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part-time reception

(15 Posts)
Maria2007loveshersleep Wed 26-Sep-12 15:27:38

My DS who turned 4 this August started reception this month. He's a sociable boy, was used to full time nursery (9.30-4.00) all last year, and loves school so far. Our primary school however has a policy of only mornings- not even lunch, ie we pick up at 12.00- for months & months, for an unspecified amount of time, particularly for summer-borns. It may well be, we were told, that our son may be allowed to start full time only in the summer term.

Apart from the fact that this has led to a crazy patchwork of childcare plus all sorts of complicated arrangements for me & DH in order to be able to pick up / drop off a few times a week each, the main thing I worry about is that my DS finds it strange to be picked up at 12 & already asks me why he can't stay longer. I realise he's young & I do have concerns in terms of his age, but my gut feeling is it would be far less confusing for him to just be going full days, which he was used to anyway all last year at his nursery (which he loved too). I'm now having to settle him into school PLUS new childminder, instead of just one new environment which surely would be simpler. DH & I can manage 3.20 picks ups 3 days a week for sure, but certainly not 12.00 pick ups which can't be managed for anyone who works even a few hours. So this whole thing surely defeats the purpose of the part-time option as they won't be home at 12 anyway?!

I'm in two minds about the whole thing, as I generally believe children go to school too early in this country. However, it seems quite inflexible, in a different way, to insist on part-time reception (and until 12 only which is a nightmare for anyone who works!) even for those kids who who are ready, after having gone to nursery, and who otherwise, out of necessity, have to deal with various combinations of complicated childcare arrangements. I just feel it's more confusing this way...

Maria2007loveshersleep Wed 26-Sep-12 15:28:03

Any thoughts?

mummytime Wed 26-Sep-12 15:48:56

It doesn't work like this at every school, or even for every school intake. My 3 DC all went to the same infant school, after a month the eldest was allowed to be full time even though he was summer born, they all stayed to lunch from day 1 anyway. My second was autumn born and went full time after 2 weeks, and was a bit unhappy as she was the only autumn born girl in her class. My third was part time until half-term, as she was summer born, but they put the cut off for full time after 2 weeks was March rather than January as most of the year group were born in March and April.
The school has also had 3 heads who varied a lot in how flexible they were. But school is more tiring than nursery and there are parents who try to send their kids to school when too ill, or too tired because they have to work.

pinkdelight Thu 27-Sep-12 13:09:02

There was a thread on here about this a month or two ago, in which (if memory serves) it became clear that there was no such thing as 'not allowed' to start full-time till the summer. I'm pretty sure you can insist that he starts full-time from day one if you have to. That was the case with the OP of that thread - she couldn't manage the part-time arrangements and felt her DC was fine with full-time so she told the school that was how it was going to be, and legally they had to go with her wishes I think. Sorry I haven't done the search and found the thread, but I think if you hunt around for one about part time reception or staggered starts, it'll be the recent one with lots of replies! Good luck.

Maria2007loveshersleep Fri 28-Sep-12 09:25:27

Thanks for your reply. I just think- if it comes to a child having to spend many hours (from 12) at a childminder, which feels to me like a small nursery, they may as well be at school which feels a more appropriate environment! I can understand the part time thing on those days that parents are at home & available, but on those days that the child ends up dealing with a patchwork of childcare, part time surely defeats the purpose.

crazymum53 Fri 28-Sep-12 09:43:38

At dds primary school children who were at nursery full-time were the first group to attend "full-time" school regardless of age. This happened after only about a week or so at school.
All children were full-time after 2 or 3 weeks of mornings only.
Are you sure you've understood this correctly? Some schools allow parents of Summer born children to choose to continue with school on a part-time basis but full-time school should be the norm.

Maria2007loveshersleep Fri 28-Sep-12 09:47:31

Unfortunately at our particular school they have an extremely rigid policy of part time even until summer term (according to age). No child do far has even stayed for lunch in my son's reception year, let alone full time. In fact, many children haven't even started school yet: they do a staggered entry & last batch begin mid-October. Given that my DS is August born, I'm pessimistic about the possibility of full time any time soon. I'll plead with the teacher at least for those 2 days he's at CM, but I suspect they won't budge. This school has a reputation in the area of having a strict part time policy for all reception for very long...

prh47bridge Fri 28-Sep-12 12:30:25

If you are in England this school is breaking the rules. For this year's admissions the 2010 Admissions Code still applies. Paragraph 2.65 says that admission authorities for primary schools must provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday. The new Admissions Code has the same wording at paragraph 2.16. This provision is compulsory. The school cannot choose to stagger entry until mid-October. Parents of affected children should insist that their child starts immediately.

Don't plead with the teacher. Tell them your child will be attending full time. Point out that the foreword to the 2010 Admissions Code says, "Parents can choose for their children to start school on a part time or full time basis" and you want to choose full time. The Code itself doesn't say explicitly that you have the right to send your child full time but I would point to the foreword and argue that this is implied by paragraph 2.65 (2010 Code)/2.16 (2012 Code). If the school continues to refuse I would refer the matter to the LA. If that doesn't get you anywhere you could refer it to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Maria2007loveshersleep Fri 28-Sep-12 16:52:46

That's really interesting what you say prh, but I'm keen not to go down the 'I know my legal rights' route as I don't want to start in such a negative way with the teacher... sad I hope to find a way to discuss this in a reasonable way.

prh47bridge Fri 28-Sep-12 17:42:17

By all means be reasonable but do please gently point out to them that they are breaking the Admissions Code. If they don't fall into line other parents will continue to have problems and sooner or later someone will refer them to the LGO.

avivabeaver Fri 28-Sep-12 21:33:36

my dd3s primary has all the reception children start full time on the first day of school. I was suprised by this, but the HT said that they had tried every variation and felt that it worked best. They all got to know the ropes together, all got to make friends together etc. Parents can also opt to send their dc part-time until statutory school age as well.

ErmahgerdPerngwens Fri 28-Sep-12 21:42:06

This sounds totally different to the way all the schools do it round here, even late August born children start full time after the first couple of weeks, you have the option of part-time or deferring your place but there is a fair bit of persuasion that getting them all in full time is the best way. At our settling days last term a lot was made of having the chance to make friends, learn together, etc and people were gently discouraged from the part-time route.

letseatgrandma Fri 28-Sep-12 21:51:36

That sounds very odd! DD's school started them very slowly-as a July birthday, she only started yesterday full time BUT they are all in now.

Surely you aren't the only one who finds it a nightmare logistically?

Littlefish Fri 28-Sep-12 22:45:18

I would suggest phoning your Local Authority to discuss this with them. The school is not acting appropriately and the LA may be willing to put some weight on the school to make them change their policity.

Maria2007loveshersleep Sat 29-Sep-12 07:22:05

Yes most parents I talk to at pick ups / drop offs are complaining; and it must have been raised with the HT many times because she mentioned it very clearly at the initial parents' evening & said summer born DCs would not be full time until the spring term (!) and maybe even later (summer term). I'm appalled by this given that my DS now has to be at a CM twice a week for that many hours. I like the CM, that's not the issue at all, but surely school would be better for him than that many hours at what feels like a small nursery?! Other parents & I have been chatting about raising it at next week's parents evening but I suspect this school has done things this way for years...

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