AIBU - DD2 will be only Reception Year child at the school(53 Posts)
My 2 DDs (5 year old in Reception, 4 year old in Nursery class) are at a small independent school, I have been very happy with this for the 5 year old but I am now concerned about the 4 year old entering Reception in September. I have just found out that she is going to be the only Reception year child, I knew there wouldn't be many and had already spoken to the school about this.
They have mixed classes, this year Reception has been with Yr1, but in September they have said that they are reverting back to Nursery and Reception together. It depends on how many children they have in each year which classes they mix.
I have major concerns about this.
My 4 year old already works at Reception level, and the school have acknowledged this, they said that she was more than capable of working in a mixed Yr1/Yr2 class in September which is what I wanted really rather than being in a class where 80% or so were Nursery children and the other 20% Reception. I feel that the dynamics of a class like that are wrong, particularly if a child is capable of working at a higher than expected level. And also from the point of view of maturity, some of the just turned 3 year olds that started after Easter seem quite babylike and with the mass of the class being much younger the class feels 'wrong' for what I want to be paying for. Anyway I was talked into it being ok and assured that work would be differentiated for her, I still had my reservations though.
Now with the latest news I don't want her as the only Reception child in a class with just Nursery children, I would like her in the Yr1/Yr2 class. She knows all these children well and they are friends, earlier in the year Reception did do some stuff with Nursery, and they do PE together etc. It seems a case of her either being with the year younger or older, and I think older is best. Then there is the question of what happens at Yr 5/6. I could take both girls to a different school now but where at this late stage, and actually I am happy with the school for DD1.
I really am interested in hearing different viewpoints, I want to see if there is something I am not considering here.
the reception year is still all about learning through play in state primaries
Nursey and reception are both working the foundation stage of the curriculum, they move onto key stage 1 in year one.
Foundations stage is very much about professing things on an individual basis at each child's own rate, and with the play based learning this is easily possible so don't think that your child will be held back in any way.
Reception is still within the Foundation Stage therefore it would seem more sensible to mix with the Nursery children. Maybe they also have reservatiosn about siblings being together. It might work better for one than the otheri i they are together and it is harder for the teacher to differentiate work across 3 year groups.
Even independent schools have to follow EYFS, so they can't call her reception and then put her into KS1. They could, I suppose, accelerate her a year by moving her into Yr1, essentially missing out reception altogether. But is she really ready for this? And if she does go up a year, what will this mean when she comes to transfer to her next school?
I've just had dd1 (summer born) yr1 in the Yr1 half of a reception/ Yr1 class and tbh i don't feel it has challenged her or pushed her at all.
My feeling have not been helped by the fact that over half her peers have been in a Y1/Y2 class which imho has been working at a different level. It's not just accademically, I think the social expections and learning environment for the two classes have been completely different.
With the hindsight of our past year I would seriously be looking around, particularly as she is the only child in her year.
Since she is the only child in reception, it's not about mixing nursery and reception or mixing reception and Y1/2, it's about mixing HER with either of these year groups.
Have you asked the school WHY they want to do this? It does seem a backwards step for her.
I think it won't do any harm at all at this stage...and this from a parent with 2 DDS also at a tiny independant school.
Our recption and nursery are together too and there's so little difference at this age...maybe some are further ahead but I'm sure that the school will give her suitable work.
If I were you I would look at moving thm both for next year. No harm at this early stage.
The other issue which leapt out from you post is the very small size of the school, and this very unusually small reception class. Are they attracting enough children to be financially viable?
From a school/learning perspective I wouldn't worry too much about the mixed class - good teachers can handle that and as others have said it makes sense to mix Nursery with Reception as it's all the same stage of the curriculum. I'd also be happier not having my children in the same class if it was an option to be honest.
Without wishing to worry you, I'd probably be more concerned about the financial viability of the school - only 1 child in Reception seems a bit concerning even if it is a small school priding itself on small class sizes, individual attention etc. Do you see financial statements for the school? I'd ask some questions about how secure it is in your position and then see where you go from there...
I agree that reception is foundation stage..year one is a different kettle of fish...rather better to be ahead of your eers than struggling to catch up...imagine if some of year 1 are working 2 years ahead of their age? Your DD could suffer confidence issues.
As far as the financial status is concerned...if it is a long established school there are usually many provisions in place...ours is small but we are still handing out bursaries.
I don't have any concerns about the financial viability of the school, it is attached to a church and heavily funded by the church and always will be I think (we are not part of the church by the way and majority of pupils are not either).
They will both be in the same class anyway in future years, every other year (that is if they stay with this current set up of class mixes).
As the only child in a year though when she moves through the classes she will never be staying with a group (albeit a small group) of other children. She will never have a set of children with her every year, she will be on her own, while everyone else moves with the children who are consistently in the same class.
She is perfectly capable of working with the average level of the year above the school agreed with this.
I haven't spoken to the school since finding out that she will be the only child in Reception.
Same here evolucy....ours is also attached to a church. In our school, we had a umber of children arrive at the begining of year 2...from local state schools. Could the same thing happen at yours?
It is always a concern...small schools are fabulous in some ways...the attention each child receives is great....as is the family atmosphere. I do worry about secondary...what if my DDs don't pass for independant secondary? They will have a mssive adjustment from tiny private to huge state school.
It is with this in mind that I am seeing how hings feel over the next year...I may move them both.
Also, if you would like the school to grow you could do as some of our parents have and help to publisize the place...we had a free drama day...where kids came in and had workshops all day and then a performance at the end for the parents.
We also photograph every single happening...and get it in the paper.
Our numbers are growing.
If she is working above her level, I would ask the school to place her with the older children. It is no big deal to be a little younger if she is bright- she will make great progress and would have her sister too.
How many are in the other year groups?
I wouldn't like the idea of being the only reception, especially as you have said that the other she is with will change every year. That means her friendship groups will have to change every year in class which I wouldn't like.
Also if she was put into the yr1/2 class straight away surely she would then end up spending 3 years in that class?
Ragdoll - yes they are currently trying to attract more pupils, had an open day and advertising etc. I too love the attention that they get, I attended the same school as a child and really like the school ethos that hasn't changed. Yes a few children do seem to join higher up the school, so that could happen.
Sirzy - In DD1 year (current reception) there are 7 children and in Yr 1 there are 5. Yes I have thought about her spending 3 years in the Yr1/2 class and wondered whether the plan in 2 years time is that provided she is capable of course she should move to the next class with the year above her.
Our free drama day garnered lots of locals who otherwise may have thought independent education was not an option...
My DS is in reception and I have found that nursery and reception (both in the same school) have been very different from eachother. I would be very unhappy about a child who was supposed to be in reception doing another year in nursery.
I agree about the foundation stage curriculum viewpoint.
However I work in SN school and we have Yr R/KS1 mixed classes ( theres 2). The children are working below the expected level but the 2 classes are split by ability (as well as physical/medical needs) so it can happen.
Can I ask when your DD is 5? With a summer born DS <late Aug> IME this may be the consideration as well as her aceademic ability. For DS it would have been better for him to stay with nusery <in your situation> as he's quite young for his age and there would have been children a few months younger even though a year below iyswim?
If she will be 5 in September <or early in year> then I think thats important. There will be yr 1 children who have only just turned 5 and so she'll have a peer group socially as well as being able aceademically to cope with the work.
IME year 1 tend to still learn through play as much as 'formal' learning so she'll get the best of both worlds.
YANBU to get the best for DD especially when your paying extra for the service.
I think for a lot of children - even ones who appear bright - doing year 1/2 work when they are reception age would be to much so soon for them.
I have worked with mixed foundation/ks1 classes and the foundation stage pupils have spent a lot of time with the classroom assistant rather than the teacher.
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