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Would you change your 4 years olds school?

(27 Posts)
ilovetulips Tue 04-Jan-11 12:08:16

Ok have namechanged for this.

My youngest ds is an august born 4 year old and in his first year in reception at an 'outstanding' c of e village primary.

The school is always over subscribed and on paper is an excellent school.

He is in a class of 30, quite alot of them are summer born too. He seems happy to go and has made some nice little friends.

But there has been quite alot of disruption to the class as his teacher has been mostly off sick since he started and things have been rather disjointed.

Anyway I have been going in to school to help out and have been a little disconcerted about some things. The classroom is small and to me it just seemed that many of the children were just messing about on their own, mostly the girls were doing something like a jigsaw or playing the dolls in the corner or writing at a table, but many of them were just being loud and noisy, including my ds.

He still cannot write his name, that in itself doesn't bother me, but the fact that he isn't being shown how to write it. How is he supposed to learn?

But what concerns me is the fact that when he moves into year 1 he will be expected to sit at a table and write and read.

So I am thinking of looking at a private school, where the classes are smaller and hopefully he would have mroe individual attention.

What would you do? Am I being to hasty?

Just want to do whats best for him.

GrizzlyMacDuff Tue 04-Jan-11 12:13:34

yes you are being hasty. It is not likely to be full on schooling for them at this age. He has only done one term, it is my understanding that they introduce the formal schooling processes gradually this year.

Have you raised concerns over the unruly children? is the teacher situation likely to change in year 1, what has the HT said about this? How do you know he is not being shown how to write his name? how many hours do you spend in the school? Are you professionally trained as a teacher? if you have not raised concerns, this is your first port of call imo, you cannot just remove your child because of issues this like that may be resolvable, and may also occur in private school too, private school teachers get sick too I am sure.

Unless of course you wish your child to be privately educated and have the absolute guaranteed means to fund this for the rest of his academic life.

ilovetulips Tue 04-Jan-11 12:26:10

Yes I have raised concerns regarding the boisterous boys.

I have also mentioned the fact that he doesn't write his name and was told not to worry it will come in time, but the fact that he is an august born boy I do find myself worrying.

He would have a different teacher in year 1, but I think this first year is really important and the fact that his teacher hasn't been there very often does worry me and the effect it will have on him. Ofcourse there is a supply teacher but it isn't the same.

For the record I am not the only parent who is concerned.

GrizzlyMacDuff Tue 04-Jan-11 12:30:16

i think the biggest issue here is that there is a supply teacher/no consistency, and that is going to change in yr 1, so, while i understand your issues, i would give it longer, but if there are other concerns by other parents, that is a judgment only you can make. I would be reluctant myself if he is happy and making friends - half the battle of school imo, at this age at least.

ilovetulips Tue 04-Jan-11 12:46:30

I can't help but think that moving him now into a smaller class is a no brainer, surely?

allnightlong Tue 04-Jan-11 13:12:57

tulips We are going private for many of the issues you raise. Our local school is in a very small village school with a one class intake and up to the full 30-32 pupil limit in many cases and with almost no outdoor space.
Smaller classes imo are far better for small children more time to gove individual attention. But too small and it can make finding friends difficult, I would stay clear of schools with less than 15 in a class.

The loud nosie and running would concern me it makes there sound like their is little control and direction in the class, fine for reception but not so much latter years.
A good school would allow the reception children to have plenty of play time but steer them towards an activity that has some benefit or instruct them to play nicely not run around wild.

You've given it a term that's plenty of time, just because on paper a school sounds great doesn't always mean it is great in practise.

IndigoBell Tue 04-Jan-11 21:05:08

tulips - reception is meant to be 'learning through play'. They are meant to be mucking around, playing dollies or being boisterous.

Your child is only 4. Let him be 4.

Even in Year 1 they still do a fair bit of 'learning though play'.

A private school will probably have a more pushy nature. Is that the kind of environment you will feel comfortable with? Do you want your wee 4 year old forced to sit down and write?

Do you really think what age he writes his name is going to effect whether he is happy in life or not?

ilovetulips Wed 05-Jan-11 09:55:48

Why are so many people against a private education?

I know reception is all about playing. Structured play, as in, painting, construction toys, playing with sand or water, playing with dolls, etc. Ofcourse this is what I want for my 4 year old ds.

But what I saw wasn't really structured, more of a noisy classroom with a lot of the boys just doing there own thing.

And if you read my first post properly it states that my worry about reading and writing is when he goes into year one, not now in reception.

IndigoBell Wed 05-Jan-11 12:09:01

If you know you want to send your kid private - why are you asking us what we think?

Why am I against private education? Because it is elitist and not inclusive and doesn't give your child a well rounded education (because of the elitism of it) and because it is competitive and because pushing children is bad (they need to learn to be self motivated instead) and because they're normally not local and because they're a huge amount of money and because.......

And because there is absolutely no guarantee at all that just because you pay for it you actually get a better education. There are fabulous and dire state schools and fabulous and dire private schools.

If your school sounded dire I'd be more sympathetic - but it really doesn't.

However it does sound like you want to send your kid private. So do! But don't ask us what we think.

ilovetulips Wed 05-Jan-11 14:06:07

So aggressive indigo??

I was replying to your post re - parents being against private schools.

So you have first hand experience of a private education then?

And don't refer to my ds as kid, thank you.

ampere Wed 05-Jan-11 19:29:24

Perhaps had you written: Should I investigate alternative schools, maybe those that don't get outstanding OFSTEDS thus may not be so over subscribed? Rather than the apparent assumption that smaller class private is the obvious alternative.

FWIW I have many friends with DCs in private. One has found that it's fine whilst your DC conforms to the obviously narrower personality/academic ability of the chosen school (that's how they select!) but falls over badly if your DC deviates. Others have found the academic pressure on young kids daunting.

You may need to research a school that has a better 'fit' for your DC but that doesn't necessarily mean private, esp with an August born who may seriously struggle with the expectations at a private school as it may well be full of the concerned, middle class parents ( whispers; pushy?!) from your primary's offspring who feel their DC isn't 'achieving' therefore are buying a school that does achieve. They do this in various ways, not least of which is more pressure, which is fine if that's what you want and that's what suits your DS. But please don't assume 'private' means 'better'. And please be sure you can afford it for 14 years.

My feeling is that your final line in reply to indigo clinches it 'And don't refer to my ds as kid, thank you.'...hmm . You could be told 'Don't post on a public forum if you don't want a cross section of society's replies'...

ilovetulips Wed 05-Jan-11 20:02:29

Ok ampere I hear you...

I am not a pushy mother, just a worried mother, maybe worrying too much and even unnecessarily.

I also have friends with children in private schools, they are all happy that there children are in a smaller class, are in a more nurtured environment, have more time spent with them one to one, to help them with their spellings and reading etc.. how can this be so bad?

All the schools in our area are a class size of 30 and this is the main worry I have at his present school... so would be daft to move him to one of these.

Maybe I was naive in coming on here as a concerned and worried mum for her young son, because obviously the majority of you who have replied have done nothing but snipey and patronising.

sue52 Wed 05-Jan-11 20:19:13

Like you I was concerned when my DD started reception. There seemed a lack of structure and not much emphasis on learning, too much playiong around I thought. In year 1 things changed, the pace picked up and the children really started to fly with their maths and english skills.

By year 6 there were 35 children in DD's class but 100% scored level 4 in their sats and more than half scored all level 5s.

Move to private if that is what you want but I do feel one term is very early to judge.

ilovetulips Wed 05-Jan-11 20:24:34

That's good to know Sue... I think my main worry is that he's the youngest in his class and a boy to boot do some something now rather than in a years time?? I just don't know, but I can't help this niggling worry I have.

sue52 Wed 05-Jan-11 20:29:49

It's not an easy decision to make and each child has different needs. Good luck with your choice.

llareggub Wed 05-Jan-11 20:36:41

From what I've read you seem pretty annoyed that people aren't agreeing with you. If you want to go private, do so. It doesn't automatically mean a better education, far from it!

Ultimately you will do what you think is best, but having a go because people don't agree with you isn't on. Not much point in posting, really?

To be honest I'm surprised that you've been allowed to help out in your child's (is that better?) classroom. Most schools seem to have a policy against this. Surely, if you are unhappy about the classroom management your first step should be to discuss your concerns with the school before digging deep into your pocket and committing yourself to years of school fees?

ilovetulips Wed 05-Jan-11 20:43:26

I wasn't having a go, just reacting to the way people air their views.

I have discussed my worries to school.

LynetteScavo Wed 05-Jan-11 20:52:38

So basically you want your son to be more nurtured, and to receive more individual attention?

If you can find a school which can provide that, and you can afford to pay for it then, yes, indeed do send him to which ever school you consider best.

cory Thu 06-Jan-11 09:12:00

What is so wrong about referring to a child as kid? It's what most of us do, isn't it? Usually affectionately. Perhaps posters who find this objectionable could indicate it in their OP so that we do not offend unintentionally? Easily done if you don't know that a certain poster has problems with a commonly used word.

Other than that, good luck with your choice.
Personally, I would not worry about whether my child could write his name or not: many boys of this age- particularly August born - are simply not physically ready to write. Pushing them too early can do a lot of damage to their self esteem. However, the unruliness of the classroom would concern me more and may well be a reason for looking elsewhere.

Smithagain Thu 06-Jan-11 19:44:04

By all means look at other schools, but look at other state schools as well as private ones. And that includes any that are not "Outstanding". You may find what you are looking for in a surprising place.

FWIW, my children's school has full classes of 30 children in Reception. The Reception classroom is busy and bustling and the children choose their own activities for the vast majority of the time. But they do learn to read and write, they spend part of the day doing activities in small groups, with plenty of attention from the teacher and TA. And it is not chaotic - just full of busy, happy children.

In Year 1, they gradually move towards a more structured environment, but there is still a lot of play. DD2 is in Yr1 at the moment - DD1 is in Yr4. Both are making very good progress.

Personally, I much prefer the atmosphere in this (Ofsted "Satisfactory") school than anything I've heard about the "Outstanding" pre-prep school up the road, which my friend's children attend. Judging by her descriptions, the Nursery and Reception children spend far more time sitting at desks doing formal learning. And they get very dull, repetitive homework from a ridiculously early age.

ilovetulips Thu 06-Jan-11 20:41:09

Thank you smithagain for your message,it was very reassuring and good to read that your dd's are doing well...

It's not an easy decision, I have a few schools lined up to view, so hopefully my gut instinct will kick in and help me out with a really hard decision.

follygirl Fri 07-Jan-11 19:20:18

My july born ds is in Reception too. He went full time in September.

He is at an independent school which is fantastic. I appreciate that some independent schools may be viewed as 'pushy' (my academic dd is at one and loves it) however my ds' school is anything but. He is in a class of 18 and is getting the nurturing and attention he needs. His teacher is completely aware that he is not 'ready' for some things and is not pushing him or concerned and neither am I. Since he has started school he has learnt most of his letters and is starting to read very small sentences. He can't write properly yet as he doesn't have the manual dexterity and I've no idea what his maths is like but he's doing well and more importantly he loves his school. He has just started colouring which is fantastic. He does sport every day, swims once a week and skips into school everyday.

I'm not saying that all independent schools are good, far from it. I'm just saying that if you are considering going down the private route, have a look around and see what is out there.

Good luck.

ilovetulips Fri 07-Jan-11 20:43:48

Thank you follygirl

We are going to look at a school next week, it is not a pushy academic one, but one that promises to cater for the individual need of the child, nurture them and help them grow confidence.

It has music and swimming lessons too. The outside play area is very appealing to me too.

There is another that is a little nearer to home, but is alot more academic and although it has a brilliant reputation I don't think that it's the right one. I will go and look though just to get the feel of it.

It's good to know that your ds is thriving and that you are happy with your decision.

follygirl Fri 07-Jan-11 23:05:53

Hope the other school will suit your ds more. If you have the ability to explore other options for him it would seem madness not to do so.

Sophie921 Sat 08-Jan-11 02:32:38

I think you have a valid worry. However your sons school must be fairly good if it has achieved an outstanding. So you need to get to the bottom of the problem to find out why or more importantly when they start learning to write.

My son was 4 on the 5th January and has just started in the nursery of a private school and lots of children there are just learning the basics of the alphabet and although my son learnt to read and write in his previous nursery he is now being taught the alphabet again which is a little frustrating for me.

However what I understand is that the first year is about getting the children to act as a unit and not so much actual learning. His class has 24 children which is not so different to state schools so check class sizes before you change. Also there are unruly children in private schools because some parent actually send their kids to private schools to tame them.

Just like you are wondering if you should send your child private, I am wondering why I have!

Good luck.

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