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to think the whole "phasing in" thing at school is just a PITA!

(293 Posts)
Maggietess Sun 01-Sep-13 12:14:32

DD2 starts school tomorrow, the equivalent of reception class. We have first day she stays for an hour with mum or dad (great idea). Rest of this week shes in for 2 1/2 hours a day (OK I'm still with the idea in general).

Then some more kids start next week so we've another week of in til 1130.
Then the week after its 1230.
Then finally in the 4th week it's full day til 2.

And this is the improved version of settling in, it used to take nearly til halloween to get them all in with a couple of kids starting every day.

I can understand the teachers needing a couple of days, even a week to properly get to know everyone but is 3 full weeks of it not a bit ott???

They then repeat a slightly shortened version of this in P1.

Add to that that our junior school finishes at 2 and senior school at 3 and you have some parents doing collections at 12.30, 2 and 3. Total pita.

Surely its all just a bit unnecessary given that most kids these days will have been at some form of nursery before??

Or AIBtotallyU?

Therealamandaclarke Wed 04-Sep-13 08:40:36

It is true that the purpose of school is education rather than childcare. But that's no reason to make things difficult for working parents.
Most ppl need to work, and the govt encourages this. It's vital for our economy.
Schools are in a great position to be part of a solution. Education and childcare do not need to be mutually exclusive.
It seems sometimes there is an attitude from schools that they want to make things difficult just o make a point, to keep parents and pupils in line. "School knows best."
If a child is not able to start "ft" at the beginning of term this could be arranged on an individual basis.

The whole process of starting education seems to be weighted against any goal of parental sanity. Right from the nursery admissions stage.

Maggietess Tue 03-Sep-13 23:26:56

Ahhh damn phone third time lucky morgause (I hope!)

Maggietess Tue 03-Sep-13 23:26:22

*Morgannwg sorry spelt your name wrong!!!

And yyy oblamov

Maggietess Tue 03-Sep-13 23:25:40

Maurgose I'm intrigued as to this "experience and research" that shows it's better for the kids... I don't think it does. But happy to be proved wrong as I'm genuinely keen to understand this.

I don't believe there can be such research as otherwise every school would be following the guidelines and they'd be following some government regulations (since the government love adding regulation for all early years!!!).

jellybeans Tue 03-Sep-13 14:40:34

I think a choice is a good idea. Working parents can choose f/t straight away and anyone who wants to ease DC in can choose p/t. My twins were prem and very end Aug. They were so young/tired/not ready and could have done with a term p/t. DS3 should be fine as he is Autumn born and very advanced. He has also done almost 2 years pre school. So 1-2 weeks is OK for him.

Lampshadeofdoom Tue 03-Sep-13 11:13:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Quenelle Tue 03-Sep-13 10:55:11

DS's school couldn't offer a full time place from the start of term even if I screamed blue murder, the teacher and TAs are all out doing home visits for the first week and a half. There is nobody there to conduct a class.

I find it bizarre frankly, but they say this has proven to be the best way.

TravelinColour Tue 03-Sep-13 10:09:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

5madthings Tue 03-Sep-13 09:16:08

Exactly what oblomov said and I also jit politely spoke to the school, pointed out the law (along with many other parents) and we were then given the option, those that wanted part time has it, those that wanted full time had it, worked fine.

Oblomov Tue 03-Sep-13 08:29:35

"experience and research show it's what's best for the children"
That's not true. I have seen no research or experience that proves anything. Teachers have posted that they do not see it pas particularly beneficial for the children.
Plus, just about every single poster, has stated that their school does it slightly differently.
Which again, disproves the above point.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 03-Sep-13 08:24:52

But as a pp already pointed out, all schools do it differently therefore there is no one way that appears to be any more effective than any other so how can it be about what's best for the child? Or they would all do the same thing?

What's unsettling is a complete non existence of a routine, new kids starting daily/ weekly and not knowing when you are next going. Seeing your friends leaving as you arrive.

Hulababy Tue 03-Sep-13 08:08:01

Nooka - in many schools the numbers changed too much year on year. Some years may allow a nice two class split but other times not. All it takes is to end up with 32 September starters one year rather than 30 and it messes that system up.

Morgause Tue 03-Sep-13 07:58:02

School is a lot different from nursery. It isn't childcare. Schools do it because experience and research show it's what's best for the children, that's the most important thing, surely.

TravelinColour Tue 03-Sep-13 07:53:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Morgause Tue 03-Sep-13 07:16:43

Both my DCs had staggered starts and I was glad that they did. A full day would have been too much for both of them from day one.

I would have been reluctant to quote my "rights" to a headteacher, I wouldn't want to be thought of as a difficult parent before my DCs had even started.

Staggered starts, as has been said, are for the benefit of the children as a whole.

Oblomov Tue 03-Sep-13 07:05:40

Wimble, I simply sent a very polite e-mail to Head, explaining that it was going to be very hard for me to do the staggered starts.
I quouted the above law. I politely asked if anything could be done to help me/ any accomodations made.
Knowing full well, that the law meant that they HAD to, and I didn't really need to ask. They had to say yes.
It took quite a few days before she replied. I wonder if she had had any other requests/ was checking out her legal obligations. Then She e-mailed me back. Great.

Oblomov Tue 03-Sep-13 07:01:10

the facts are :

The recent change in the law means there is an entitlement to a full time place from the beginning of term. Some parents, particularly working parents, may need to access this immediately.
Parents are within their rights to expect a full time place from the first day of the September term in the school at which their child has been allocated a place.
It is therefore important that each school ensures their policy on how children are admitted into the school is made clear to all families.
At Parental introduction meetings, staggered starts can be discussed, but it should be made clear to the parents, that alternative accommodations can be made.

The link , on the law change, is here:

zipzap Tue 03-Sep-13 00:07:15

sheridand one of the reasons they got rid of that system though was that when they did studies over time they discovered that there were long term knock on effects - can't remember the exact stats but something like on average it made a couple of UCCA points difference to those that started at easter and double that for those that started in the summer.

Summer babies are much less likely to do really well at A-levels and get to good universities when they start a couple of terms behind their peers born earlier in the academic year - not least because they miss the first critical introduction to learning and only get one term of it compared to the three that those starting in september got.

I know that everyone will know somebody brilliant who has an august birthday and got straight As but it's not about the individuals, more the averages - and on average summer born dc that only had one term in reception class are something like 25% LESS likely to go to a good uni and 30% MORE likely to end up in vocational training than those that started in september of the same age. if missing a couple of terms made no difference on long term education then there would be an even distribution of birth months through universities and vocational training/those leaving school early...

It's a sobering thought that their education now at 4 & 5 really can have repercussions down the line at 18!

nooka Mon 02-Sep-13 23:34:39

Hulababy when my ds started school his whole class were January starters, and the other class had all the September starters. I guess the numbers must just have worked out with a good split that year. It certainly worked very well for us.

Maggietess Mon 02-Sep-13 22:50:09

Yup I did poll them in the corridor (shameless wink)

Maggietess Mon 02-Sep-13 22:49:08

Rhinestone this is the main crux of my argument. For some kids it will definitely be beneficial but for a large cohort it will be very difficult to explain why the routine is not what is expectes/what an older brother or sister does, and the changing nature of it (I find) really flummoxes them.

I genuinely think my dd and all bar 1 of the kids starting today would have been grand starting a bit longer today and a quick straw poll of those parents suggests those who haven't done it before felt they didn't know what was best and those who had done it before thought it was a pita that didn't benefit children, in actual fact faster would be better.

RhinestoneCowgirl Mon 02-Sep-13 21:37:25

To add a different perpective, I've just been trying to explain to DD today that she's not going to be at school all day tomorrow like her older brother (and won't be until week 4). She is desperate to be at school and have her lunchbox.

So our routine for the next two weeks will be:

Do normal walk to school, drop DS off, then walk home again with DD
Persuade her to eat lunch early
Walk back up to school to drop DD off at 12.30
Come back again alone to MN catch up on some work
Pick them both up at 3.15

Then in week 3 DD switches to mornings + lunch, then full time as normal in week 4. I haven't taken any annual leave over the summer holidays so that I can take these 2 weeks off now.

I completely understand that children need settling in time (and DS as a summer born was exhausted in the first term) but if you have more than one child there's all this to-ing and fro-ing to the school.

wimblehorse Mon 02-Sep-13 21:30:57

Oblomov what law did you quote/how did you approach this with your school? Guessing I have left it a little late to attempt something similar with dd's school (tho still 3 weeks to go until her first settling session then another 4 weeks of part-time) but I guess if they have had other approaches they may already have put something in place..

Hulababy Mon 02-Sep-13 21:30:25

sheridand - had that system here until a year ago. TBH it wasn't very popular with parents, children, and to an extent even the reception teachers.

The youngest children, who we are always told need the most support, end up going into pre-established classes and have to fit in - its busier, friendships have been made already, half the class already know routines.

When DD started school that system was still in place and DD wouldn't have started til January. It was one of the reasons I sent her to the independent school I did = because they all started together in September and without the lengthy phased starts either.

Hulababy Mon 02-Sep-13 21:27:14

Rosesarebeautiful - whilst you might not like to hear it for some parents flexibility is just not that easy. I work in an infant school. I wouldn't be allowed to take time off here and there, or "work around my child" - mainly because I have to be in a classroom looking after other people's children.

My DD's primary does FT from day 1 and there experience is that almost all children cope perfectly fine, and for the odd one that finds it harder they
offer flexibility which is organised between the teacher and parent involved.

Not all children need the phased starts. Infact many do not.

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