Half days for the first month of school!

(63 Posts)
TAyoung Wed 08-May-13 15:48:06

My second child is due to start primary school in September, however the school has just informed us that she will only be attending mornings for the first month. (Her elder sister started at the same school after just three half days.)

The claimed reasoning for the change of policy is that this will ease her into school life. However, it's just going to disrupt her more because she's coming out of full-time nursery.

I can't take a month off work to look after her for the afternoons, so I'll have to find a new/different/upsetting child care option.

I thought the local education authority had to provide full time schooling? What can I do? Ideas please.

Hulababy Wed 08-May-13 18:57:51

I hate these lengthy transition stages some schools put in place for reception.

My infant school is as bad tbh I have mentioned my thoughts before in the staffroom, but those in reception seem to think it works better. Sounds like a nightmare to me and something I would have avoided as a parent.

DD's school starts all children FT on day 1 of the term. Small school which probably helps, but works very well. They are flexible with parents who feel their child is tired or needs a later start/early finish every so often in the first few weeks. They've done that for the past few years, started a couple of years after DD started.

DD's start was 2 days til lunch, 2 days til after lunch, then FT. Was long enough.

tiggytape Wed 08-May-13 19:07:16

That may be the case scaevola but perhaps the professional experience of reception staff who has seen dozens of new intakes counts for something? If the school advocate it, it isn’t to make life difficult for parents
Even parents who find it problematic or unnecessary for their own child might concede it is done with the children's interests at heart and with the intention of helping each child find their feet in a more manageable way then being thrown in at the deep end.

If the school is small or staff ratios high then maybe that consideration is lessened but if you're talking about schools with a 60 - 90 intake all in maximum class sizes, it can be quite full on.

BigBongTheory Wed 08-May-13 20:17:20

Be grateful. Dc1 school didn't start the summer borns full time until ONE WEEK before Xmas!

scaevola Wed 08-May-13 20:48:00

If their experience (whoever "they" are and if they are indeed representative) is valid, then it will be confirmed. Win/win?

But perhaps it won't.

But it's generally better to know, rather than surmise, what gives good outcomes. Especially in something like education, where you can get vast amounts of evidence all poi ting one way, but still teachers and HTs doing something quite different (see just about any phonics thread!)

I'd be interested to know if any MNetters are aware of anything other than anecdote about part-time starts.

ChoudeBruxelles Wed 08-May-13 20:50:06

Talk to the school - tell them you can't do that and you want full time sooner. In theory they should have a full time place allocated.

mamadoc Wed 08-May-13 23:44:13

Fortunately for me DDs school changed their policy the year she started to 3 half days only then full time.
They did this because they realised that since the free nursery funding there were actually no children at all who hadn't had some time in a nursery setting. The vast majority were at the school nursery in the classroom next door! They don't do that home visiting business either. They visited those not at the school nursery (including my DD) at her own nursery in the term before she started.
If you want to send them half time or defer then clearly you have that choice. I don't see why half days should be imposed on those who do believe their child is ready in this day and age when almost none are away from parents for the 1st time.

littleducks Thu 09-May-13 00:00:27

I can see how it is beneficial for teachers. Ours had full classes in the mornings so they would have had the afternoons to prepare organise and write up info gained from the mornings sessions. I know other schools have half the intake in the morning and half in the afternoon, so the lower ratios mean the teachers get to know children better (in theory at least).

I just don't think it justifies the stress on the children. It wasn't fair that my younger son had to yoyo back and forth to school for his mini day and dd's actual school day. He was dead miffed to see her tucking into her lunch in the playground but he had to have a banana and walk home before he got his. Then pretty much turn round and walk back to collect her.

Parents stressed over work will often lead to stressed kids.its just such a bad start to the relationship between school and parents.

Optional afternoons with a calmer chilled out atmosphere would be better. Stories on the carpet with beanbags for the children who do need to crash out (mine were never like that but I hear done are).

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 09-May-13 07:33:11

Staggered starts...

<<Shudder>>

My DS1 did a staggered start of half days from September until CHRISTMAS!

So glad the school stopped doing that!

Groovee Thu 09-May-13 07:37:03

Our school's after school club run a seperate session from when they finish until the end of the school day.

notcitrus Thu 09-May-13 08:43:19

It's not just the half days - it's that you only find out about them in June or July, which usually isn't enough notice to take more than a day or two off work. I'm taking ds's first week off, so I hope he doesn't have shortened days longer than that!

I'm very glad the law has changed. This is ridiculous. I work ft and DD has done 4 days a week at nursery 8.30am to 5pm since she was 10m old.

She is sooooo ready for school - turns 5 on 17 sept - and finishes nursery on 22 august. I have arranged to work locally for the first week, so I can do drop off and pick up and then in week 2, I've already requested 4 days a week at breakfast club and after school club.
My job means I am the main breadwinner and i cannot leave. DP has a much lower paid business but does need to work long hrs.

In an ideal world, we'd both work p/t but this isn't an ideal world, and my DC have to live in the world we have, which means mum and dad work and simply cannot drop a month of work and there are very few cm in the area.

A good friend of mine is a teacher at a different school, and so she needs breakfast club and after school care from day 1.

We've not heard from school yet, so hoping it's like DD's friend's school: she turned 4 on 29 august and started ft reception on 3 sept and she's coped just fine.

Chocovore Thu 09-May-13 12:49:34

We've got 4 settling in sessions at the school in June/July and then afternoons only for 4 days, lunch and afternoons for the following week and then full time from week 3. Seems fine to me.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 09-May-13 13:00:24
CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 09-May-13 13:03:00

Excuse that post. Brain fart, posted it on the wrong thread. Was meant to be posting in site stuff, as the app is acting all weird for me, just on this thread!

Elibean Thu 09-May-13 13:07:17

Problem is, kids vary hugely at that age and some really do settle faster with part time.

Big problem for working parents, though, and flexibility has to be a key part of the answer for any system.

dd1 did a whole term of half days (too long), and dd2, 3 years later at the same school, did a few weeks, followed by four days f/t and one half, then f/t from January. Other local primaries do the same thing.

It worked beautifully for her class, I must admit.

PastSellByDate Thu 09-May-13 13:19:39

Hi TAYoung:

Not sure if your DD is at a nursery at the moment - but when we were in this situation we found that the nursery was happy to take them part-time during the transition period as long as they were under 5.

HTH

TAyoung Thu 09-May-13 17:19:20

Thanks for all the advice - particularly the links to the legal stuff about being able to insist on full time. Now considering pros and cons.

For what it's worth, my son had done ten-hour days at nursery but was totally wiped out by four hours of Reception at first. We had a fortnight of half days and he needed all of them.

I was very surprised.

pointythings Thu 09-May-13 18:18:09

couthy my DDs' primary did this too, it was LEA policy. This has now changed - the school has gone academy, and they are much more flexible. If you want full time, they want to meet with you and the child, but if they're happy that your child is ready, you will get full time. I can't think that a child who is used to full time nursery would hav a problem with full time YrR

Startail Thu 09-May-13 18:36:30

It's utterly ridiculous and purely for the schools benefit not the children's.

We did alternating weeks of mornings and afternoons which just confused children who were used to mornings at preschool or full days at nursery.
Splitting the groups caused friendship problems and seeing mum at lunch time had a Y1 sibling in tears.

Euphemia Thu 09-May-13 18:47:44

purely for the schools benefit

How does it benefit the school?

TAyoung Fri 10-May-13 15:30:37

The only confusion I now have is the exact position on the right to full-time education.

Is it from age 5 or from the start of the first school year after their 4th birthday? I've seen both quoted above, but despite searches I can't find the legislation that says either (specifically).

Closest I've come is this
http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/inclusionandlearnersupport/a0077448/ap-right-for-non-excluded-pupils

ivykaty44 Fri 10-May-13 15:37:33

I left my dd in full time nursery and she started school one month later - it wasn't ideal but I work and couldn't get time off work. Her father wasn't interested in helping with the start of school.

Ddd was very clingy for quite a while about going to school but I don't know whether she would have been or not if she started a month earlier. She did though settle and make friends - it was just at the school gate she wanted to hold my hand for just a bit longer

prettydaisies Fri 10-May-13 17:03:15

Children legally have to be in school or 'educated otherwise' from the term after their 5th birthday.
Schools nowadays have to offer children full time education from the September of the academic year in which they turn 5. As a parent you don't have to take up the offer and can defer until anytime in the Reception year. You can't defer the whole year as your place may well be given to someone else and you have to apply again as an in year admission.

I left my daughter in full time nursery for the whole of the autumn term as I couldn't manage childcare for part days and she was quite happy where she was and doing well. She then settled in with no problems.

ljny Fri 10-May-13 20:28:46

It's absolutely insane and most teachers I've talked with, off the record, admit staggering makes things easier for the teachers more than the children.

Some schools only add 3 children a week - this happened to my DGD last year. When she finally started, it was two hour visits, then mornings, then mornings with lunch ... she didn't go full time until after half-term. They did it by age and she's one of the youngest.

The upshot was major social problems - by November, the children had their friendships sorted, and even her best friend from nursery had found new friends.

So glad of the new regulations but it's still difficult as many parents don't want to alienate the school by insisting on their 'rights'.

If settling were really for the children's benefit, then turn it around, let children start full-time - and offer an option for parents to request part-time if needed.

As Op rightly says, it's more stressful to hit a child with two big adjustments at once - school AND a new half-day situation.

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