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Admissions experts! Another question about full/part-time in September 2011.

(18 Posts)
JellyBelly10 Tue 21-Jun-11 14:18:54

My DS is starting school in September this year and under the new Admissions rules (parental choice about deferring/part-time/full-time etc etc) I have decided to send him full-time in September. However now I have a letter from the school saying that no new children will be starting school full-time as they are doing a phased introduction over a three week period. The first week they don't come at all (while the rest of the school get settled back to school and the new children will ahve a 20 minute home-visit from their teacher), the second week they will be divided into two groups and half will do mornings only and half will do afternoons only, the third week they will swap over and do either mornings or afternoons depending on what they did in week two. Afternoons are only 1.35 until 3.15!! Neither morning children or afternoon children will be allowed to stay for lunch. So until week 4 no-one willl actuallly attend full-time. I know that schools have often done these sort of settling in periods in previous years, but under the new rules I thought a child was entitled to a full-time place from day one. For working parents that extra three weeks attached to the Summer holidays could be pretty tricky, especially for the one and a half hour afternoon sessions!
I'm not personally bothered by this (not too much anyway!) as I don't work and will just have to deal with it until week 4, but people are already talking in the playground about how this is going to be much harder to manage for working parents, and I just wondered, does anyone know if the school can insist that children can't actually start full-time until week 4 of the term? Could a parent in theory insist that they want their child's full-time place right from the beginning?

Peachy Tue 21-Jun-11 14:21:27

It's very much the norm elsewhere, in fact ds1's school for Reception phased it in over an entire term. Often it is linlked to what proportion attended nursery or preschool and therefore will need a gentle approach.

The system you are looking at is very much in the middle- our school now does it over 2 weeks and the old as I said.

JWIM Tue 21-Jun-11 14:38:59

I believe that parents can say they want their child in full time from day 1.

Phased entry - however a school does it will be based on the experience of the staff in how children settle in to school.

Full time from day 1 at parent request may be because they feel it is in the best interests of their child, but as OP comments, may be more in the best interests of the parent re childcare provision.

As a parent it is sometimes wise to think about why a school has a system in place - not with a jaundiced eye that that suits the teachers, but with the perspective that they start children in school year in, year out and have considerable experience.

Peachy Tue 21-Jun-11 14:44:10

Also check what you signed when youa ccepted the palce.

I signed a letter saying I accepted the policies and ethos of the school: staggered entry is a listed policy.

admission Tue 21-Jun-11 16:05:35

The problem here is that the school is doing what is best for their own convenience and not what is best for the pupil and the parents.
Why for instance can't the reception teacher have done all the visits before the start of term, rather than have a cushy first week talking to parents?
I actually agree that pupils should be phased in but it could be handled better. It would far preferable if they were there all day and actually they took half the first week and the second week they took in the remainder of the class.

Peachy Tue 21-Jun-11 16:41:23

Isn;t the mornings / afternoons thing supposed to mean that they can focus on school skills before they ahve to deal with lunchtimes etc? That was certainly how our school 1 saw it.

What we have is on Mon / tues / thurs / fri a few more children join each day all half days; based on age at entry (so older children first). After two half sessions shildren who can cope can stay FT, other children take it more gradually.

It seems to work well.

Locally the nurseries are used to the system and have adapted to bring children in and out at the set times.

JellyBelly10 Tue 21-Jun-11 21:09:26

Thanks for your comments. I totally agree with admission that this is definitely for the conveninece of the Head and her staff, and not for the families involved. To make children come for one and a half hours a day is just ludicrous when the least any of them will have been doing at preschool is 3 hours. I agree with admission that taking half in first then the second half (in order of age) would have been much more logical and a much more realsitic transition for the children.

Peachy Wed 22-Jun-11 05:58:00

Are you sure none will have done less than that? We have a preschool attached to our school but typially only half the chidlren attend and a number do not attend anywhere.

mumoverseas Wed 22-Jun-11 17:14:25

I've just found out that DD's new school will be the same. Home visits first week and then second week either 11am to 1pm or 1pm to 3pm. I had assumed she would start full time as soon as school went back sad

DD is raring to go, she has an October birthday so will be one of the oldest and has been at school (foundation 1) full time since last September, 7.50am until 1pm.

JellyBelly10 Wed 22-Jun-11 18:42:42

Exactly mumoverseas, it all seems like a backwards step and I can only imagine it must be a nightmare for working parents. And it's really confusing for the children (especialy in our school where they will be dividing the intake into two and only allowing half to attend for the mornings and half in the afternoons etc) as they may be split up from friends from pre-school who they would have found comforting and familiar to start school with. Three weeks is an immense length of time when you're 4 years old! I will have to explain to my child on a daily basis that this isn't how school will be, you will eventually attend for more than one and a half hours a day!!!

Ihavenoclue Thu 23-Jun-11 01:59:45

They are required to provide full time education from the start. Many schools do and have done so for several years.

My understanding is that to qualify for FSM you need to attend for the whole day and not on a part time basis. Something else to bear in mind.

Suggest some of you parents get together and speak to the Head.

Northumberlandlass Thu 23-Jun-11 08:37:37

Our school did this too, DS didn't start full time until the week before October half term.

I didn't think you could do anything about it !

JellyBelly10 Thu 23-Jun-11 14:22:44

That's interesting Ihavenoclue, hadn't thought of the free school meal aspect. Our school actually would probably not see that as a problem as historically we have either 0% FSM or occasionally we'll get one or two kids in the whole school. So it may not be something they've considered. I'd love to find some document or other that actually states that all children are entitled to full-time from day one! If anyone can find one and link to it here I will be forever grateful!! grin

cece Thu 23-Jun-11 14:29:05

This sort of thing is perfectly normal in every school I know of.

JellyBelly10 Thu 23-Jun-11 14:39:27

Yes but from September 2011 the law changes and every child is entitled to a full-time place from the term after their 4th birthday. In the past different schools and different LAs had their own rules about how children were admitted to school but from SEptember (according to the Admissions Code 2010) all children are entitled to a full-time place. So I just wondered if that changed the legality of only allowinga part-time start.

Ihavenoclue Thu 23-Jun-11 15:45:45

This is the actual law that gives parents the choice.

I would also read the Devon admissions info as they are a LEA usually on the ball with their planning

prh47bridge Thu 23-Jun-11 16:38:37

Ihavenoclue - I am afraid your understanding of this is incorrect. The LA/school is NOT required to provide a full time education from the start.

They are required to provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday. They are required to make it clear that parents can request full or part time classes until the child reaches compulsory school age. However, they are NOT required to comply with parental requests for full or part time classes. You might think this is a pointless right if the school don't have to comply but that is what the last government put in place.

By the way, the explanatory note in the document to which you link is NOT law. This is a statutory instrument. The only bit of it that has any legislative status is the first page. Admission authorities are obliged to comply with the Admissions Code, NOT this explanatory note.

JellyBelly10 Thu 23-Jun-11 16:58:44

Thanks prh47bridge, at least I know now, and like the rest of the parents will just have to traipse up and down from the school for a few weeks of very short sessions! I always thought the Admissions Code left it a bit of a grey area. For our school (which previously had intake sin Sept, Jan and April) all of this is new and I'm sure they will learn over the coming years from experience and from staff/parent feedback what works best. Thanks for everyone's input.

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