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Does anyone flexi-school their Primary-age DC?

(176 Posts)
Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 14:52:24

The kid will be starting school in September, but for various reasons we think she'd be happier being flexi-schooled.

I'm aware that she doesn't need to go to school at all legally, and that if she does, it doesn't need to be full-time until the term in which she turns 5. I'm also aware that any flexi arrangement needs to be made with the head.

What I wondered though is if anyone who has actually done it has any advice about how to get the head to agree?

We would like her to 'flex' one or two days a week, and am considering telling the head of my plans and doing it regardless of consent for the first two terms of they year (before she is 5) as it will be an opportunity (hopefully) for us to demonstrate that it's a workable system, but any thoughts and experiences would be appreciated. Thanks.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 15:11:09

What do you envision she will learn in school on the days she attends?

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 15:33:07

In all honesty, I don't know, but full time home-ed is not something we can afford.

givemeaclue Tue 19-Feb-13 15:39:09

That could be tricky, they tend to do phonics etc every day so she would be missing three days of that every week. Perhaps just doing mornings and going home at lunch time would be better? She would miss the play rather than the work?

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 15:46:00

Ah, I was meaning having her in school 3 or 4 days, and 'flexed' (by which I mean with one of us) for 1 or 2.

The fact that they will be doing phonics and so on everyday is one of the reasons we want to do it - she already has a reading age of seven, so I don't think she'd get much out of it to be honest.

givemeaclue Tue 19-Feb-13 15:49:33

She sounds very advanced so it seems a good idea. But try to work with school to get a plan in place for when she does go full time so she isn't completely bored by the work being too easy. Perhaps she could do some lessons with older kids?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 15:50:52

Missing a day or two every week will leave gaps and I'm not sure how you plan to compensate for missed learning

LadyPeterWimsey Tue 19-Feb-13 15:55:08

Well I did. But not until year 5, and then for one day a week. The head agreed very quickly, practically on the spot.


The head was aware that the school were not meeting DSs needs in G & T work. He knew us well and he knew our son well, which meant he knew we were committed to his education and that he was mature enough and flexible enough to deal with an unusual situation, as well as having good enough friendships and social skills.

DS was a fluent, chapter book reader before he started reception, and was very young for his year. But he still got an enormous amount out of full-time school, educationally and socially. We didn't say anything to the school beforehand and within two days he was reading appropriate books, and within a few weeks was working with year 1 for literacy.

I guess I'm saying that the school are likely to look upon any request more favourably if they know your child and their needs, which they won't until she has been at the school for a while.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 15:59:39

mrz I am a qualified teacher - I know what I'm doing smile Also, the idea of flexi-schooling is not that they miss learning, but that they are educated "off-site" for some days of the week. I think it would be beneficial for her to be out of school for a few days a week so she could learn about things she in interested in at her own pace. As I said above, she is 3.7 and has a reading age of 7 because reading is something she decided she was interested in and pretty much taught herself to do by getting us to read books to her over and over.

givemeaclue I am rather hoping she doesn't have to go full-time - that we can use the first two terms to show that she won't be missing out and that it is of benefit to her to do it. But yes, I think acceleration might be in order. The best advice I've seen is to accelerate to highest group possible where they are still above average?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 16:04:46

Have you taught in reception, how well do you know the EYFS?

givemeaclue Tue 19-Feb-13 16:07:43

Sounds like a great plan, hope the school are supportive

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:09:52

LadyPeterWimsey that sounds fabulous - our first choice school is attached to the pre-school so they do know her - she has really only let on to anyone that she can read more than a few words since Christmas and they have already identified this and given her a reading bag with books from the main school, for example.

There are definitely benefits to going to school, as you say. Can I ask how long your arrangement lasted? Like your DS, DD is one of the youngest in her year.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:14:48

mrz I haven't taught reception, no. I know my DD very well though, and can read a curriculum. However, I'd imagine that the school would have ample time to cover it with her in 3 or 4 days per week anyway. We'd do other educational things with her on 'our' days.

MarthasHarbour Tue 19-Feb-13 16:15:43

As I said above, she is 3.7 and has a reading age of 7 because reading is something she decided she was interested in and pretty much taught herself to do by getting us to read books to her over and over.

surely at that age she can memorise rather than read..? hmm i have a DS the same age who knows all his books for the same reasons as you have highlighted, but he doesnt read

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 16:16:41

It isn't how EYFS works I'm afraid ... good luck

LadyPeterWimsey Tue 19-Feb-13 16:23:39

We did it for year 5 and year 6, on Fridays when apparently they were just revising work they had done previously that week and so he wasn't missing anything new.

I don't think I would have done it in reception, though, because he really enjoyed the rhythm of the school day, and they made everything so much fun that he was pretty stimulated. He really wouldn't have enjoyed missing out on anything, even if he had covered it before.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:23:47

MarthasHarbour - no, she can read. I know her reading age is seven because I asked her to read the words in the Burt Reading Test (1974) - but she will also read books she has never seen before.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:27:10

MarthasHarbour I see where the confusion has arisen now - she got us to read books she knew over and over I think so she could correlate our words to the words on the page - so for example she wanted the same two or three bedtime stories every night for months. We thought she just liked the stories, but on reflection I think she was using the familiarity of the stories to help her learn to read - we certainly haven't tried to teach her.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:28:30

mrz can you eleborate on 'that isn't how EYFS' works? Do you think it would 'work' for a child who is already familiar with a large chunk of it's content?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 16:29:37

I was going to walk away
Have you ever taught in a primary school Machadaynu?

juniper904 Tue 19-Feb-13 16:29:40

She might be able to decode like a 7 year old, but does she actually understand what she's read? Can she read Horrid Henry or the equivalent?

As a teacher, surely you appreciate there's more to early years than learning phonics? Don't you worry that she'll be excluded socially if she isn't there full time? And if you yourself are not early years trained, then how can you be confident that you can provide the same quality of teaching as the reception teacher? I'm not an early years teacher and I know very little about the EYFS (even though I trained in 3-11. It all seems to change very quickly!)

I just don't see the advantage of keeping her out of school.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:31:52

mrz Have I taught in a primary school formally, in a paid capacity? No.

Have I taught in a primary school? Yes. My teacher used to get me to teach maths to my peers when I was 10, and when I was doing my (secondary) PGCE I spent a week in primary.

Have you ever met my daughter?

juniper904 Tue 19-Feb-13 16:33:02

* bows out *

MustafaCake Tue 19-Feb-13 16:34:52

Reception is about far more than just reading.

Your DD may be advanced in reading but there are plenty of other things she will be learning in reception - both academic and social - which she will miss out on by being at home. Eg in DS's reception they did numeracy every day which built on concepts learnt the previous day. How will your daughter manage if she missed the previous day's session? With 30 kids in the class, teacher will not have time to go over it again with your DD.

DS (Y1) is also well advanced in his literacy and his school have done a great job ensuring that he is challenged e.g. he joins a Y2 class for literacy every morning, has 121 with a learning support person, has a choice of (optional) project work to do at home that is usually only made available to Y3 and above.

I would ask the school how they plan to deal with a good reader. I know at DS's school the children are split into groups (abilitywise) for literacy and numeracy right from reception which has been brilliant in ensuring DS stays interested and challenged.

Songbird Tue 19-Feb-13 16:37:00

LadyWimsey seems to talk sense. Full time her until she gets settled in, makes friends etc, then you can discuss things with the HT.

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