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Worries about my daughter being moved to a different class

(17 Posts)
ikky Mon 08-Jul-13 23:06:07

My daughter started reception class last September. She initially had a wonderful class teacher, but due to problems with her pregnancy, she missed quite a few days of the first term. Different teachers and TAs taught the class. In the second term, the teacher went on maternity leave and we then had three more teachers cover the class, with the last one teaching for most of the third term.

Today, I received a letter stating that my daughter will be transferred to the other class in year 1 (there are only two classes for each year), the letter given stated that this was to readdress gender and learning needs. The letter states that the decision has been taken with the involvement of the current class teachers and school leadership. With all the changes, these educationalist have not had the chance to know my child or be able to evaluate with confidence her needs.

I am not happy about this, she has five close friends, non of them will be transferred with her, some of the boys, who she is afraid of, who she says are mean to her, are being transferred with her.

I don't understand how the school feels that another change, after what she has been through will not impact on her learning.

Any advise?

AnotherWorld Tue 09-Jul-13 00:24:03

Stay calm and go in and talk to them.

There may be very good reasons for the move.

My DD was moved away from her BFF in year R. She's remained close to her but it was the right decision for the school to have taken.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 09-Jul-13 06:10:28

DD is at a school where they have a policy of splitting very close friendships. So we are about embark on third class with no close friends as I always point out to her you play with your friends in the playground not the classroom. She has made more friends each time and I feel because of this policy has a lovely wide group of friends.

SavoyCabbage Tue 09-Jul-13 06:15:10

Our classes get split up every year. Last year dd didn't have anyone from her old class in her new one. She was just fine, and she's a shy girl.

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Tue 09-Jul-13 06:34:09

Same happens at DS's school - parents get upset, but it all works out.
I know it's a worry though.

tiggytape Tue 09-Jul-13 08:46:08

I think there is a difference between schools that routinely split all classes and mix up the groups and just removing 1 girl and 3 boys and plonking them in the other class.
I would go to speak to the school and even if it cannot be changed stress that she is going to need support to accept this and is likely to be upset by it.

ikky Tue 09-Jul-13 09:03:26

Good point about playing with your friends in the playground not the classroom, but I still feel that being happy and confident in the classroom is conducive to learning. I question the reasons for the move - to readdress the gender imbalance, the school had the number of each gender before the academic year began, and placed them into their classes, I would have thought, with the issue of gender balance in mind. If it's the issue about learning needs, none of the many teachers raised any concerns about my child's developmental needs. When I asked if the classes will be changed again in Year 1, I was told no.

When I spoke to the teacher yesterday, I was told that the reason for the changes was because some pupils transferred from the nursery, and some from outside nurseries. Because the school did not know all the children, they were unable to place the children into the correct classes according to ability, gender, and developmental needs. Many of her friends that are staying in the same class, were from the nursery.

I've written to the headmistress asking for a meeting, I'll keep you all updated.

Thanks for taking the time to offer advise.

DeWe Tue 09-Jul-13 10:07:48

I disagree with the playing in the playground not in the classroom, assuming the friends in the classroom aren't being disruptive.

I have been in the situation where my dd was doing exactly that. the result was that she didn't make relationships in her own class because they didn't see her as accessable as a friend because they wanted a friend who played with them at lunch time. What's the point of a friend if they don't play at the times you're playing?
Combined with the problem that her friend from the other form batted away any child who came to join in, whereas dd was happy for the friend's friends to come and play. If they'd been in the same form, they'd have ended up in a nice little group. As it was dd had no friends in her form.
Then you have partners. PE, school trips, anything done in pairs was a nightmare for dd. Because she was basically waiting for everyone else to join and taking the (reluctant) left overs. One of her teachers said that he realised that whenever he said partners, then he could see panic rising in her. He used to put them into partners after that, rather than letting them choose, but it still worried her because there were very few people she felt comfortable with because she knew that she wasn't their choice.
This meant that when the bullying started she had no one to stick up for her in her form too.
Yes, some children that wouldn't be an issue (it wouldn't in my younger one) but dd is very backwards in coming forwards and finds it very hard to approach another child to ask if they'll partner her, or do something with her.

My observation from my dc and other dc is that being in a different form from their friends and mixing the forms, is that it is excellent-for the confident popular children. They thrive with that and make lots of friends.
The children that lack confidence socially and take time to make friends, it is generally not good. If you mix the forms up every year, they're just beginning to feel comfortable with their friends when they may be mixed up again. And some of them feel there's no point in trying to make friends because they'll only get split with them again.
This has been with observation over a number of years.

ikky Tue 09-Jul-13 19:47:10

I had a meeting with the head of Key Stage 1 today; headmistress passed the buck! I was informed that both classes in the year are being divided to create two new classes, because my daughter's class had a high number of disruptive pupils. So, the three boys I thought were going to be in her new class, will not be. Just two (there are four really unruly kids, and they are all in my daughter's class at the moment).

The constant disruption, I was told in the meeting, was impacting on the other children's learning. I was given a list of the names of the pupil's who will be with my daughter, and there are quite a few she already plays with, some from her present class and some from her new class to be.

I've decided to accept the inevitable, and have asked the school to write a letter explaining to parents how and why the decision was made. This will allay all fears and stop the gossiping amongst parents about which class is the best based on the number of disruptive children that have been placed there. Some of the parents are looking so smug, some parents are odd.

tiggytape Tue 09-Jul-13 19:54:18

Well that sounds a lot better than you first feared - that only your DD was being moved with some boys. And it does happen that certain class dynamics simply do not work well and need to be revised. It is good the school are keeping on top of these things although it would have been better if the letter had explained this was a total reorganisation not just a few children being singled out.

As for the smug parent dilemma, you’ll have to get used to that I’m afraid. From the table they sit on to the position of their coat hook, some parents are just determined to see any evidence they can that confirms their secret suspicion that their child is the superior learner in the superior class with the superior teacher and is the best at sports and drama to boot!

Farewelltoarms Tue 09-Jul-13 19:58:48

My kids' school does this at the end of every reception. It's really sensible as they can make informed decisions about balance. One of my children was in a year where there were about six children with undiagnosed special needs all in the same class. The other class had, because of various comings and goings, 20 autumn-born girls (near enough). It would have been madness to keep them as they were (and mine was an autumn born girl in the 'good class').
Anyway, because it happens every year and is literally half of one class grafted to half the other, there can be no paranoia. Doesn't stop it though...

FannyMcNally Tue 09-Jul-13 20:15:05

I can't see a letter going out stating the move was because of disruptive pupils. The first letter covered it as far as I can see. Imagine being a parent of one of the 'four' and seeing it in black and white. sad

TheBuskersDog Tue 09-Jul-13 21:34:55

I think it is extremely common to mix up the children into new classes at the end of foundation stage, the priority is the balance of abilities and then gender and age. When the children arrive the school doesn't really know what they are getting but after a year they can get the balance right.

In my school the children are grouped by age in foundation so the teaching can be adapted more appropriately and then they are all mixed into new classes for year one.

In my opinion there are very few children who have problems assimilating into a new class, and even then it is more likely to be older children who have established friendship groups.

ikky Tue 09-Jul-13 22:28:03

Tiggytape, yes, it's difficult not to notice the competitive nature of some parent's, and I have previously found some of their behaviour quite funny, but this time round, I found their behaviour annoying and irritating. I feel much better now, so I'll go back to my normal behaviour i.e. ignoring them and focusing on my daughter's happiness and progress.

This is the first time the school has taken this approach, and I think the situation they were faced was such that no other choice could have been taken. I just wished that communication had been better.

In my letter I asked for a meeting with the headmistress, and asked for a phone call to arrange a convenient time with myself and my husband to attend. When I went to pick up my daughter (on my own), I was approached by the class teacher and asked to come inside the classroom. When I entered the room, the head of Key Stage 1 and a nursery teacher were waiting inside holding the letter I had written.

I feel it would have been courteous to: 1) have been told about the meeting, so that I could have attended with my husband and 2) be told that the headmistress would not be able to see me, and told who I would be seeing instead.

Do you think I should write another letter expressing how I feel, or just let it go. I'm a teacher as well, so I'm just so surprised at the way the whole thing has been handled.

AnotherWorld Tue 09-Jul-13 22:31:12

Just let it go

ikky Tue 09-Jul-13 22:45:49

FannyMcNally - the school will not be writing about disruption being the reason for change in the letter. The letter will state that children have not been moved, but that two new classes have been created, and the children have been mixed. I'm happy with this.

ikky Wed 10-Jul-13 08:24:02

I'll let it go. Life's too short.

I want to thank all of you for offering advise. Much appreciated.

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