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Alternatives to mainstream education -where to start?

(18 Posts)
AfroPunk Mon 17-Oct-16 18:16:05

Firstly, I've posted this across various sections of the Education board as I realise this is a varied topic.

I have 3 dcs, two of whom are in mainstream primary education. My eldest dc is in Y3, middle dc is in YR. My eldest had a hard time in Years 1&2 as she was struggling with reading and writing ( she didn't pass the Y1 phonics test which was stuffed full of questions that previously had been Y2 questions). It's an excellent school where my kids go, but since dd1 has been in Y3, I feel more than ever she is being taught to merely pass tests. She has weekly spellings which are HARD - I don't remember having to learn that stuff at age 7/8, and I'm not stupid. There's a weekly homework task on top of daily reading. This Michael Gove curriculum doesn't feel very satisfying to me; it's like they're learning to put a tick in the right boxes and not actually learning to question or critically engage, or be particularly creative. I hate that.

I have no idea where to start in terms of alternative education (BTW, I'm a SAHP with a newborn and two pocket rockets for daughters, so Home Ed is out of the question). Advice is appreciated smile

sirfredfredgeorge Mon 17-Oct-16 18:48:52

The phonics CHECK is not a test, and I can't even understand how you could think you have a question from year two in it, they're completely different things?

It sounds more like your school, why do you say it's excellent at the same time as saying it's so poor?

Ellle Mon 17-Oct-16 18:53:06

Are you sure it is all down to the new curriculum? I think it might be more to do with how the school is choosing to deliver the new curriculum.

DS is also in Y3 and I haven't seen what you are talking about. They do lots of creative things and are encouraged to think critically. I have no complaints at all about the way they are teaching him or the way the new curriculum is delivered.

Would looking into a different school be a possibility?

Ellle Mon 17-Oct-16 18:55:34

Yes, the phonics check having questions from Year 2 doesn't make sense.

I think the OP meant the SATs in Year 2 having questions that were covered in Year 3 previously?

mrz Mon 17-Oct-16 19:09:20

*"*^*My eldest had a hard time in Years 1&2 as she was struggling with reading and writing ( she didn't pass the Y1 phonics test which was stuffed full of questions that previously had been Y2 questions)*^."

There aren't any questions in the phonics screening check just 40 fairly simple words for he child to read aloud to the teacher. It takes less than five minutes for most children.

*"*^*I think the OP meant the SATs in Year 2 having questions that were covered in Year 3 previously?*^*"*

Since there has never been national testing in Y3 that isn't correct either.

There isn't any reason why Y3 should be about testing perhaps you should ask the school why they feel it necessary.

PatriciaHolm Mon 17-Oct-16 19:11:31

Weekly homework and daily reading is totally expected and really shouldn't be a source of stress.

Ellle Mon 17-Oct-16 19:18:32

I didn't mean covered in Year 3 as in tests (I know there has never been a Year 3 national test), just the content.

I was under the impression that with the new curriculum some of the things that used to be covered in years above were moved to years below, which is why some people think the new curriculum is harder.

SaltyMyDear Mon 17-Oct-16 19:22:31

Montessori education might be what you're looking for - but there are very few Montessori primary schools and they're all private.

Summerhill in Suffolk is interesting as is sands in Devon but again private.

And there's a lovely forest school in Oxfordshire

Also google 'human scale education' there's a few interesting schools there.

Optimist3 Mon 17-Oct-16 19:25:05

Home ed. very varied, social, follows child's interests

Spottyladybird Mon 17-Oct-16 19:35:26

I'd look at Montessori schools or Steiner schools but these are private.

You could also look at alternative state schools- is there a forest school near you or one using mantle of the expert?

mrz Mon 17-Oct-16 20:14:47

Are you aware of the issues around Steiner education!

Spottyladybird Mon 17-Oct-16 20:52:09

I wasn't- just aware that there is a school locally. Thanks for drawing my attention to those issues.

PP suggested Summerhill- this is near me and I wouldn't want a child of mine going there!

Saracen Mon 17-Oct-16 22:42:34

I wonder whether your understanding of how home ed looks might be quite different from the reality? People do it in many different ways. You don't have to do any formal work at all. Pocket rockets may be easier to "de-bounce" (as my family say) if nobody is requiring them to sit still for many hours a day. Home ed is hard with a newborn baby in the family, but not necessarily harder than school with a newborn baby in the family - easier in some ways.

Could be worth taking a closer look.

Autumnsky Tue 18-Oct-16 12:33:11

I think OP give up the mainstream school too quickly. From description, I can't see what is so horrible about this school. Maybe you can try to find another school?

Ditsy4 Wed 19-Oct-16 20:03:42

We send homework out twice a week plus 10 spellings based on phonics. There is art, music ,dance(PE) and I think if you sat in the classroom you might be surprised by the questioning and opinions of Year 3s.
Yes some things from Year 4 are now part of Year 3 curriculum but is that enough reason to move your child and unless you move them to a different type of schooling I don't think there will be a huge difference with the school down the road.
Are your children happy at school?

shouldwestayorshouldwego Wed 19-Oct-16 20:12:35

Is it the work is too hard or they are testing too much, or both? Ds is very able but he was getting very stressed by continuous testing (in yr1). He is now in a new school which still follows the curriculum but doesn't have to and has less testing. They still do SATs but there aren't the assessment weeks every half term, they do it more by stealth.

mrz Wed 19-Oct-16 20:19:24

You can't blame the curriculum for continual testing that's the school

shouldwestayorshouldwego Wed 19-Oct-16 20:41:42

Ah yes, but the school blame the new curriculum and do more tests rather than just get on and teach it. The new school mainly just teaches with a few tests when necessary not the beginning of term test weeks, weekly tests and then tests before half term. Some schools seem to live by testing these days and it isn't helpful particularly in infants.

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