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is it normal to send an educational welfare officer if a child is not attending?

(16 Posts)
Scoopmuckdizzy Tue 17-Nov-15 12:03:47

We went along to the school nursery open afternoon before last summer- met the teacher etc. We decided to keep DS in the private nursery he has been at since he was a baby as it is close to work, he is there all day for the three days I work. On the other 2 days we usually go to play group, see friends, park etc and have a rest!

I was working from home last week and an educational welfare officer came to the house- she was asking questions about DS's whereabouts and why he has not attended the local school nursery. I explained that he was at a nursery near to where DH and I both work and that we were thinking of seeing if he could start at the school nursery in the new year. This did not go down well! She advised that the headmaster would be within his rights to refuse this. She took my number and said she'd have a word with the headmaster and let me know. She also questioned me on other children in the household - 2yo DS2 who is at the same nursery as DS1.

When she left I called DH as I was quite shaken up, she made me feel like I was being assessed almost. DH called the school to find out what is going on as we never said DS would be starting in September, we didn't feel he was even ready in September- he has a summer birthday so had only just turned 3 and was still having occasional potty training accidents? If they were expecting DS to start then why wait until midway through November to check up on why he isn't attending- a letter would have alerted us to the fact they weere expecting him and we could have responded. The school is in need of extra numbers according the the secretary DH spoke to and was trying to persuade him to start DS there ASAP. He explained we have to give notice to his current nursery and we would prefer to wait until next term.

I had a message from the school yesterday saying it's all arranged for DS to start next week. Well on the three days I work I cannot collect him halfway through the day. It is possible in the new year for a family member to collect him and look after him for the afternoon, but not before January. We also have to give notice to the nursery he is at now.

As far as I was aware there it is not compulsory for children to be in school until they're 5- so why are the school so keen to have him start now? It's baffling how persistent they're being and I'm feeling a bit pressured!

Littlefish Tue 17-Nov-15 20:06:12

I think their behaviour is extraordinary. I'm a nursery teacher and would never, ever assume a parent was sending their child to Nursery until I had received all their forms back confirming that the parents wanted a place.

I would put in writing that you are keen (if you still are!) for your D's to start in the nursery until January but not before, and ask them to confirm in writing that this is possible.

Kampeki Tue 17-Nov-15 20:10:05

I would most definitely not be sending my child to that nursery! Very odd indeed!!

ReallyTired Tue 17-Nov-15 20:14:03

I am surprised that an educational welfare officer is visiting a three year old. There is in compulsion to attend school until the term after a child has turned 5. Maybe someone has entered the wrong birthdate into the computer.

happystory Wed 18-Nov-15 07:01:59

This is all very peculiar. Are you in the UK? I'd be calling my local authority about this.

enderwoman Wed 18-Nov-15 07:54:15

I would be calling the local authority too.

Outrageous behaviour that would stop me sending my child there.

SocksRock Wed 18-Nov-15 07:59:14

I would be leaving him at the private nursery until he starts school. What bizarre behaviour! They may be in desperate need to get their numbers up but coercing parents like this is horrendous. He's not obliged to be in an education until the term following his 5th birthday.

MrEBear Fri 20-Nov-15 17:44:42

How odd, surely lots of Children don't attend the council school nurseries?

If you are in Scotland it could be something to do with the named person scheme that council are implementing early?

TPel Fri 20-Nov-15 17:56:33

They want the funding that your child will bring when he is enrolled

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 20-Nov-15 17:58:39

This is incredibly odd

Did you see ID? I don't want to freak you out but I'm wondering if this person really was an EWO.

I would be contacting the school to advise that DS will start as soon as he is legally required to and - should the situation change - you will contact them

Then I'd have a bloody good look round for a different school.

Pico2 Fri 20-Nov-15 18:05:27

That is really odd. Any chance of mistaken identity?

Is it your only local school?

Scoopmuckdizzy Fri 20-Nov-15 20:23:24

Thank you all for your responses. There is another school in the next village but ideally we would like him to go to our local one as it is very good school.

She did show ID. I'm still flabbergasted that she came here. It was so bizarre that I was being questioned why my 3 yo wasn't attending nursery!

DH and I have tried all week to get an answer to whether DS can start after Christmas but they always say they will call back and never do. All I want to know is whether we need to give our nursery notice or not. If they won't allow him to start unless it's ASAP, which seems ludicrous, then we'll carry on with our current arrangement.

I hadn't even considered the funding- I guess if they really have been receiving funding on the basis of him attending since September then that could be a problem if he hasn't actually been there.

I'm going to try again on Monday.

BrianButterfield Fri 20-Nov-15 20:38:23

Absolutely bizarre. You're well within your rights never to send him to school nursery at all - my DS went straight from private nursery/preschool to Reception, and this is a perfectly normal state of affairs for working parents.

I'm sure you have to sign something for them to get funding - surely if you never actually said he was going you didn't sign anything (and even if you did, that doesn't warrant the use of an EWO on this totally pointless endeavour).

HSMMaCM Sat 21-Nov-15 18:24:56

I would keep him at his current nursery until he starts school.

HSMMaCM Sat 21-Nov-15 18:25:29

You might need to write to say he's not taking the place.

TheExMotherInLaw Sat 21-Nov-15 19:04:20

Do phone and check if EWO was genuine. Sorry to scare you, but we had some cases in a nearby village where a fake HV gained access to young children. She was never caught.

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