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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 20:09:38

Attendance targets relate to individual children not to school percentages

EverybodysSootyEyed Tue 19-Feb-13 20:09:46

I agree with iwishiwas

The main change I saw in ds at the end of reception was to his maturity and social skills. He also shows he can be kind, share, stick up for himself and his friends etc etc. he also gets a great deal of pleasure from his friendships and camaraderie they all have. This is a boy who doesn't need friends - he is quite happy on his own - so the social aspect was my main concern. Luckily I had no need to worry.

As suggested upthread, could you not do the academic stretching at weekends? Your dd is not going to get bored at school due to the huge variety of stuff they do.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:12:26

Which is why Personal, Social and Emotional development is a prime learning area and reading and maths aren't

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:17:47

The flexi schoolers I know chose to do because they felt their child was too young for full time education and were in a position to stay home and provide an alternative. My ht actually said to me, when informed of my decision to delay admission by a term, why wouldn't a child be better off with one on one care with it's mother at this age. four is ridiculously young to start school IMO. The op didn't say she thought her child was too clever for reception. If flexi schooling can be conducted in such a way that it does not inconvenience the class teacher or disadvantage the child then why not go for it?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:22:35

A parent has a legal right to delay starting until the term after the child's fifth birthday but has no legal right to part time which is at the discretion of the school. So the OP could keep her child at home until the summer if they wish.

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:27:22

yes. But, like me, the OP might feel flexi schooling is prefertial because 1. There is a lot to be had from reception and 2. Delaying until the summer will result in school losing a years funding while flexi schooling will, at most, result in the school loosing funding proportionate to the days the child is educated off site (or no money lost at all if the flexi schooling begins and ends after the school census in October).

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:28:41

BranchingOut I can see why you chose to teach early years instead of statistics ;) It may just be the places like MN are magnets for parents with highly able children to discuss things, and therefore this isn't a representative sample? Or maybe the very able kids you taught had done what my wife and I did and are determined our daughter will not, which is mask their abilities to fit it? Or maybe I'm just making this up?

5madthings yes, definitely at heads discretion. My LEA were going to create a policy for guidance, and then didn't bother, so Enthuse I have no idea how it would affect funding, but then I suspect the LEA don't either ...

IwishIwas more Organised I'm not especially concerned about her interaction with her age-peers as she is perfectly sociable with adults. She has all the necessary skills, but I think she just isn't interested in kids her own age. She has pretty much consistently been disinterested in kids her age as she has grown up. I would be perfectly happy for her to go full time if I thought the school had the resources to make it time well spent. I think she'd be happier socialising with slightly older kids, so a mixed playground may suit her much better, but I do worry about her being bored.

Flexi school absence from school is marked in the register as 'Educated off-site' - the same code as school trips etc - so it doesn't affect attendance stats at all.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:29:30

Unfortunately there isn't a legal entitlement to flexi schooling

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:31:23

The kid will be one of the youngest in her year btw.

I want to flexi because I think she will benefit from it. I didn't really want to go in to reasons, but seem to have been drawn in to it and then had my reasons questioned. I was just after experiences from those that had done it.

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:32:42

And the ht is legally empowered tomgrant flexi schooling so the OP is entitled to ask. And, from my own experience, I can say it worked out fine for everyone. Nobody suffered as a result. Nobody complained. No one lost money. My kids were happy. I was happy. The OPs child is five. one day a week won't make any difference. An imaginative ht will grant it. An unimaginative one will not.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 19-Feb-13 20:33:40

Why do you think that school don't have the resources to make her being there full time time well spent?

Don't you think that socialising with others of your own age is an important life skill to have? I certainly do.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:34:12

Thanks Enthuse It's nice to know it can work smile

(The kid is 3.7 at the moment)

WipsGlitter Tue 19-Feb-13 20:35:11

I'm sorry, but not being interested in her peers isn't a good thing.

Why not let her try it, be a child like all others and then review.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:35:12

Why so hung up about age, IwishIwas? She seems to prefer the company of slightly older children. Why is that an issue?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:35:55

Yes the OP is entitled to request flexi schooling

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:36:02

Why, WipsGlitter, if she is happy with older children and adults?

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:37:24

Mr z. No there is no legal entitlement to flexi schooling. That is precisely why the op is asking for advice I. How to approach the ht. She is well within her rights to ask and it is within the ht power to grant it. It really isn't a big deal. I know it isn't a big deal as my child has done it.

simpson Tue 19-Feb-13 20:38:24

I have to confess it would concern me if my child could not mix with their peers too (it did for a bit with DD).

She is going to be in a class with kids the same age as her not older or adults (apart from the teacher) so it is crucial that they can socialise with their peer group and build on friendships etc.

WipsGlitter Tue 19-Feb-13 20:38:35

Can you really not see why being able to get on with children her own age is an issue?

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 20:39:53

I really am walking away now

good luck to your daughter

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 19-Feb-13 20:40:23

Because she will have to go through the rest of her school career being with children of her own age. Surely getting her used to that sooner rather than later would be a good thing?

She will need to be able to respect her peers, play and learn alongside them for a good many years yet to make her school career a success and an enjoyable time.

There are plenty of opportunities outside of school to socialise with slightly older children - brownies, gym, dance classes atvthe park or whatever she enjoys doing.

5madthings Tue 19-Feb-13 20:45:56

Some children just get on better with adults, my ds1 was like this and still is to an extent, he has friends etc but as small social circle, he likes his own company and gets on well with adults. He is 13 and in many ways has always been like an old man in a child's body, its not an issue he has made friends as he got older and found his niche amongst his peers.

And she will be amongst her peers, just not five days as week, its not an issue, flexible schooling can work well. Full time school is not necessary at four/five yes of age.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 20:47:11

It's not that she can't get on with kids of her own age - she has those that she calls friends and always sits with the same girl in the morning at PS, but the things she likes to do (for example making up collaborative stories with complicated plots and language and reading) are not activities that she can share with the average 4 year old. I'm really not worried about it. I have no concerns whatsoever about her getting along with her peers as she gets older. She's an old head on young shoulders :/

blueberryboybait Tue 19-Feb-13 20:48:37

We flexi schooled DD1 as she is a 31st Aug birthday and we were worried about tiredness. She too was an advanced reader, reading chapter books BUT emotionally she was very young, she loved older kids and adults but had very little idea of socialising with her peers (who like it or not she will be at school with until she is 18). We did 5 mornings initially, then 3 full days and 1 half day. We found she blossomed, she discovered friends her own age she didn't know 'how' to be friends with before, she matured and grew in confidence in a large group setting. Yes she could read but her phonics was non existent, she learnt phonics with the rest of the class and worked on her spelling and writing.

On our home day we found something she fancied doing, baking/drawing/walking/exploring but forced nothing. By the end of October she was begging to go to school everyday, she discovered Fridays was Show and Tell and Golden Time day, lunch was fish and chips and all the points she earned during the week had a reward she was missing out on.

Why don't you follow her lead? Let her find out how she feels about school, your ideas and attitude to school will come through and she will end up worrying about enjoying school because you are not sure it is enough for her. You are a teacher but primarily you are her mum, let those with the huge amounts of experience with children her age teach her, by all means support and encourage at home, but let her go and enjoy it.

Enthuse Tue 19-Feb-13 20:53:02

OP: you asked specifically for advice on how to approach ht. Indidnthree things. Inbound out the legal status (educated off site and the code for the register) and inbound out how it would affect funding. You may nit think this relevant but any head will care about the impact on the school so it is worth having an answer in place. I was also honest and said that one of the main reasons I wanted to flexi school was because I wanted more time with my child and I was certain it would benefit my child. I also made it clear that I would keep up with any academics (this bit really wasn't hard). I agreed that I would send my child in for assemblies or other big project days if they fell in the off day so that she would not miss the goal of a terms work by being at home on that day. Four days is more than enough time to build friendships etc my daughter loved reception but she asking loved our time together and the extra adventures and fun we had

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