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can someone explain it to me in basic terms please???

(11 Posts)
neshi Mon 13-May-13 10:25:38

Well, quite honestly, I feel really stupid to even ask, so thought this would be just the right place to do it! I'm not british and most of my friends are also foreign...
How does the education work in the uk? With this I mean, I'm quite confused with at what age do kids start pre reception, reception, primary school... and then the exams!! I heard about exams at 5 years old but then heard about exams at 7 years old!!!
Can someone please explain to me in a very very basic way at what age do they start what and what kind of exams are they're going to go trough?

My Ds will be 3 very soon...july born.

nickyjay2471 Mon 13-May-13 10:39:40

Hi. I am a primary school teacher so I will help as much as I can! Children start nursery education when they are 3 - you can choose whether this is taken up in a school or a private nursery and you are entitled to 15 hrs free per week. Depending on where you decide to take it this could be 3 hours per day / 2.5 days per week etc. If you want to access the school system you need to put your child's name down at your chosen school(s) and as soon as they have places after your child's 3rd birthday they will contact you. Then, the September after your child is 4 they will join a reception class, which is full time. You will have to apply for this via the local education authority through the school. During nursery and reception the children are assessed informally but not through 'exams' - just through their everyday learning experiences. This forms their 'baseline' assessment so their progress from this point can be tracked. Formal assessments (I.e. SATs) take place at the end of year 2 (7 yrs old) and the end of year 6 (11 yrs old). Any more questions just ask x

fatfloosie Mon 13-May-13 10:48:31

Hi neshi. As your son is July born he will start school (Reception) in September 2014 so you will need to apply for a place at the end of this year. If you put him in a nursery they should make sure you are aware of this but that doesn't always happen. You should get an application pack around November this year. Contact your Council for one if you don't get one through your son's nursery. You need to submit your application by about mid-January 2014.

dixiechick1975 Mon 13-May-13 10:49:51

I'd speak to your local authority or check their website.

Children can get 15 hours pre school education a week free from term after they are 3 so this September for you. Some children go to preschool attached to a school or in a nursery. Not compulsory but most do.

Most children start school the September after they turn 4 so sept 2014 for you. Usually called reception class.

You can start looking around schools this autumn - applications are due in by jan 2014.

Your child doesn't have to start school until term after 5 but this is not the norm. Starting later may mean they start straight into year 1 skipping reception.

In yr 1 so age 5 or 6 they have a phonics check.

In year 2 age 6 or 7 they have sats tests in maths and English.

TolliverGroat Mon 13-May-13 10:53:49

Also worth reading through MN's education information pages

KansasCityOctopus Mon 13-May-13 11:05:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

neshi Mon 13-May-13 11:19:41

Thanks to you all!
Ds is on a private nursery but we are looking into public places for when reception starts and I wasn't quite sure when that was blush
It's all more clear now, thanks!

dixiechick1975 Mon 13-May-13 11:45:18

Speak to the private nursery - your son will still qualify for the 15 hours free - dd's nursery used to arrange it and knock it off the

schools are called state schools not public here.

Just to confuse matters a public school is a top private school like eaton.

dixiechick1975 Mon 13-May-13 11:47:23


NynaevesSister Mon 13-May-13 13:34:03

Also just to clarify on a couple of points for you.

Your child will start in Reception in the school year after they turn 4 (not in the term after - it is just that as your child has a birthday in July, it will actually be the term after their birthday. That's just co-incidence). I just wanted to clarify that as I come from a country where children start ON their 5th birthday exactly.

At some point during the Reception year, all the children will turn 5.

You need to find out now when the deadline is for your application - you apply to the local authority/borough you live in - and start visiting schools. If your child is at a nursery attached to a school they still have to apply. They are not guaranteed a place at the school.

Reception is not like 'proper' school. It is more like nursery, and most afternoons will be free play for example. But with lots of learning involved through learning through play. The teacher will structure the playground carefully for this purpose. Even so, they're not going to be sat around desks etc. That won't happen until Year 1.

Also note, you get to put down five schools in order of your preference - but that's just so the local authority knows what you prefer. These aren't choices unfortunately. What this means is that when you choose your schools, if you are in an area of high demand, make sure you have a school on there that you know for sure you have a good chance of getting into even if you don't really want your child to go there. You can make this your last choice, just in case.

noramum Mon 13-May-13 14:42:44

Most councils should have last years admission booklet on there website, worth a check so you know what to expect this year.

You can also see what school would be available in your area and you can check with them when they will host open mornings for parents as you always should check the schools in person, not relying in any Ofsted report.

There is a phonic test in a year 1, SATS in year 2 and 6. There is also an exam called 11+ when they are in year 6 if you consider grammar school for secondary.

Exams called 4+ and 7+ are entry exams for public schools, not state schools.

When your child attends a nursery then ask how they apply the 15 free hours.

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