "plan for the worst and hope for the best" to me. So when DS2 starts next year we will hope he settles quickly but work with the school on what's best for him (whilst planning how to spend all those lovely nursery fee savings...)

Iwillorderthefood Sun 01-Sep-13 23:03:29

Not read it all, but just wanted to say, that parents of children with 4 or six week phase in are lucky. Where I live it's half days until January.

Planning for the worst can merely be providing the option. As a pp said, the needs of the other children should also be considered. They are just as important.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 01-Sep-13 23:05:13

Parental leave is a bit if a red herring though as although you ate entitled to it your employer has the right to say when you take it.

Do for example dh works in a school. He could have applied for parental leave but his head could say no September is a crucial time of year , new kids, new classes eye. Take your leave in 6 months time in March as we are slowing down for Easter.

Fairdene Sun 01-Sep-13 23:10:48

I never did this sort of rubbish with mine. They just started at school - end of. Or at least they three days a week for a term, then five, but that was as phased as we got.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 23:10:55

So to summarise (I know you'll be quick to tell me if I screw up and summarise wrongly here!) yes it's a pita, most parents on this thread think it's difficult to manage but do manage to do it... Noone is entirely sure there's a strong rationale to it altho there's a definite feeling that some sort of phasing in is helpful.
Overall we would prefer it if after a small amount of general phasing in, for say the first week (to give kids opportunity to get used to new environment and routine) there was full time for all those except kids whose parents and teacher in conjunction thought would benefit from a prolonged settling in.

A smaller number think we should suck it up, we knew having kids was tough, it's not about us, it's only a small time in our lives and it's definitely in the kids best interests so roll with it!

Does that (roughly!!!) do it.

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 23:13:12

1/2 days until January?


Picture YY and also you can't take it after your child turns 5 so will be irrelevant for some people - lots for people at IWillOrderTheFood's school.

This is surely impossible for people where there is no SAHP / part time & flexi type person in the household surely?

I am not sure that schools should be allowed to do that as the "norm". For children who need it is one thing but for all of them it seems just causing unnecessary and possibly really severe difficulties for the stability of families.

You forgot the number of posters who stated that it had a severe negative impact on the child and was infant counter productive

In fact blush

NiceTabard Sun 01-Sep-13 23:15:36

Yes I think it does Maggie.

Most employers will allow up to 2 weeks hols, more than that is therefore going to be a genuine problem for lots of people. I can't see there is any justification for 4 weeks / 6 weeks / 8 weeks / 12 weeks. That's just nuts.

Fairdene Sun 01-Sep-13 23:21:24

That wouldn't summarise how I'd view such a ridiculous regime, had I had to suffer it.

I think a term or two of three days to start then five full days is more than adequate to do the job. None of my DC ever did a half day at all. What they do in Reception is hardly strenuous and the school days are geared to slow down as the DC do, after a extremely early lunch. It's all very gentle. I can't see that coming home at 3.30pm is any more physically or emotionally draining than coming home at 1.30pm after lunch, or even at noon before lunch. Basically, the deal is something to eat then a snooze or a story or telly. It's not strenuous either way.

Devora Sun 01-Sep-13 23:42:25

Another one here whose school only does half days till January.

When my older child did that, I was luckily on adoption leave. The younger one is just starting the nursery class at that school, and they stagger their starting dates. She will not be STARTING her half day sessions for nearly three weeks. So by the time she is doing full school days she will have done FOUR TERMS at that school!

I am boggled at the posters who pompously tell us that schools are not here to sort out our childcare problems (and that we shouldn't have had our children if we dare to find any of this inconvenient). One of the things I do at work is to persuade businesses to provide more flexible, family-friendly work opportunities to parents. We try to get them to see how this makes sense for everyone, how recruiting from the widest possible pool delivers greater talent, how a worker who isn't freaking about their childcare arrangements is more likely to be settled and committed and productive.

Well, if it's good for business it's good for schools too. Of course it isn't their primary function to worry about parents' childcare arrangements, but if they take a more holistic view they will get more settled children, calmer and more co-operative parents, and more productive and loyal staff.

DingbatsFur Sun 01-Sep-13 23:47:39

My son's first day of school starts tomorrow at 12. 12-2. Stupid system. It is not even nursery.

DingbatsFur Sun 01-Sep-13 23:49:27

I am holding it all together with 2 condensed working patterns, a kind childminder and a mother imported from overseas.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 23:49:50

Yy devora! And to all who aren't starting full time til January you have my shock and sympathy! I thought I had it bad!!

Re the nursery bit, I don't subscribe to the prolonged settling in for nursery any more than I do "proper" school, I still believe mot kids (I recognise not all) will have attended some form of daycare and be well fit for the routine. I honestly believe a reverse system where those kids who were more sensitive about change in routine and/or had never experienced daycare should have the option of shorter hours rather than (after say the first week) all other kids fitting in with them.

Anyhow, I'm off to bed, big day tomorrow don't u know! wink thanks for all the comments.

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 23:52:32

Ps bawling at the idea dd2 is jig enough to be at school sad where did my baby go....

Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 23:52:57

*big... Grrrrr damn u fat thumbs

nooka Mon 02-Sep-13 00:30:49

My children started school full time from day one. They were fine. It was in the days when younger children started in January which seems a much simpler option, as we just kept them at their nursery until that point. If they had started at a school with daft staggered times I think I would have been very tempted to just start them later. ds in particular would have found the lack of routine incredibly difficult.

The fact that each school makes up completely different arrangements suggests that there is no consensus as to what is better for the children, in which case choosing particularly difficult arrangements for families seems really really unhelpful. Plus there are also threads where parents are trying to get arrangements into place for their children to start very gently for very legitimate reasons having major problems suggests that most of the arrangements are for the school's convenience rather than for children/families.

nooka Mon 02-Sep-13 00:31:50

Oh and when they went to nursery it was full time from the first day. Also fine.

Devora Mon 02-Sep-13 00:52:25

Good luck to you for tomorrow, Maggietess. And to your dd, of course (though I'm suspecting you need it more wink)

Maggietess Mon 02-Sep-13 15:34:15

Thanks devora she had a great time, I was abandoned at the door for all the wonderful toys in the room. She didn't want to go home!

HairyGrotter Mon 02-Sep-13 15:56:50

My DD started reception last year, thankfully, she started at 8:30am and finished at 3:30pm from the start. Made no difference to her at all!

YANBU as I'd find it a major PITA! Good luck grin

SamG76 Mon 02-Sep-13 16:04:55

Agreed, Maggie and AGG. I deducted from our "voluntary" contributions to the school an amount to cover the extra childcare costs of the settling in stage.

With my kids, all it meant was that by the time the later ones arrived, there was a little clique who knew each other already, so it made things, if anything, more difficult for them socially.

zipzap Mon 02-Sep-13 16:54:45

Haven't had a chance to read all of this but wasn't there somebody on MN last year who won an argument with her child's school and despite the fact that they were supposed to be doing mornings or afternoons only for a long settling in period, kicked up a fuss and managed to force the school to take the child for mornings and afternoons?

Can't remember the details of how she did it, just remember thinking argh wish I'd thought to do that for my dc!

But somewhere in the depths of the legalities she managed to find a few key phrases that meant her dc could stay at school all day rather than have a long extended settling in time - and I think that once she had discovered this, several others in the same school then went on to use the same reasons to get their children to stay the full day too.

Sounds like it would be useful for people on here if anybody else remembers this and is able to point to a thread or knows what the key bits of useful info are in order for this to happen!

Oblomov Mon 02-Sep-13 17:32:30

The only good thing, is that we don't need to put up with this nonsense anymore.
I am soooooooooo glad that I had the courage, knowing about the recent law, to politely request from my school that they put ds2 in full time asap.
I didn't want to use the whole of my annual holiday entitlement, in September alone.
I knew my rights and would not have accepted anything more, than a week of half days.
I did it really politely. And the school agreed. But if they hadn't, I wouldn't have left it there.

If you are a SAHM, do not work, or have suitable alternative childcare, or have a young summer born child, and want phrasing, then great.
It you do not have childcare, work fulltime or part time, or simply want you child not to have to phasing, then fortunately, you are now well within your rights to veto all this.

Hopefully, we won't have to have threads such as this in the future.

sheridand Mon 02-Sep-13 17:42:02

Not read all the ranting!
When I were a nipper, it was the norm for younger babies not to even start until Easter! I myself started school at Xmas. It worked. It worked for the jolly good reason that younger children who have not been in nursery full-time are unused to a full "working week" and need time to mentally adjust.
DS is a January baby. He was fine, could have gone in FT earlier.
DD is a late July baby, she was knackered, tearful and frankly, could have done with starting FT at Xmas.
It is a pain to organise work, yes. It is a pain to organise childcare. But it's your child: if it suits them to integrate slowly ( and I think we do it too quickly: DD wasn't able to cope until way past Xmas), then suck it up, really. We are lucky we get the option.
(Cue lots of people whose 31st August baies were *just fine*)

They're at school for years and years and years. We start them too young, IMO, and that's coming from an ex-teacher!

Hulababy Mon 02-Sep-13 18:23:17

8 weeks retro?!

Does/Would your HT allow her/his own staff to work flexibly for those 8 weeks if their child was starting school with a similar system?

sheridand Mon 02-Sep-13 18:27:23

Just realised I sound like an arse. Of course, employers should be reasonable and allow for this. I did it via friends and relatives, but if you don't have this, then it's madness, That's why I think there should be a flat rule, like there was when I was small, before a certain date, start then, after, start then. That way, the playgroup gets the faff and the funding to deal with it.

Therealamandaclarke Mon 02-Sep-13 18:42:52

nooka spot on!

Annebronte Mon 02-Sep-13 19:21:04

My kids' school was full time from day 1 of Reception and they were absolutely fine, as were their classmates.

Rosesarebeautiful Mon 02-Sep-13 20:56:52

I am so glad my kids had the phasing in period. School is not the same as nursery and it takes a bit of getting used to.

At the last P1 induction I was at - a few years ago now - one of the dads complained at length at the fact he was going to have to work his hours round his child for two weeks. It was just horrible to listen to. There was absolutely no understanding from that man that the process was there to help his child settle. It was only two weeks.

The next year all the kids were straight in from Day 1. Probably easier on the parents, but I think some young children might have really struggled.

Hulababy Mon 02-Sep-13 21:27:14

Rosesarebeautiful - whilst you might not like to hear it for some parents flexibility is just not that easy. I work in an infant school. I wouldn't be allowed to take time off here and there, or "work around my child" - mainly because I have to be in a classroom looking after other people's children.

My DD's primary does FT from day 1 and there experience is that almost all children cope perfectly fine, and for the odd one that finds it harder they
offer flexibility which is organised between the teacher and parent involved.

Not all children need the phased starts. Infact many do not.

Hulababy Mon 02-Sep-13 21:30:25

sheridand - had that system here until a year ago. TBH it wasn't very popular with parents, children, and to an extent even the reception teachers.

The youngest children, who we are always told need the most support, end up going into pre-established classes and have to fit in - its busier, friendships have been made already, half the class already know routines.

When DD started school that system was still in place and DD wouldn't have started til January. It was one of the reasons I sent her to the independent school I did = because they all started together in September and without the lengthy phased starts either.

wimblehorse Mon 02-Sep-13 21:30:57

Oblomov what law did you quote/how did you approach this with your school? Guessing I have left it a little late to attempt something similar with dd's school (tho still 3 weeks to go until her first settling session then another 4 weeks of part-time) but I guess if they have had other approaches they may already have put something in place..

To add a different perpective, I've just been trying to explain to DD today that she's not going to be at school all day tomorrow like her older brother (and won't be until week 4). She is desperate to be at school and have her lunchbox.

So our routine for the next two weeks will be:

Do normal walk to school, drop DS off, then walk home again with DD
Persuade her to eat lunch early
Walk back up to school to drop DD off at 12.30
Come back again alone to MN catch up on some work
Pick them both up at 3.15

Then in week 3 DD switches to mornings + lunch, then full time as normal in week 4. I haven't taken any annual leave over the summer holidays so that I can take these 2 weeks off now.

I completely understand that children need settling in time (and DS as a summer born was exhausted in the first term) but if you have more than one child there's all this to-ing and fro-ing to the school.

Maggietess Mon 02-Sep-13 22:49:08

Rhinestone this is the main crux of my argument. For some kids it will definitely be beneficial but for a large cohort it will be very difficult to explain why the routine is not what is expectes/what an older brother or sister does, and the changing nature of it (I find) really flummoxes them.

I genuinely think my dd and all bar 1 of the kids starting today would have been grand starting a bit longer today and a quick straw poll of those parents suggests those who haven't done it before felt they didn't know what was best and those who had done it before thought it was a pita that didn't benefit children, in actual fact faster would be better.

Maggietess Mon 02-Sep-13 22:50:09

Yup I did poll them in the corridor (shameless wink)

nooka Mon 02-Sep-13 23:34:39

Hulababy when my ds started school his whole class were January starters, and the other class had all the September starters. I guess the numbers must just have worked out with a good split that year. It certainly worked very well for us.

zipzap Tue 03-Sep-13 00:07:15

sheridand one of the reasons they got rid of that system though was that when they did studies over time they discovered that there were long term knock on effects - can't remember the exact stats but something like on average it made a couple of UCCA points difference to those that started at easter and double that for those that started in the summer.

Summer babies are much less likely to do really well at A-levels and get to good universities when they start a couple of terms behind their peers born earlier in the academic year - not least because they miss the first critical introduction to learning and only get one term of it compared to the three that those starting in september got.

I know that everyone will know somebody brilliant who has an august birthday and got straight As but it's not about the individuals, more the averages - and on average summer born dc that only had one term in reception class are something like 25% LESS likely to go to a good uni and 30% MORE likely to end up in vocational training than those that started in september of the same age. if missing a couple of terms made no difference on long term education then there would be an even distribution of birth months through universities and vocational training/those leaving school early...

It's a sobering thought that their education now at 4 & 5 really can have repercussions down the line at 18!

Oblomov Tue 03-Sep-13 07:01:10

the facts are :

The recent change in the law means there is an entitlement to a full time place from the beginning of term. Some parents, particularly working parents, may need to access this immediately.
Parents are within their rights to expect a full time place from the first day of the September term in the school at which their child has been allocated a place.
It is therefore important that each school ensures their policy on how children are admitted into the school is made clear to all families.
At Parental introduction meetings, staggered starts can be discussed, but it should be made clear to the parents, that alternative accommodations can be made.

The link , on the law change, is here:

Oblomov Tue 03-Sep-13 07:05:40

Wimble, I simply sent a very polite e-mail to Head, explaining that it was going to be very hard for me to do the staggered starts.
I quouted the above law. I politely asked if anything could be done to help me/ any accomodations made.
Knowing full well, that the law meant that they HAD to, and I didn't really need to ask. They had to say yes.
It took quite a few days before she replied. I wonder if she had had any other requests/ was checking out her legal obligations. Then She e-mailed me back. Great.

Morgause Tue 03-Sep-13 07:16:43

Both my DCs had staggered starts and I was glad that they did. A full day would have been too much for both of them from day one.

I would have been reluctant to quote my "rights" to a headteacher, I wouldn't want to be thought of as a difficult parent before my DCs had even started.

Staggered starts, as has been said, are for the benefit of the children as a whole.

I would rather be thought of as difficult than have to take unpaid leave, particularly as my child does 9am - 6pm at nursery and is fine with that.

Morgause Tue 03-Sep-13 07:58:02

School is a lot different from nursery. It isn't childcare. Schools do it because experience and research show it's what's best for the children, that's the most important thing, surely.

Hulababy Tue 03-Sep-13 08:08:01

Nooka - in many schools the numbers changed too much year on year. Some years may allow a nice two class split but other times not. All it takes is to end up with 32 September starters one year rather than 30 and it messes that system up.

But as a pp already pointed out, all schools do it differently therefore there is no one way that appears to be any more effective than any other so how can it be about what's best for the child? Or they would all do the same thing?

What's unsettling is a complete non existence of a routine, new kids starting daily/ weekly and not knowing when you are next going. Seeing your friends leaving as you arrive.

Oblomov Tue 03-Sep-13 08:29:35

"experience and research show it's what's best for the children"
That's not true. I have seen no research or experience that proves anything. Teachers have posted that they do not see it pas particularly beneficial for the children.
Plus, just about every single poster, has stated that their school does it slightly differently.
Which again, disproves the above point.

5madthings Tue 03-Sep-13 09:16:08

Exactly what oblomov said and I also jit politely spoke to the school, pointed out the law (along with many other parents) and we were then given the option, those that wanted part time has it, those that wanted full time had it, worked fine.

Reception and nursery follow the same curriculum.

Quenelle Tue 03-Sep-13 10:55:11

DS's school couldn't offer a full time place from the start of term even if I screamed blue murder, the teacher and TAs are all out doing home visits for the first week and a half. There is nobody there to conduct a class.

I find it bizarre frankly, but they say this has proven to be the best way.

Lampshadeofdoom Tue 03-Sep-13 11:13:48

Dc school do a week of mornings, week of afternoons then full time.

Dc old school dd1 started in October as age staggered and did until JANUARY half days switching between mornings and afternoons. It was a bloody nightmare.

jellybeans Tue 03-Sep-13 14:40:34

I think a choice is a good idea. Working parents can choose f/t straight away and anyone who wants to ease DC in can choose p/t. My twins were prem and very end Aug. They were so young/tired/not ready and could have done with a term p/t. DS3 should be fine as he is Autumn born and very advanced. He has also done almost 2 years pre school. So 1-2 weeks is OK for him.

Maggietess Tue 03-Sep-13 23:25:40

Maurgose I'm intrigued as to this "experience and research" that shows it's better for the kids... I don't think it does. But happy to be proved wrong as I'm genuinely keen to understand this.

I don't believe there can be such research as otherwise every school would be following the guidelines and they'd be following some government regulations (since the government love adding regulation for all early years!!!).

Maggietess Tue 03-Sep-13 23:26:22

*Morgannwg sorry spelt your name wrong!!!

And yyy oblamov

Maggietess Tue 03-Sep-13 23:26:56

Ahhh damn phone third time lucky morgause (I hope!)

Therealamandaclarke Wed 04-Sep-13 08:40:36

It is true that the purpose of school is education rather than childcare. But that's no reason to make things difficult for working parents.
Most ppl need to work, and the govt encourages this. It's vital for our economy.
Schools are in a great position to be part of a solution. Education and childcare do not need to be mutually exclusive.
It seems sometimes there is an attitude from schools that they want to make things difficult just o make a point, to keep parents and pupils in line. "School knows best."
If a child is not able to start "ft" at the beginning of term this could be arranged on an individual basis.

The whole process of starting education seems to be weighted against any goal of parental sanity. Right from the nursery admissions stage.

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