Starting Reception, parents want the child to go fulltime from the get-go, school has a blanket No wrt staggered starting

(30 Posts)
HoldenMcGroin Sun 24-Aug-14 18:18:30

Hello folks! Hope you can help...

I think there is a bit in the Education Act to say parents can request full time schooling in Reception from the off, they don't have to abide by a school's sometimes seemingly-arbitrary splitting of intake to do weeks of mornings, then afternoons, then mornings and lunchtimes, mornings and PE etc etc. Does anyone know what legislation I am on about?

Nb asking for a friend

Thank you!

Sirzy Sun 24-Aug-14 18:26:18

Not sure about legislation (but given schooling isn't compulosry until they are 5 I doubt it but may be wrong) BUT are we talking this semptember? If so I would say they have left it too late to arrange anything anyway as school would need to rejig things completly to allow this even for one child.

Happy36 Sun 24-Aug-14 18:28:02

Agree with Sirzy.

It seems unlikely, overall. If the school deems the child too young for full-time school then the parents should respect that (based on the limited info. known about this case).

HoldenMcGroin Sun 24-Aug-14 18:30:39

Yes for this September, school has apparently dragged out and been a bit unhelpful. I was hoping that the parents could flourish the Education Act at school/Lea and get a bit further, quickly.

Not my prob, obvs, my kids did the 6 weeks of trotting up to school at odd times, we just sucked it up back in them days smile

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 24-Aug-14 18:33:28

There is something I'm sure but I'm not sure where it says about it.

Neither Of mine had this faffing about. They went full time straight away. I can totally unders

Happy36 Sun 24-Aug-14 18:40:44

I can understand the parents´ frustration, however I think the school or LEA has the ultimate say.

Our son started school 3 years ago and was full-time from day one; our daughter will be the same when she starts next week. We feel very lucky!

Purpleflamingos Sun 24-Aug-14 19:02:20

We'd stagger starting here and it's very helpful. They start off in smaller classes (one class split over mornings and afternoons) so they get to know some peers and their teachers. The teachers get more observation time on their little personalities and it's not too unlike nursery for them. After 2 weeks they are all in full time for the rest of the year. It's not a long settling in period. I prefer it. It's a long time for a little one to be in new surroundings with new people.

zipzap Sun 24-Aug-14 19:04:20

Might be worth poking around in the depths of the MN archives doing lots of searches as I know I have seen it on here before - but I can't remember anything useful about it <not very helpful>.

HoldenMcGroin Sun 24-Aug-14 19:24:33

Thank you all very much

Debs75 Sun 24-Aug-14 19:27:17

I've never been to a school with a staggered start. My youngest starts in September and to be honest she could do with a staggered start seen as 1 full day would wipe her out for a couple of days

Eva50 Sun 24-Aug-14 19:52:27

We are in Scotland and there are no staggered starts at the school my dc's attend. I'm sure there is some legislation in England re. all children being entitled to full time from day one. One of the experts will be along to advise you soon.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 24-Aug-14 20:30:48

Where I live nursery is full time so a staggered start to reception would be very disruptive to a child's routine.

HoldenMcGroin Sun 24-Aug-14 20:39:30

You are all so kind to reply, so grateful!

Look what I found : in the School Admission Code The Code also requires admission authorities to make it clear to parents that they may request part or full-time classes for such children, until they reach compulsory school age. These amendments will allow more choice and flexibility for parents when deciding on the dates on which their children should enter primary school. Consequential amendments have been made to paragraph 2.69 of the Code which deals with deferred entry to primary schools. And this from a random LEA : here

Itsfab Sun 24-Aug-14 20:49:40

When my eldest started in 2005 he had to wait until January to go full time and even then he had 2 weeks of part time first after Christmas. He was ready to go sooner but the teacher wouldn't even discuss it more than to say no. Same in 2007 and 2009. Eldest was 4.5, middle one was 4.1 and youngest was 4.2. I think they could all have gone full time after about 2-4 weeks in tbh. Youngest maybe less so actually. Even now he would rather be home with me.

NotCitrus Sun 24-Aug-14 20:56:27

The schools near me (inner London) seem to start kids full time, but a few each day over two weeks (3 a day per class). I think it made it easier for the kids knowing the days would be the same from day one.

tiggytape Sun 24-Aug-14 23:07:29

This has come up before and whilst parents can insist on a fulltime place from September, that applies more in situations where the LA cannot find a place for a child and says they won't bother as the child isn't even 5 until June (some LAs try this tactic). The parents don't have to wait at all, they can insist on a school place allocated to start in September (although if they want to wait until the summer term they can but that's their choice not the LA's)

A couple of weeks of staggered starts is considered acceptable as being fulltime from the off but a lot of schools do more like a month of staggered hours. In such cases parents can insist their child go fulltime sooner but whether this is a good idea depends on the set up of the school.
At some schools a vocal outcry about the length of the induction period has led to changes to the whole system and a much quicker start.
If your friend though is a lone voice in a school that happily introduces children over many weeks with none of them fulltime for ages, she might have to ask what she wants to achieve since, if none of the others are at the school, where will the child go and which class will they sit with in the hours that none of the rest of the reception class are attending.

HoldenMcGroin Sun 24-Aug-14 23:51:40

Good points, Tiggy. I am not really sure what the issue is apart from the to-ing and fro-ing for weeks, but the school and the parents butted heads a bit and now have got a bit entrenched. I have passed on the info and stepped back.

Noappointmentnecessary Sun 24-Aug-14 23:59:41

Children are entitled to full time education from the age if 5. Schools may stagger the intake to help children with the transition into full time education.

tethersend Mon 25-Aug-14 00:24:46

Children are entitled to a full time education from the September after they turn four. Compulsory school age is the from term after they turn five.

MrSheen Mon 25-Aug-14 00:49:31

My friend was in this situation a couple of years ago. DD was in FT nursery separate from the school. School was doing half days until Oct. The nursery wouldn't give her (and the other affected dcs) an afternoon place because they had filled their spaces up with younger dcs and besides, my friend didn't want to leave work every lunch time to walk her dd 200 yards down the road. It's a rural are with not many childcare options but even in a densely populated area I think you'd struggle to get half days childcare for a few weeks.

Anyway, she contacted the LA who said the school had to take her full time from September if that's what she wanted. The little girl was still 4, but she was entitled to a full time place.

gamescompendium Mon 25-Aug-14 00:58:39

I think the legislation changed last year. The DDs school reduced the time they took to get everyone to full time because of this. I think some schools still think they are in the 1950s and all children have a full time parent at home.

Our school did a staggered start for DD1. It was only two weeks, but it was a complete pain: if you don't have a parent at home, dress it up all you like as being better for the child and school not being childcare, if you have to take time off work it is a pain. In my case, one of the weeks was one where there was a ban on leave (I work in HE and pre-term is manic). DH took the other, and I had to beg.

It also created a level of ill-feeling among some parents which although ridiculous is understandable. What if you are both teachers, with no additional help available. What do you do? Our school has a massive out of school club which goes a long way to suggest why staggered starts are problematic....

This year, however, reception start just a day after the rest of the school and are ft immediately. Hoping they do this next year for DD2!

prh47bridge Mon 25-Aug-14 18:40:59

I think the legislation changed last year

There was no change last year. Since the 2010 Admissions Code there has been a requirement to provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday. Parents can defer entry until later in the school year and can request that their child attends part time.

The government is planning further changes to the Admissions Code and there is a draft out for consultation at the moment. This draft makes it clear that:

- children are entitled to a full time place in the September following their fourth birthday

- whether or not the child attends part time is a decision for the parents, not the school

These changes are not mentioned in the consultation document suggesting that the DfE consider them to merely clarify the intent of the current Code (correspondence I have had with the DfE also suggests they believe this is what the current code means).

It may be worth pointing out the draft Code to any school that still thinks they can dictate to parents over these matters. They will soon be forced to change their behaviour.

It seems ridiculous to mandate part-time 'settling in' for a child who might currently be in nursery from 8am - 6pm.

HoldenMcGroin Wed 27-Aug-14 07:32:51

Little update

School are not providing lunches for all children (read reception children) until October so cannot offer full days for reception children til then. So they are still being obstructive and unhelpful (and disorganised)

I can see why my friends are a bit cross. Oh dear.

Good points made on here, thank you all

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