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The intake system for starting school confuses me...

(15 Posts)
zebra Fri 09-Aug-02 17:23:18

Where I live, the schools have only one intake (September).

Because my children have autumn birthdays, this means they will start school just before their 5th birthdays.

However, in some places, I understand that my kids would have a January start. Which means, if my kids start locally, and we then move to any of those places, that my children will be a full year behind other children exactly the same age.... doesn't it?

I really don't like the fact that schools vary so much, with one or 2 intakes, and you don't know from one borough to the next when your children would be expected to start school!
We live in Leicestershire, and might move to Norfolk or Suffolk. We might move next year, but then again, we might move in 3 or 4 years, after my kids could both be school age. Can anyone tell me which (the one- or two- intake system dominates in Norfolk or Suffolk??

Paula1 Fri 09-Aug-02 19:26:22

No, your children will never be behind, the school year starts in September, so yours will be older than most in the class. Maybe what you're thinking about with the January intake is if the school has a Nursery attached, and even if the school has 2 intakes, the second is usually for younger kids, so yours will always have had more schooling than other kids in their school year

WideWebWitch Fri 09-Aug-02 19:59:09

Zebra, in our area it is only the faith schools that take children in Jan and Sept. The local non denominational one tell me they are only allowed one intake, in September. So maybe it varies from one local authority to another?

Ailsa Fri 09-Aug-02 20:47:44

In my area we have a mixture, all children have to start school at the latest in the term that they become 5. Some schools still do that, but others have 2 intakes Sept and Jan. DS school gives you the choice when to start - Sept or Jan, Full or Part time (providing their birthday is not during the Autumn Term). I chose for ds (and dd 3years previously) to start in september, although he had only just turned 4 I thought that he was ready for something more structured than nursery.

Under the old system ds would not have started school until after the Easter hols as his birthday is in July.

zebra Sat 10-Aug-02 21:13:58

ok, I'd better explain better...

I was educated in the USA, so I get confused by the English system.

If my children start school locally, they will be among the oldest children in their class. The school divides reception into 2 groups -- of these "older" and the relatively "younger" children. However, I presume by the time my children are 8 or 9 yo, they will be mixing right in with all of the "younger" children. The groups won't still be segrated on the basis of who had early or late birthdays.

However, if the schools operated a September & January intake system, then my kids would actually be in the "younger" group.

Which means, by the time my kids are 8 or 9 yo, they will actually be a whole year behind where they would have been, had we lived in an area with two intake times.

Do you think I understand the system wrong?

None of this would matter if the schools were more consistent. In the USA, virtually all schools use the same cutoff dates, and have the same age requirements. I don't want my children to be bored when in school, which seems more likely, given that they'll be that much older. If my kids weren't ready to start at 4y+2-3 months, that would be fine. I just wish the system had more flexibility. Several friends have advised that boredom is a big factor in making some kids feel disaffected & unmotivated at school.

And I envy my friends who get to send their kids to school 9-10 months earlier than I do.

Azzie Sun 11-Aug-02 07:55:29

You mean that you think with a January intake your children would start school the January before their 5th birthdays (i.e. when they are about 4.25yo)? I don't know if some schools do this or not - our local school only has one intake, although the younger children start later than the nearly-5s.

The legal position in the UK (Scotland may be different) is that a child has to be in education by their 5th birthday, for a suggested minimum of 21 hours per week. Therefore if you think your children are too young to start school early then you can insist that they are part of the September intake. Personally, given the proven advantages of being older (especially for boys) I would do the September intake. My ds will be 5 in September, and his confidence has improved so much over the last couple of months that I think he will settle into school very well - I'm glad he'll be one of the older ones in his class.

PamT Sun 11-Aug-02 08:09:45

In the UK the school year runs from September to August so children with September birthdays will always start school first if there is more than one intake. When the younger ones join them in January/Easter, the older ones already have the advantage of one or two extra terms. After this the same school year continues throughout their education, so children with September birthdays will always have been at school longer than those with later birthdays. Although from an age point of view someone who has a september birthday might be older when they start school, they will actually spend more time at school then someone with a later birthday when there is more than one intake. Does this make sense?

Our school has 2 intakes - September (for those with birthdays between september and february) and January (march - august birthdays). My youngest two children are both January intake children so they only get 2 terms in Reception before they join year 1 so they have to cram a whole lot more learning in because they have missed a full term.

Zebra, this probably doesn't make much sense but I can assure you that your children will definitely have an advantage over children with later birthdays.

cazzybabs Tue 13-Aug-02 11:42:13

Children with autumn brithdays generally do better at school (not always), but it is felt children who are born in the summer months are too immature to cope with school when they are so little, so some LEAs have later starts for these children. AS a teacher those children would find it diffcult to cope with school as they get very tired. But I think it does depend on the child.

You have to put your child's name down for a place at the school by the march before the accedemic year you would like them to start to get the school of your choice (depending upon places available - it works out first places go to children who have siblings at the school, then its geographic locatioon the closer you live to the school the more likely you are to get a place, and just because your child has a place at nursery at the school does not mean they will get a place in reception).

In norfolk autumn and spring born childrren can start either in the autumn term or the spring term. However, summer born childrne start in the summer term. Unless its a foundation or a VC school where they have sept. starts for chidren born in sept to Feb and January starts for children born from march to August. Don't know about suffolk - look on their website. It does depened upon LEA as to when children start school.

GillW Tue 13-Aug-02 18:53:27

We've been told that if they don't go to the school's nursery, then they're unlikely to get a place in reception - it's siblings, then children in the nursery, then location. So although we live almost next to the school we'll probably need to take DS out of his exisitng (full time) nursery so he can go part-time to the one attached to the school. Disruptive, and I've thought a backwards step, for him, and just about impossible for me to combine with still working.

cazzybabs Wed 14-Aug-02 08:16:09

You want to phone up the LEA and check if that's a correct admissions policy, because at the school I worked at it certianly wasn't the case, and i have the feeling illegal.

EHB Wed 14-Aug-02 12:31:02

I would phone and check too. The infants school near us which my daughter is about to start and my son has just left has an attached nursery. The head teacher always gives the impression to parents that if you do not send your child to the nursery then you will not get a place for reception. When I spoke to the LEA they said that they repeatedly tell the schools they can not say this and that whether or not your child attends the nursery or not does not have a bearing on the reception place available.I know it is difficult because alot of parents here feel pressurised by the fact that if the headteacher has said this, then it must be true.

PamT Wed 14-Aug-02 12:37:25

It's quite the opposite at our school. Children who attend the nursery are not guaranteed a place in the school which has caused a few nightmare situations for some parents. Since the government started giving free places to 3 year olds at playgroups as well as school nurseries there has been less demand on the school nursery but demand for reception class places seems to increase every year. I would speak to the LEA and then to the Head. If you are well within the catchment area you should be fairly high up the list anyway even if you don't have any others at the school.

zebra Wed 14-Aug-02 14:49:42

Cazztbabs -- what website for Suffolk schools?? I have tried to find websites for Norfolk & Suffolk LEAs, honest. Just don't know where to look.

People IRL tell me that it's better to start a child in school before that child is likely to be too bored. That bored kids act up, and that's why they are often the underachievers in the end, ironically. That's why I wish I had the option to start my kids in January. Maybe my kids won't be ready, but I wish we had the option.

Lindy Wed 14-Aug-02 15:27:39

Zebra - I live in Suffolk & (where we live anyway) children start school in the term that they will be 5 ie: my DS's birthday is March so he will start in the January. I'm not sure if there is a Summer intake as well - unlikely I would think.

cazzybabs Sun 18-Aug-02 22:24:31

The url you want for inofration about suffolk schools is

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