Does anyone flexi-school their Primary-age DC?

(176 Posts)
Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 14:52:24

The kid will be starting school in September, but for various reasons we think she'd be happier being flexi-schooled.

I'm aware that she doesn't need to go to school at all legally, and that if she does, it doesn't need to be full-time until the term in which she turns 5. I'm also aware that any flexi arrangement needs to be made with the head.

What I wondered though is if anyone who has actually done it has any advice about how to get the head to agree?

We would like her to 'flex' one or two days a week, and am considering telling the head of my plans and doing it regardless of consent for the first two terms of they year (before she is 5) as it will be an opportunity (hopefully) for us to demonstrate that it's a workable system, but any thoughts and experiences would be appreciated. Thanks.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 15:11:09

What do you envision she will learn in school on the days she attends?

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 15:33:07

In all honesty, I don't know, but full time home-ed is not something we can afford.

givemeaclue Tue 19-Feb-13 15:39:09

That could be tricky, they tend to do phonics etc every day so she would be missing three days of that every week. Perhaps just doing mornings and going home at lunch time would be better? She would miss the play rather than the work?

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 15:46:00

Ah, I was meaning having her in school 3 or 4 days, and 'flexed' (by which I mean with one of us) for 1 or 2.

The fact that they will be doing phonics and so on everyday is one of the reasons we want to do it - she already has a reading age of seven, so I don't think she'd get much out of it to be honest.

givemeaclue Tue 19-Feb-13 15:49:33

She sounds very advanced so it seems a good idea. But try to work with school to get a plan in place for when she does go full time so she isn't completely bored by the work being too easy. Perhaps she could do some lessons with older kids?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 15:50:52

Missing a day or two every week will leave gaps and I'm not sure how you plan to compensate for missed learning

LadyPeterWimsey Tue 19-Feb-13 15:55:08

Well I did. But not until year 5, and then for one day a week. The head agreed very quickly, practically on the spot.


The head was aware that the school were not meeting DSs needs in G & T work. He knew us well and he knew our son well, which meant he knew we were committed to his education and that he was mature enough and flexible enough to deal with an unusual situation, as well as having good enough friendships and social skills.

DS was a fluent, chapter book reader before he started reception, and was very young for his year. But he still got an enormous amount out of full-time school, educationally and socially. We didn't say anything to the school beforehand and within two days he was reading appropriate books, and within a few weeks was working with year 1 for literacy.

I guess I'm saying that the school are likely to look upon any request more favourably if they know your child and their needs, which they won't until she has been at the school for a while.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 15:59:39

mrz I am a qualified teacher - I know what I'm doing smile Also, the idea of flexi-schooling is not that they miss learning, but that they are educated "off-site" for some days of the week. I think it would be beneficial for her to be out of school for a few days a week so she could learn about things she in interested in at her own pace. As I said above, she is 3.7 and has a reading age of 7 because reading is something she decided she was interested in and pretty much taught herself to do by getting us to read books to her over and over.

givemeaclue I am rather hoping she doesn't have to go full-time - that we can use the first two terms to show that she won't be missing out and that it is of benefit to her to do it. But yes, I think acceleration might be in order. The best advice I've seen is to accelerate to highest group possible where they are still above average?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 16:04:46

Have you taught in reception, how well do you know the EYFS?

givemeaclue Tue 19-Feb-13 16:07:43

Sounds like a great plan, hope the school are supportive

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:09:52

LadyPeterWimsey that sounds fabulous - our first choice school is attached to the pre-school so they do know her - she has really only let on to anyone that she can read more than a few words since Christmas and they have already identified this and given her a reading bag with books from the main school, for example.

There are definitely benefits to going to school, as you say. Can I ask how long your arrangement lasted? Like your DS, DD is one of the youngest in her year.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:14:48

mrz I haven't taught reception, no. I know my DD very well though, and can read a curriculum. However, I'd imagine that the school would have ample time to cover it with her in 3 or 4 days per week anyway. We'd do other educational things with her on 'our' days.

MarthasHarbour Tue 19-Feb-13 16:15:43

As I said above, she is 3.7 and has a reading age of 7 because reading is something she decided she was interested in and pretty much taught herself to do by getting us to read books to her over and over.

surely at that age she can memorise rather than read..? hmm i have a DS the same age who knows all his books for the same reasons as you have highlighted, but he doesnt read

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 16:16:41

It isn't how EYFS works I'm afraid ... good luck

LadyPeterWimsey Tue 19-Feb-13 16:23:39

We did it for year 5 and year 6, on Fridays when apparently they were just revising work they had done previously that week and so he wasn't missing anything new.

I don't think I would have done it in reception, though, because he really enjoyed the rhythm of the school day, and they made everything so much fun that he was pretty stimulated. He really wouldn't have enjoyed missing out on anything, even if he had covered it before.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:23:47

MarthasHarbour - no, she can read. I know her reading age is seven because I asked her to read the words in the Burt Reading Test (1974) - but she will also read books she has never seen before.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:27:10

MarthasHarbour I see where the confusion has arisen now - she got us to read books she knew over and over I think so she could correlate our words to the words on the page - so for example she wanted the same two or three bedtime stories every night for months. We thought she just liked the stories, but on reflection I think she was using the familiarity of the stories to help her learn to read - we certainly haven't tried to teach her.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:28:30

mrz can you eleborate on 'that isn't how EYFS' works? Do you think it would 'work' for a child who is already familiar with a large chunk of it's content?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 16:29:37

I was going to walk away
Have you ever taught in a primary school Machadaynu?

juniper904 Tue 19-Feb-13 16:29:40

She might be able to decode like a 7 year old, but does she actually understand what she's read? Can she read Horrid Henry or the equivalent?

As a teacher, surely you appreciate there's more to early years than learning phonics? Don't you worry that she'll be excluded socially if she isn't there full time? And if you yourself are not early years trained, then how can you be confident that you can provide the same quality of teaching as the reception teacher? I'm not an early years teacher and I know very little about the EYFS (even though I trained in 3-11. It all seems to change very quickly!)

I just don't see the advantage of keeping her out of school.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:31:52

mrz Have I taught in a primary school formally, in a paid capacity? No.

Have I taught in a primary school? Yes. My teacher used to get me to teach maths to my peers when I was 10, and when I was doing my (secondary) PGCE I spent a week in primary.

Have you ever met my daughter?

juniper904 Tue 19-Feb-13 16:33:02

* bows out *

MustafaCake Tue 19-Feb-13 16:34:52

Reception is about far more than just reading.

Your DD may be advanced in reading but there are plenty of other things she will be learning in reception - both academic and social - which she will miss out on by being at home. Eg in DS's reception they did numeracy every day which built on concepts learnt the previous day. How will your daughter manage if she missed the previous day's session? With 30 kids in the class, teacher will not have time to go over it again with your DD.

DS (Y1) is also well advanced in his literacy and his school have done a great job ensuring that he is challenged e.g. he joins a Y2 class for literacy every morning, has 121 with a learning support person, has a choice of (optional) project work to do at home that is usually only made available to Y3 and above.

I would ask the school how they plan to deal with a good reader. I know at DS's school the children are split into groups (abilitywise) for literacy and numeracy right from reception which has been brilliant in ensuring DS stays interested and challenged.

Songbird Tue 19-Feb-13 16:37:00

LadyWimsey seems to talk sense. Full time her until she gets settled in, makes friends etc, then you can discuss things with the HT.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:41:14

juniper904 I think Horrid Henry is a bit above reading age 7 according to the Burt scale? I've never read any, so I don't know. The reading thing is quite new to us, as I say, two months ago she could read a few words. We're still getting to grips with the fact that she can do it as it's only a few weeks since she started reading books - I tried her with an Oxford Tree Level 7, and she could read it and understand it, but she found it a bit long and got me to finish it for her.

As I say we're still adapting to this new world where she can read so we're struggling a little for material at the moment, but it's only been a week or so, and she is happy to read anything (cereal packets, magazines, Aldi catalogues - she'll have a go at anything)

I am fully aware that there is more to school than phonics, which is why I want her to spend most of the week there.

I can't be confident that I can teach a class of 4/5 year olds as well as a teacher qualified to do so, but I can be confident that I can teach my daughter well on a one-to-one basis. Of course I worry about her having social issues as a result, but she doesn't seem that interested in kids her own age anyway.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 16:41:46

mrz can you eleborate on 'that isn't how EYFS' works? Do you think it would 'work' for a child who is already familiar with a large chunk of it's content?

No not even for a child who is familiar with all it's content

DizzyHoneyBee Tue 19-Feb-13 16:43:36

If you ask her questions about the text can she answer them? We have some very able readers but they cannot do comprehension and cannot work out what the author is inferring or discuss how the character is feeling or what might happen next.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:52:13

MustafaCake et al - I don't want to have to reply repeatedly saying 'she can already do that' but, well, she can already count to whatever, knows about odd and even numbers, can add and subtract, and even divide to a basic level and appears to be getting her head around multiplication.

If I thought she was going to be disadvantaged by staying in school I wouldn't be suggesting it. It is my considered opinion that she will be able to do most of the EYFC before she gets to it, and that which is new to her she will pick up quickly - I don't see missing one day a week or even two to be a problem academically. If I did, I wouldn't consider it.

The social side worries me a little, but as I have said, her peers seem to be of little interest to her anyway. She's always been more interested in older kids.

Your DDs school sounds excellent by the way!

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:58:28

DizzyHoneyBee yes, to an extent. As I say, she's only let on that she can read this well in the last fortnight - maybe she has only learned to read this well in the last fortnight - who knows? She tends not to try things unless she knows she can do a good job.

She reads text that is new to her with the correct intonation, which means she must be reading ahead silently.

If you ask her about a simple story she can explain it to you. She's not so good on 'how do you think the person felt when so and so happened?' style of questions, but she can tell you what the story was about and speculate as to what might happen next. The 'magic key' that Biff and Chip et al seem to have threw her completely, as it did me, having never read a Biff and Chip book before! As I say, though, she has only been reading books for two weeks.

DizzyHoneyBee Tue 19-Feb-13 17:04:44

Mach, that's the thing to work on next with her reading IMO. It's what we look for at an age appropriate level. Have a look online for reading APP (assessing pupil progress) and you should find what the expectations are.
Biff and Chip books - lucky you! smile

givemeaclue Tue 19-Feb-13 17:07:44

Oh god the bloody magic key...don't worry about that! Can't stand those books, so dull!

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 17:12:09

I'm totally confused confused

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 17:17:30

Thanks DizzyHoneyBee - my instincts tell me to just let her read for now though. She tends to get discouraged if she feels she's not doing something right (she's very sensitive) and us asking her questions would make her feel like that.

For the moment she is just so pleased that she can read I don't want to start asking her questions about the text. In some ways she is still only a little bit over 3 and a half, don't forget. I know the Burt test is only a measure of decoding really - a rough guide at best. She tells her own stories that are coherent and have a plot and characters, though, so I have no concerns about her comprehension of the concept of a story. As I've said, she ready with intonation too so she definitely understands each sentence as she reads it.

Moominmammacat Tue 19-Feb-13 17:17:55

I had a v. prem boy, summer baby, with plenty of special needs, which the school tried to accommodate but didn't really succeed. I just used to keep him at home if he was tired/not coping/ or if I found something interesting for him to do. We just about kept on the right side of school with v. poor attendance most of the way through. But it turned out very well by the end of Y6 and I think school may have thought I was doing them a favour by dealing with his problems rather than leaving them with a quivering wreck. Depends on the school and the child.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 17:18:38

givemeaclue even I thought there must be a page missing when the 'magic key' appeared with no explanation smile

lljkk Tue 19-Feb-13 17:26:00

One local school only has 28 kids on the roll (R-yr6) and a few HErs flex-school by sending their kids there.

I imagine the school can easily tolerate it because such a tiny school doesn't worry about things that a bigger school would have to monitor & publish & defend. It's not a good start for your relationship with school to force school to go along with how you want to do things but that is inconvenient for them. Why not do half days to start? Our school still allows that option happily enough.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 17:37:26

lljkk She's already used to full days at pre-school, and a half day would mean that one of us would have to have a full day off work because of the logistics involved.

As far as I know, all schools have to monitor and publish the same data, don't they?

I don't much care for inconvenience to the school when weighed against the best interests of my child, but equally I don't see that it would be any more ore less convenient than her doing half days.

simpson Tue 19-Feb-13 17:38:38

My DD is currently in reception and started school already able to read (and now reads Horrid Henry etc to herself in bed) and although her numeracy is not particularly strong she could already do what the EYFS expect a child to do at the end of reception.

I did not my concerns I have to admit but she is thriving (helped by her having the same teacher she had in the nursery) and I have had great advice on how to extend her reading/comprehension at home (because she wants to do it).

All she talks about is her friends, when it's her turn to be the conductor in class (whatever that is!!) and whether she is register monitor etc. IMO she would be missing out on so much if she was flexi schooled.

I am definately not against flexi schooling btw, but I do think you need to think about giving the school a chance first and send her full time and then look at flexi schooling later on if she is unhappy.

simpson Tue 19-Feb-13 17:39:25

I did have blush

missmapp Tue 19-Feb-13 17:50:55

A friend of mine flexi-schooled her daughter until her dd asked if she could go every day- be led by your child and her best interests, BUT ensure you are fully aware of what happens in a reception classroom as it has changed greatly in recent years.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 17:54:12

simpson No need to blush - you may have noted I can't type for toffee smile

Your DD sounds similar to mine, except she doesn't really seem to know what to make of kids her own age. She mentions 'my friends' but doesn't seem to differentiate between any of them - she knows their names and so on, but says she "likes them all the same" PS say she doesn't really play with them and I think it's because she doesn't find it easy to be understood by them.

The school we've got as first choice is connected to the PS but I accept that it may be very different in 'the big building' I was just trying to benefit from others experience really, but instead seem to be defending my choices and my child's abilities, which is a tad depressing. If she was good enough at a musical instrument to play with 7 year olds I doubt there would be people saying she would benefit by going to beginners classes with 5 year olds anyway. (I don't mean you, btw!)

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 17:56:31

missmapp absolutely I will be guided by her, but I feel that it might be our best chance to show the school it can work when they can't stop us trying it - before she is 5. If we wait for a while and don't get permission then it may be the case that we never get to try it.

Incidentally she wanted to go to PS every day when she first started, and now she often doesn't want to go at all sad

5madthings Tue 19-Feb-13 17:56:53

I did this with ds1 and ds2 for a bit and it worked well.
Totally depends on the school and the ht tho.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 17:58:21

Machadaynu my son had a reading age far beyond 7 when he started nursery school and he would have benefited from beginner phonics ...

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 18:01:04

5madthings thanks

mrz In what way do you think he would have benefited? What was his reading age when he started nursery school? Why do you imagine that my child will somehow miss all phonics teaching by missing one day per week?

teacherwith2kids Tue 19-Feb-13 18:10:04

I have a sone who taught himslef to read very early (by working out the phinics rules for himself, so he did also have a good if self-taught understanding of phonics).

He went to school for Reception, but I HEd him full time for part of year 1 (long story).

EYFS and a really well-run Reception class is brilliant for able children. DS was far more extended there than he was in Year 1...or frankly a couple of the next years as well -p because of the EYFS's focus on child-directed learning. When he was 'doing maths' on the chalkboard in the role play area, he could do 3 digit + 3 digit calculations, or calculations involving millions, or negative numbers, because that was what he wanted to do and so he could do it and be observed to be able to do it - no matter that the 'teacher directed learning' was initially based on numbvers to 10, she swiftly observed what he could actually do and gave him resources accordingly.

Equally , he could write and spell BUT had poor fine motor skills. So he could do his writing 6 inches high on rolls of wallpaper provided by his reception teacher, or on the huge whitreboard .. and thus show what he could do. Come Year 1 and lined exercise books, life was trickier and he found it much harder to show what he could do because there wasn't the flexibility.

Eqally, if he wanted to read the encyclopedia to find out about things, there was the time an space to do so - not teacher-delivere chunks of 'age appropriate' information.

I'd send her to school for reception, then see what happens from there.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 18:11:43

He was reading the Financial Times at age 3 Machadaynu but when he was tested by an Ed Psych in school he completed the test with no errors which put his RA in excess of 14. My son's school took the line that as he was a good reader he didn't need phonics and this impacted on spelling and writing.

I'm not particularly worried about your child missing a phonics session per week EYFS is more than phonics or counting to a million, they aren't included in new prime areas

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 18:11:48

teacherwith2kids that's really interesting - thanks.

teacherwith2kids Tue 19-Feb-13 18:12:06

Apologies for typing.

Early phonics usually works at a rate of 1 new sound per day... but tbh it's not the 'teacher directed' learning I would worry about her missing out on, it's all the child-directed learning that explodes from it in the hands of an able child and an observant Reception teacher.

simpson Tue 19-Feb-13 18:22:31

My DD did not make friends hugely easily in nursery (aged 3-4) and just seemed to want to talk to the adults in the room and talk about the other kids in a general way iyswim.

But she has benefitted hugely from the child led play and according to her teacher always looks "busy" along side her little side kick (best friend). This has been far more important for her than the academics iyswim.

Having said all that I do have concerns about yr1 but will wait and see what happens...

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 18:39:14

Yes. I flexi schooled throughout reception. In fact I sent my child a term late... Then three dad a week until the summer term and four days a week thereafter. The school had nit tried it before. My child could not read before starting in January. My flexi school involved not being at school... Indent agree with early years education . This stuff about phonics et is rubbish. She ended the year on level nines for nearly all eyfs categories as started year one on level nine books. I asked the teacher If She felt my child had been disadvantages in any way by being out of school and she said definitely not. She had a glowing report. She learned tonread before learning formal phonics but we've caught up with phonics since. It doesn't take long to teach your child stuff at home. The class generally moves at an incremental pace. I would thoroughly recoemdb it. The head left and so I had to stop in year one. Of course you should flexi school if the teacher will allow it.

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 18:41:41

Sorry on iPhone. I don't agree with kids starting formal schooling early.... Is what I meant to say. That was all I said to the head.. That I wanted to be with my child at gone and I did not think she would be in any way disadvantaged by it.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 18:44:11

It isn't up the teachers decision to allow or disallow

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 18:47:24

I meant head teacher. So sorry. IPhone. Also flexi schooled mid academic year and therefore had no impact on school finances.

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 19:00:17

To the OP: you could just ask to send your child pt until he or she turns five. This will not be formal flexi schooling (that starts the term after your child turns five or the summer term, whichever comes first). It will therefore have no impact on the ammoint of money the school receives for your child.
If your child turns five after October when finances for the academic year are set you could then ask to extend the flexi schooling knowing it will have no financial consequences for the school.
My child did not suffer socially and the other kids did not seem to notice. By year one she seemed ready for five days a week and was no Longer exhausted after each school day.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 19:13:37

I very much doub lt it would be a decision for a head teacher alone.

5madthings Tue 19-Feb-13 19:18:16

It is up to the head teachet of each school, am assuming they will speak to.the teachers who are to be involved but legally it is up to the head teacher.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 19:24:31

I'm sure governors and perhaps the LEA will be involved.

5madthings Tue 19-Feb-13 19:27:24

When we did it it was entirely at the discretion of the ht. The lea where not involved and legally dont have to be. Again the ht can talk to the goveners but from a legal pov it is at the discretion of the ht.

drmummmsy Tue 19-Feb-13 19:27:31

could you maybe send her to school full time and do the other educational stuff/learning with her after school and on weekends?

i'm not a home educator in the formal sense, but can see the value in it

5madthings Tue 19-Feb-13 19:30:08
5madthings Tue 19-Feb-13 19:32:49
Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 19:33:11

In my case it was the headteacher. From The homeschooling and flexi schooling people I have talked to (including a consultant who intalked to before putting my request To the ht) it is definitely a ht decision. The local authority can have an influence by stating a preference or by structuring funding in such a way as to make it hard for the school but as of 2011 at least he and flexi schooling was at the discretion of the head teacher.

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 19:34:49

Flexi schooling at discretion of ht. Homeschooling obv a legal right.

5madthings Tue 19-Feb-13 19:35:52

Yes its a discretion of the hot, I am sure Lea can express disapproval, as can goveners but it is up to the ht and on the register the child is marked as 'being educated elsewhere' rather than absent.

5madthings Tue 19-Feb-13 19:38:53

Ht not hot, one day I will preview posts before posting them...

lljkk Tue 19-Feb-13 19:45:56

all schools have to monitor and publish the same data, don't they?

No, very small schools are exempt from having to publish SAT results (publish for public, I mean). Because of preserving confidentiality. Also, because things like absence figures can be skewed by just one child, very small schools don't have to meet the same % attendance targets (typically).

You're right they probably have to monitor all the same things, but they aren't held as accountable is what I mean. So HT can use more discretion without unpleasant repercussions.

IME schools do most of their hard learning, the fundamentals, in the mornings. LIteracy & numeracy especially. Afternoons are for less core subjects, like PE, art, "topic" (which usu. means science, history or geography). So core learning is in the mornings. That's why it's better to consistently miss afternoons.

Here's another maybe problem with flexischooling: some subjects will be only one day a week. So if OP's child consistently missed Tuesdays, they'll miss nearly all learning in that subject (art, geography, whatever). Have to choose the flex-days carefully.

BranchingOut Tue 19-Feb-13 19:48:27

I am always astonished by the number of highly able children depicted by threads on MN, a proportion far higher than the proportion of highly able children I have encountered in my years as an infant and early years teacher...This included the children of doctors, academics, lawyers and foreign office staff as well as some of the most deprived children in a borough of London.

Nothing wrong with flexi-schooling OP, but please just don't assume that she has nothing to learn from school. Children develop at different rates and while one child might appear to be significantly ahead at the moment, their attainment is likely to even up with their peers over time. Plus, a great Reception class will be a wonderful experience for her, in all sorts of ways.

Anyway, i have to go, my pre-schooler is about to crack Fermat's last theorem!

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 19:56:26

lljkk the "core" prime subjects in the new EYFS are Personal Social Emotional development, Communication and Physical development ... and are taught all day
and regardless of size schools have attendance targets

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 19:57:45

BranchingOut my very able reader son also has SEN ~(ASD) if that helps

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 19-Feb-13 20:00:32

She might be able to read, but I'd be concerned that "she doesn't really seem to know what to make of kids her own age".

Reception is an important time for learning how to socialise with your peers, take turns, appreciate that other people are different - lots of things other than just pure academic ability, and I'm struggling to see how taking her out of school for significant chunks of time will help with these important skills.

How do you feel about letting her go full time for the first term or so and see how she and the school are getting on?

BranchingOut Tue 19-Feb-13 20:04:45

I was not commenting on any particular child, MRz, but I used to post on another parenting forum and never, ever came across any threads about gifted and talented children.

As a teacher (10 years) I only came across three children who seemed to be performing above their peer group and one of those was probably not significantly beyond his peers.

Yet these children are all over the place on MN!

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:06:17

I honestly don't think a child has to be particularly able to keep up with reception. It isn't demanding academically, at least bit at my kids school. And the kind of parent who wants to
Flexi School won't find it hard to cover the curriculum. I
Can more understand issues of whether the child will fit in Ervin my experience it was zero problem. But it is a legitimate
Concern. Wanting to flexi school is not same as saying school rubbish. It is stating a preference for
Another way fonduing things. Inthink my child would be better off still flexi schooling bit sadly not an option...

lljkk Tue 19-Feb-13 20:06:43

Attendance stats would be easily skewed by just one child often absent at a very small school, mrz, LEA has to make some allowance for that (if they understand stats, maybe they don't).

ah so maybe it has changed, just when I helped out before math-english very much morning subjects (with some mix in for stuff like PE or RE) and afternoons always other stuff (never math or English). Might vary by school or teacher, though.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:09:38

Attendance targets relate to individual children not to school percentages

EverybodysSootyEyed Tue 19-Feb-13 20:09:46

I agree with iwishiwas

The main change I saw in ds at the end of reception was to his maturity and social skills. He also shows he can be kind, share, stick up for himself and his friends etc etc. he also gets a great deal of pleasure from his friendships and camaraderie they all have. This is a boy who doesn't need friends - he is quite happy on his own - so the social aspect was my main concern. Luckily I had no need to worry.

As suggested upthread, could you not do the academic stretching at weekends? Your dd is not going to get bored at school due to the huge variety of stuff they do.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:12:26

Which is why Personal, Social and Emotional development is a prime learning area and reading and maths aren't

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:17:47

The flexi schoolers I know chose to do because they felt their child was too young for full time education and were in a position to stay home and provide an alternative. My ht actually said to me, when informed of my decision to delay admission by a term, why wouldn't a child be better off with one on one care with it's mother at this age. four is ridiculously young to start school IMO. The op didn't say she thought her child was too clever for reception. If flexi schooling can be conducted in such a way that it does not inconvenience the class teacher or disadvantage the child then why not go for it?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:22:35

A parent has a legal right to delay starting until the term after the child's fifth birthday but has no legal right to part time which is at the discretion of the school. So the OP could keep her child at home until the summer if they wish.

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:27:22

yes. But, like me, the OP might feel flexi schooling is prefertial because 1. There is a lot to be had from reception and 2. Delaying until the summer will result in school losing a years funding while flexi schooling will, at most, result in the school loosing funding proportionate to the days the child is educated off site (or no money lost at all if the flexi schooling begins and ends after the school census in October).

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:28:41

BranchingOut I can see why you chose to teach early years instead of statistics ;) It may just be the places like MN are magnets for parents with highly able children to discuss things, and therefore this isn't a representative sample? Or maybe the very able kids you taught had done what my wife and I did and are determined our daughter will not, which is mask their abilities to fit it? Or maybe I'm just making this up?

5madthings yes, definitely at heads discretion. My LEA were going to create a policy for guidance, and then didn't bother, so Enthuse I have no idea how it would affect funding, but then I suspect the LEA don't either ...

IwishIwas more Organised I'm not especially concerned about her interaction with her age-peers as she is perfectly sociable with adults. She has all the necessary skills, but I think she just isn't interested in kids her own age. She has pretty much consistently been disinterested in kids her age as she has grown up. I would be perfectly happy for her to go full time if I thought the school had the resources to make it time well spent. I think she'd be happier socialising with slightly older kids, so a mixed playground may suit her much better, but I do worry about her being bored.

Flexi school absence from school is marked in the register as 'Educated off-site' - the same code as school trips etc - so it doesn't affect attendance stats at all.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:29:30

Unfortunately there isn't a legal entitlement to flexi schooling

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:31:23

The kid will be one of the youngest in her year btw.

I want to flexi because I think she will benefit from it. I didn't really want to go in to reasons, but seem to have been drawn in to it and then had my reasons questioned. I was just after experiences from those that had done it.

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:32:42

And the ht is legally empowered tomgrant flexi schooling so the OP is entitled to ask. And, from my own experience, I can say it worked out fine for everyone. Nobody suffered as a result. Nobody complained. No one lost money. My kids were happy. I was happy. The OPs child is five. one day a week won't make any difference. An imaginative ht will grant it. An unimaginative one will not.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 19-Feb-13 20:33:40

Why do you think that school don't have the resources to make her being there full time time well spent?

Don't you think that socialising with others of your own age is an important life skill to have? I certainly do.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:34:12

Thanks Enthuse It's nice to know it can work smile

(The kid is 3.7 at the moment)

WipsGlitter Tue 19-Feb-13 20:35:11

I'm sorry, but not being interested in her peers isn't a good thing.

Why not let her try it, be a child like all others and then review.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:35:12

Why so hung up about age, IwishIwas? She seems to prefer the company of slightly older children. Why is that an issue?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:35:55

Yes the OP is entitled to request flexi schooling

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:36:02

Why, WipsGlitter, if she is happy with older children and adults?

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:37:24

Mr z. No there is no legal entitlement to flexi schooling. That is precisely why the op is asking for advice I. How to approach the ht. She is well within her rights to ask and it is within the ht power to grant it. It really isn't a big deal. I know it isn't a big deal as my child has done it.

simpson Tue 19-Feb-13 20:38:24

I have to confess it would concern me if my child could not mix with their peers too (it did for a bit with DD).

She is going to be in a class with kids the same age as her not older or adults (apart from the teacher) so it is crucial that they can socialise with their peer group and build on friendships etc.

WipsGlitter Tue 19-Feb-13 20:38:35

Can you really not see why being able to get on with children her own age is an issue?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:39:53

I really am walking away now

good luck to your daughter

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 19-Feb-13 20:40:23

Because she will have to go through the rest of her school career being with children of her own age. Surely getting her used to that sooner rather than later would be a good thing?

She will need to be able to respect her peers, play and learn alongside them for a good many years yet to make her school career a success and an enjoyable time.

There are plenty of opportunities outside of school to socialise with slightly older children - brownies, gym, dance classes atvthe park or whatever she enjoys doing.

5madthings Tue 19-Feb-13 20:45:56

Some children just get on better with adults, my ds1 was like this and still is to an extent, he has friends etc but as small social circle, he likes his own company and gets on well with adults. He is 13 and in many ways has always been like an old man in a child's body, its not an issue he has made friends as he got older and found his niche amongst his peers.

And she will be amongst her peers, just not five days as week, its not an issue, flexible schooling can work well. Full time school is not necessary at four/five yes of age.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:47:11

It's not that she can't get on with kids of her own age - she has those that she calls friends and always sits with the same girl in the morning at PS, but the things she likes to do (for example making up collaborative stories with complicated plots and language and reading) are not activities that she can share with the average 4 year old. I'm really not worried about it. I have no concerns whatsoever about her getting along with her peers as she gets older. She's an old head on young shoulders :/

We flexi schooled DD1 as she is a 31st Aug birthday and we were worried about tiredness. She too was an advanced reader, reading chapter books BUT emotionally she was very young, she loved older kids and adults but had very little idea of socialising with her peers (who like it or not she will be at school with until she is 18). We did 5 mornings initially, then 3 full days and 1 half day. We found she blossomed, she discovered friends her own age she didn't know 'how' to be friends with before, she matured and grew in confidence in a large group setting. Yes she could read but her phonics was non existent, she learnt phonics with the rest of the class and worked on her spelling and writing.

On our home day we found something she fancied doing, baking/drawing/walking/exploring but forced nothing. By the end of October she was begging to go to school everyday, she discovered Fridays was Show and Tell and Golden Time day, lunch was fish and chips and all the points she earned during the week had a reward she was missing out on.

Why don't you follow her lead? Let her find out how she feels about school, your ideas and attitude to school will come through and she will end up worrying about enjoying school because you are not sure it is enough for her. You are a teacher but primarily you are her mum, let those with the huge amounts of experience with children her age teach her, by all means support and encourage at home, but let her go and enjoy it.

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:53:02

OP: you asked specifically for advice on how to approach ht. Indidnthree things. Inbound out the legal status (educated off site and the code for the register) and inbound out how it would affect funding. You may nit think this relevant but any head will care about the impact on the school so it is worth having an answer in place. I was also honest and said that one of the main reasons I wanted to flexi school was because I wanted more time with my child and I was certain it would benefit my child. I also made it clear that I would keep up with any academics (this bit really wasn't hard). I agreed that I would send my child in for assemblies or other big project days if they fell in the off day so that she would not miss the goal of a terms work by being at home on that day. Four days is more than enough time to build friendships etc my daughter loved reception but she asking loved our time together and the extra adventures and fun we had

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:54:56

I might end up doing that blueberryboybait - your story sounds encouraging. I'm just trying to gather information, not setting anything in stone smile

Ooh interesting idea - I've not heard of it before.

Wonder if I could flexi-school DS for his last half year at primary ?

I just fancy taking him out for one day a week and visiting some interesting places over the spring and summer. And we could work on our music theory together too - he's working towards his grade 5 theory and I've decided to join him for his Saturday morning classes. How do you think that would shape up for a year 6 curriculum ?
More interesting than SATS ?!

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 21:00:14

Enthuse I actually approached the LEA about it last year in terms of their policies and guidance issued to schools - the LEA is supposed to at least communicate to schools that flexi is a legal option, if not a right, and give them some info about it. As it took a few weeks for anyone at the LEA to decide that flexi came under their remit, and they didn't seem to know much about it, it's safe to assume this guidance has never been issued. They then said they'd draw up a policy, and then a few months later said they would deal with it on a case by case basis. I decided then to just take it up with the head when the time came.

The time is now getting closer, so I'm thinking about it again. I wouldn't do it if I didn't think it'd be in the interests of my child. Can I ask how your child coped with any feelings of being different for not going every day - that is another of my main concerns; that as well as being 'different' because of what she knows, she might also be marked as 'different' for not being there all the time.

sittinginthesun Tue 19-Feb-13 21:02:11

I just wondered whether the school you are considering has a policy regarding part-time starts for some children already? Our primary starts all children born after 31st march on a part time basis (mornings only), until half term.

Both my dcs are older in their year, and so started full time (which suited them), but I was offered the option of cutting back a couple of afternoons a week for ds2 just before Christmas, as he was very tired.

I think that the difference may be the reason for doing this. In our school, it is to ease the child into full time schooling. The presumption is that, in the long term, the child will benefit from full time school.

If it is for a different reason, then you may find yourself having to explain your reasoning.

Fishlegs Tue 19-Feb-13 21:09:15

My friend did this with her summer born dd in reception and it worked well. She went in for 3 and a half days a week, then wanted to go into y1 FT and has been fine. I think it will help if you are firm in your reasons for wanting to flexischool but also show you're prepared to negotiate (on which day would be best etc) and work with the school.

Have you asked on the HE board? I think there's an old flexischool thread knocking around there and people with some experience of it.

Floggingmolly Tue 19-Feb-13 21:16:21

I very much doubt the school would cram everything into 3 or 4 days leaving you free to do what she'd prefer to be doing on the remaining days, tbh, despite their doubtless having "ample" time in which to do it, as you suggest.

laughinglil Tue 19-Feb-13 21:19:30

The kid, whose THE kid ?

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 21:23:08

This will sound extremely odd... But I never told my daughter she wasn't going full time! And the other kids didn't seem to notice! it was never an issue. Maybe at some point I might have said how lucky we were to have extra time at home... But I played it down and, bizarrely, that seemed to work. She is.a very sociable child and had no problem settling in. I think she really benefitted from the extra sleep!

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 21:24:48

Btw I thought she would find it hard to adjust tonfull
Time in year one. But she was perfectly happy. By then she was ready.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 21:25:42

Floggingmolly I think I said there would be ample time for her to learn what they wanted her to, or words to that affect. Apologies if I didn't.

'Prefer' was maybe not the best word to use - I'll remember that when I speak to the head. I meant something like 'finds more stimulating'

laughinglil my 'DD'. I'd have hoped that was obvious? I don't really like 'DD' Sorry. Horses for courses.

Hi Machadaynu - I'm sure there will be ample time for her to learn hopefully things she finds interesting either at home with you or at school with others.

I don't know why some people are getting so stressed about her curriculum - she's only 4.

I've been a nursery teacher and also worked in reception classes. I think children learn best through play, and certainly by following their interests and being supported in this by the adults around them.

Good luck to you both ! Hope you continue to enjoy learning with your daughter !

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 21:47:02

JugglingFromHereToThere you can do flexi with any age as long as the head agrees. I was rather hoping to find out from people who had done it how they persuaded the head rather than spend 5 pages defending my desire to find out, my reasons for wanting to investigate further and it being implied that I am lying about the kid's abilities. This is all useful though as I suspect I am going to come across the same or similar when I talk to education professionals about it. The kid freaks me out with what she knows and has worked out or deduced sometimes, and I've known her all her life so I can understand people being sceptical. My grandmother has 8 grandchildren and many great grandchildren as well as her own children, and she just shakes her head and says "she's been here before, this one"

Thanks for your input - the music idea sounds lovely. I was thinking of something to do with counting/monitoring wildlife - she was very interested in birds for a while, but is now all about marine life (thanks, Octonauts!) which is hard to come by inland!

How about a trip to London to the aquarium just near the London Eye ?

Tis an amazing, massive aquarium, where you can see sharks swimming past in front of your eyes, as well as brilliantly lit luminous jelly fish, and giant sting rays in an open tank.

Could be a bit expensive and queues can be long ... but I guess that's another reason why flexi-schooling could be good (as will be much less crowded)

London Eye is also great BTW smile

Love her great grandmother's comment grin

BranchingOut Tue 19-Feb-13 22:26:27

Er, yes, I was mildly pointing out that the representation of parents of highly able children on MN seemed unusually high. Draw what conclusions you like from that. Or, if you are keen to bring statistics into it, point me to evidence-based material on the distribution of highly able children within the population - I'm interested!

Pupils masking their ability? I think that teaching a child for a year, seeing their work across a range of contexts and seeing their performance in comparison to past and present cohorts of children will give a teacher a fairly good picture of their ability. In my experience of working with young children, I suggest that it is unlikely that a very young child would have the sophistication to sustain a consistent deception of that nature.

Or are you just making it up? smile now, why on earth would you want to do that ?!

simpson Tue 19-Feb-13 22:38:06

I do think that if you are thinking of flexi schooling your DD then before you approach the school /HT then you need to have a plan with what you are going to do each day iyswim.

As according to the school she will be "educated off the premises" (if you get the go ahead) so you need to prove that if that makes sense.

simpson Tue 19-Feb-13 22:41:59

Branchingout - I would assume its because it's a parenting forum with a primary education section so that (to me) suggests that people here posting care about their DC education enough to post/look up previous threads and so their children are probably going to have been brought up in a house full of books, have bedtime stories read to them every night etc which all helps.

So by definition are going to have higher achieving kids or they are lying grin

Takver Tue 19-Feb-13 22:47:01

DD's school was reasonably open to children attending on a flexi basis up until they hit formal school age.

Here they can potentially start (half days) the term after their third birthday, dd started IIRC when she was a bit over 3 1/2, but only 3 days a week. I am afraid like most others I know who did this it was purely a logistical issue as there aren't any childminders in the village who will pick up/drop off at school for half days and so we had the choice of her not starting at all or missing my two work days.

Then at age 4 they have to go full days, but they still didn't insist on a full week, if that makes sense. DD went 4 days a week for a couple of terms (that was selfishness on our part also just to enjoy that time at home with her while she was small - but school didn't have any issue with it and we were def. not the only ones with dc doing 3 or 4 days).

They did go through a phase of insisting on full time or nothing, but I know the new head at the school is now again willing to allow flexi attendance for the little part time children. TBH I think the main reason they do this is they know parents who don't drive & live a way away won't send their dc at all otherwise (they don't get to go on the school bus til they hit 4).

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 23:28:37

BranchingOut my point was that parents who post on MN about primary education is in no way a representative sample of parents whose children are in primary education. In the same way that there seem to be a high proportion of people posting who have a partner who is either having an affair or being violent or being lazy - it's because the forum attracts people who are concerned about things that the population is not representative of the population as a whole. I got your point. I simply pointed out that it's based on the false premise that the MN population is representative of the general population, which it almost certainly isn't.

I suggest you read a little more of the research before assuming that children of the age you teach aren't masking their ability or having it missed altogether. Your attitude is rather worrying - as an educational professional you should have an open mind. You seem to think you know all the answers. Here is a good place to start -

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 23:35:28

simpson and juggling... I'd get a formal plan nearer the time - she has so many interests - but mainly wildlife, machinery and science - that I wouldn't have a problem finding things to do, I'd just need to formalise it into a SOW with a common thread, but hey, those years teaching did leave me with some skills smile

Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 08:25:36

Also, BranchingOut you may find this article specifically addresses your question about the number of highly gifted children in a population:

2. How many highly gifted children are there?
No one really knows. Although many researchers have made estimates, and test norms indicate the statistically rare incidence of children in this population, the actual numbers of such children may well be greater than the statistical norms imply. Webb, Meckstroth, and Tolan (1982) state that one child in about 2,000 has an IQ above 150 on the Stanford-Binet Form L-M; one child in a half-million has an IQ above 170. Hollingworth (1942) estimated one child in a million has an IQ above 180. But Robinson's research (1981) suggests that there may actually be more than six times as many children above 164 IQ than statistics would predict. Lewis Terman (1925), who designed the original Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, discovered many more children testing above 170 IQ than predicted; Dunlap (1967) discovered the same thing in his clinical work as a school psychologist in the Midwest. In several areas of the United States, including Los Angeles, northern New England, Alaska, Ohio, and Colorado, Many more children have been discovered in this IQ range than should statistically be there. We don't know how many highly gifted children exist in the population, but apparently there are more-possibly six to ten times as many more-than previously thought.

Add to that the fact that the MN users are not a representative sample of the population and are in fact a population that would tend to have a higher concentration than normal and I think you have your answer.

Or, of course, as an educator, you could continue to bristle at the very suggestion and imply people are exaggerating.

Your replies have been useful in showing me the sort of attitudes I might come across amongst teachers. I wasn't expecting that, so it's been useful in that way.

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 09:18:44

An IQ of 130 would put a child in the top 2% and 160 in the top 0.01%

Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 09:22:02

That's interesting, mrz. Do you have a link?

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 09:29:25
Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 09:32:52

Thanks. That's the Hollingworth data from 1942. Later research (Robinson 1981, Dunlap 1967) has shown that exceptionally high IQ is much more prevalent than Hollingworth thought.

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 09:46:43

I find it interesting that Mensa list of behaviours could equally apply to a child with ASD

Hmm, I think my children could be towards "moderately gifted"

School told us DD was gifted and talented all round, and DS was in maths and science. But I think he's as bright as she is, and perhaps boys typically not quite so advanced linguistically which primary schools seem to focus on (they seem quite female biased to me ?!)

So, I guess they could be towards the top 2%. Somewhere in the top 10% anyway. However it's obviously going to be statistically less likely that they (or anyone's child) are exceptionally or profoundly gifted. I wonder which of my friends children is the brightest ? Am sure I know several contenders !

I thought the behaviours in the link were interesting ...

Daughter has amazing memory, interest and concern in world events.

Son has great sense of humour, is musical, and always asking questions
(since he was very little eg aged 2 sitting in buggy "Mummy, why are the clouds moving ?" "Well dear, up high in the sky it's very windy and the wind blows the clouds along" !!)

< Where's that proud Mum emoticon ? Ahh ! Found it .... grin >

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 10:09:34

My son has all but one of the behaviours (he isn't musical although he loves music)
An unusual memory
Passing intellectual milestones early.
Reading early.
Unusual hobbies or interests or an in-depth knowledge of certain subjects.
Intolerant of other children.
An awareness of world events.
Sets himself impossibly high standards.
May be a high achiever.
Prefers to spend time with adults or in solitary pursuits.
Loves to talk.
Asks questions all the time.
Learns easily.
Developed sense of humour.
Likes to be in control.
Makes up additional rules for games.
oh and he is ASD

Takver Wed 20-Feb-13 10:14:40

"I find it interesting that Mensa list of behaviours could equally apply to a child with ASD"

Its an interesting point - I would say that my experience of the stellar super-intellectual people that I knew at college - so I suppose the top 0.5 or 1% of students - is that on the whole they didn't have the same priorities / tolerance for social niceties / compliance with general social norms as the population as a whole. And I suspect in terms of the resulting behaviour you might see quite an overlap with people with ASD.

Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 10:26:19

mrz this is a thread about flexi-schooling, in theory at least. It appears to have become a thread about whether or not my child is gifted. Frankly, that's not something I need any help with, thank-you. I've known her all her life, and my best judgement as a teacher, as a parent, and as someone who has looked into this quite extensively, is that she is probably more than moderately gifted. I don't especially care if you believe me, or think she might have ASD - if I did I'd start another thread. Frankly I think her life would be a lot easier if she wasn't so clever, but there you go - that isn't the reason for the thread.

I'm pleased for you that your son shows all the traits, and I don't doubt you for a second. I do wonder though why you are using a thread asking for people's experience of flexi-schooling to question my assessment of my daughter - a child you have never met - and to tell me how clever your DS is, like some sort of intellectual-willy-waving contest. What is your point?

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 10:39:02

You asked me for the IQ link which I posted then you commented that current research suggests that giftedness was more prevalent and I posted the Mensa link ... I assumed as often happens on threads that it had taken a whole new direction and we were no longer focusing on your "Kid" but in very discussing in very general terms able children.

You seem to have missed the fact that my son has Special Educational Needs so it isn't a matter of how clever he is rather a case of what difficulties he has faced!

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 10:39:56

and I have not suggested for a minute that a child I haven't met is ASD

Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 10:46:00


mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 10:47:44

You can start a thread but you can't dictate the direction it will take on an open forum biscuit

Sorry Machy - I like going off on tangents and found the links about giftedness interesting.

I can see it must be annoying though that generally people haven't been very accepting of what you've said about your daughter and your situation, or the idea of flexi-schooling with her ?

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 10:56:09

For the record I was not suggesting that the OPs child is ASD or gifted

Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 10:59:45

mrz I am not "dictating the direction it will take", I am asking you what your point is. It might be interesting, but I don't know what it is ....

simpson Wed 20-Feb-13 11:03:27

I'm sorry OP but I find you quite rude.

You asked mrz to provide a link and then commented on it and then have basically come back and had a go because she did something you asked her to do confused

As with threads, they can often go in a different direction than intended. This is not about whether your child is gifted or not, just the research that has been done on giftedness in general (which is quite interesting btw).

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 11:04:19

You have a strange way of asking Machadaynu

Feenie Wed 20-Feb-13 11:11:50

You seem to be having a willy waving contest all on your own, machadaynu. Very odd.

Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 11:16:25

simpson I'm just tired of all the off-topic questioning of my judgement smile I asked for a link because I suspected mrz was referring in his/her post to the research my post immediately preceding which specifically referenced the 1942 research and cast doubt on it's validity. Turns out I was right. It's annoying when people don't even read your posts, but try to undermine them anyway.

Now the thread has moved on to the similarity between highly gifted and ASD. mrz is perhaps getting the brunt of my annoyance that several posters have come on this thread not to address it's subject but to question my judgement ('she's not really reading / I've been teaching 400 years and I've never come across a child like that / you should worry about her not being interested in kids her own age / you shouldn't refer to her as 'the kid' and so on)

I only mentioned that she is quite advanced because the first posts on the thread were questioning why I would want to flexi school, as though it might just be a silly whim or a selfish idea of mine.

It's partly my fault for providing the reasons - I just wanted the thread to not whither and die before I got some more responses from people who have used the flexi approach.

Feenie Wed 20-Feb-13 11:18:29

But it doesn't matter what you're tired of. You can't control a thread, even as the OP.

Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 11:22:10

I know, Feenie Doesn't mean I can't mention that I'm getting weary of the thread's direction, though. I don't think? I'm still not sure what mrz's point was/is.

Feenie Wed 20-Feb-13 11:24:38

No, but you can probably expect people to comment on your rudeness.

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 11:28:34

I thought I was supporting your post regarding research Machadaynu!

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 11:34:37

You have to admit mrz does come up with some pretty good links ? thanks

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 11:43:17

The Independent link is a couple of years old but suggests that numbers of children flexi schooled in England are very low which may be why the OP isn't getting the response they are looking for.

Takver Wed 20-Feb-13 11:50:21

I wonder if with children below compulsory school age (which is where the OP is at now) there are rather more who aren't actually formally 'flexi-schooled' but have an informal arrangement to attend part time.

Either that or dd's school is very strange, as it seems pretty accepted there for children to do a few terms of 3 - 4 days a week, and the nursery/reception teachers don't seem to find it a problem.

It may be different though because we are in Wales and formal learning starts later here? (And also because they perhaps want the dc in and starting to speak some Welsh as early as possible, so will be flexible if they think parents will keep them out otherwise?)

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 12:00:48

It was very common for schools in England to have staggered intakes into reception, sometimes lasting up to the end of the first term, but as you have probably read on MN many working parents found this very inconvenient especially if their child had previously attended full time day care. For this reason the DfE gave parents the right to full time education from the start even if their child was not yet 5.

Runoutofideas Wed 20-Feb-13 12:04:41

I haven't read all of the thread, but in answer to the OP, I seriously considered flexi schooling my dd2. She was the youngest in the year but also very bright - (she achieved 9's in 12 out of 13 areas of the old EYFS at the end of reception).

Our very wise head teacher suggested starting her with the normal part-time phased entry - which for her went on for quite a long time being the youngest in the year, and then to just see how she went. I agreed that I would give her days off "sick" as and when I felt she needed them, or to give us a chance to do something else. In reality she ended up just going full time, because she wanted to. She enjoyed school and coped with it well from the start and I thought that socially she might struggle if she wasn't there for playtimes etc.

Looking back on it, in our case, the flexi-schooling would definitely have been more for my benefit than dd2's. I didn't really want to let go of her and "surrender" her into the school system at just turned 4.

In the case of both my children though, they both preferred yr1 onwards to reception as they like the calmer atmosphere and being told what to do. The EYFS while being great for a lot of children, does not suit all, as with 30 children in a class with lots of free choice going on, the atmosphere can seem a touch chaotic, and some children really don't like that.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 20-Feb-13 12:16:06

Hello OP.

This may seem strange but I was put off the idea of Flexi schooling because I felt my dd would miss out on the work they did in groups, and the fact she would be part time might alienate her from her peers. Especially in terms of forming and sustaining friendships and playground routines/play.
Now I'm not saying the group work is necessary nor imo is working with people just because they are the same age. However for us it was one or the other so dd opted for H.ed and as yet it is going well.
I do think it would have been hard on her from the social aspect had she been flexi schooled, but quite willing to accept thats only my opinion.

Takver Wed 20-Feb-13 12:21:23

"For this reason the DfE gave parents the right to full time education from the start even if their child was not yet 5."

Same here - they can go full time from the term following their 4th birthday (and can attend part time from the term following their 3rd birthday).

They're definitely expected to attend the full week (the missed days show as absences in their report at the end of the year) but the school are unquestionably open to negotiation if they think you won't send them otherwise!

Interesting that your dd preferred yr 1, runoutofideas. DD was very much the opposite, she thrived in reception, and didn't enjoy the change to formal learning in yr 1. (FWIW on the various ability tests, she shows up on the 99th percentile + on the whole damn lot apart from spelling, so not all 'able' children will love being sat down with a pen & paper early on.)

Here they've changed the whole of KS1 to 'early years' (can't remember the exact name) which looks like all the dc up to age 7 milling around in chaos having fun in a big melee though I'm sure it is highly structured underneath. DD would have loved it grin

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 12:27:46

"Here they've changed the whole of KS1 to 'early years'" The Foundation Phase which in reality is very similar to how many schools in England organise KS1 (well at least until the new curriculum becomes statutory)

Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 12:29:20

Thanks Runoutofideas Did you mention flexi to the head, then? I think I'd like to do a phased intro with her doing 3-4 days per week, which we can do for two terms anyway - but my worry is if she really likes that arrangement but the school/head will not agree to it beyond her 5th birthday.

I take your point about playtimes, and her social acceptance is something that would be a concern but I am comforted somewhat by remembering a girl at my school that used to live in Canada (I think) for part of the year and the UK for part of the year, so she used to turn up in our class in late-spring, stay until the end of summer term and then, presumably at some point go back to Canada. This went on for a few years. She always seemed to be accepted pretty well. Not quite the same as missing every Friday or whatever though.

It really isn't because we don't want to let go - both me and my partner remember being bored at school. I was put ahead a year (basically missed out year 1) and was still bored - and I really don't want that for the kid, but I think that, knowing her and knowing what it is like to be a teacher (albeit at secondary level) it will be very hard for the staff to engage her. I think that flexi will be of benefit both to her and the staff at the school because I could structure work that she could take with her to school too if that was appropriate.

Takver Wed 20-Feb-13 12:33:02

Thanks for that mrz, I knew it had a special name but couldn't remember it! It sounds great from what people with younger dc say, shame dd was too old and just missed it.

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 12:39:55

As a reception teacher I've had both experiences - a child the school suggested wasn't ready for full time education so only attended part time ...after about a tern the reception children would tell her she was on the wrong carpet and she should be in the nursery room (we have a FSU mixed nursery and reception) so her parents decided they wanted her to attend full time from that point. Another child started full time with the rest of the class but moved away to return in the final term and was accepted straight back into the class as if they had been going a few days rather than half a year ...

morethanpotatoprints Wed 20-Feb-13 12:44:37


Thanks for the last post. Had often wondered what it would be like if dd went back to her old class, she left in July but has regular contact with the school and some friends there.thanks

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 12:50:26

I think it depends on individual "personalities" rather than "systems" the second child had very good social skills and had established friendships in nursery and the short time they were in reception so found it easier to re establish herself in the group whereas the first child was socially and emotionally less mature.

Takver Wed 20-Feb-13 13:05:32

DD definitely didn't have any social issues with attending 4 days, but that may have been because it was the norm for children to have friends in both older and younger groups (so including part timers) as its quite a small school.

sittinginthesun Wed 20-Feb-13 14:13:52

Can I just ask a probably stupid, but genuine, question - why flexi school? What benefits are there?

I can understand if a very young child is tired and overwhelmed, then starting part time may be sensible, but with a view to building up to full time.

I can understand a child who is not suited to school being home schooled.

I can understand a parent who believes that home schooling is better for their child/family to home school.

I can sort of understand an older child who is not being stretched at school being out of school for part time to stretch sideways etc (although I would hope a school would handle that within the school itself).

But, what benefit is there to launch straight in with the long term intention of flexi schooling?

My feeling has always been that if you are going to take anything on, it should be with your total enthusiasm and commitment. Otherwise it send out mixed messages. So, if you are going to commit to a school, then throw yourself in.

And we all flexi school to some extent - afternoon, weekends, holidays. The education certainly doesn't stop at school.

Reading this thread, it seems to be an awful lot of hassle (asking the Head, justifying your reasoning etc), so why???

inthesark Wed 20-Feb-13 14:28:41

We flexi-school one day a week, although we get away with it because we don't call it that (important, otherwise it would 'set a precedent').

We do it because DD is very good at some things and very bad at others, and so the head agreed that a day out concentrating more on the things that she is bad at would be beneficial.

But crucially, it is a structured event, so they can say 'educated off-site' with good grace.

BranchingOut Wed 20-Feb-13 14:48:29

I am bowing out of this thread. I wish you all the best, OP and certainly don't want to get into some kind of online argument about something that has little bearing on me or my many successful years teaching this age group. For what it is worth, I have always endeavoured to stretch those who were of high ability, even though I encountered very few who were significantly outside the normal range.

I am sure that your daughter will hugely enjoy her time at home if you are successful in flexi schooling, just as she will get lots out of her time in Reception class, albeit benefits that you might not expect.

Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 14:52:23


There are logistics - full time HE requires one parent to not be at work every day. We've done that for three years, and bluntly cannot afford to do it any more.

There are also the very good reasons you outline. All the research suggests that the larger the difference between the level the child is operating at and the average level of the class, the less likely it is that the school will be able to manage. They manage fairly well with the moderately gifted, but less so with the more gifted. This article might be of interest It makes the point that there is a difference between a gifted child (which a good school can deal with) and a "highly gifted" child, which a school generally cannot. The following is from it:

"Many teachers work on the assumption that gifted children comprise a relatively homogeneous group - and this misconception places the highly gifted at risk through misidentification, seriously inadequate curriculum provision, and inappropriate grade placement (Gross, 1992a, 1993).

Gifted pre-school children are at particular risk. Few gifted programs exist for children in this age-group; consequently pre-school teachers are likely to have had neither training on how to recognize these children, nor the opportunity of seeing the level they can work at when they are presented with appropriate learning experiences."

The fear we have, and which I am trying to come up with a plan to deal with by gathering information about our options, is that the kid is what the article refers to as "highly gifted" and as such will be bored in school, as her parents and biological uncles were before her. I don't feel that for her it will present any great issue missing one day a week in school 'learning' something she already knows, to spend a day investigating something else.

It is hassle - not least because it means one of us can't work that day, and we have to prepare work and so on. We'd want to do it if it was in the best interests of our child, same reason we do anything.

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 14:56:37

If you think your child may fall under a "highly gifted" label you could consider an EP assessment

Machadaynu Wed 20-Feb-13 15:10:48

That's interesting mrz Do you have any experience of someone getting an EP assessment done on those grounds? I'm not sure that there are resources available to help, are there? Would the school have to request the assessment?

mrz Wed 20-Feb-13 15:14:11

I think one of the links I posted mentioned a 4 year old with an EP assessment parents can request an assessment before a child starts school via a GP /health visitor or pay for a private assessment

morethanpotatoprints Wed 20-Feb-13 16:16:28


I think it depends on what sort of education you and your child want tbh.
I know several H.ed families where both parents work.
They tend to use childcare when they need to, or parents alternate between work and home. One of the benefits of H.ed is you don't need to start and finish at a particular time. My dd is working on a Geography project now and started at, tomorrow she may only do a couple of hours.

I do sympathise with you as school couldn't help my dd either, not that I would expect them to be able to. (non academeic G&T)
If you have a G&T child in any subject, if they are off the radar you need to look elsewhere.
Not that this was dds only reason, there were several.
I hope you find the answer.

Saracen Thu 21-Feb-13 00:26:18

Have you joined the Facebook group "Flexischooling Families UK"? I have no idea what it's like, but people seem to have been talking it up lately. Perhaps you will find some people there who have experience.

A number of my home ed friends have wanted flexischooling arrangements for various reasons. It seems to be somewhat unusual for schools to be happy to carry on with it the longer term. Schools, like institutions of all sorts, have their ways of doing things. For reasons of efficiency it is difficult for them to accommodate variations to the plan.

I'm not sure you are recognising that the logistical difficulties for the school may be great. As you may have seen from some of the comments here, they take seriously their responsibility to deliver a complete curriculum and are unlikely to agree with your view that some parts of the standard curriculum aren't essential to your particular child. Because of this, they will be wanting to look at how to ensure your child doesn't "miss out" and thereby get an inadequate education. This takes time, planning and communication on their part as well as yours.

I agree with morethanpotatoprints that an alternative for you might be to explore more thoroughly the ways in which you could home educate while working. It isn't easy, but then neither is conforming to the school system when you don't expect it will be a good fit for your child. Many families do work and HE.

Floggingmolly Thu 21-Feb-13 11:44:27

What is a non academic G & T child, and what's the relevance of being so in an educational environment???

mrz Thu 21-Feb-13 12:12:32

musically gifted, an artist, dancer, sports

mummytime Thu 21-Feb-13 12:44:02

A non academic G and T child is one whose talents lie outside the normal academic subjects eg. A talented dancer or singer or sports person. The relevance to school is they may miss quite a lot of school, or that teachers need to be aware of their outside school commitments and hence how tired they are/or stress over homework.

OP I think boredom is good for children, especially if they have freedom to explore their own interests without adult input. My own gifted child (a professional recently said that extreme giftedness can be an SEN, when discussing her) was not at all bored at reception age, as there is a lot of learning by playing, and a lot to learn, most of it not academic.

In your situation I would want to find a school which had an interesting and diverse curriculum, and gave her lots of opportunities to explore. If this was not possible then I would want to homeschool.

Takver Thu 21-Feb-13 13:38:10

"freedom to explore their own interests without adult input"

mummytime, you've summed up exactly why we wanted to keep dd out of full time school a little longer. Realistically, a 4 year old attending full time doesn't have that much energy left in the evenings (or even that much time once you allow for meals and a reasonable bed-time), and we were really keen for dd to have just a bit longer to hang out in the woods / collect leaves and sticks / dig up worms / play with her dolls / build lego with no educational purpose to any of it.

TBH if we were in England we'd have probably just kept her out of school entirely until she was rising 5 but because of the language issue it seemed better given school were willing to send her on a flexi basis earlier.

Obviously as children get older, they have a later bedtime and more energy for other interests outside school, so it isn't such an issue. Though I'd still love it if school were only 4 days a week (maybe 4 longer days) - can't see it happening though smile

I am watching this with interest as my dd1 will be starting in September and is summer born. We have been home-schooling so far. We are considering our options regarding part-days, full-time and possibly flexi-schooling.

With regard to the prime areas of the EYFS (link to framework here see page 7 and 8), if we go by each section I do not see how your daughter's development would be significantly impacted by attending for part of the week.

Communication and language

Listening and attention, Understanding and Speaking sub sections would all be met several times over within 3-4 days in school plus would occur at home and in home-based social situations.

Physical development

Moving and handling and health and self-care could be covered at home easily and would be reinforced in the 3-4 days in school.

Personal, social and emotional development

Self-confidence and self-awareness, Managing feelings and behaviour and Making relationships all require regular contact with a group of children. This would not have to be 5 days a week. Many home-schoolers achieve all this in mixed-age groups without their children being in school at all.

In the course of our history many have managed to raise and school children within a community setting, the school system does not have a monopoly on education. Learning is a continuous process for all of us, it does not end when you leave the classroom.

Ultimately you do know your child better than any teacher. Children often display behaviours or skills in the environment that they are most comfortable in that they do not elsewhere. One of the reasons (though not the only) I would guess that schools like to do a home visit prior to your child starting reception.

dixiechick1975 Thu 21-Feb-13 17:52:21

Have you explored all options locallly?

You are sounding as though you want to homeschool but can't due to needing to work part time at least.

I know a few miles from us is a Montessori that is 4 days a week. Fee paying but nothing like usual private fees. Mumsnet has a homeschool area - there may be options locally to you group wise to make work and homeschool doable.

If you do flex school think carefully re the day she has off. I feel much more involved going to the assembly every Friday (open to parents) - I can easily see how much a child would feel left out missing that.

My dd has a disability needing hospital apts. I'm very conscious to avoid time out eg I beg for 4pm apts. I don't want to give dd an extra hurdle to overcome catching up work and make her even more different by being absent a lot. I vividly recall Zoe from my primary days who missed school a lot for health reasons - not bullied but always on the outside of things (she was a veggie when no one else was and withdrawn from collective worship aswell)

morethanpotatoprints Thu 21-Feb-13 21:29:18


The relevance of G&T non academic is basically what others said about tiredness, incomplete homework, missing lots of school. Also when at school spending all day doing mainly academic subjects which of course are important, but can be done in far more detail and shorter time at home.

This was my daughter until this academic year, and so far H.ed has offered her huge benefits and works well for us as a family. She attended from reception until the end of Y3.

Sorry,havent read whole thread but we have flexi'd for a few years. It works really well for us. To whoever asked about the benefits of flexi, it's the best of both worlds. I think that both home ed and school have benefits, so flexi gives us experience of both.

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