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.

n1cknack Fri 24-May-13 21:09:04

Hi, I haven't read through everyone's comments so sorry if this has been said already. You can request that they take your child full time straight away. If they say no, go through your LEA. If you want more information then pm me as I did this with my child last year.
Good luck!

MissDuke Mon 27-May-13 10:12:07

Our school does the staggered start until Halloween. For the first 2 weeks, they are only in for an hour a day :-O It builds up to 9-12. After Halloween, it is 9-2. I am not in England, so don't think we can request full time from the start. The biggest nuisance is that I will be at the school 4 times a day, as I will have to drop dd off at 9, ds at 10, collect ds at 11 and collect dd at 3 - very annoying!

notcitrus Mon 27-May-13 10:42:10

Have now found out that children in my local schools are full time from the start. Except they can't say when the start is as.they phase them in over a month.

So may have difficulty taking his first few days off if I don't know when they are! Teacher I talked to thought older.children started later, but as ds is 5 when term begins, he'll have a right to be full time, surely?

Right now I don't even know what school he'll attend (near top of a mobile wait list) which really doesn't help. School he has place at has cancelled all before/after care provision but 'hopes to work something out' by Sept...

lougle Mon 27-May-13 10:48:37

I think we are very lucky with my school. They have the very best of all worlds. The parents dictate what their child will do, on an individual basis.

So parents who want full-time get it. Other parents who may want their DC home on a Thursday afternoon can do that. Whatever, really.

As long as the DC do at least 5 sessions per week, whether that be 2 whole days and a half day, 5 mornings...whatever, they can do as much as they like.

DD3 will be starting full-time from the beginning. I'm there anyway to drop and pick up DD2, so she won't find it easy to have to come and go when her new friends may well be in school.

TeenAndTween Mon 27-May-13 17:25:48

At my DDs school they all start full time, 1 week after the rest of the school. the first week is used for home visits.
Works really well, many children have done 2.5 days at the attached nursery so don't need a transition. Parents who think it is a bit much can choose to take their child home at lunchtime if they so desire.

Allegrogirl Mon 27-May-13 23:24:19

We had 3 weeks of 11.45 starts, couldn't even leave DD for lunch so I could take half days. DD was very unsettled and didn't know whether she was coming or going. Some days I did pick up, my parents helped and her brand new CM. We survived but it was a rotten introduction to the school. I didn't know other parents to swap cover with, no school nursery and after school club started at 3.15. I did suggest to the school that they could extend after school club for a couple of weeks but no demand apparently.

DD was so much happier by the end of week 4 when she was settled into the normal school day. I think shorter days should be an option but not compulsory. No home visits at the school so that wasn't the reason for shorter days. My friends DCs at a number of schools in the same city all went full days after 2/3 mornings. If short days are so necessary why isn't it the same in all schools?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 28-May-13 09:22:53

Similar to Teen, they start a few children at a time, a bit later than the rest of the school, three days of half days then off they go. I kept DS at his daycare until mid-Sept as he was one of the last to start.

Parents go in to see teachers(no home visits) in the extra few days at the beginning of term. Means all parents can be seen in those slots.

Dancergirl Tue 28-May-13 09:54:01

For goodness sake, can any of you see beyond the logistics issue??

Firstly, it is not a school's job to provide childcare. I imagine making things easy for working parents comes way, way down the list of priorities. Sorry if that's tough to hear.

So you've got 30 odd small children starting school for the first time. Some of them have been to nursery, some haven't. Some of them are only just 4 years old. Some of them might be newly toilet trained. Some might have SN. They will all have their worries about starting school. Reception teacher wants to do the very best she can to help EACH child settle in and get to know each child individually as soon as possible. Do you really think the best way of dong this is to have them all start together and stay all day from day 1?

Look beyond YOUR inconvenience, it's really not about you. It's about the benefit for the class as a whole and that will benefit YOUR child in the long run.

Allegrogirl Tue 28-May-13 10:59:57

Dancergirl I have no problem at all with paying for childcare as I have been doing so since I returned from mat leave. Getting temporary care for just a few weeks is extremely difficult and unsettling for a child who is already having to get used to the school environment. My DD was much happier when she went to full days as the messing around for 3 hours a day was really upsetting for her. Yes it is tough to hear that my child has to suffer to suit a child who may find a full day too much. Could those who are struggling not start later or for half days as an option? We have January starts at the school. And the children all started together from day one so it didn't give the teachers more time to get to know the children.

What evidence is there that there is any benefit in starting for half days? It was a new thing for DDs school so not like they have years of experience that this works best. Most of the other local schools go straight to full days after 2/3 days and the children settled fine. Maybe an explanation to the parents of the benefits and a more sympathetic and flexible approach where parents struggle with childcare would help. I would happily have paid for an extended after school club if that had been an option.

louisianablue2000 Tue 28-May-13 11:08:15

Dancergirl, have you not read the thread? Everyone is saying how it messes up the kids. Some people have to find a new childcare arrangement to cover the staggered entry, younger children are penalised becacuse they tend to start later and friendship groups are formed, children are tired because they hwve to go backwards and forwards between school and home or school and childcare.

If schools were to look at the child's background and say 'OK, you've been at nursery and have no educational and social needs, you can start on day X full time' or ' OK, you are young for the class, have some SN and haven't left the family home before, we'll stagger your entry for as long as your parent thinks you need it' THEN we might be prepared to believe it's done to benefit the children. But the current system is clearly not keeping up with the reality of the world.

And frankly I'm fed up of teachers saying 'we don't provide childcare' like they are somehow better than the wonderful people who have cared for and educated my children for the previous five years. If you are legally responsible for my child then you ARE childcare.

Dancergirl Tue 28-May-13 11:45:57

But all I'm reading on here is 'MY child'! Have you tried seeing it from the teacher's point of view?

Formed friendship groups? Rubbish. I've had 3 dc go through reception with varying degrees of staggering/part time and it's made no difference to friendships. Children's friendships change SO much at this stage, there is no way for friends to be set in stone during the first weeks and months of reception.

I'm not disputing that it's difficult or inconvenient. But it's really only a short time in the scheme of things. And if it makes it easier for the teacher initially, can't you see that's a good thing for the class overall in the long run?

Oblomov Tue 28-May-13 12:19:04

I am so glad I read this.
Ds1 started reception 4 years ago and my school stagger according to age. So I fortunately only had to stager for a few weeks. But I work p/t and even that was a nightmare.
Am SO glad to find that the law was changed a year ago.
Am awaiting news on when ds2 will start, this sept.
Am glad to have that piece of info up my sleeve.

Elibean Tue 28-May-13 19:17:51

I think the law is a good thing for working parents who really can't cope with staggered starts.

But for the children, and for the teachers, I think staggered starts have a lot going for them. I have two dds, and both had half days - one for a term (too long), the other for nearly half a term (about right).

There have been no friendship problems, no frustrated children, a very smooth transition to school, and a tightly knit happy community in their classes.

Mind you, neither was in full time nursery before Reception. Nor were most of their peers. So a f/t start in Reception would have caused chaos for those particular kids.

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