It’s not enough that summer born are now ‘expected‘ to start school early, in the term following their 4th birthday rather than at compulsory school age, but now parents are being told their child must cease their nursery education early – in the middle of the summer term when their child is still only 3 – in order to start school even earlier.
The letter above was sent to a parent from an Academy school in Northumberland, in which the head teacher writes,
“Transition in to Reception class begins on Monday June 30th… We strongly recommend that you allow your child to begin our school on this date. This will mean that your child will probably have to end their attendance at their current Nursery on Friday 27th June. Attending our school for three weeks before the long summer break will allow your child to form relationships with other children, adults and become familiar with the classroom environment and the rules and routines that they will have to follow on a daily basis.”
It continues: “Your child can stay for a hot meal for £2.10 per day or you can provide a packed lunch. there are no free school meals until September.”
For this particular working parent, aside from the obvious concerns about enrolling her late July summer born child in school at age 3, this means her son will stop nursery for three weeks, go back into nursery over the summer months while his parents continue working, and the return to school again in September.
Is ANYONE able to consider what is in the best interests of our children any more, or is it all about getting a head start on ‘education‘ and ‘learning‘ in order to hit top-down targets set for pupils, teachers and schools?
This is bonkers. I would seriously question this school’s suitability for my child. I know we are not at liberty to pick and choose as we wish, but this would really make me stop in my tracks and think!
I’m afraid my reply to them could be written on the back of the postage stamp, two words “sod off”
However this will all probably become the norm because only a minority of people are prepared to stick their necks on the line and say NO, if everyone actually refused instead of doing as they were told then they wouldn’t be able to do this as nobody would turn up
Yes same as this no term holiday nonsense, if everyone actually went on strike in protest against the fines just like the teachers do then things might eventually change, we are only taking from the example set by them on resolving things, I’m sick to death of being told what is best for my children by politicians
It begs so many questions!
Why do a transition before September? Why not do this in September?
The child concerned has to leave his day nursery for 3 weeks for this transition, and then has to return to it – when most children are told they are off to “big school” and they don’t return to nursery.
The 6 weeks school holiday straight after ‘starting school’ must surely be confusing for small children?
If anxieties are there, then they will fester over the holidays and may well make the Sept start more traumatic.
Surely there is plenty of time “become familiar with the….rules and regulations” once they begin in September?
Where are the Reception children for 3 weeks?
I think I would be wanting to tear up their “positive attitudes policy” in front of them…..I don’t think this school have a positive attitude to what is in the best interests of a child during such an important transition in their early years.
I wouldn’t be taking part or sending my child. Also have they not thought about the cost of cold care. My little boy is still expected to have his nursery place that he won’t be using for those three weeks paid for. That would be nearly 600 pounds down the drain while he is not there. So for them to say you have to stop going to nursery then it’s not thought through. Plenty of time for building friendships from September. Children of that age integrate quite quickly into friendship groups and new routines.
The answer to you question is most parents and early years settings do consider the needs of the child and do their best.
The Government do not consider the needs of the child and are determined to make sure through the policies that it is as difficult as possible for parents and early years settings to do what they know to be right and in the child’s best interests.
The example you give in this post is a prime example of how Government policy of getting children into school earlier is being implemented by those who just do not understand young children’s needs – and it is all presented to make it look like it is good for the child.
And for some parents sorting out wrap around care to cover their working hours for those 3 weeks would be impossible – unless of course their current early years setting was able to take and fetch the child from the school setting – even more indication of complete lack of understanding of early years settings and parents needs and other commitments.
I’ve been running some transition training with the early years team for the local authority I work in and this goes completely against the message we have been trying to get across. Children need secure, gradual, gentle transitions into school life; actually with everything…every single transition they make everyday, every movement they make is a small transition and they need support every step of the way. Starting school is such a vital transition that needs to be approached with love and care and in the child’s own time, I’ve never heard of such a terrible idea to support transition. Unfortunately however where i live it’s a similar story to the above letter. It’s once again a postcode joke of a lottery with local authorities taking different approaches and ultimately affecting our children’s futures x
This is a very odd policy. If this were my daughter, she would be extremely confused as to why she went to school for three weeks then back to nursery for 6 weeks. Perhaps the school assumes all children attend school nurseries and have a parent off through the summer holidays? But for those of us that work, this would be costly and inconvenient. I would have to pay nursery for those three weeks, while also paying a childminder to do the afternoon pickup. Then I’d probably have to pay the childminder to hold her place over the summer. Plus the meals. I’d have to find a childminder much earlier than expected, and the transition to her I’d planned would go to pot. Realistically, I’d probably have to make the alternative choice of taking unpaid leave to reduce my hours for those weeks.
Finally, I don’t understand why these transition sessions are needed. Surely the whole of reception year is for learning the routines and making friends?
What a disgrace! This child will be confused beyond belief. Not to mention exhausted and overwhelmed. If it were my son I’d say no.
How is it possible for schools to force 3 year olds into such an intense routine when compulsory school age is AFTER their FIFTH birthday? There is no consideration of what is best the individual child and no respect for the rights and wishes of the parent. Funding, targets and convenience for schools should NOT drive policy; it may help to tick boxes in the short term but at what cost in the long term?