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Are primary schools victorian or is it me?

(58 Posts)
liquoriceandtomatoes Tue 10-Nov-15 12:21:10

My ds has just started reception in Sept, having gone to a small nursery which was all about nature walks, painting and play with lots of hometime for friends play and museums. He is a different child since Sept, much less likey to be creative, moody, sullen and often angry post-school etc

He doesn't seem to do much active stuff at school, yes, there's playtime but nothing directed seems to be physical. It's all about sitting on the same spot doing repetative writing. They are set for maths and phonics in reception, which may affect self-esteem.

My questions are: I thought it's well known now that there are different learner styles and some kids learn in a visual/physical sense, why are schools not thinking about this?
Why the obsession for reception class to learn instead of play/move/be creative/learn agency etc?
Why are heads not reading the literature on development and just wanting kids to pass tests and read at 4?
Is it his school or is this the national curr and everywhere?

My ds would love to be put into teams and problem solve, then do some sports, then some art, not to mention learn some music. None of this is happening!!!!!!!! Why aren't 4/5 yr olds doing sport anymore?????????

Is this it?

EmmaGellerGreen Tue 10-Nov-15 12:22:53

Doesn't sound like either a good or normal primary school to me.

Pootles2010 Tue 10-Nov-15 12:24:00

Ds's reception was nothing like what you're describing - it was 80% play, 20% 'traditional' learning. They had a home corner, building corner, sand and water play, and lots of PE, and lots of creative stuff.

What you're describing sounds odd - are you quite sure that's whats happening? Have you spoken to his teacher?

slicedfinger Tue 10-Nov-15 12:24:07

That's not like any primary school I've encountered.

Are you in the uk?

TeenAndTween Tue 10-Nov-15 12:24:28

Your school.

How did you come to choose it?

AnnaMarlowe Tue 10-Nov-15 12:25:41

My children's primary is not like that.

They do lots of problem solving, lots of team work, lots of cross circumulum topics. Music, art and sport as also a big part of their school experience.

IrisVillarca Tue 10-Nov-15 12:26:07

Weird school. Move your DC.

Keeptrudging Tue 10-Nov-15 12:27:04

It's his school. At his age the bulk of his learning should be active, with some 'formal' work. I'm in Scotland, so it may be different, but here there's still a lot of play/discovery at that age (and older). He certainly should be doing a balance of activities such as music/art/PE/drama/project work as well as literacy/numeracy?

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 10-Nov-15 12:28:08

Dd certainly plays loads In reception. there's loads of toys in the classroom. what you describe does not sound normal at all.

PurpleThermalsNowItsWinter Tue 10-Nov-15 12:33:41

Speak to the teacher. Dd told me horrendous stories - she had to sit still all day, no-one was allowed to talk etc. I spoke to her teacher and discovered they had 10 minutes of taught maths, 10 minutes of taught phonics, 10 minutes of taught letter forming/writing and the rest of the day was learning through play. Those 10 minutes were scattered in small groups of five throughout the day. So hardly intensive. Dd just wanted to be home with me.

BikeRunSki Tue 10-Nov-15 12:34:40

Nothing like ds's school.

Keeptrudging Tue 10-Nov-15 12:38:51

Is this a private school? This wouldn't be allowed in a state school here, we have to teach the range of subjects in the curriculum, and heads would roll if inspectors saw this. If it's state, I would ask for clarification. Also, unless you're in the classroom all day, is this what is actually happening, or is your son struggling with the transition from nursery to school and feeling like he's writing/sitting down all day when in reality it's only for a short time?

liquoriceandtomatoes Tue 10-Nov-15 12:45:32

Yes, there is playtime(and I believe at the 80/20 ratio) and there are toys in the classroom etc but no there isn't music or PE or drama at this age. We would have to do stuff like that post-school and he just needs to shout loudly by that point and run around. And the playtime (from what I can tell) isn't focused so it will take him time to learn the skills to get involved with other kids, I'm not sure how much he is helped in this.
And yes, they are set at this age and I feel he's losing the interest he had over summer as there is pressure on him to be at a particular stage whereas at home we're just happy for him to read at his own pace in a year if needed.

My worry is the other schools in my area don't seem very interested in outdoor play, music etc
Annamarlowe - your primary sounds great.

liquoriceandtomatoes Tue 10-Nov-15 12:51:45

It's state.

keeptrudging - ok, I need to ask for clarification. YES, they are set, yes, I know they're not doing drama etc Yes, his phonics/maths is mainly what the teacher talks about. And from what I can gather there isn't groupwork. I've been on a schooltrip and all I heard was his teacher saying 'no' to kids all the time, she even apologised to passers by just when the kids were walking in a line. So it's this 'no' I'm concerned about, my son suddenly believes he's going to get into trouble all the time.
But maybe I've got this wrong-ish. Maybe it's transition.

BertPuttocks Tue 10-Nov-15 13:01:43

My dd's reception class is nothing like the one you describe.

They do PE every week, on top of the usual outdoor activities and playtime. They've been getting ready to start learning their songs and lines for the Christmas play. They also do a lot of crafts and artwork.

They also do phonics, writing and maths but nothing too formal.

This is an ordinary inner city state school.

BarbarianMum Tue 10-Nov-15 13:11:02

Even with the new curriculum this sounds grim. The reception day at our primary school is split bw carpet time (whole class learning), choosing time (free play) and jobs (directed learning activities done in small groups eg counting things, working out what floats and sinks). So at any one time the classrooms are filled with purposeful activity - some free playing, some doing jobs. They have perminent access to outdoor space (reception only playground) as well.

PatriciaHolm Tue 10-Nov-15 13:29:08

That doesn't sound like any reception class I've ever seen. It also wouldn't be following the EYFS (which a state reception class must do) covering

- communication and language
- physical development
-personal, social and emotional development
-understanding the world
-expressive arts and design

Now, they probably won't have timetabled "music" or "drama" lessons as such, but they should be singing, dancing, preparing for school productions etc. Is none of that happening at all?

blaeberry Tue 10-Nov-15 16:08:47

My daughter is slightly older but according to her at her school they do nothing all day, learn nothing and she plays with no one. Fortunately, despite this, her school day is still apparently alright. hmm

mrz Tue 10-Nov-15 17:09:35

It's pretty well known that the theory of learning styles while sounding very plausible the overwhelming evidence is that they don't exist. This video from Prof D Willingham explains

DolphinsPlayground Tue 10-Nov-15 17:16:41

Interesting video!

Keeptrudging Tue 10-Nov-15 17:20:22

Thanks for posting that mrz - it's easy to feel like a lone voice at the moment re learning styles/bloody Bloom's buttons etc.

catkind Tue 10-Nov-15 18:01:03

That school sounds victorian. 100 miles from what we've seen in any school we've visited or sent our kids to. I mean, seriously alien. Reception classes we've visited are always doing free play activities, usually with outdoor options, they have PE at least twice a week, many have forest school activities, lots of the learning activities involve physical stuff. Even the phonics comes with actions and singing.

JasperDamerel Tue 10-Nov-15 18:14:02

It sounds nothing like reception at the DCs school.

The day starts with register and 10 minutes of phonics. Then they are free to do what they like for the rest of the morning. There are a variety of different activities set up, and free access to the Early Years outdoor area which includes plants, a sandpit, tires, crates and larger stuff like trikes and hula hoops which are changed daily.

They have tidy up time and another ten minutes of formal learning before lunch.

After lunch there is another ten minutes of learning, playtime as above, tidy up time, a song and a story, and a chat about the day.

The general pattern a bit during the week with things like PE, assembly, ICT, library, forest schools etc taking place, and on some days there are slightly more organised activities.

But it is mostly free play, and sometimes the formal learning involves lots of running and jumping or drawing and do on.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 10-Nov-15 18:14:11

Have you thought to ask? OK teacher says no, because she has 30 kids to teach how to sit still, not shout out, listen, play nice .. your son is taking it too seriously and the teacher may well be getting some control of those kids who cant follow rules.
Manners to apologise to a passer by? No? Should she let them run riot because its cute?
I think you need to explain to DS that if he behaves he wont be in trouble.

legohurtswhenyoustandonit Tue 10-Nov-15 18:51:49

I'm in Scotland too. At our local school the nursery classes tend to introduce the kids to a more formal style of learning so that when the kids start P1 they are already used to sitting still etc. I think it may be fairer to compare P1 with Y1 in England rather than Reception as it does tend to be a little more formal. The children are that little bit older and I think that is reflected in the style of teaching. My DCs didn't attend the school nursery either and in retrospect I think it did make the transition harder as they weren't used to staying still for longer periods.

At the school my kids attend there is still lots of PE and outdoor play. I thought each primary class had to have 2 sessions of PE a week? The teachers were also quite keen on taking the classes outside to do projects, although I haven't heard of quite so much of that this session.

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