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To think that, actually, children start school at age 4 in Wales, the same as England?

(77 Posts)
YWurri Mon 02-Jan-17 20:46:27

We have friends in Wales who have small children. When they're still only two years old, they start going on about how they can't believe their baby is starting school soon. They say kids have to start SCHOOL age 3 there, so have always believed it.

Have looked into it, and no, they can start preschool/nursery the term after their 3rd birthday (around 10hrs a week for free), but compulsory school age is the term after a child turns 5, though most start the Sept after they turn 4.

I only had a quick Google and found these

citizens advice

British council

I've spoken to them and tried to say it's not school they're starting, but PRE School, and that their child doesn't HAVE to go (8.45am - 11am Mon-Fri, term time only) but they're having none of it.

Is it normal in Wales to think this? Or are my mates unusual?

DesignedForLife Mon 02-Jan-17 20:49:04

I'm in Wales. DD will be eligible for part time place the term after she turns 3, and full time from term that she turns 4. From what I understand compulsory education isn't till the year after

longdiling Mon 02-Jan-17 20:50:04

No they don't have to go but I can't believe you've gone to all that effort to prove them wrong grin

DesignedForLife Mon 02-Jan-17 20:50:08

Have to say naff all communication about it. I still can't figure out what I'm meant to do to apply for the above, or how many hours she will be getting.

Sybys Mon 02-Jan-17 20:51:09

It's normal, but not compulsory, to start school at age 3-4 in Wales. My primary school had a 'reception' class for this age group. All of my classmates went to reception, we didn't have any joining for the first compulsory year.

idk if it's the same in other schools.

YWurri Mon 02-Jan-17 20:52:04

long just Googled "when do children start school in Wales" and skim read a couple of pages. It took less then two mins I'd say smile

Designed - you might find those links helpful then grin

longdiling Mon 02-Jan-17 20:52:17

Designed, in my area you just ring up your school of choice and put their name down for nursery. There is no official communication about it here either.

Fortheloveofdog Mon 02-Jan-17 20:52:55

Not sure why you are quite so invested in their choices, but most children near here (South Wales) start either mornings or afternoons at their school the term after they turn 3. It's normal, and not known as pre-school, probably because they remain in the same school until yr 6.

Luckyme2 Mon 02-Jan-17 20:53:15

I'm in Wales and both DC started in reception class of primary school full time in the term they turned 4, so were 3 at the time. DD2 for example started in the April and wasn't 4 until the middle of August. She did seem very little to be fair!

Doilooklikeatourist Mon 02-Jan-17 20:56:50

I just used to pick DD up from school at lunch time ( when she was 4 )
School didn't like it , but hey ho
Not compulsory,

downwardfacingdog Mon 02-Jan-17 20:57:25

I'm in Wales. Compulsory education from term after they are 5, but most start the September after they are 4 as in England. Nursery provision varies from county to county. Where I am you get 2.5hrs a day from the term after they turn three (not compulsory) Some councils offer nursery school from age 2 and full days at nursery from 3 (usually areas with high levels of child poverty) This is all optional though.

thatstoast Mon 02-Jan-17 20:58:25

Yes it's preschool. But unless you want them to move in 2 years then really you are picking their primary school. I'm not sure I agree with it as it was ridiculous going to visit schools when my son was 2.5. Lots of people here need the free childcare though.

poorbuthappy Mon 02-Jan-17 20:58:56

In South Wales.
Yes pre school from term after 3 part time -mornings or afternoons.
Then full time school sept after 4th birthday.

I understand there are circumstances where children can attend both morning and afternoon sessions at pre school but is not usual.

longdiling Mon 02-Jan-17 20:59:38

Yeah, I've never heard it referred to as preschool round here. Some areas do start them full time from 3 which I can imagine would feel more like 'proper' school and could lead to misunderstanding about it being compulsory. Also, in my area everyone sends their kids to school nursery at 3, hardly anyone opts out and goes straight to reception which gives a kind of peer pressure feel to it.

YWurri Mon 02-Jan-17 21:01:37

Luckyme they went full time in the term they turned 4, so were still 3? Doing 9-3, Mon-Fri? That does sound different to England. Here they start in the Sept after they've turned 4.

forthelove it's because my friends seem genuinely upset and down about it. They really don't want their child to start, and keep going on about how they think she's too young (turned 3 last month). I was trying to be helpful and explain she doesn't have to go if they don't want.

IpDipCatnip Mon 02-Jan-17 21:03:59

Reception in England is for children who turn 5years old by 31/08 of the academic year. Therefore the oldest of the current academic year would have been born 01/09/2011 and youngest 31/08/2012.

Anything before this is pre-school years- funding starts the term after child turns 3.

Maybe things do differ in wales if starting at just 3 years old. In this case how many years are they at primary? Do they leave at the end of Y6 at 11years old?

YWurri Mon 02-Jan-17 21:06:06

Ah, ok, didn't realise you had to pick the school you wanted them to attend until Yr6 when they're only 2/3! Wow. Different around here as nurseries and preschools tend to be independent of schools, and/or private.

My dc1 went to a private nursery (open all year, 8-6 Mon-Fri) til he started school at 4. Dc2 at a different preschool, in another village. You can choose your Infants/Primary place completely independently.

downwardfacingdog Mon 02-Jan-17 21:07:48

Almost all nursery classes are attached to Primary Schools around here, maybe that is causing the confusion. DS1 went to nursery when we lived in England and there were very few school nurseries so he went to a private pre-school we got a voucher for. The school nursery his siblings went to is very much part of the school. Same uniform etc and they share a playground with the reception class. Feels much more like school, though all play-based learning and still not compulsory.

longdiling Mon 02-Jan-17 21:09:09

Yeah you could choose a different primary school for them for reception; being in a school's nursery is no guarantee of an actual school place, you still have to apply for reception via the Lea. Obviously though it's less disruptive if you keep them in the same place.

museumum Mon 02-Jan-17 21:11:05

My Welsh friends called what we call "school nursery" just "school" and it was pretty universal that kids went to the nursery year at their school whereas here the kids are evenly split between school nursery, private nursery and no nursery / playgroups.

allowlsthinkalot Mon 02-Jan-17 21:11:16

They don't have to go, no, but it is the norm. Like starting Reception the September after they turn four is the norm in England. Children in England and Wales don't have to be in education until the term after their fifth birthday.

allowlsthinkalot Mon 02-Jan-17 21:12:36

It's in the school, in uniform, children go to assembly and out on the yard with the rest of the children right up to year 6. So it's not really like English preschool.

downwardfacingdog Mon 02-Jan-17 21:15:26

You don't need to pick your child's school at 2! There are 44 kids in my DC's school nursery 22 morning and 22 afternoon and only 30 reception places. Some are rising 3s but lots leave and go to other schools and new ones join reception who were in daycare nurseries. School are always very careful to tell nursery parents that having a place in nursery does not give them any kind of priority on a reception place and they need to apply to the county by the formal deadlines.

JJbum Mon 02-Jan-17 21:16:08

Reception in Wales is not for 3-4 year olds. That is nursery/preschool, from the term after the 3rd birthday. In some parts of Wales that is full time. In other parts it is half days, 5 days a week. This is in a nursery unit in a school setting It is entirely and utterly optional. Preschool education can also be achieved with a CM, a private nursery or a playgroup community nursery but you have to pay for those.

Reception is from the September before the 5th birthday/after the 4th birthday. That is exactly the same as England. Schooling (not school itself) is not actually compulsory until the child turns 5, exactly the same as England. However, as in England, you risk not getting your school place if you don't take it up in the September.

The curriculum is different from in England. There are differences around school leaving age at 16 (it is a straight forward 'schooling'/education is compulsory until age 16 in Wales).

However, lots and lots of Welsh people talk about children starting school at 3, especially where the nursery day is a full day, not a half day. It is also very common to use the playgroup nurseries, especially for those planning a Welsh medium education, from the age of 2/2.5 years old.

Due to my job, where I live, where family and friends live and the ages of my children I am very sure of my facts 😉

thatstoast Mon 02-Jan-17 21:17:02

It's usually full time too. I'm hoping there's not space for my 3 year old until Sept rather than April. It's not compulsory but I don't want him to join at a different time to the rest of the cohort.

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