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We have a meeting in our setting (school nursery) next Monday to discuss home visiting new entrants from September. I'd like to be prepared for this meeting and would welcome members views-Thankyou for your help


Pro's for home visiting as a staff member

Pro's for home visiting as a parent

Against home visiting as a staff member

Against home visiting as a parent

Issues that we might need to address

Problems other settings have experienced

What do you do for working parents?

Parents refuse?

Staff refuse?

What do on your visit.

Benefits to child or setting.

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I find that parents are often suspicious of home visits and thing we are being nosey to 'suss' them out - look at their quality of life, cleanliness etc. This is because they misunderstand the reason for the visit. So we offer visits to the preschool at the moment - and have even had meetings in the local park - totally neutral territory! I think the main thing for them is that children see that their Mum or whoever trusts this other adult and is friendly with them, 'so I'm gonna be ok'.

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This came up at a SEAD conference I was at yesterday and two practitioners said their settings didn't do it because they felt it could be very intrusive for some families, some may be embarassed about where they live etc. We don't currently do it due to lack of staff but hope to try it in the future.

I would say if parents refuse that is their right, can staff refuse to go? They would have to have a valid reason. I would never send one staff member alone.

I think this gives you a chance to see where a child is coming froma nd get a clear picture of their home life, it also allows you to see them in a setting familiar to them where they are in control, it allows you to gather infomation and take photos so that you are all ready for the first day with a picture of them on their peg a picture of them with theri family to comfort them when they are settling.

However, I have never done this and will be interested to see what other more experienced peeps have to say.

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Hi there,


I've done home visits for reception classes so this may help - or not! I'm afraid that I can't help in terms of as a parent though!


Just to put it all in context this is what we did: the Nursery from which the majority of children went to had done home visits before the children started Nursery so the parents were familiar with the practice. At the second visit to the school by the child and parents, the Head met with the parents to explain (amongst other things) about the home visits and to explain that we were coming to visit the child and them in their own environment to find out more about the child, their interests, background info such as allergies, medical problems etc and that we would not be judging their home etc on how tidy etc! After the first year and having accepted lots of drinks from parents not to be rude, we asked the head to explain that due to time (& H&S - incase of allergies) etc not to offer us drinks or food or to be offended if we didn't accept.


As for arranging the visits, the Head asked parents to make themselves known to us at the end of the visit and suggest a preferred time/day in the case of working parents, parents who had children at other schools/nurseries and would be dropping off/collecting them. We scheduled the visits by the end of the summer term by post and always kept a few times spare in case. We visited in 2s - Teacher and TA from the class - and the visits were done in the first days of term when all the other year groups were in school so it was part of our normal working hours.


Pro's for visiting as a staff member:

Was useful to meet parents in home - they are in a place they feel comfortable in and it gave the parents the opportunity to raise issues/circumstances that they perhaps would not be comfortable raising outside the home : e.g. family situations

Gave you an idea of what the home environment was like - family lived in one room etc

Also could make sure you had the correct address & contact details!!

Raise things like letting school know that they were on income support etc (or whatever it is called now) so eligible for free school meals etc

We gained a lot of information about the children and how best to support them which we would not have had the opportunity to discover if we hadn't

Meet the child in an environment where they felt comfortable/confident.



From prior experience of a family known at the school, we knew a parent to be quite intimidating so wasn't really looking forward to that visit - so (we always went in 2s anyway) took a member of SMT who came along 'to familiarise themselves with a home visit' just to be safe!

Apart from that can't think of anything negative.


I don't think we had any parents refuse - I think the way that the visit was presented was that it was an opportunity for us to learn more about their child in their own environment and the parents were more than happy to talk about what their child could do and enjoyed. The first couple of visits I think were (in my eyes) a bit Q&A as we had our questions to ask but having got into the rhythm it soon turned into more of a conversation with the parent and felt more natural - a bit like doing your first couple of Parent evenings! Originally we were given a list of questions to ask - can't remember where they came from but as time went on we knew what information we wanted to know!


I really enjoyed the visits as it gave you the opportunity to meet the child at their home - they were usually very excited about you coming to visit and it was a joint experience you could recall in the first days of school. The information we gathered was more than we could have ever gleaned if we had not have done this - in fact it was very useful to support a family where a child had entered school after YR & not much was known despite questions and came to light during the visit when the younger child was about to start. I have since worked in a school where home visits were not done and felt that I did not know as much about that intake at the start of the year compared to the cohort where I had done home visits in the previous school.


I would thoroughly recommend it. If I remember more I will post again!

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This was discussed at a SEAD meeting I went to last month too.

The people presenting the conferences were really pormoting home visits, but stressed one person must NEVER go alone. Lots of people were saying they did home visits very successfully, others said they'd felt uncomfortable, whilst others said:

a) they didn't have time

:o they didn't have the money to be able to afford to send 2 staff of at a time (think of the implications if you have an intake of 70) & only 5 key staff

c) they felt it was unrealsitic - preschool vists in the summer term would be far more beneficial as the children will meet you in situ

I'd love to be able to provide home visits but I personally think they have much more value once the children have been attending for a little while. I don't drive, only 2 of my colleagues have cars, we're in a setting just on the outskirts of a city, we're open 915 to 3pm, all have children of our own & struggle to fit in out of hours time for doing learning journeys, learning & development files etc, etc , etc.


One thing that did come out of the SEAD meeting discussion about this was that if you are considering doing home visits & are worried about the cost implications to your setting, when you work out your costs for the new system of allocating NEF, just factor in the cost of home visits.



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I always loved dong home visits and felt they were invaluable for us, parents and children. Its wonderful when children even years later say to you 'you came to my house and we did...'


We accepted drinks etc from families, and in some cases some families would put on a spread and invite all the (extended) family too. This is a very 'normal' part of many cultures (all of our children came from minority ethnic families) and the welcome we often got initially took us by surprise. . In short our visits was a real 'event' for them. We found this vital as many of our families had never been to school, were not familiar with the English system, so you can imagine I sure just how scary that is? They often said to us when they came on their first visit to the school that it was so much easier looking out for that familiar face as it was much less scary. We also felt that parents opened up about things on home territory that we may otherwise have never found out. In 10 years of being in schools doing home visits, we only ever had one who refused


Obviously there are issues you need to consider and a home visiting policy is a must. Things like always go in pairs, take a mobile phone, check in and out with school office or colleague, find out if there are animals there. make sure school knows exactly where you are. Consider how you might retreat in a tricky situation (againn I only ever had one I was uncomfortable with).


Our visits were always social. We took pcitures of the nursery, a few toys to play with and one of us played whilst the other chatted to the parents. WE tsalked through our nursery booklet (which we had translated into 6 languages) and talked throuhg the inductin process. Obviously beacuse our chidlren were all EAL, we often needed a translator.


I do hope you decide to go ahead, but one thing that was hard was timetabling 60 visits every years, so you really need your LG on board too.

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I have never had experience of home visits either as a parent or a practitioner, but as a parent of three children before the eldest started school, I would have really welcomed the opportunity to talk to my daughter's prospective teacher in a setting where I felt relaxed and didn't have to worry about what the children were up to. I was spoilt in the pre-school my children attended by being made to feel very welcome (as I hope I now make our parents feel) regardless of how many children I brought with me. Staff would keep an eye on the younger ones for me if I needed to talk about anything and I felt I always knew what was happening, coming up and how my child was doing. It's one of the reasons I work there now!


When my children started school I felt totally out of the loop, knew nothing and was left asking my four year old for information. I have got more proactive now and I demand information but I did feel unsettled about the lack of communication at the start. I think a home visit could have helped with this too as I would have felt more able to ask the staff if I had met them before.

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we do home visits at our school nursery and I echo what everyone has said about how useful these are! The child is more settled to 'chat' and it is a really useful, more natural first observation about the child in general. We take along photos of specific, exciting, provision areas/resource - to see what grabs their fancy. We make sure thay see this area/resource when they start so they already know part of the room in a way. You have to take note of H&S concerns but the visits are great for settling in both parent and child! This year our new Childrens Centre will help us develop/extend the induction process - to the good I hope!, Jenni

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Thankyou for your experiences and taking the time to post.I'll gather the main points together before the meeting from all aspects. I've also read some threads on TES so I'm sure to be prepared.These points are the points that interest me


I would say if parents refuse that is their right, can staff refuse to go? They would have to have a valid reason
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