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Could someone explain to me, in simple terms, school ?

(35 Posts)

I know that sounds daft, obviously I know what school is. What I don't know is what age a child goes to pre school, when you need to register them, applying for places etc. Is pre-school what I would have called infants? I get very confused as I am an oldish mum and all the year names have changed so when people talk about year 6 I think of A levels confused

Ds is 6 months old and it hadn't even occurred to me to be thinking about school until a friend told me that she's registered her 5 month dd at the pre school and infant school of her choice. Its not a private school just an ordinary state school. Do I need to get onto this?


jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 18:23:59

I hope this isnt a wind up. Older mum and all that.

Year groups changed sometimein the late 1980's. They went from being listed according to school level - infants 1 and 2 and Junior 1, 2 3, and 4 and senior ( sorry secondary) 12345 and L6 and U6 to being numbered all through from infants to secondary level and sixth form.

So it goes Reception (R) and then years 1 2 3 and 4 5 and 6 in primary school ( up to 11) and 7 8 9 10 and 11 ( up to 16) in secondary school. Then sixth form are years 12 and 13.

So in primary new year 6 = old 4th year , year 5 = 3rd , 4 = 2nd 3 - 1st year junior , and year 2 - top year infants amd 1 lower year infants with R - to rising fives.

In secondary year 7 would have been first year, 8 second year, 9 third year 10 fourth year and 11 fifth year.

L 6 is now year 12 and U6 is year 13.

Hope that helps ( for an oldish dad who has worked both systems)

Thank you! Not a wind up I promise. None of my friends my age have very young children so I'm a bit embarrassed to ask my younger mum friends blush

What age would you need to register a child for reception yo get into the school you prefer?

vodkaanddietirnbru Mon 08-Oct-12 18:35:08

mine didnt go to nursery/preschool until they got their funded place at age 3. They had October and November birthdays and their nursery application had to be made in the January after they were 2 for starting the January of the year after. The school applications were made in the pre-school year of nursery and were arranged via the nursery.

NimChimpsky Mon 08-Oct-12 18:38:12

Well school is easy and governed by easy to follow rules. So your child starts reception year the September after they turn 4. So it sounds like you have an April born child and they will by 4yrs 5months when they start school. In his year will be children who are nearly/just 5 and ones who have only just turned 4 (all birthdays up to August 31st) and then a load inbetween.

You don't have to go to reception as legally you don't have to be in school until the September after you turn 5 but you can't then start in reception, you move straight into year 1.

Different schools start differently ie some will go straight to fulltime Mon-Fri, some will have children doing part time, maybe just mornings or just afternoons for a while. All depends.

You apply for school the year before they go, applications starting in around October and closing in January. Here you get a letter telling you how to do it all online in the summer before you need to apply.

After reception they go into year 1 and then year 2 and so on up until they finish school in year 11 (age 16). A primary school will take them from reception class up to year 6 and high school/secondary from year 7 (age 11) until year 11 at which point you choose whether to go to college/sixth form. Some places, instead of a primary school have an infants and a juniors. So infants is reception, year 1 and year 2 and juniors is years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Preschool and nurseries are a different ballgame entirely. You don't have to use them at all, can use them part time or use them full time. Round here, some preschools take children from 2, others from 3 and you get a government funded 15hrs from age 3 until they go to school. Some preschools are attached to primary schools but using the preschool doesn't guarantee a place in the school itself. That all depends on how many children you have competing for places and whether you live in catchment. Private nurseries operate different hours and have different rules and it all seems a bit variable. Putting your name down is wise in places where they are very popular. Really you need to do some research based on what's available and what your preferences are re work and childcare and what's best for you as a family.

vodkaanddietirnbru Mon 08-Oct-12 18:38:22

according to this you would apply in the autumn of the year before your child is due to start school (I live in Scotland so the application process may be a bit different to what the link says)

SeveredEdMcDunnough Mon 08-Oct-12 18:40:27

Gawd, it took me years to get my head around this stuff, I was ashamed to ask anyone in real life! smile

I only know bits of it now, through trial and error and experience - first of all, a lot of schools will say, yes, by all means register your interest in the school - but when it comes to allocations, it won't make a hap'orth of difference to whether you are offered a place.

It just means they might remember to send you a prospectus or invitation to an open day, when your child is the right age.

You normally apply in the January before your little one will start school - and they start in September normally, in reception class, which is mostly play based learning, that is the september before they turn 5.

You can start later, ie term after fifth birthday, but most people don't.

You'll find out where you've got in at the end of March-ish. You put three choices and your reasons on the form. (often done online)

Pre school is generally from 2 to 3-4, until they start school. Mine both went from 3 and a half, bit later than average but fine.

HTH a bit!

That's great, its a bit clearer now.

ed I'm glad i'm not the only oneblush

I was worrying because of my friend registering her 5mo dd, thought I was going to be a slack mother!

My choice of school has pre school too so I need to find out what age they take children from and go from there.

Thanks again!

SeveredEdMcDunnough Mon 08-Oct-12 18:48:11

Just call in one morning and ask someone. You can always arrange to come back at a convenient time if they are busy when you go along.

That's what I did anyway.

Sounds like your child might get preference to the school if the preschool is attached? I don't know, ours wasn't - someone will know!

OddBoots Mon 08-Oct-12 18:48:29

As people say there is a fixed time to register for school and before that you are just registering your interest.

With any kind of pre-school setting then I don't think you can register too soon, I work in an over-subscribed pre-school that takes children from 2-years and we have babies put on our waiting list within days of being born, there are several 'bumps' with an application form ready to fill in when little one arrives. This isn't the same everywhere but it is better to ask around and find out than to wait and find a problem.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 18:57:47

Pre school is not to be confused with reception.

Pre school is nursery as you and I would have called it. The place working mums would take their DC's if they needed child care. If you are going back towork early you may need that.

I didnt send my DS to pre school/ nursery.

Reception is for those DC's who are turning 5 years sometime in the academic year.
Be aware - sometimes the LEA ( also known as LA ) or the school will tell you you must put your DC into school in the September before they reach 5. This is not true. Many may like it that way but the law of this country ( England) states that a DC shall attend school in the term that he/she attains 5 years old.

In your case ( if the DS is spring born ) that will be after Easter. The summer term. You can send your DC in the preceeding September if you wish, You do not have to.

My own DS is August born and so actually did not need to be in school at all in reception. I only found this out after the school misled me into putting him into class in the September (when he had just turned 4). I took him out again smile

teacherwith2kids Mon 08-Oct-12 22:08:08

Pre-school is not necessarily the same as nursery used by working parents.

A pre-school attached to a school is likely to run relatively short sessions (e.g. 2.5 or 3 hours, though a child may be able to attend two sessions in one day) of typical early years play-based learning. Even if in a school building, it may well be run wholly separately, often being a charity run by a committee of mums. It will probably start from 2 or 2.5 years, and children will probably attend a maximum of 5 or so sessions per week, free for over 3s under the government scheme for pre-school education (younger children will pay, often very little). Lunch etc may be offered but are not universal.

On the other hand a 'day nursery', catering for children of working parents, may well offer very long hours per day for children from a few weeks old and be run as a business. Payment is higher to reflect the long hours. A reduction is sometimes given for 3+ children because they claim the government grant, but payment is still made for hours outside the 3 or so per day that it covers. All meals are eaten in the nursery, as befits 'whole day' care.

SeveredEdMcDunnough Tue 09-Oct-12 09:17:42

Jabed, I disagree about a child not having to be in school during reception at all - even if he is August born the school will probably insist that he attends during the summer term, or they will not hold the place open for him and you will have to re-apply. You can't apply for a reception place which is not taken up throughout the year.

In short a child who is five in the summer will have to attend during the summer term just before their 5th birthday if you require a school to hold their place into year one.

You can apply for a place in yr1 instead of reception but as the class is likely to be full, from children who have been in reception already, you may have a hard time getting your child into the school you choose.

Myliferocks Tue 09-Oct-12 09:22:24

Some places have first, middle and upper secondary schools.
First schools are reception-yr4
Middle schools are yr5- yr8
Upper secondary schools are yr9-yr11

TwelveLeggedWalk Tue 09-Oct-12 09:23:23

Oh thank god for this thread, I found myself looking completely confused baffled for the whole of our last playgroup when talk turned to schools.

So my two were born in the second week of September - so that means they'll go to school aged 4, and turn 5 in their first term, right?

Anyone know how it works with the free nursery places too for that birthday assuming wanker Cameron hasn't got rid of them by then?

NimChimpsky Tue 09-Oct-12 09:31:49

Myliferocks, I've never heard of first, middle and upper secondary schools. Is that in England?

TwelveLeggedWalk, I don't know about where you are but round here you can take up your free provision from the term after the child's 3rd birthday. DD is May born so she was entitled to her hours from the September after her birthday. If your lea operates the same policy then they might say the January after they turn 3 is the earliest you'd be entitled but being so close to the August 31st/September 1st changeover, I wonder if you could do it from the Sept term. You'd have to ask. You're right about starting school though. Your dc will be among the oldest children in their year. They'll be nearly five while some of their classmates will be just 4.

TwelveLeggedWalk Tue 09-Oct-12 09:46:03

Thank you Chimpsky (fab name!)

3duracellbunnies Tue 09-Oct-12 09:52:13

Do bear in mind too that although some LEAs do write, many do not contact you to remind you to apply for reception. Putting your name down early makes no difference for school, and going to the preschool usually doesn't give you a place in the school. Check out any church attendance policies if relevant, many require christening by 6 months/1 year, and/or church attendance for 1-3 years before (which for 3 years means now for OP).

Preschools you should put your name down now, but again it varies, our school one admits on the same criteria as for reception (siblings, distance etc), another one does it on a first on the list basis. Some preschools ask for a deposit, but if they don't then you can put your name down for as many as you want and decide nearer the time. Once it's done it's done. While you're at it put his name down for beavers (pre cubs), then panic your friend that she may have left it too late to get her dd into rainbows (pre brownies) - not too far from the truth in some areas!

MaryPoppinsBag Tue 09-Oct-12 09:57:57

Most school don't have a 'reception' now either - it is called Foundation Stage 2 or F2 or FS2 with FS1 being the nursery year where children do 15 hours a week.

You can apply to FS1 via school and get in, however it doesn't automatically mean that your child will get into FS2 as the LA decides school places.

Wow lots of great information thank you. There are 2 possibilities in my village, one is a infants followed by a juniors, the other is all together. The all in one has the best Ofsted but the other juniors is still good. My preferred one is further away from my home by about half a mile so I need to look into the admissions criteria for both.

I guess it can't hurt to register an interest this early even if its just to get on the mailing list.

Thanks all for your help thanks

NimChimpsky Tue 09-Oct-12 10:03:52

MaryPoppinsBag, I don't know of any schools who don't have a reception. confused I've never heard of F2. Are you in England too? This link here explains the current system we have in our LEA. Reception year is still part of the EYFS and then Y1 is the start of KS1.

Myliferocks Tue 09-Oct-12 10:04:21

NimChimpsky Certain areas of Somerset have First, Middle and Upper Secondary schools.

NimChimpsky Tue 09-Oct-12 10:08:06

My dd goes to a school 2 villages away. There are 4 closer schools. I'm lucky in that round here there are no oversubscribed schools. So you basically pick where you want to go. In fact they have a problem with not enough children to fill places.

When the time comes to apply you will put down 3 choices in order of preference. Which one you get comes down to admission criteria and available places. Nearer the time you'll find that Ofsted tells you little compared to visiting and getting a feel for them and matching it to the personality of the child you have. Not that Ofsted isn't informative but you may be surprised by how the school 'feels'. The school we expected to dismiss easily was the one which felt completely right for dd.

NimChimpsky Tue 09-Oct-12 10:08:45

Thanks Myliferocks, I'd never heard of it before. grin

prh47bridge Tue 09-Oct-12 12:45:07

In curriculum terms Reception is Foundation Stage 2 but most schools still call it Reception.

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