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DS starts school in Sept- just realised that I have been having it easy!

(32 Posts)
cheekymonk Tue 09-Jun-09 11:31:39

Hi all,
I went to meeting at his school and was given dates for the staggered start. His 1st day is 10th Sept but afteroons only, then mornings only for a week, then mornings & lunches for a week then full-time last week in Sept!
Basically I need 2 weeks off work and am considering taking unpaid leave otherwise will be about 50 hours down in flexi and will never make it up. I want to only work when ds is at school (guilt about him being at nursery I think but a choice I feel strongly about for us as a family) so my hours will in fact reduce when he is at school as will be going from a 5 hour working day and not 6 and a half one like I have now. I only work 4 days currently so have been really shocked my hours will be less even though I will be working every week day but its only an hour less a week i guess.
The point I am getting to (slowly-I'm sorry) is what a minefield it all is. Nursery seems easy in comparison! I think it has dawned on me that yes it will be lovely not having the childcare costs, not travelling so far (nursery is 3 miles out of our way) and going to school around the corner, it brings its own problems too! Have started to look at playschemes but again, its a headache and don't plan to use them this year whilst ds adjusts to school.
In the great scheme of things a month of being a bit topsy turvy is nothing but the organisation it will take is mindblowing! DH may be able to help but he's forces so won't hold my breath.
Its just such a massive change. I think DS is ready for it, he says he is bored at nursery so I think he will adjust ok.

Anyone know what I mean/feel the same? smile

BlueKangerooWonders Tue 09-Jun-09 11:40:48

c-m this doesn't help you at all, but I really don't get these staggered starts. My dc started full time primary from day 1 - why can't all primaries just go for it?! The children always cope. For working parents it's an absolute nightmare - School should just start!

(rant over!)

breeminor Tue 09-Jun-09 11:41:12

cm - I know exactly what you mean. My DS is just coming to the end of reception so I was in your position this time last year. Nearly a year on and we are still muddling through it all. Once the initial settling in time ends you'll soon get used to the new routine. I am back full to work full time now and I am still trying to figure out better ways to fit in the school day around work.
Can't offer any advice but just to say you are not alone!!

cheekymonk Tue 09-Jun-09 11:44:58

Thanks both- thats great! Thats all I wanted to hear that I wasn't alone! I was surprised at the extent of the staggered start as I feel DS will cope but time will tell!

sarararararah Tue 09-Jun-09 13:44:09

I think you'll be surprise at just how tired he'll be. School ISN'T the same as nursery. For one thing, it's a whole new environment. Think of when you start a new job and how tiring it can be. Secondly, the adult:children ratios are much less so they have to become more independent. Thirdly there are a whole new set of routines to cope with, new faces etc.

I totally understand how tricky it is for working parents. When my DD starts (not for ages yet but still) it's going to be a NIGHTMARE for me as a teacher as I will be settling in other people's children! But, we do it for the children's benefit, not the parent's.

I realise my viewpoint may not be popular, but perhaps it will be helpful to see it from the other "side"?

Good luck! Hope he enjoys it!

cheekymonk Tue 09-Jun-09 15:20:00

Thanks Sarararararah, fair point and I know it is designed for the children's benefit and am trying to work around that. Its not easy though like you say!

cheekymonk Tue 09-Jun-09 15:21:46

I took ds to drop off some paperwork today at the school and all the kids were playing in playground. Poor DS was really scared and wanted to be held. I was just trying to get him familiar with the place and so make it less scary but that emphasised just how HUGE a deal it is for him.

mumto3boys Wed 10-Jun-09 08:37:14

I know what you mean. When DS1 (now 12) started school I had a big shock. I was working f/t, he was at nursery. Then, come sept, the first day he did half hour, same the next, then an hour. Then part time til jan.

Fast forward a few years and my twins start in sept. Luckily I am a SAHM at the mo, as they have now made it, half hour in july. Followed by us all going in for packed lunch in july! Then 3 one hours in sept, a week part time, then full time. Oh and a non pupil day at the end of the first week!

Problem this time round is we have twins who are in different classes, so DH has to take time off as some of the sessions, and the packed lunch, we have to stay with them!

eandh Wed 10-Jun-09 08:51:12

am having same issues I only work 2 days a week (mondays and fridays 8.45 to 5ish) am very lucky that my mum/mil have the dd's for me so no cost, however, dd1 starts infants in september. Her first day there is her 5th birthday (7th Sept) she has 3 weeks of staggered starts (like yours morning 1 week, afternoon next week then morning till after lunch 3rd week) also means she wont meet all her class till 3rd week as they only have half the class in for first 2 weeks. She is so ready for school its unbelivable.

I was hoping to get away with doing half says for those weeks in september and still take/pick her up but because of teh timing of sessions I cant do it so I am working some extra days in july so I can have from 7th to 28th sept off. My boss has been understanding however some of my colleagues are grumbling about it (not sure why as my job is directly involved with theres so doesnt affect them in any way) tbh I have been there 12 years (next lingest serving person is 6 years) and they all knew dd1 would be starting school hmm

Once she is there full time my Mum going to do school run for me on a Monday so I'll still work normal hours but MIL doesnt drive and its a good 3-40minute walk for her and she said she would do it but not fair on her or the dd's so I am changing Friday hours to 9.30-2.30 (will drop dd2 at mil, take dd1 to school, leave car there and bus in, finish at 2.30 bus back to school <should be fine as she doesnt finish till 3.20> then go and collect dd2 from mil then home) but I now need to work one saturday morning (9-1) and one wednesday morning (9.30-1.30) a month to make my other hours up as cant afford to lose any pay yet!!

Roll on when dd2 at school and I can work 3 days of 9.30-2.30!

bigTillyMint Wed 10-Jun-09 08:55:30

Yes, I had to juggle those days when my DC started too. And it was a bit frustrating as they had been at nursery 3 days a week and were more than ready for school!

Have you got any friends whose DC are starting at the same time - we managed to cover for each other a bit, having other children back to our houses for the rest of the day, etc. It saved on taking so much time off.

PortAndLemon Wed 10-Jun-09 09:01:30

Yes, DS is starting in September and I think his starts at 10.30 for the first term. I'm FT at the moment so am going to put in a flexible working request to reduce my hours, but I have no real idea how we are going to handle school holidays.

Dottoressa Wed 10-Jun-09 09:05:14

Bluekangaroo: "The children always cope." I would hope for more than 'coping'. I would like my children to actively enjoy school and settle in gently, not 'cope'.

"For working parents it's an absolute nightmare". That may be so. But surely the children's experience should take priority over work schedules? Or am I missing something?!

jetgirl Wed 10-Jun-09 09:11:19

c-m - I know exactly what you mean. DD will start on 14th September pm only for 2 weeks, then 11.30-3.20 until half term, only going full time at half term. I work 2 days a week and have to work out what to do the mornings on the days she goes to school, can't take leave - I'm a teacher! I know we'll find a solution somehow, but it's making the whole thing more stressful for me than I would like.

PortAndLemon Wed 10-Jun-09 09:31:05

Mmm yes, Dottoressa, but the children's having a roof over their heads and food to eat because their parents haven't been sacked is a reasonable priority too. All the parental leave rights and so forth don't cover this kind of thing so an employer is more than entitled to point blank refuse to allow temporary flexibility.

oneforward20back Wed 10-Jun-09 15:00:44

I think we are lucky we have morning only for 2 weeks but the school have sent out forms for parents to request nursery place for the afternoon if required. Someone had some common sense grin.

Maybe this is something that could be suggested to more schools or local MP to try to get brought in?

dilemma456 Wed 10-Jun-09 20:06:42

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VirginiaWoolf Wed 10-Jun-09 20:14:33

dilemma - fantastic to hear from your sample size of 1 that four year olds can all start school fulltime without any problems.

My DS will start school in September. He will be there mornings only for 2 full terms, because that's the system here. Juggling around work etc is obviously a nightmare, we've had to be very organised, but I prefer this to him starting fulltime at 4 years and 3 weeks old. And incidentally, the school wouldn't be able to take him fulltime before Easter even if they wanted too, as there's no funding - that's the policy in this local authority, not the school.

PortAndLemon Wed 10-Jun-09 20:19:35

The fact that children now start at four rather than five doesn't cease to be a factor because your sister started school at four with no problems, though.

I'm not necessarily saying that children do need staggered starts because they are starting at four (and only just four, in many cases), but it's certainly a possibility, and one very major difference from when we all started school, and if it's going to be dismissed it ought to be on more than anecdotal evidence of a single case.

dilemma456 Wed 10-Jun-09 20:29:19

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ThingOne Wed 10-Jun-09 20:29:51

dilemma, you do realise you could reverse the argument in your last sentence to say "staggered starts are their to suit the children and not the apparent 21st century inability of working parents to carry on paying for childcare for a few more weeks".

Staggered starts have been introduced because they suit children better. I didn't struggle full-time at 4. I loved it. But I was in a class of 12 or 15, not 30. Even so, many of the children did struggle. Often they remained miserable at school for years afterwards. Settling well in reception bodes well for the rest of their time at school.

I know it's a huge pain - my son's school does a very long start - but it's really not that much longer to keep paying for when you've already been shelling out for five years.

dilemma456 Wed 10-Jun-09 20:33:14

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pooka Wed 10-Jun-09 20:35:25

DD started in 2008. We are fortunate in that there are 2 entries per year here, so no one starts at only just 4. DD was 4.6.

Her school had 2 days of mornings. Then the following week straight into full-time. Seemed fine. I know of other schools round here that had 1 week of mornings, followed by 1 week of afternoons, followed by full time. Or a whole term of mornings only. Seems amazingly random how different schools deal with the starters completely differently.

dilemma456 Wed 10-Jun-09 20:38:38

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sarararararah Wed 10-Jun-09 21:07:20

It's in the interests of the children. Promise. Infact, I double, triple promise.

cluttered Wed 10-Jun-09 23:42:22

Yes around here they have two intakes but full-time from the start. DS2 was nearly 5 and had done a whole year of full-time school nursery, would have been shocked to go back to part-time and I don't know what we would have done as we both work F/T and his previous childminder was unwilling to collect from his school.

It was more of a shock for him going straight into F/T nursery when not quite 4 as they normally do one term P/T but as they had extra spaces they gave the oldest F/T places from the beginning. I think it would have been more traumatic for him having to start a new nursery and unfamiliar childminder but luckily because he started F/T he could go to DS1's childminder whom he knew but who is a TA so couldn't have done school hours. It's such a nightmare though if you don't have family nearby and your children want to be at home rather than going to after school club/childminder/play scheme! DS1 is Year 4 and we still haven't sorted out the best option for covering the summer holidays.

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