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They're moving dd2 up from reception to yr1 after Easter .. and I'm so upset and angry about it.

(15 Posts)
Carla Mon 07-Mar-05 09:37:43

Bit of background (as I understand it) first. Oxfordshire recently moved from a three tier to a two tier system, which meant that the old First Schools had to undergo extensions to accommodate children up to 11. Because dds school is Roman Catholic I believe that some of the funding for this came from the Archdiocese of Birmingham, rather than exclusively from the Council as with other non-religious schools. Like I said, as I understand it to justify this money from the Church the school has to pack the pupils in to the rafters, making a mockery of their admissions policy. However, as long as I think they're enjoying school and are receiving a decent standard of education, I have no problems with that.

I picked up dd2 from her class on Friday, to discover her stuffing half a photocopied A4 sheet into her book bag. This is how it read:

Dear Parents

After Easter, your child (dd2's name written in) will be joining Mrs XXX's class.

Best wishes

Miss X

I asked dd2's teacher what this was all about, and she said that the autumn born children (11 of them) will be moved up to Y1 to make way for the children starting in reception after Easter. I said I knew nothing about this and she went on to say it was all explained by the head at the new parents' induction meeting. Well, it certainly wasn't and I told her that, and she said I ought to go and see the head. He wasn't there on Friday, however, so I went to chat to dd1's teacher who is always the voice of reason. She said she thinks it happens in most primary schools (something I couldn't agree with her upon) but also touched upon the fact that the school's policy of admitting anyone that wanted to come was a bit of a bone of contention between the teachers and the head.

Does anyone have any experience of this? What do you think? My main worries are:

dd2 is only 2 terms out of nursery age - how must it feel for her having established her with her classmates, only to be removed from them (albeit probably with another 6 from her class - there are two Y1s) I just don't think that's something that a child of that age can cope with emotionally - they seem to not care about friendships that may have been forged etc etc.

dd2 will be one of the youngest in Y1 - how will she cope with the fact that her peers will have been doing Y1 work for two terms now, and how will she manage to catch up? It's not even as if it's done on any emotional maturity/brightest children thing, just simply the 11 eldest. dd2 can't even read a sentence yet, let alone write one.

Will she do 4 terms in Y1, or will she always be moved up in the last term of her school year to accommodate the others (I know the head can answer this one, I'm just thinking out loud and wondered if any of you knew).

I think that asking a 5.4 year old to stuff 1/2 an A4 sheet as important as this into her book bag is no way to let a parent know something as enormous as this is about to happen to their child. That's by the by of course, it doesn't affect dd2 but I still think it's awful.

Phew, think that's it. This has been bothering me all weekend (if you couldn't tell) and I'm so glad I can finally put it past the MN jury.

What would you do? How would you feel? I tried running it past DH on Friday night but he'd been to the pub, and all he could muster was 'Well done, you clever girl'. And TBH, I don't want to bring it up again as I don't want him criticising my opinions on the subject.

Sorry that was so long.

coppertop Mon 07-Mar-05 09:47:55

Ds1's school has some mixed classes higher up in the school. This usually happens when there are not enough children to make up a full class. There is, for example, a Yr 1 class, a Year 2 class and then a mixed Yr1/Yr2 class. Children tend to be in the same class for the whole year though and not moved halfway through.

I would guess that your dd would stay in Yr1 nexyt year as many LEAs will only allow children to move to a secondary school with their peer group, irrespective of which class they've been in.

Kayleigh Mon 07-Mar-05 09:54:50

I would be very worried at such a big move in the middle of the school year. I haven't heard of this happening before. I am very suprised at the way you have been informed and the lack of information. I'm not suprised you have been bothered by it all weekend.

chocfreeclary Mon 07-Mar-05 09:55:16

we also have a mixed class in DS1’s school, because of numbers on roll, ie this yr it is half yr 1 (ds1’s yr) and half yr 2; last yr it was half reception and half yr 1 (the same kids I guess).
But they were all in the class together from the start, older reception children with younger yr 1s IYSWIM, and are certainly in the year they are in! (ie the yr 2s will leave in the summer (it’s an infant school) and the yr 1s will stay another year of course.
I think mixed classes can work quite well - but that’s not the same as what they are talking about with yr dd. Some schools mix the classes up after a year but that’s not the same either. I would speak to the head (of course you will) but I agree it seems a bit much.

LIZS Mon 07-Mar-05 09:57:31

Can you speak to the new teacher and ask her how she handles teaching the different age groups. If this is school policy, no matter whether you have heard about it before or not, then it shouldn't be a difficult question for her to address. I suspect your dd would remain in year 1 next year too but then what happens when the same situation arises next Easter, would they go on to year 2 early as well ?

Sounds as if communication here has been very poor at best and you should certainly speak to the Head about this. If you have concerns as to whether she is the right candidate to move on then you should have the opportunity to voice this too, before the decision is made, rather than be given a fait accompli.

crunchie Mon 07-Mar-05 10:13:38

This happened to my dd as they moved up some from reeption in Sept to year 1 and then others at Christmas. A lot of schools have mixed classes until they hit juniors and although it seems complicated it won't be. My dd was in a mixed reception/y1 to start with, now is in a pure Y1. Some children are in a y1/Y2 class. I wouldn't worry as she will still be doing work that will suit her and it is so much more one to one reading and small ability groups at this stage.

scotlou Mon 07-Mar-05 10:15:55

The mixed ages in 1 class thing doesn't worry me - my ds is in school where all ages (P1 to P7) are taught in the same classroom - although there are 2 teachers and they split the ages depending on what they are doing. They tend to be taught in age groups but it has the benefit that it is easy for a child to be taught in a group according to ability rather than age (if required)so I actually see it as a benefit. However, the moving mid year and the lack of consultation would really bother me.

bonym Mon 07-Mar-05 10:20:01

DD's school has a mixed reception/yr1 class (although, being one of the younger ones, dd wasn't in it). Talking to other mums whose children have been in this class, it doesn't seem to be an issue, as, in common with the other classes (non-mixed), they split the children into ability groups within the class anyway. I know it's not the ideal situation, but as long as the class is split according to ability it shouldn't be of detriment to your dd. As far as the friendship issue is concerned, I would say it depends on your dd - I think most children are quite adaptable at this stage. My dd (6) was split from her best friend last September when starting year 2 (because of the age split thing and new children starting) but they still play together at breaks and lunchtime and she was friendly with other children in her class so wasn't really concerned. I think as long as your dd is being moved up with others that she knows she should be fine.
Having said all that, I do agree that the method of imparting this information to you was extremely poor and that you should definitely try to speak to the Head to address your concerns. Good luck.

Ellbell Mon 07-Mar-05 10:53:52

My dd's school also has a split age class (Yr1/Yr2), but they decide who goes into it on the basis of 'ability to cope', which I think means a mixture of intellectual ability and maturity. My dd is a May baby, and although I think (... but then, doesn't every parent?! ) that she is bright, I think that in terms of maturity (or immaturity!) she will be better in an all-Year 1 class. I am going to wait and see anyway. In my LEA the children start school full-time in the term in which they are 5, which means that my dd will be going into Year 1 with only one term of full-time school in Reception behind her, whereas some of the other children will already have done 3 terms full-time on going into Year 1. I can't decide whether this penalises the younger ones, or just gives them the time they need to mature before starting full-time education... but I love the school, and dd is very happy, so am trying not to worry.

Carla, I think that the lack of information about your dd's change of class was terrible, and you should definitely talk to the Head about it. Your worries about your dd 'catching up' are similar to mine about dd going into Year 1 with only one term full-time behind her, but I guess that all the other children with birthdays between April and July will be in the same boat... No real advice, but I do understand. (In my case, the problem is exacerbated by my 'working-mother guilt complex' because I am sure that if I was at home with her during the day I'd do more 'educational' type things, although I know - if I'm sensible - that this is cr@p, as her childminder does loads with her...)

Good luck with getting it sorted out.

tigi Mon 07-Mar-05 13:09:21

our school does this in many classes because of numbers and available teachers,up to y6 based on ability. my older son is y5 in with the y6's (6 of them went ) which did him good because it pushes him, but my younger son is in a pure reception class. I would be very worried and concerned if they moved him at this stage because they are still making friends and finding their feet. Also, he still gets upset when i leave him.

roisin Mon 07-Mar-05 13:27:02

I've not heard before of a school doing this at Easter, and I agree it sounds very peculiar, and fraught with possible difficulties. I'm sure it's primarily a numbers juggling game.

Btw I thought Oxfordshire had finally all moved to a single-entry to reception in September system to avoid these kind of difficulties?

I would want to know exact details as to what is going on. Is she going to be with this group of children for the whole day, including yr1 term3 literacy and numeracy? Sounds completely barmy to me.

Teaching a mixed year class is one thing - and quite acceptable if properly approached and resourced, but sticking a group of reception kids into an established yr1 class sounds very odd to me.

roisin Thu 10-Mar-05 10:55:56

Carla - have you found out any more about what's going on?

Carla Thu 10-Mar-05 11:11:46

Hi, sort of

I spoke to one parent before visiting the head, who said we had all been told about it at the induction meeting. Given that DH was there with me, and given that we were there for both dd's induction days, I'd be surprised if I'd missed it and he hadn't picked up on it either. This mother has loads of children at the school, so she already knew about it anyway.

Anyhow, that did mean that I couldn't justify a rant about how we were told - I had to allow him the benefit of the doubt.

In a nutshell, dd2 will always be part of a mixed class, until, of course, Y6. He said it's worked well in the past, blah blah, all the things I kind of expected him to say. But the main thing is at least I'm sure now that she won't be moved again. So next September she'll be a Y1 in a predominantly Y2 class, and so on and so on.

TBH, I found the fact that he was so nice a little disarming. He said they'll all be introduced to their new teacher before this term and that the teacher in question is 'lovely'.

So that's it, written in stone. I got the impression I could have dug my heels in about it, but am trying very hard to see it as something positive.

FWIW I spoke to another mum yesterday who told me she was so pleased dd2 was moving up to the same class as hers. She knew nothing about it till then either ..... so who knows? I do think it wouldn't have been any great shakes to take 11 parents aside and explain it to them more clearly and have a Q&A session, but hey, I'm not the head

roisin Thu 10-Mar-05 11:19:03

Thanks for the update!

Well that sounds better at least that she is going to be in the same mixed age class all the way through. And the school clearly have experience in working it this way.

I hope it works out well for your dd and she settles quickly in her new class after Easter.

Carla Thu 10-Mar-05 14:03:41

Thanks Roisin, and everyone else too!

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