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School nursery entry: WWYD?

(31 Posts)
WhereIsBlueRabbit Sun 22-Apr-18 10:56:51

We have a dilemma about school nursery entry for DS and I'd appreciate any views others may have on it, especially from parents of summer-borns!

DS is 2.5 (late August birthday). We've just been offered a school nursery place for September, days after his third birthday. We aren't convinced at all that he will be ready for school nursery - our childminder is adamant that he won't be. Our concerns are around his ability to cope emotionally and his general "maturity" - he is an anxious little boy and quite sensitive.

The nursery in question is part of the school we'd like him to go to. It's a lovely school and seems very nurturing - but it is an academy and on admission, they seem totally inflexible. They've already told us they don't allow summer-borns to defer Reception entry.

Our options are as follows:

1) Decline the school nursery place but see whether they have any spaces in January or April. This would have the advantage of giving him experience of the nursery environment before starting school. Disadvantage: the other children will already know each other and there will be more "teacher-led" activities after the first term.

2) Accept the nursery place but start him gradually. He would have to go five days from the off but this could be for as little as an hour a day at first. We could cover the wraparound three days out of five but our childminder is unlikely to be supportive of this on her days. Also have been given PM sessions, which will be impossible if he's still napping.

3) Decline the place but look for a private pre-school place. This would have the advantage of being more flexible but might not be on the same site so he wouldn't be able to get to know the kids he'd start school with.

It feels like a really big decision as we'll have to apply for schools next January, I don't feel we can make a decision on school deferral without seeing how he copes in a bigger setting than with the childminder, but deferring will also limit our choice of schools....

If you got through that, thank you! All thoughts welcome.

TL:DR: WWYD regarding nursery/school entry for a young summer-born?

MizCracker Sun 22-Apr-18 11:01:21

I would consider option 3. I chose a private preschool rather than the one attached to the school, for flexibility reasons also. But plenty of children from that preschool ended up attending the local infant school. In fact, there were at least three preschools feeding the infant school. So you don't have to assume that the school preschool is the only route to making friends ahead of infant school smile

Having said that, our local school is large (four class entry) so it might be different if your school is much smaller. Either way, children adapt quickly in Reception and I'm not convinced that it's really necessary to build friendships ahead of starting school.

insancerre Sun 22-Apr-18 11:01:25

I'm sure he will be fine in the school nursery
They will have had lots if experience of summer born boys
It will be better for him to start the school nursery sooner rather than later
The nursery will be a much better environment for him to transition to school than the cm

Piglet208 Sun 22-Apr-18 11:07:03

I am a school nursery teacher. If you are happy with what you have seen of the nursery I would recommend considering the option to start him gradually if your cm will support. He may surprise you and settle quicker than you think. Transitions will be much easier from the nursery to the reception class. Talk with the nursery teacher (if they are like me they will be happy to spend time supporting you) and discuss how he can build up his time. Social skills develop lots in a nursery environment and children develop rapidly as they turn 3.

MyOtherProfile Sun 22-Apr-18 11:07:04

What are your concerns about the nursery? Do you think he would find being there hard? He is likely to spend lots of time plahing and having the odd story / singing sessions, and lots of much younger children do this in non school nurseries.

lornathewizzard Sun 22-Apr-18 11:50:34

I think it depends what your concerns are tbh. Given that the 15hrs funded starts the term after 3rd birthday, this isn’t a summer born thing, it’s an everyone thing. Unless I’ve misunderstood or it’s different here (Scotland).
Also given he’s already at a childminder, I assume he’s already used to socialising, being with someone else etc

WhereIsBlueRabbit Sun 22-Apr-18 12:01:53

My concerns are just that he is very young and he gets very anxious about new social settings and groups - he has always been a bit clingy but got very very anxious after a house move last summer (and change of childminder). He lacks confidence socially, although we've always done classes and groups. So I question whether he is ready to cope with the more structured school nursery session, and I'm concerned that if he can't cope, we risk real issues around starting school. Am I overthinking this?

WhereIsBlueRabbit Sun 22-Apr-18 12:05:16

We're in England. For school nursery admissions, it's one-term entry so he'll be with children ranging from his exact age to almost a year older.

I'm also concerned that the childminder was so adamant that he wouldn't be ready, but hasn't been able to make any suggestions as to how we could help him become ready over the next few months. She is very good in most ways and we're otherwise happy with her. She keeps saying he needs more time around other children and that we should up his hours with her, but I'm not convinced that's the answer hmm

lornathewizzard Sun 22-Apr-18 12:06:25

I think you’re overthinking if I’m honest OP. My daughter is in a school nursery and it’s not really structured as such. They have snack time and song time type thing but otherwise they just play. She goes about 3hrs a day and loves it, and she’s come on loads.
I think you’ll be surprised how he comes on even before he goes tbh

MyOtherProfile Sun 22-Apr-18 12:09:35

School nurseries aren't very structured. Dpnt be put off by it being part of a school. It is still nursery. It sounds like it would be good for him socially. Probably the cm is jist keen to keep him longer. Take it as a compliment.

GreenTulips Sun 22-Apr-18 12:13:03

He lacks confidence socially

They all do!

It will be registration then play with different activities laid out

Water sand outdoor play painting playdoh singing etc

They learn to take turns share and have a go

They will follow class rules like sitting at the table for snack and ask to use the toilet

You need to give it a try and not be over worried

Ididnothearthat Sun 22-Apr-18 12:18:39

Could your childminder be wanting you to increase hours with them so they get the funding rather than the nursery? Its still a business at the end of the day. I would go for the nursery to give him more time to settle in that environment even if its harder initally. Will then help transiton into reception year.

NotAnotherJaffaCake Sun 22-Apr-18 12:23:19

Your childminder has a vested interest in him staying with her. Also I am not 100% sure on the legalities but I don't think a school can refuse delayed start. They don't like it because the school roll which determines funding is taken in October.

I would start at school nursery and see how he gets on. It's probably better for him to be with his school year, assuming the CM has younger kids rather than preschool age children.

Scrumptiousbears Sun 22-Apr-18 12:28:15

I may have missed it but what has the nursery place offered? Full days or half days?

WhereIsBlueRabbit Sun 22-Apr-18 12:30:55

Fair enough about overthinking! I am just really, really torn. We also would need the CM onside about a staggered start and the nursery have said we would have to send him five days from the start, even if it was building him up gradually. But this won't work at all with the afternoon session we've been given (despite asking for morning), and I question whether she would be on board with the morning sessions, tbh. And we would have to commit our 15 free hours to the nursery, though I can't see that being an issue.

The CM has a mix of ages, mainly a little boy exactly his age, and as of September there'll be a baby on one of the days. She might have another pre-schooler by then, I guess. Before and after school, there are other older children. We'd planned to use her for wraparound care at the nursery and primary stage.

She absolutely does have a vested interest and I'm aware of that, as one of the current mindees is off to school in September, though she won't have a problem filling the place.

The school have said that they're not allowed to have a blanket ban on a delayed start to Reception so you can ask for it but in practice they have never allowed anyone to delay starting as they feel they can support the child. This includes an ex-mindee of the CM who was selectively mute away from home and a late summer-born.

WhereIsBlueRabbit Sun 22-Apr-18 12:32:03

Sorry, I wasn't clear. They've offered five days a week, afternoon sessions, 1230-1530. We'd asked for mornings on their advice, as he still naps and they advised that even if he dropped the nap, he might well revert on starting nursery.

HSMMaCM Sun 22-Apr-18 17:01:10

If he's definitely going to get into that school, then it can be good for insecure children to be in the attached nursery. The children I childminding for stay with me from 6 months until school, but they don't have a guaranteed school place and I ensure they do lots of mixing with other children and work to prep for school.

Sorry, I'm not really answering your question, but a lot depends on your child, the school intake and the childminder. You know which environment will help your child thrive and learn. I'm not a great believer in saying that they'll struggle to cope when they're 4, so let's do it when they're 3 instead. It all depends where the best place for your child is.

I don't have any financial incentive to keep children with me until school, because I get paid more for unfunded children anyway.

GorgonLondon Sun 22-Apr-18 17:04:05

Even the oldest kids are at most 3 years and 3 months when they start nursery. Mine started at 3 years 2 months and 3 years 1 month. lots of kids are still non-verbal or insecure at that age. Nursery will be helpful.

MizCracker Sun 22-Apr-18 18:13:22

Honestly, I'd question any preschool who insists you have to send them five days a week. My DC1 never did, and neither will DC2z

MyOtherProfile Sun 22-Apr-18 20:32:49

Also I am not 100% sure on the legalities but I don't think a school can refuse delayed start.
They can refuse if they've filled the space with someone who starts at the same time as everyone else.

're the 5 days you would have to register your child for the 5 days and the 5 days funding would go to the school nursery, in practice you don't have to attend every day.

NotAnotherJaffaCake Sun 22-Apr-18 21:24:30

Just checked the School Admission Code - parents can defer the start date until the term in which the child turns 5, and can do part time until such a date. Doesn’t matter about what the school wants at all, and is immaterial in whether the school will offer you a place as it’s not part of the admissions criteria.

MyOtherProfile Sun 22-Apr-18 22:51:45

But a place can't be offered if they're all gone. It's quite a risk in some schools.

WhereIsBlueRabbit Sun 22-Apr-18 23:59:19

Thank you all - lots to think about here.

The school is an academy and has been very quick to tell me that it isn't bound by the usual rules - there were lots of things we really liked about it but it does seem quite inflexible in some ways. We need to suss out the other options but the next nearest schools are one-form entry and we're unlikely to get in, and less good.

We have about 48 hours to make a decision!

NotAnotherJaffaCake Mon 23-Apr-18 10:21:08

You apply as normal, then once you’ve accepted the place you inform them your child will be starting on X date. They can’t do a damn thing about it, no matter how hard they bluster. It’s not a late or in year admission. It’s happened this year in our LA, despite the school threatening all sorts - the child has stayed in nursery and started in Reception this term.

Academies are their own admissions authorities but are still bound by the School Admissions Code.

MyOtherProfile Mon 23-Apr-18 14:02:56

That is a risky strategy. Schools are only obliged to keep a place open for 6 weeks and after that point the place can be given to someone else. If it's not oversubscribed then go for it but if there's a waiting list you will lose your place.

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