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Reception - summer 'induction'

(18 Posts)
Rosebud05 Tue 07-Jun-11 22:23:39

Just trying to gauge some other experiences here.

How do schools usually induct/get to know reception starters who haven't been in the nursery there? Would they usually contact parents to find out who, if anyone, the child knows before classes are allocated?

My daughter will be in a significant minority of non-nursery kids starting reception in Sept and there was a letter about a home visit/visit to the school but there was no clear information available when I called today, aside from the fact that these meetings will be after classes have been allocated.

This seems the wrong way round to me. Is this usual practice?

Rosebud05 Wed 08-Jun-11 08:15:21


mummynoseynora Wed 08-Jun-11 09:29:52

At the school DD is starting we had a letter with forms to fill in once place was confirmed, this included the question - are there any particular friendships with other children starting. It also asked about things she likes doing etc

She also seems to have a big induction thing set up

we have a parents information evening next week
then early july there is a 1hr induction session in an existing R class with me
then a 2hr one with her 'new class' without me
then a home visit just before term starts.

Rosebud05 Wed 08-Jun-11 10:39:32

Thanks - that's a useful contrast. I thought the information about existing friendships was standard.

When I returned for acceptance form, I wrote on it the name of one child who my child knows who will be be starting at the same time (the only person this child know also is my daughter), took it into the office and was told that it was fine for them to be in the same class.

I spoke to the EYFS person yesterday to get some sort of time table for settling in visits etc, and she said that she can't guarantee it, that if she did it for us she'd have to do it for others. I'm really upset - on the basis of what I've was told (and the person also wrote 'same class' beside their names on the lists of reception starters) I've told my daughter that she'll be in the same class as her friend and my friend has said the same to her daughter.

The EYFS person told me that take information about children into account when allocating classes etc. My problem with this is that they have lots of information about the 45 out 60 children who have been at the nursery but haven't yet gathered any info about the other children and it sounds like this isn't going to happen until after the classes are allocated then it will be to late to change things.

I've been in tears on and off since speaking to her as I really, really don't want to tell my highly strung, inflexible, has-to-be-peeled-off-me-every-morning-hypershy dd that she won't in the same class as her one friend.

I also don't feel that I'm asking for anything exceptional. The children who have been to the nursery will all know children in their class. It seems reasonable to me to offer this to non-nursery children if they do know someone - or have I got the wrong perspective on this?


mumoverseas Wed 08-Jun-11 12:36:29

I'm sort of in the same boat. DD starting reception in September but has been at school abroad for most of the last year. New school sent a letter a few weeks ago asking about her previous nursery experience which I confirmed to them. I'm guessing the majority of the new children will have been to the nursery attached to the school and DD will be in the minority. have just had an email from school secretary asking for more specific information about where she went to school and teacher contact details so they can get a report on her before she starts and wonder if that is normal. A little worried as we are not in the normal situation, ie she has been at a nursery/school outside the UK so probably not the normaly proceedure. She only knows one child going to the school who also didn't go to the nursery attached as had to go to a private one as parents both worked full time and am hoping they will put them together.

Hope we get information on induction soon, would be nice to know what was happening

midnightexpress Wed 08-Jun-11 12:40:39

We have to enrol at our catchment school in January (we're in Scotland, so slightly different system, I expect). At that point, the HT asked if DS knew any of the other starters, or had any particular friends from nursery. They don't promise to put them in together, but in fact he has ended up in the class with all the children I mentioned, I think. No idea if that's just a coincidence, though!

Runoutofideas Wed 08-Jun-11 12:54:54

At my children's school they do not ask about prior friendships. They allocate the three reception classes to have an even split of girls/boys, and a fair spread from Sept-August.
I can understand your concerns, but in reality the children find their own friends pretty quickly in general. My dd1 was in a class with 5 others from her pre-school, none of whom she was particularly friendly with. She started doing afternoons, as a younger one, while the other 5 were all in the older half of the year so started with mornings. This meant that for the first 2 weeks she didn't see any of the familiar children anyway. She now (yr1) has a good group of friends, only one of whom she knew at pre-school.
If I were in your position I would stop mentioning her friend being in her class and if it comes to the first day and they are separated just give it a breezy "Oh, I wonder why that is then? - Never mind I'm sure you can play with her at playtimes". Before you know it she'll have made loads of new little friends anyway. Do you have any class storytimes or playtimes prior to starting where she can get to know some of the others?

pooka Wed 08-Jun-11 13:06:39

My children's school also doesn't ask about friendship groups. In Reception there are technically two classes, but for registration purposes only. The children are divided between the classes by alphabetical order. But for all teaching/activities they have free rein between the classes and have carpet time/phonics and stuff in smaller groups which by the end of Reception are more or less arranged by ability/personalities.

Then at the end of Reception the teachers are involved with splitting the classes on the basis of what the teachers have learnt/observed over the course of the year, ready for year 1. This means that they can assess positive/negative friendships/emnities/abilities and so on and ensure that the year 1 classes are as balanced as possible. It is impossible on the basis of varying reports from scattered pre-schools and nurseries and when dealing witha lot of children who have never met each other before, to construct cohesive classes that will not be changed for the rest of Primary.

But even in year 1 the classes are actually taught in smaller groups of 15 or 20 across they whole cohort. So dd's best friend is in the opposite registration class, but same maths group. Different literacy group.

DD knew no one when she started in the January. (The existing 30 children were split and the new intake added to the new split classes). She's been absolutely fine (in year 3 now).

DS1 was a september starter and has also had no problems - he knows children from each registration class and I'm hoping the big end of year mix up will be coped with.

In term of what they did before they started - in early JUly they had a play afternoon (2 hours) where the kids were taken to the classrooms while the parents had the starting school chat. We then got to meet the teachers for a 15min new starter chat about any issues we wanted to raise or discuss.

goinggetstough Wed 08-Jun-11 13:06:53

Rosebud, try not to get too upset although I know it is hard. Basically the person in the office should have said nothing. I do though agree with your reasoning. Has your friend also asked for the girls to be in the same class?However, on a positive note firstly they could still be in the same class. Secondly if they are not they can still be together at playtimes, lunchtimes and children do tend to make friends quite quickly. I too had a shy DD and as a Forces family she was constantly moving schools 5 by the time she was 8. I found that although it was hard on our DC the key thing was for the parents to be positive - OK Oscar performances may be required here as of course you would prefer your DD to be with her friend. Maybe after the school visit you can invite some of the DD from your DD's new class for a play date so she has some new friends when she starts. Good luck.

Rosebud05 Wed 08-Jun-11 16:45:24

Yes, my friend has also asked. Her daughter has been in a different nursery full-time since she was 9 months old and knows only my daughter. When my daughter mentioned it yesterday I said that maybe if she wasn't in the same class they'd still see each other at break time and R could come for tea and sleepovers as she does not. This did not go down well.

Yes, maybe the person in the office shouldn't have written 'same class' on the list of reception starters in front of me and said 'that's fine' but she did. That's a different situation. Maybe the school governor who requested that her son be in the same class as his one friend when he started 4 years ago shouldn't have been the one to say that we can ask for them to be in the same class, but she did.

I do an Oscar winning performance when dropping her off 3 times a week and tbh I find the thought of doing it 5 days a week very gruelling. I'm just trying to find ways of minimising the trauma.

My main annoyance is that there is lot of thought put into the needs of nursery children when allocating classes and no information gathered about new starters, which seems very unfair.

My dd is extremely shy, highly strung, does not make friends easily, is very inflexible (lovely with it, but not an 'easy' child). Asking for her to be in a class with someone who she knows is what the nursery children will have, no special treatment.

Rosebud05 Wed 08-Jun-11 17:22:27

God, i sound a bit deranged, don't I?

I spoke to my dd's keyworker at nursery today - there isn't anyone else from there going and the school hasn't requested any info yet.

They'll be involved in transition visits and her key workers said that she's provide info about the work we've done to help her settle at nursery.

this is good but unfortunate that it couldn't be taken into account when allocating classes in the way it would have done if she had been in the school nursery.

I wouldn't be having these concerns if she'd have been in the school nursery and she would be bound to know at least one other person in her class which is all I'm requesting.

Runoutofideas Wed 08-Jun-11 17:28:26

I don't think it was an unreasonable request, but you do seem to be unduly worried about it. FWIW my dd sounds very similar to yours so I really do understand where you are coming from as far as trying to make the transition easy. You may well find that they have been put in the same class anyway - you don't know that they haven't, do you? I would wait to see what happens then deal with it accordingly. I think you may find your request has been honoured, but they can't admit to doing so, for risk of opening the floodgates to other requests once the classes have been sorted. Once people have been told then clearly they can't change as it would involve messing around other children.

Rosebud05 Wed 08-Jun-11 17:38:57

I agree that I'm unduly worrying about it. When I moved to secondary school, I was put in a class where I knew no-one (about 50 kids from our school went up, 9 form entry, so obvious reason) and, for me, it was absolutely devastating and triggered a bout of depression that lasted throughout my teenage years. The depression was about what had/was going on at home and having to struggle in a class where I knew no-one (and the others in the class all had someone) was the final trigger.

My memories of this are definitely clouding my perspective on this situation, which is different,

I fully appreciate that they can't change classes once they've been allocated, which is why I mentioned it before the classes are allocated.

sarahfreck Wed 08-Jun-11 17:55:42

In reception, they should now have free access to outdoor areas during the school day. ( Many have bikes, play houses and other exciting things for the children to play on/with so not the empty barren areas of our childhood - I know one with a (low) climbing wall, den, wigwam, play house, vegetable planters ( + watering cans to water), rock scrambling area, mud digging area(!) dinosaur jungle, knotted ropes for climbing up slopes and outdoor stage as well as bikes/ball play - the children go out in all weathers - have wellies and waterproofs!) Do they have one outdoor area shared between the reception classes? If so your DD and friend could be together for quite a lot of the day doing outdoor activities, not just standard playtimes, even if they aren't in the same reception class.

Wait and see - you may find they are allocated the same class after all - if not just be upbeat about the times she will be able to see her friend and about the opportunities for making friends with new children - there will be others that don't know many/any other children. Reception is really different to secondary so try not to project your experience onto your dd if you can manage it!

mum765 Wed 08-Jun-11 18:59:19

Our school did a home visit and had a short introductory session where we left the dc for a couple of hours. They allocated places in classes with no regard for previous friends. But the two reception classes mix at workshop time (a few hours a day) and playtimes, so it works out ok really.

Whyisitsodifficult Wed 08-Jun-11 19:36:46

My son is due to start reception in September, he won't be five until February. The school have said that you can choose either full time or mornings only to start with. As he already attends pre-school for two full days it seems a backward step to start doing mornings only, but suddenly going to five full days seems a big jump. So I emailed the school asking if it was possible to do a four day week, and they've said no! Now technically I believe he doesn't even need to attend school until he is five? I really don't want to hold him back until then but believe four is too young for a full school week. I've replied back to the school stating my concerns but have yet to hear back, where do I stand on this? Thanks

Rosebud05 Wed 08-Jun-11 19:44:20

Unfortunately, you probably have to take one of the options offered by the school. If you went with mornings, how long would this be for?

I'm not sure that 5 mornings is a backward step from 2 days at pre-school, in terms of having to get ready on time every morning and having only weekend days 'off'.

If I had the choice, I'd start with half days and build up, though appreciate that this isn't ideal for every working parent.

Rowgtfc72 Fri 10-Jun-11 14:13:47

DD will start reception with two friends that we know of from nursery. Luckily she is very outgoing and makes friends very easily. Its us as parents that are worried. We have heard nothing yet from new school and Im working out how many weeks of the term they have left to sort something!

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