Staggered entry to primary school in reception class

(8 Posts)
landf Tue 04-Dec-12 11:58:13

I am a full time primary school teacher, but more importantly a devoted mum just trying to do the best for my children, so juggling life, school and my beautiful family is pretty full on. We have no family nearby to help with childcare, hence full time nursery since baby was 10 months. My eldest started school in Sept and after a nightmare of juggling hubby's annual leave, new childminder for youngest, end of nursery for eldest etc etc. It was all extremely stressful when we found out that his school had a staggered entry over the first 5 weeks. There was no way they were going to help us out being very busy working parents. LO had been very settled at nursery over the last few years and being an October birthday was more than ready for school. But this dreadful idea of staggered entry to reception really set him back a long way. Poor baby didn't know whether he was coming or going with the incredibly complex and disruptive "gentle induction period".
After following various threads about this and doing some of my own digging, I can't believe I've only just discovered that the schools are legally obliged to provide children starting reception with a full time place starting on the 1 Sept after their 4th birthday. This link is for schools, but makes it clear what they have to do, and to expect working parents to refuse the staggered entry....
I feel so angry about this now, it could have saved a lot of heart ache if he had known where he was from day one, and not been shoved from pillar to post between childminder, Dad occasionally working at home and kindly Granny driving all the way up from Devon to help out on a few occasions.
Who else was led to believe that they had to do whatever the school told them to do?

JWIM Tue 04-Dec-12 12:15:40

OK I'll bite...and I do so both as a parent and a Governor

If you are a full time primary school teacher why are you posting at 11.58 am? Unless off sick, surely you should be engaged in paid activity in school?

Why do you not know what the Year R arrangements are - in the school you teach in, in the school your child attends?

You have identified that parents can ask for a full time start - so a positive, although too late for your first DC, contribution to parent awareness.

There are many threads on Mumsnet about the merits or otherwise of a staggered year R start and as many champions for both staggered and full time from day 1 and as many other variations that a parent might think of as best for them/their DC. No one solution suits everyone.

landf Tue 04-Dec-12 19:17:57

1. I am indeed off sick with Pleurisy - dangers of the profession!
2. I am not a reception class / early years teacher and I have better things to do with my time than memorise every education policy under the sun..bit too busy for that!
3.I agree that we are indeed all different and have different needs...hence my frustration with the what was your experience and did you know about this recent-ish change?

Rudolphstolemycarrots Tue 04-Dec-12 19:47:01

JWIM - you sound defensive and on the attack and on the fence all at the same time. Why does landf have to explain to you why she isn't at work right now or why she doesn't know the arrangement's?

landf - I think a staggered start suits a flexible SAHP like me but is next to impossible for full time working parents. I'm so relieved this legislation exists now for the sake of my working friends and family. Most of the children who have full time working parents move into full time reception without exhaustion. My own children need a staggered start as they are on their knees even as part timers. Our own school has only offered the staggered option with no mention of a full time option. I hope people catch on and push the issue.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Tue 04-Dec-12 19:50:13

I think schools should be open and honest about parents being able to choose full or part time. At the moment the schools are dictating what happens behind parents backs.

mamadoc Tue 04-Dec-12 20:25:02

Our school recently changed from a whole lot of half days to just 3 half days and then straight to full time with no ill effects that I could see.
The assumption was full days for all but of course you had the option to choose to keep your child off more if you felt it was needed by agreement.
That just seems like common sense to me.
Our HT said that since pretty much everyone is using the 15 free hrs at nursery now it just isn't the case ant longer that staggered hrs are needed as almost all are used to an educational setting.
She is v supportive of working parents as she is one herself and of course so are many teachers so you would hope they would understand.

JWIM Tue 04-Dec-12 20:43:16

I posed the questions because

I was just curious about the statement of being a full time teacher but posting during working hours;

I was curious that someone already in the Primary school environment was so surprised about the possibility and consequences of a staggered start;

as a working parent I accepted the staggered start arrangements for both my DC as based on the school's experience of what suits children starting school.

I will hold my hand up to being in the 'school is not childcare camp' and as a working parent I need to be confident of my childcare arrangements (as I was from when they were months old) for every working day not just full time school hours - and only 39 weeks of the year. So I have always had childcare that covered our needs - school holidays, INSET days, pick up when school calls because ill etc as well as those staggered starts.

As I said before there is no one size fits all answer so it is a case of finding a best fit - if a parent wants to use the provision that their child is in school full time from day one then they can make that request. I do not think schools can be said to be doing things behind parent's backs just because they have arrangements in place that they, in their experience, feel is in the best interests of children starting school.

JWIM Tue 04-Dec-12 20:44:00

OP - hope you feel better soon.

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