V strange arrangements for DS starting school - should I say anything?

(35 Posts)
funnyfoursome Sun 28-Aug-16 19:47:02

Hi!
DS is starting Reception. I was under the impression he'd do a week or two of half days and build up gradually to full-time. Admittedly this would have suited him as he just turned 4 two days ago and tires very quickly.
I was really surprised to find out last term that they are splitting the class of 30 into groups of 10 (roughly Autumn/Spring/Summer birthdays and having them in school on different days. Their logic is that groups of 10, or 20 when the groups are combined, gives the teachers a chance to observe them. I understand this.
However this means that in week 1, DS goes to school on the Wednesday only. Nothing on the other days. Same in Week 2, then full-time from Monday week 3.
The older children get 3 days overall rather than the 2 days in Week 1 and 2.
I feel cross about this as I don't feel some children should have more days than others. Why should the youngest have less chance to be observed?
Also I don't think this is a sensible introduction to school for the children. I've decided to tell my son he's 'visiting' school rather than starting school. How do you tell a 4 year old he's not going to school for another week?! It seems bonkers to me!!
Historically I think parents who need childcare have complained about half days, so this may be the reason, but I feel school arrangements should be in the children's interests not parents, and anyway is this any better for working parents?!
Should I let it go, or should I talk it through with school?? I don't want to be branded a difficult parent before term even starts!! And nothing is going to change. I might want a job there some day so trying to keep quiet but feeling cross really... Any advice please??

TheTroubleWithAngels Sun 28-Aug-16 20:10:11

That's utterly bonkers.

What exactly is it you wanted? If you kick up enough fuss, your son will probably be accommodated. You won't get it changed for the whole intake though. I assume you were told well in advance.

And yep, you probably won't get a job there if you do kick up a fuss.

Goingtobeawesome Sun 28-Aug-16 20:14:51

As daft as the class of year five been assessed and the top half being taught by the teacher and the bottom by the TA.

allypally1983 Sun 28-Aug-16 20:20:20

We have 2 classes of about 29 kids, split as evenly for age, sex, race etc as possible. Class 1 starts on the 9th, class 2 on the 12th (class one are off on the 12th) and then they're all in from the 13th full time.
Yours is a strange arrangement

Kanga59 Sun 28-Aug-16 20:47:20

I would say you need 3 days a week from the off owing to work commitments and leave it at that. It's very odd.

funnyfoursome Sun 28-Aug-16 21:25:28

Thanks all. Goingtobe - that is really daft sorry to hear that

funnyfoursome Sun 28-Aug-16 21:41:56

Troublewith Angels guess I was hoping for a gradual introduction to school ie half days, easing into a routine is good for all I guess! Half days would have helped a bit with overtiredness. Hey ho it will all be over in a month I guess!

Minisoksmakehardwork Sun 28-Aug-16 22:29:46

And this is why I'm grateful for our school's eminently sensible approach of starting the day after the other kids go back, then they have 4 days finishing at 12, 3 finishing at 1 and 2 full days before full time school.

admission Sun 28-Aug-16 22:45:00

This is unfortunately a school that is only looking at what they think suits them, not the parents.
The school where I am Chair of Governors staggers the start of the reception class, because by having a smaller class we find the pupils settle better. But that is only that half come the first week (actually those we know have not been to nursery as a priority) and then the second half start the second week to get to the class of 30.
What this school is doing is ignoring what is sensible for parents. I might be tempted to point out to school that legally they have to provide full time education to all children from September, not when it suits the school

Ditsy4 Mon 29-Aug-16 07:47:36

It is an unusual arrangement but do you expect them to change it now just for you, unlikely.
Ours start after we have settled the others back in. Each year is slightly different depending on intake but usually do several half days extending to 1pm so they stay for dinner then to 2pm. Groups are coming and going at different times. It means they can gradually mix all the children so they meet everyone before they start full time. Home visits are done in the beginning and they are not usually full time until half term.
I don't think you will be popular if you complain.

buffalogrumble Tue 30-Aug-16 05:53:57

You don't need to complain. You need to inform the school that you would like your son to attend school full time from the start of term.

The school admissions code states that your son is entitled to full-time education from the start of the Autumn term, and the report last year from the office of the Schools Adjudicator makes this point explicitly clear. State schools cannot insist that children attend for whichever bizarre "settling in" pattern they dream up. Parents can insist their child attends full time.

You will be the "difficult parent" for the first couple of weeks but it'll be water under the bridge with the school by half term.

cuntinghomicidalcardigan Tue 30-Aug-16 06:10:39

That is very odd. My dd's school at doing wed, Thurs, Fri, mon, Tues, wed 9-1230 then full days from the Thursday. They are a small class of 19 with my dd being the youngest and I'm happy with the arrangements.

I think if you complain though you will become 'that' parent. Have you only just found out about it?

christinarossetti Tue 30-Aug-16 06:52:14

I would email the school and say something along the lines of what you've written here.

It's difficult to see how this arrangement is 'settling the children in' or understand the rationale of some children having more opportunity to settle than others.

Schools do do the settling in differently, but this is a highly unusual arrangement, esp some children having more time in the classroom than others.

Trumpette Tue 30-Aug-16 06:53:49

I would have a chat with them about what you think would work for your son. I am afraid you are already 'that parent'!

The school has obviously organised something that they think works. I agree it does sound unusual but this is the beginning of children beginning educated in an overstretched system.

Our school has changed year on year what the starting arrangements are based on parents concerns for their children and also what they think works based on the children they have coming in.

When my children started I just got on with it, one of mine is now out of primary and the other at the back end of it.

School is tiring and this will not be the only thing you don't like. Unfortunately I think increasingly schools are being asked to deal with each child's individual needs to the detriment to everyone else. There are thirty two children in both my kids class imagine if everyone asked for arrangements specific to their children?

tulippa Tue 30-Aug-16 08:24:40

Dneph's school did something similar when he started reception except it was done alphabetically. Dneph's surname is towards the end of the alphabet so he got fewer days than other children. We were all a bit confused about it but it doesn't seem to have made much difference in the long run.

swisschocolate Tue 30-Aug-16 10:56:12

It is illegal. You can complain. You have a right to a full time place from the start of the year. The schools adjudicator has mentioned it many times and it is in this annual report. Paragraph 58.

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/393886/OSA_Annual_Report_2014.pdf

bangingmyheadoffabrickwall Tue 30-Aug-16 22:07:59

The school where I teach has 2 YR classes. Both classes have split their class in half. 1 half does mornings for a week, the other half does afternoons. On week 2 they swap and on week 3 they are all in full time. Works well.

The school where my son is going has split the class in half too. Half start on day 1 and the other half start on day 3. This is so the staff have less children to deal with when it comes to tears and to ensure one half of the class are familiar with routines before teaching the other half. They have split it so it is the older 15 children first and the younger 15 children on day 3.

I much prefer my son's school's arrangements. Parents at the school where I have taught have, understandably, complained about the part time introduction over 2 weeks because some of them are used to going 8am - 6pm at nursery and it has caused a child care issue. Some parents having to use 2 weeks of their annual leave and others relying on a bank of relatives and friends. One family refused point blank and decided to send their child on the Monday of week 3! It was easier for them to have 2 weeks extra with the nursery she had attended since being a baby than her parents trying to logistically decide on childcare as the nursery were unable to drop off and pick up with different arrangements each week.

CotswoldStrife Tue 30-Aug-16 22:16:30

Like banging my DD's school split their classes into two groups but the younger ones started first to get used to everything when it was a smaller group. The first day for each group was a 15 min later start.

ChunkyHare Tue 30-Aug-16 22:59:58

Our primary has 3 classes of 30 but each one does the same.

If you were in nursery attached to the school for mornings, you still do mornings only. If you were in nursery for 2 1/2 days, you still do the 2 1/2 days which ever end of the week you are used to, and afternoon nursery children do afternoons.

If your child didn't attend nursery they slot into one of those slots.

That way most children have continuity of peers and childcare. My children were mornings, so 1 week of mornings only. 1 week of mornings plus lunch, then week 3 in all day.

Your school's way is slightly bonkers approach is a couple of days then full time.

Idliketobeabutterfly Tue 30-Aug-16 23:47:37

Yikes. That's freaky. My DS (plus 29) starts on Tuesday an hour after rest of school and ft from start. The second half of the year starts the day after. Also ft.

SisterViktorine Wed 31-Aug-16 09:25:06

As daft as the class of year five been assessed and the top half being taught by the teacher and the bottom by the TA

WHAT?? They can't possibly be serious. I would go ballistic at this! It would be complaint to governors and then withdrawal of child.

Rachcakes Wed 31-Aug-16 09:29:23

Daft as the arrangement is (and I agree, it's not great) I think it's a bit late to say anything now.
Presumably you've known this for a while and the other 29 or so parents will have taken leave or made the necessary arrangements.
The time to say something was weeks ago, if not months

MiaowTheCat Wed 31-Aug-16 13:58:28

DD1's school start the older half of the year on one day - full time from the start and then the younger half a couple of days later. All full time from day 1.

I wouldn't know if I was coming or going keeping track of some of the permutations on here!

Ditsy4 Wed 31-Aug-16 19:29:52

They get a written timetable.
It is about settling children in so that they are happy isn't that what is most important!

onemouseplace Wed 31-Aug-16 19:35:41

Our school does something similar with the first 3 days being only 10 from each class in - then they all start full time from the 4th day. Mine are the bottom third of the alphabet, so have always done their induction day and then gone straight into fulltime school, so it's worked fine for us.

Other than the dilemma of which is their official "first day" for photographic purposes wink

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