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Surrey policy for spring born children- any advice?

(33 Posts)
Dophus Tue 01-Sep-09 10:28:54

DS1 starts school in a couple fo week's time. He turns 5 in January however, according to the school, it is Surrey policy that he will not be offered a full time place until Jan 2010.

The half day childcare arrangements that I have to put into place for the coming term are ridulously complicated and without a doubt far more stressfull/tiring for my son than a full day at school would be. He has been in fulltime daycare since he was 6 months old.

I have heard that some schools in the area allow Spring-born children to start full time from half term - however the school secretary told me that his school don't allow that.

Can any one sdvise on what is the Surrey policy? Can I/ Should I appeal? How would I go about this?


Clary Tue 01-Sep-09 10:31:28

can't help you on surrey policy.

That's very unusual tho. Lots of LAs now have one intake - Sept - with f/t start for everyone (for example mine).

Others might start summer-borns in January but January born? v unusual. Not sure if that's any help tho - presume everyone goes along with it as not much choice?

ChopsTheDuck Tue 01-Sep-09 10:31:40

Schools set their own policies, I doubt you could appeal. We live in Berkshire, and they vary between starting at 3-5, depending what the school cater for.
With our school, we get the option of a half time place though, and if it is really hard because of work, you can delay starting until the full time place starts. Would that work better?

Dophus Tue 01-Sep-09 10:39:02

So far I have only spoken to the school sec how always says that it is the Surry policy and therefore out of their hands. Maybe it worth a letter to the head.

I did consider holding off until January to start him but he would be so much older than the other preschoolers in his class.

Maybe I'll write a letter to the head - nothing to lose ... except pissing them off before he even starts

hippipotamiHasLost63lbs Tue 01-Sep-09 10:48:17

As far as I am aware it is to do with funding. The school won't get funding from the council/LEA until your ds turns 5. Therefore they will only offer part time until then.
Why are the childcare arrangement complicated? (not being funny, genuinly asking) Could you find a childminder for after school?
It is only 12 weeks (roughly the length of the term, no?), so 60 days-ish, so yes, complicated and a pain for you, but it will pass smile

Perhaps a friendly letter to the head asking her to make an exception for your ds, but I seriously doubt she will be able to do anything.

sophiaverloren Tue 01-Sep-09 10:50:05

We're in Surrey. DS, a July baby, will start school mid September (staggered intake) and go full time from the off. School has been very accommodating and I understand (although obviously don't know until we start!) that we are not an exceptional case and that most parents have opted for this. The letter we received about starting school did say we could choose half days until half term/January - cannot remember - but that they would consider full time immediately which is obviously what we discussed with them at the first opportunity - for much the same reasons as you have mentioned.
So it is a school policy and not a county one - don't know if that helps if the school is being intransigent.

HairyMaclary Tue 01-Sep-09 10:53:15

It is def school policy and not an LEA one, although it may be LEA guidelines! DS1 is a spring born and starts full time on the 3rd in surrey.

sophiaverloren Tue 01-Sep-09 10:53:58

Just seen Hippos post - if the school doesn't get funding until the child turns 5 and nursery doesn't get it either does it just not exist (in my son's case, for an entire academic year?)That doesn't sound right somehow, which is not the same as saying that it is not true!

happywomble Tue 01-Sep-09 10:54:37

I think it is to do with the policies of individual schools rather than surrey county council. The council probably don't give fulltime funding for spring and summer borns so some schools probably have the part time policy for financial reasons.

I think the part time arrangments must be a nightmare for working mums.

Your DS does not have to start school until Jan so you could opt to keep him at nursery till then.

The only problem is that if all the others have started in september it might be harder socially to settle in and he would have missed doing phonic sounds etc. (Maybe the nursery could do these with him?)

Dophus Tue 01-Sep-09 10:55:07

Hippi - yes I can manage for term which is why I am undecided as to whether to challenge. It just really bugs me.

Mondays - swapping care with a friend,
Tuesdays - Mum
Wednesdays - pick up and lunch, take him to his old nursery - race back to work
Thursday - as above
Friday - DH is off so no problem

I know htat he will not be happy abou going to nursery as none of his frineds will be there so will have tears at each lunchtime. I don't want to find a chilminder for 12 weeks.

hippipotamiHasLost63lbs Tue 01-Sep-09 11:35:02

Oooh Dophus, that does sound chaotic...

If it is not a funding issue (and I could be wrong on that, but it was what a friend was told when she had the same problem as Dophus and asked if her dc could start school f/t in Sept a few years ago) then perhaps you may get somewhere with the head.
You have nothing to lose by asking at least smile

Good luck.

Dophus Tue 01-Sep-09 11:43:06

Cheers - will write a nice letter - nothing to lose!

nappyaddict Tue 01-Sep-09 11:52:41

I know some areas where autumn borns start full time september, spring borns start full time in january and summer borns start full time after easter. Is this the case where you live?

hippipotamiHasLost63lbs Tue 01-Sep-09 12:26:20

nappy, that is what the dc's school did until a few years ago. Ds is August born, so he did not go full time until after the Easter holiday.
Now all children with a birthday after Christmas start f/t in January.

Good luck Dophus, keep us posted smile

Cosette Tue 01-Sep-09 12:35:06

I had this situation when DD2 started infant school (back in 2001), also in Surrey, so sounds like it hasn't changed. DD was a June baby, and so I was told that she couldn't do full days until after Easter. I spoke to the Head about how difficult it was for me (single mum, working full time, another child in the year above doing full days), and she did agree that if DD was ready, she could do full time in the January. She was, and she did. So agree you should speak to the head and see if she can be flexible.

Dophus Tue 01-Sep-09 13:41:47

Good advice - thanks!

wools Tue 01-Sep-09 15:46:47

We are in Surrey. My DS has only just turned 4 and is starting full time next week. We were given the option of shorter days but the school said most children went full time almost immediately. I can totally understand how frustrated you must be.

vinblanc Tue 01-Sep-09 16:07:38

I think the official policy is half-days from the start of the school year, and full days fro the beginning of the term that you turn five.

So for a January born child, then they would have to waith until January until they could go full-time.

The school may do something different though. I know that my summer-born children were allowed to go full-time in January.

Your school sounds like they are following the county policy so the ball is in your court to make childcare arrangements. I can't see that there is any room to appeal.

Smithagain Tue 01-Sep-09 16:17:55

I believe it is Surrey policy and up to individual schools whether they offer more for "young" reception children. Having said which, all the schools around here (Leatherhead) do offer longer hours. DD2 (August born) will be part time till half term and full time from the beginning of Nov. At other nearby infant schools, she'd be full time from January.

The question to ask the Head is how come other schools are managing to find the funding to provide full time Reception places, and they are not?

AAE Tue 01-Sep-09 17:31:58

All schools are different - which one is it?

helencw77 Tue 01-Sep-09 20:59:47

Hello, we are in Surrey and my ds starts at an infant school (in Guildford) next week. His school offers the option of starting full-time immediately, no matter how old the child. I work too, and just could not do a lunchtime pick up, so I'm really grateful for their flexibility.

We do have the option of sending them part-time if we choose to (which I will probably do on a Friday), and although my ds is an older child in his school, my two dds are both summer born (dd1 starts next Sep).

So, it is definitely a school policy and not an LEA one. I would probably write a polite letter stating your case, but then request a meeting to really drill home the point with the headteacher, it's very easy for them to write a letter back declining your request, but harder to do so face-to-face.

Good luck !

AAE Tue 01-Sep-09 22:54:07

At the school mine are at, one of the reception teachers is on a part-time contract which states they only work half days in the Autumn term so they don't have the staff to take all kids full-time immediately - I was mega peeed off as my DD was born in the first week of Jan and the cut off was 31st Dec! No movement though.....not sure what they'd do if most of the intake was Autumn babies one year!

FritesMenthe Tue 01-Sep-09 23:02:43

DD is January birthday and started in a Surrey primary last year. The entire year group was full time from mid-September. It's a church school though, which gives it some autonomy.

CarGirl Tue 01-Sep-09 23:06:43

def a school policy, I'm in Surrey the school mine go to is everyone full time by 2nd week in October.

Smithagain Wed 02-Sep-09 08:23:46

You could ask for a meeting with the Head, to see if there is any flexibility. But to be honest, starting full days in January is not unusual and he/she may not want to make exceptions as the right staff ratios etc will be in place.

And to be honest, they will probably point out that this has been their policy all the way along and you should have taken it into account before registering at the school, if it was a major issue.

If I was you, I'd seethe quietly to yourself but live with it. It's a pain, but you won't be the only one. My daughter gets to go full time from November, but she doesn't get to start till 29 Sept, so I'm looking forward to a month of cobbled-together childcare so I can get some work done while she's waiting to start school.

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