Changing schools during reception

(16 Posts)
ViviDeBeauvoir Sat 08-Mar-14 14:01:34

There are a number of niggles I have about DD's primary school, some that I have flagged to the teacher, some I have dealt with at home and some that are not to do with the school but the playground politics but are affecting DD's happiness in school.
Examples: bullying/hitting/rudeness not being dealt with effectively
The work not being challenging enough. She asks me to set her additional work/reading/she keeps a diary because she doesn't do enough of it at school but we have enough junk models to fill an entire room at home
Poor communication with parents
And a few other things.
On top of this a girl she was friends with at the beginning of term has a rather OTT mum.
I am very busy with 3dc under 5 and working and don't have much time for play dates during the week etc so have struggled to form friendships (new area) but this woman has taken it personally (despite me being nothing but friendly) and has started to snub me, which is fine, but she's also been getting her DD to do the same to my DD and unsurprisingly she's upset and confused.
It's got to the point where her DD is being outright nasty to her and I've witnessed some of the behaviour myself and so has her dad.
It's quite a small community so I'm wary of too much conflict but I'm getting a bit fed up with it all (I just want a quiet life!)
The question I have is, are these reasons enough to change schools? How do I do it? What happens if the school I want her to go to is full?

Sorry it's long, I wanted to give a clear picture of what's going on.

ViviDeBeauvoir Sat 08-Mar-14 14:10:09

Forgot to add - all the schools in the area are outstanding and the only reason I chose this one over the other was because it was slightly smaller and they have building expansion works going on and a new head teacher in September so I was concerned about the disruption happening at the same time as Dd starting IYSWIM

ViviDeBeauvoir Sat 08-Mar-14 14:10:32

*in the other school

NigellasDealer Sat 08-Mar-14 14:15:57

if I were you I would wait til the end of reception before moving.

SapphireMoon Sat 08-Mar-14 14:16:10

What about distances? Can you walk to both schools?
Is your dd happy apart from this issue with ott Mum?
Have you had a word with teacher/ Head about all you are concerned about?
OTT Mum sounds a pain...

ViviDeBeauvoir Sat 08-Mar-14 14:43:43

Both are equidistant from where we live.
DD has been happy mostly until this girl has started to behave like this towards her as it's now every day on more than one separate occasion sad
I feel bad as I guess it's partly my fault.
I've spoken to her class teacher but DD is a pretty compliant, get on with it child so she just puts up with stuff and gets on with her work quietly.
Do you think it would be less disruptive to move at the end of reception nigella? Why?
Would it be easier to get a place then?

tiggytape Sat 08-Mar-14 14:55:08

I'm not sure moving will resolve any / many of the problems you have.

Firstly Reception is play-based. A room full of junk models is a good sign and the expectation for this age. Yes they will be working on other things too but if you are excepting a very formal approach to education at this age, then you won't get that at any state school really. Year 1 will be more formal learning and may suit your DD better no matter which school she is in.

And yes by moving you will escape the particular girl DD has problems with but all classes have these issues at some stage. Friendships don't always run smoothly. Out and out bullying is very serious and needs the school to be involved but some playground politics and one child per class who isn't very nice is pretty much universal. Things like reciprocating play dates would be the expectation no matter where she went.

Poor communication is subjective. Some schools are much better at this than others but some reception parents are used to the nursery style of daily or weekly updates and expect this to continue when this simply isn’t an option in most reception classes. Apart from anything the ratio of adults to children is different and the method of communicating more in line with whole school policy eg reports home on set dates. You should be able to speak to a teacher if you have an issue. You should rightfully expect someone to inform you of a major problem or incident. However you probably won’t get as many informal chats and updates as you did when DD was younger.

You may have identified a school already that addresses all of these issues and in that case a move could be the right thing. However if you are just going on the general principle that another state school will have more formal learning in Reception or universally easy friendships etc then you might just move to find the same issues elsewhere.

BambooBear13 Sat 08-Mar-14 18:26:29

I wouldn't assume the other school has a place and all seems pre mature to me - its early days. Reception is about learning through play and that's what they should be doing. Maths is all play based for example. Junk modelling is awesome and helps DC think creatively. I would just focus on +ves, ignore the other mum and see how you feel at the end of the year

Beamur Sat 08-Mar-14 18:43:12

I'd echo what the others say, reception doesn't tend to stretch children academically in the ways perhaps you're expecting, but the social skills part of getting on with other kids is very important. School communication to parents is quite different to nursery. Nothing you've said marks this school out as doing poorly.
Why not look at the other schools and see if they do things differently and if they have spaces - if they are full, then you're options are more limited anyway.
Maybe you could help your DD by practising ways for her to deal with the unpleasant child?

WooWooOwl Sun 09-Mar-14 15:28:51

Reception is meant to be all about learning through play, and although they will do some formal learning of phonics and begin to read, there is a big difference between reception and year 1.

Communication is a common complaint, and it's something that most parents would like more of, but also something that most schools will never do as much as some parents seem to want. It really depends what you are expecting from the school on this one as to whether it's a valid reason to consider moving.

If your dd is already struggling to form friendships then it's unlikely that a move will help, especially if you aren't planning on being able to have after school play dates. Obviously the school needs to be managing the mean behaviour of the other girl, and their management of that is something that's worth you judging them on. They can't do anything of they don't know about it though, so your dd does need to tell staff if someone is being mean to her, and that will apply at any school.

If the school you want is full, then you won't get a place. You will have to go on a waiting list. There's no reason why it should be easier to get a place at the end of reception, infant class size rules apply until the end of year 2. If they are full, then you will be waiting for someone else to leave. Contact the other school and ask if they have space, if they do they will tell you how to change.

But unless you are certain that the other school will do what you want, it doesn't seem worth it tbh.

AmberTheCat Sun 09-Mar-14 18:04:17

I agree with the others. The only thing that would bother me in your list (although OTT mum sounds very irritating) is your comment about bullying/hitting/rudeness not being dealt with effectively. Have you spoken to your dd's teacher about that? If not, I think that should be your first step, before considering anything more drastic.

And I'd second what everyone's said about reception being play-based. That's absolutely the best way for children of this age to learn, and I'd be wary of any school where reception children weren't coming home with junk masterpieces most nights...

ViviDeBeauvoir Sun 09-Mar-14 20:05:14

Thanks for all the comments - I appreciate you all taking the time to reply.

Re: the bad behaviour - I've been in several times to address it but it keeps happening.
Some of it is low level stuff like telling her to go away, she doesn't care about what DD has to say and that sort of thing where she asks her to come and play then runs off/tells her she's changed her mind and would DD now go away and stop following her confused I've been speaking to DD about how to deal with this (tell teacher/ignore/play with other people who treat you nicely etc) but there is also pushing, smacking and other physical stuff going on too and despite Dd telling staff and me going in 3 times about it it's still not resolved to my satisfaction and is now a daily occurrence. (Sorry, super long sentence!)

I guess I need to rethink my expectations re: reception activities and communication - i'll do this and reevaluate as to whether I'm being unreasonable! smile (she is pfb so it's possible my expectations are set too high!) maybe it's less about the school and more about me and my expectations.

Re: nightmare parent, it's sort of like we're in the playground ourselves - I saw her at a social event over the weekend and she was trying to boss me about and kept making little jibes. It was very painful. Any tips on how to deal with this welcome!

Re: play dates, I have and can reciprocate it's just a lot of people have weekly arrangements and I just can't do this! I am making an effort, despite being shy and it being quite excruciating for me, it's just she obviously expected more. (I even babysat for her one evening so she could go out!)

Bloody parents!

tiggytape Sun 09-Mar-14 21:11:32

It does sound like this one parent in particular is tainting it all a bit for you and your DD. You've certainly done more than enough if you've had playdates and even babysat!
Maybe just trying to distance yourself from her - so polite but not giving her a chance to get at you - and make sure DD knows she can talk to you and also her teacher if she is upset.

AmberTheCat Sun 09-Mar-14 21:19:58

She sounds like a nasty piece of work. I agree with tiggytape - you've tried to be nice, it hasn't worked - her loss. Ime other people generally recognise when someone else is behaving badly before too long. In your position I'd be polite but distant with her, and focus on developing friendships with other, nicer parents!

Re. play dates - it's difficult when you work long hours, I know. Can you invite children over at weekends sometimes? It's also generally acceptable at this age (at least it is in our school) to invite the child without the parent, so you don't have to sit and make small talk the whole time. I often invite the child for a couple of hours, then suggest the parent comes a bit early for a cup of tea when they pick them up. That was you don't have to chat for hours, but get a chance to get to know them a little better.

How has the teacher tried to address the child hitting your dd?

Beamur Mon 10-Mar-14 14:06:16

How big/small is the class? It can be harder to avoid the 'evil nemesis' in a small school, it sounds like this child has also learnt her skills at the hands of a master.
I also work and playdate opportunities are more limited, I've not found this to be a problem so far - if anything a playdate with my DD has the cachet of being hard to come by!
There is one child in my DD's class (a boy, not a girl) who continually tries to wind her up, but she is becoming skilled at deflecting him - although there hasn't been any physical issues. I'd really keep plugging away at that side of this though, if it has scaled up despite your going in 3 times I'd be seeking a chat with the Head.

ViviDeBeauvoir Wed 12-Mar-14 00:10:36

Thanks again for your replies.
Your first paragraph made me chuckle, Beamur
There are 45 children in reception (2 classes of 22/23 but it's free flow between the classrooms and outside).

It's just turning into a bizarre situation, really.
Today I walked up to the gate, said hello to the 3 parents already waiting (she was one of them) and she turned away from me (quite literally giving me the cold shoulder!) and struck up a conversation with another parent.

It was my DD's birthday yesterday too and at the risk of outing myself (if I haven't already!) she got a particular present that she loves.
This morning, her DD has brought in her own, slightly different version of this present and in the cloakroom is showing my DD and comparing the two items (obviously telling her that hers is better because of xy and z).
She's never seen this item as I don't let DD take things into school and has obviously just brought it in on the basis that DD mentioned she'd got one for her birthday. She was being quite unpleasant about it too.
This strikes me as very odd behaviour!

I've been doing invites to DD's party today and it's been a real struggle to decide whether to invite this girl (only 5 invites) as I'm actually worried there might be some fallout!

I'm going into school to drop off the invites tomorrow and will have a word with her class teacher and ask her to keep an eye on things but other than that what do I do? The physical aspect seems to have died down a bit, which I'm glad about but all this other stuff is much trickier. I'll just keep chatting to DD about it and try and build her self assurance.

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