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meeting head teacher about flexi schooling in wales - any advice to help me prepare?

(4 Posts)
purplecloudsgreyrain Thu 07-Dec-17 14:21:46

Hullo, I have recently moved to Wales. My son has been offered a place at a local school in reception class and I would like him to be at school only part-time, ( at least until he is five) for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I think he will struggle at school and that a more phased start will help him to adjust better. When I asked about this at the school I was told I could have a meeting with his teacher to be to discuss this. However, a week later I got a call from someone in administration to say she had spoken with the head teacher and part time school was not possible. When pressed she said for 'for legal reasons' ( which is untrue). I had to really press for a meeting in person and I now have one with the head teacher next week. I am pretty unhappy that the school made a decision without even speaking to me about my reasons for wanting my son to go part-time. Has anyone got any advice about the legal background or how to approach this meeting? I know that it is legal to flexi school and that actually, my son isn't even legal required to be in school yet. Does the head teacher have to give any reasons for refusing? Can I appeal? And does she have any recourse against me if she refuses and I just keep him off school anyway for part of the week (as he is not legally required to be at school anyway?). Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Saracen Fri 08-Dec-17 01:05:01

I cannot find any statement from the Welsh government which guarantees children who are below CSA the right to a part-time place. In England, this is stated in the School Admissions Code, but in Wales it isn't.

On the other hand, as you suspect, if you don't bring your child in every day there is absolutely nothing the school can do about it. They cannot withdraw the school place now. See the School Admissions Code re: withdrawing a place which has been offered. Nor can they take away his school place on the basis of low attendance after he has started. See The Education (Pupil Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2010 section 8(3) for grounds on which a child's name should be removed from the admissions register if he is below CSA. He would have to be continuously absent for at least four weeks before they could take him off the register.

They cannot fine you as you are not breaking any laws. Truancy laws do not apply to children below CSA.

Approaching it is going to be tricky; it sounds like you and the head are in danger of being in an adversarial relationship before your son even sets foot in school! A headteacher who would make such a decision as a blanket policy without consulting the parent and who cites nonexistent "legal reasons" is not likely to back down gracefully when you call her bluff, and may find other ways to make your life difficult.

I wonder whether you might give her a face-saving way out by firing off a quick letter in advance of the meeting in which you assure her that you think there has been some misunderstanding with the administrator on the phone as you're sure she didn't really mean you can't do part-time, and quote the laws to her? "Remind" her that your son isn't yet CSA and therefore isn't subject to compulsory attendance laws? Pretend you think there was a miscommunication? Give her a chance to look the law up and maybe take advice from the LA - one would hope they will know the law. Then when she does meet with you she will have realised that ultimately the decision is yours, and that all she can do is try to persuade you that full-time is better. That would enable her to back down without admitting to any wrongdoing.

Jasminena Sat 09-Dec-17 00:31:33

I'm not to sure about laws and ruling in wales but for England/London I do know that before 5years old a doesn't have to legally go to school and they should be slowing part time sessions .
Also even after 5- what ever age your child is if the have a reason or a letter from some professional saying there's a reason as to why he is unable to attend full time they should give u flexi schooling

Jasminena Sat 09-Dec-17 02:26:25

If the head teacher is like that I would suggest moving or considering homeschooling if it fits your lifestyle!
But most likely if the head is like that she'll always be like that - sorry to talk so bluntly but talking from experience

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