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foundation stage units - hmmm? Good or bad?

(10 Posts)
jujumaman Thu 09-Jul-09 13:36:39

OK, so after what seems like years of dithering we'd decided to send dd1 to the local primary school (weren't offered a place initially, felt forced to go private, then gave all our money to private school and were offered a place as there will be a "bulge" class).

Anyway, now we hear that next year is going to be a Foundation Stage Unit where nursery and reception are mixed up. This sounds deeply hmm to me, like something straight out of government jargon central. I can see how such a set up might benefit younger children but not older ones. Does anyone have any experience of such set ups and any advice? Thank you smile

smee Thu 09-Jul-09 14:03:06

depends on lots of things - how big the classes will be/ how many staff, etc. tbh, reception's learning through play though mostly, so not much different to nursery. I'd go and ask them how they'll deal with the age range. If they have a plan as to how the day will be structured, for example will they do group work throughout the day, with kids of like ability/ age. If they can answer questions like that, then I wouldn't think there will be a problem.

jujumaman Thu 09-Jul-09 14:13:43

Thanks Smee

There'll be two reception classes of 30 each and two different nurseries of around 25 - one in morning, one in afternoon. Two recep teachers, two tas and - I think - three nursery staff. I find the idea of 85 children all wandering in and out a bit chaotic but then I went to a very unstructured primary school and hated it as there was a lot of bulling. I guess if there is a masterplan behind it all it will be OK [hopeful emoticon]

mrz Thu 09-Jul-09 17:22:48

85 is too big IME/O

They need 3 teachers and minimum of 1 TA to meet legal requirements (3 TAs to meet desirable staffing levels)

TotalChaos Thu 09-Jul-09 17:29:48

DS goes to an excellent Foundation Stage Unit, that is really well run. It's got very high staff ratios - 2 teachers and either one or two tas to 20ish reception children and 16ish nursery children (with half there in morning and half there in afternoon). I think it does benefit the older children to be with younger children, as it's good for encouraging social skills/consideration/sense of responsibility IMO.

asdx2 Thu 09-Jul-09 19:43:21

DD went to a foundation unit and it was great tbh but it was very small 10 reception children and 15 nursery children in the mornings only. 1 teacher, 1 nursery nurse, 2 SEN TA's and two student teachers. If there was a bug going round some afternoons there were as many adnults as children.

purepurple Thu 09-Jul-09 19:46:38

it does sound a bit hectic
but the children will all be following the same framework as the Early Years Foundation Stage continues till the end of the reception year

jujumaman Thu 09-Jul-09 19:56:25

I'm all for learning through play etc, having lots of fun in the early years but I don't see why a reception class can't do this on its own. Isn't all the mixing around a bit confusing? .

mrz Thu 09-Jul-09 20:26:31

It only looks confusing to outside eyes in fact it is (has to be) very organised

Elibean Thu 09-Jul-09 21:55:15

Hey Juju smile

I had the same worries (disorganization, confusion) about the free-flow system introduced in January for the Reception kids at the same school. They were the first 'bulge' Reception, with 40 kids split into two groups of 20, and the school employed an extra teacher alongside the existing one and a very experienced TA. It took a few weeks for everyone to settle down, but it works beautifully now.

I know its not the same, but as its the same school - and some of the same teachers - that helps me sort of trust that they can manage the change and create something organized enough to work.

I don't know the Nursery staff personally, but do know it has an outstanding report, so hopefully (as dd2 will be there in a year's time!) they are as up to managing the transition as the Reception staff.

Still, its hard for me to imagine how they will contain that many kids in practice - looking forward to hearing more details from them.

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