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Advice please moving back to UK in March 2014. DC1 turns 5 in Jan and wouldnt start school until then where we live now.(12 Posts)
Just wondered if someone might be able to provide me with a lightbulb moment. This is a bit convoluted, so I appreciate anyone who's able to make sense of it.
We're currently down in the Antipodes. A move back to the UK in c. March 2014 is looking quite likely, but I really don't know how best to handle DS starting school.
He is 4.5. He turns 5 at the end of January, and if we were staying here, he'd start school at the beginning of the academic year, i.e. Term 1 2014, which is early February. Children start school here when they turn 5, i.e. on (or the day after) their birthday; not the first term of the year after they turn 5.
However, if we move back to the UK, I'm worried about the impact on his schooling. If we were in the UK, he'd be starting school next month.
How disadvantaged would he be, if he did 1-2 months' schooling here, before the move? The other children in his class will have a good 3-4 months jump on him, but am I worrying too much about the skills they acquire in these very early months in reception?
What do I need to consider? We have no idea of exactly where we would live when we come back. We were living in Zone 5, North London, but aren't particularly wed to that now. We also don't have the luxury of staying with family for a while, house-hunting and then moving - again, because of the disruption this would cause to DS's schooling. We don't want to move and move again. Unless there is no other option, of course.
I can't see the wood for the trees in trying to figure this out! I would be so grateful if anyone has any amazing insights. I have posted in a couple of other places as well, in the hope of getting some useful feedback.
I know that you get four weeks to get sorted before you are legally obliged to start and I know you can't apply till you get there.
I suppose you will just have to try and fill the gaps so he's not that behind when he starts.
My dc are 6&9 and they will be behind when we go back. There's no doubt about it. It won't be do bad for your ds as he won't have missed that much.
My kids will be 2 years behind the UK system when we move back. They are 7 & 5 now. As long as you follow the UK curriculum before he starts it should make it easier. A few months at this early stage shouldn't make a huge difference IMO.
Don't panic. State schools are very used to getting children arriving who have been in countries where they haven't started school yet. They are also quite used to getting children who speak little or no English.
I wouldn't worry about trying to follow the English curriculum in advance, they will quickly catch up.
I'd probably just try to ensure that their spoken English is good, and to read to them/encourage them in reading as much as possible.
Children are very flexible at this age, and lots do move around a lot, its GCSE years and after when you need to worry.
If you were in Scotland, your DS would probably start school around now, but many, many parents would defer a January birthday until next academic year i.e. for an August 2014 start. I know a few people who have moved from Scotland to England during the English reception year, i.e. when a child has done no formal schooling in Scotland, but would have done the previous part of that academic year in Scotland, and it hasn't really caused problems. I think there is such a broad range of abilities in reception / yr1 that most children can fit in. Maybe make sure that he knows his alphabet and a bit of numeracy but don't worry far beyond that? We are a year behind the UK system where we are (actually would be 2 years behind the English system), but a teacher friend told me that a bright child learning to read later will simply learn quicker. I am hanging a lot on this for when we go home!
Thanks everyone - I really appreciate you taking the time to post and reassure me. It's been so helpful.
I am a little more relaxed about it. I think the key is going to be getting him into the right school (for him).
Thanks again. And any more thoughts are welcome.
Just to say we applied for schools here whilst living in Asia. We had no UK address. This wasn't a problem at all. But we did have to have the kids at school within 4 weeks of officially accepting the places (and I think from memory you get 10 days to accept). Sorry if someone else has said that. I don't have time to read all the posts but just wanted to reply.
I cant advise on the location related stuff but DS started school here in the UK just after his 4th birthday and all our NZ friends had their 4yr olds in daycare for another year, for the most part the Early Years stuff for Foundation (here) and for Daycare (there) seemed very very similar... basically learning through play, getting him comfortable with phonics / sounding & blending very very simple words and a little bit of writing.
Yes there are many kids in DS's class who can read and write up a storm but he is quite happily average at this stage and appears to be on par with our NZ friends kids who have only just started school having turned five last month.
I don't think it matters at all. We moved countries
and continents several times during my DCs education and they started shool at very different ages. It didnt cause any problems ever and had no lasting effects whatsoever. Occasionally, when they were older they were a bit behind or a bit ahead in very specific areas but it was nothing that mattered.
It was sometimes funny trying to learn the different 'education' terminology used in different countries but we would get there in the end.
For example 'teacher training days' were called something different (and weird ) in each of the four countries we lived. They were never just called teacher training days...that would be too simple.
Pencil cases, felt tips and gym shoes are other examples of things that are called something different in each country we lived. (There are plenty more examples )
I think he will be fine but getting him into a school could be more complicated as all the good schools will be full - and it is difficult to get a child into a full school at his age due to the infant class size limit of 30 - meaning they can't just stick an extra child in.
I am dreading doing all this for my DC if we return to UK as our catchment school (which my DD was at until we left and we still own our house in catchment) is v popular and oversubscribed, so getting them both back in there will be virtually impossible I think. I therefore will have them at a school much further from home - or at different schools.
I'm sure it does all work out quite well in the end though, and you are obvs more flexible as you don't have a specific location to return to (and it sounds like only one child in the school system to manage).
BTW whilst you or the school can't just stick an extra child in for the Infant years, a LA can (even for Academies or Church schools I believe). That does mean the LA will choose which school can "best cope" with an extra child, but it also enables them to fulfill their legal requirement to find your child a place within a reasonable amount of time.
Of course the LA can add another child but they won't unless there is an extremely good reason - esp if there is another school in area that is not full - which there may be and likely to be not such a well regarded school.