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Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families will be here for a live webchat on Weds 9th Sept from 1-2pm

(338 Posts)
carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 07-Sep-09 15:11:55

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, will be coming to Mumsnet Towers from 1-2pm on Wednesday 9 September for a live web chat. He is looking forward to answering your questions about the Government's family policies including support during your child's early years; flexible working and how it works (or doesn't work) for you; maternity and paternity leave; childcare provision and Sure Start centres. You can also ask him questions about education and family services in your area or let him know how the recession has affected your family (and how the Gov could help).

Ed is MP for Normanton, married to Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary, and they have three children aged 10, 8 and 5. He loves cooking and is a Norwich City supporter.

Ed won't be answering advance questions, but if you would like to post a question now (or can't join us on Wednesday) we'll do our best to feed these questions through at the beginning of the live chat, particularly if there are some common themes coming through.

He'll try to get through as many of your questions as possible on the day, but even if he can type at breakneck speed it's unlikely he'll be able to answer every single question. However, if there are particular issues that keep coming up that he doesn't have time to address on the day then he's promised to get back with some additional answers in the next couple of weeks.

Over to you!

MNHQ

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 11-Sep-09 17:17:14

Summer-born thread here. Sorry for delay.

And FYI, we're waiting to hear back from Ed Balls' team about responses to questions he didn't get to. Will post once we've got them.

Thanks
MNHQ

justagirlfromedgware Fri 11-Sep-09 13:38:02

I agree with Lingle's request for a summer-born children thread. It would be great to share experiences good and bad (my DS was born very late in August).

lingle Thu 10-Sep-09 19:36:17

So mumsnetHQ, how about helping us parents of immature boys identify each other in some kind of mumsnet spin-off please? Individual threads are all very well but we can't keep posting the same old message every day....

lingle Thu 10-Sep-09 19:34:34

Moonlight,

I'm more of a change one small thing then the next small thing kind of girl..........particularly as we have the Scottish system available as a model.

remember, if TAs were no longer spending their time looking after immature summer-born boys whose parents weren't allowed to defer, those TAs could be making use of their time to help other children with SEN.

MoonlightMcKenzie Thu 10-Sep-09 16:36:46

mad and lingle. Do you not think that this issue is much wider than summer born children. Surely education should be flexible enough to meet the needs of ALL children, and this should include those who have SN, who are G&T, and who are HE or part-time HE?

I don't see this as summer-born issue at all, but an issue with the current education system meeting the needs of all children, and working with parents to ensure that each child can access suitable provision and appopriate timing of that provision.

Throwing a child who isn't ready, - for whatever reason, - into a 'standard' classroom, is going to require both the school and the parents to swim upstream in order to ensure that child's needs are met, when delaying, or flexibility could be an easy solution. And if the perpose of reception is to 'receive', then that is where most children will need to begin, regardless of their age.

TBH, I have a vision of education that is probably a long way off. Where school is the monitoring 'hub' or 'centre', but with education happening all over the place, at home, in community groups, in the park, abroad, and linked in to the 'hub' through the www and with classrooms and limited age peer groups being rarely used. Oh well, I'll come back to this planet then......

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 10-Sep-09 12:25:03

donoharm, how long did it take you to register? Just want to check there's no problem with signing-up process. If you'd prefer to email us, please use contactus@mumsnet.com

Thanks

Madsometimes Thu 10-Sep-09 11:17:14

I'm listening to you Lingle! I have children in year 2 and year 5, both summer born.

When I discussed the summer born problem with the school, they agreed it was a problem. In fact, the senior teacher would like further powers. She said that the problem is not confined to children starting in reception not ready for school. She would like to be able to keep some of her 10 year olds in primary school for a further year. Every year she says goodbye to some year 6 children, knowing full well that they are not equipped to deal with either the academic or social skills required to thrive in secondary school. My dc do not attend a bad primary school, in fact it is Ofsted good. The primary school is not failing these children, it is simply that individual children do all develop at a different rate.

Why send a 4 year old child to primary school if s/he is not ready to access the curriculum?

Why complain that some four year olds cannot speak in proper sentences, take themselves to the toilet, get dressed properly if the parents know that their children are late developers?

Why send an 11 year old to secondary school if s/he is does not have the academic skills or maturity to access the curriculum?

Why complain that some secondary age children cannot master basic maths or literacy and lack the maturity to organise their school timetables, when parents and teachers would like them to have an extra year in primary school?

Actually, if given the choice now, I would keep my children with their year group. dd1 will be ready for secondary school at 11 and one week. dd2 is socially behind, but academically ahead, so little would be gained to keep her back. However, I know that not all children are like mine. Not all children do catch up. I do not even necessarily think a review of school readiness should apply only to children born in July and August. I think every child should be assessed as individual.

paranoid2 Thu 10-Sep-09 10:08:37

Keep talking Lingle. I love your posts especially about summer borns which is a sore point with me smile

lingle Thu 10-Sep-09 08:40:25

"I know i am talking to no-one here"

upamountain - I'm still reading!

I think the only reason we haven't succeeded in getting the Government to overturn Rose (who simply failed to consider the evidence) is that we don't form a natural community as our only link it late-maturing summer-born kids. Whereas if we all shared, say, a faith or a special need it would be easier to get together.

If only mumsnet could help us gather everyone together..........

ronshar Wed 09-Sep-09 22:33:34

I am really impressed that Mr Balls seems to have a sense of humour. I thought that was not required in the Labour party!

I am not impressed that we didn't get a proper answer with regards to secondary standards and in particular for those pupils who are academically advanced.

30%. We should hang our heads in shame. The minimum % of children leaving school with a sound knowledge of Maths, English, Science, a second language and ICT should be 100%. Whether this be tested by GCSE or an equivalent for SEN pupils.

upamountain Wed 09-Sep-09 21:59:17

Agree with Lingle:

Mumsnet Sir Jim Rose for a webchat please if you can.

I want to know why as Ed says:

"It’s true that they won’t be able to start reception after they turn 5 as some of you have asked – Jim did look at that option but he advised us that it wouldn’t be a good way to support their learning and progress."

This happens in Scotland if your equivalent to summer born child there (Jan,Feb) isn't ready you can start reception (P1) the year after.
Why would holding a child back in England who if they had been born 1 or 2 months later would have been in the next school year anyway.There is less difference in age between these children and the September ones in the following year than the September ones in the year they are entering.Your child could easily be ready but clearly many feel their children (particularly boys) aren't.It is the whole inflexibility of the system.
I've got two summer borns and dd is bright near top of the year by year 3/4 but started out in bottom groups when assessed in year 1 obviously due to age.Ds will start next year at just 4 is a late talker and is clearly not ready as still needs play/social skills from nursery.Missing reception would just not benefit at all as Year 1 is already numeracy/literacy based moving away from learning through play.I know i am talking to no-one here as the webchat has finished but Ed mentioned there would be a thread?

"It would be great to hear the views of Mumsnetters... and Mumsnet have said they will start a thread on this after the chat has finished."

Where is the thread?

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 09-Sep-09 21:15:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

squeaver Wed 09-Sep-09 21:12:30

MNHQ - saw the pic on Twitter. Nice to see you got Boden-ed up for the Minister grin

lingle Wed 09-Sep-09 19:53:33

Attention MNHQ

Re summer-borns.

It's understandable that Mr Balls just referred back to Jim Rose's recommendations.

Could we please invite Sir Jim on to the forum for a webchat?

thanks

lingle

Darn! Did I miss it? Thought it was tomorrow blush

jaquelinehyde Wed 09-Sep-09 19:26:15

Lou & donoharm -- I do indeed think that 2 subjects (HE and SN) got more attention/demanded more time from Ed Balls today. I did not however, say that this was a bad thing. I stated that these were specialist areas, and therefore they naturally demand extra attention especially HE with the current uproar going on. If you didn't notice I went on to state that I thought it would be a good idea if Ed came back for subject specific discussions which would benefit everyone, would it not?

Lou requested that other posters draw her attention to other social groups that are as put up on as HEers at the moment. I then mearly mentioned a few of the highly disadvantaged groups that I felt could have been discussed with as much importance.

I had my question answered by Ed (well part of it but I won't grumble), but noticed lots of others didn't, and I can't help but feel that many, many MNers stayed away from this web talk due to the lack of wider debate/discussion.

This is no swipe or dig at anyone or any group. It is mearly an observation. I do not understand why this has been reacted to the way it has.

BethNoire Wed 09-Sep-09 18:39:33

Hmm. I do see where you are coming from but I do also think there are a few flaws- or rather organisational problems. Firstly note verywhere is near a Uni; the County I grew up in still doesn't have one, for a start, it's a fair old trek to access ne.Also,I do think there would be a very real shortgae of TA's for children needing support now- unfortunately they can't wait that extra time. It may just be oura rea, but the TA who eventually ended up as ds3's 1-1 was offered 4 positions in as many weeks and chose our school purely becuase her child attended in the end. Several local kids did start unassisted which is a real shame.

I suppose there are also funding issues; when it became apaprent I couldnt do the PGCE after all I looked at TA training and cannot get it funded becuase I have a degree. I am not cnvinced many peoplewith university ectrance grades would choose tro study for a TA position at current pay levels and then what- shrink the SEN budget even enable tohe wages to be afforded? Most kids with needs already get left aside whenever possible anyway.

I'v taken a new direction- MA in Autism- but there's no way I could have either justified another year of student loan for a position paying minimum wage.

Id o think in essnece i garee with yur idea, deep down I know it is desirable, I just cannot see how it would work in the environments I am familiar with IYSWIM.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 09-Sep-09 18:29:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BethNoire Wed 09-Sep-09 18:01:17

Perhaps some of your post is area specific Stevie? I speak from experience as someone who graduated enbtirely in order to train as a teacher then found my subject was moved to a Uni the absolute opposit side of EWales.

I agree that ecxperience is essential, but TA's are need on a short notice basis often: for example when DS3 was awarded his statement we had 2 weeks until he started school to recruit. That aspect of it is, I agree, awful but nevertheless reality right now.

I don't think an entire year is workable BUT I would absolutely advocate an initial period of training prior to entry into the classroom- two weeks traning or somesuch followed by statutory on the job traning with a HLTA Mentor.

BethNoire Wed 09-Sep-09 17:58:00

Molly- how did you know?

<<flutters eyelashes innocently>>

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 09-Sep-09 16:44:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mollyroger Wed 09-Sep-09 16:43:16

BethNoire, do you have a siter called Bette...by any chance?

MoonlightMcKenzie Wed 09-Sep-09 16:31:53

Thank you for coming Ed. It's frustrating that you weren't able to answer all the questions but I know there are a lot of us, and just one of you.

I still think you did a lot better than some past guests and you do appear to have read the questions.

Thank you once again, and if you're ever lonely or bored reading a long strategy document then do come back to see us with a 'topic area' as previously suggested.

Hope we haven't put you off anyway.

BethNoire Wed 09-Sep-09 16:23:03

'I still want to know why no universal education/ training program is required for Teachers aides - akin to the PGCE - when the programs are already available from universities?

I have an idea why that may be.

Recently the local college moved TA training to daytimes (as university ocurses tend to be) and suddenly struggled hugely with recruitment as you cannot both study and work at the same time.

maybe a lot of it is that simple? A PGCE is a very intensive year long course, if it is amde the minimum then what happens to all new recruiting?

BethNoire Wed 09-Sep-09 16:18:19

'Perhaps if there are other groups which face the same challengers as home educators someone would point them out to me, I'd gladly support them.
'

Maybe not the exact same challenges but equal I would say: start with the poor, looked after children, children with SEN or SN, young carers....

not less, and not more, but plenty are equal absolutely. And often without parents able to fight their case as HE'd (and my son was HEd for a while) children usually are IME

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