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September New Intake.


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We are looking ahead to our September intake and discussing various options for a possible staggered 'timed' intake for the children. Do others stagger the times for their new intake? We were thinking along the lines of; first week the children spend the morning and leave before lunch; second week, as before but enjoy lunch together and leave at 1pm. Third week, in full time. We would be very interested to have some feedback from other schools as to what has worked (or not as the case may be!) for you and ultimately the new children.

 

Many thanks for your help,

 

Kind regards,

 

Sara Burnham.

 

TA Orleton School.

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Hi Sara and welcome.

Our children are 3 - 5 years and are invited to come into our Kindergarten for a couple of mornings the term before they start.

It makes it a bit familiar when they do start and it's helpful for parents too.

What age are your children?

 

jackie.

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Hi Sara

Welcome to the forum :o you will soon become addicted!

 

I guess you are talking about staggered entry into reception?

 

I am probably not much help as I work in a Pre-school. However, 'September entry' is a topic of conversation amongst our parents.

 

We have children who attend preschool full time (9:15:3:30 five days a week) and parents find the 'reduction' in attendance time caused by staggered school entry is a problem for them and the children. Practical problems for working parents are a real difficulty for some but often it is the childrens frustration that concerns them. Children in tears because they don't want to just do half days is something I have heard a lot of in the past.

 

My personal opinion is that in addressing the needs of all children the entry system should be flexible, if children are ready to attend full time from day one then why not? Likewise others may need a more gradual introduction. Then again I am not sure how viable this would be in terms of implementation??

 

I am sure someone 'school based' and more in the know will be able to give you some better advice and no doubt they will be along soon xD

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we also had same 'comments' from parents about staggered entry into school..the regular ones being

 

they are already at preschool all day and now they are back to half days.

 

how am I going to sort out this with work, the child is used to full days at xxxx

 

and from the child

 

my xxx is going to school all day why cannot I

 

why do I have to come home now my xxx is still there

 

and for some children it is confusion and upset at not knowing a regular routine..

 

I know a lot do it and it works for some, but we always get parents commenting on this

 

Inge

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We have staggered entry into year R. Ours is something like this:

 

Week 1 - Autumns - mornings for a couple of days then mornings and lunch

Springs - mornings on Thursday and Friday

Summers - afternoons on Thursday and Friday

 

Week 2 - Autumns full time

Springs morning and lunch then full time from Thursday

Summers mornings

 

The summers continue to do mornings until half term, then stay for lunch then start full time in December.

 

We have never had any complaints from the Autumn and Spring parents. We had a few this year but most of them have since admitted that their child would not have coped starting full time any sooner.

 

Week 1 is organised in such a way so we really get to know each intake group and can set the ground rules with smaller groups. It also helps develop role models. We do acknowledge that there are some summer birthday children that could have started full time sooner but it's very hard when looking at 60 children to take each case individually which would of course be the ideal. Many of the parents that have complained are the working parents who need to pay for child care if they are not at school. We do not have answer for that as our priority is what is best for the children and that is what we believe we are doing.

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All our children start full time 9 untill 3.20 on the first day of term. all our new part time children are in the second week of term, we are told by our local authority they all have to be in during the first two weeks. we dont agree that its so rushed but because we are a foundation stage unit the only difference for full time children is they stay all day, the staff and routine are the same.

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Hi Sara and welcome.

Our children are 3 - 5 years and are invited to come into our Kindergarten for a couple of mornings the term before they start.

It makes it a bit familiar when they do start and it's helpful for parents too.

What age are your children?

 

jackie.

 

Hi Jackie,

Thanks so much for your prompt reply-I was staggered to receive so many replies so quickly-this being my first attempt at contact!

I work as a TA in the Reception Class with 4/5 year olds.

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we also had same 'comments' from parents about staggered entry into school..the regular ones being

 

they are already at preschool all day and now they are back to half days.

 

how am I going to sort out this with work, the child is used to full days at xxxx

 

and from the child

 

my xxx is going to school all day why cannot I

 

why do I have to come home now my xxx is still there

 

and for some children it is confusion and upset at not knowing a regular routine..

 

I know a lot do it and it works for some, but we always get parents commenting on this

 

Inge

Hi Inge,

Thanks so much for your prompt reply-very useful. Kind regards, Sara.

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School gets financing in their budget for children to be in full-time, so surely it's wrong to not have the children in full-time.

 

Yes, as others have said, staggered entry can be a real pain for parents whose children are already completely used to full days. The argument that a new environment and routine is more tiring for the 'little ones' that I've heard in the past is daft. It may be the case for a day or so, but not for the staggered entry time in some schools!

 

A child my daughter childminded for wasn't in school 'full-time' until a couple of weeks before Christmas for crying out loud! He was in for something stupid like an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a week then Monday, Wednesday Friday for the next week, then two hours and so on! Ludicrous and a nightmare for her and the parents logistically. He wasn't allowed to stay in school over the lunch hour until year 1. So they were journeying backwards and forwards all the time.

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we also had same 'comments' from parents about staggered entry into school..the regular ones being

 

they are already at preschool all day and now they are back to half days.

 

how am I going to sort out this with work, the child is used to full days at xxxx

 

and from the child

 

my xxx is going to school all day why cannot I

 

why do I have to come home now my xxx is still there

 

and for some children it is confusion and upset at not knowing a regular routine..

 

I know a lot do it and it works for some, but we always get parents commenting on this

 

Inge

 

School gets financing in their budget for children to be in full-time, so surely it's wrong to not have the children in full-time.

 

Yes, as others have said, staggered entry can be a real pain for parents whose children are already completely used to full days. The argument that a new environment and routine is more tiring for the 'little ones' that I've heard in the past is daft. It may be the case for a day or so, but not for the staggered entry time in some schools!

 

 

However it is a very new environment for the child!! Just think how tired you are when you start a new job - all that concentrating and listening and worrying you are missing something important. No friends to rely on yet and nothing really familiar - adults, routines, expectations and just plain knowing where the toilets are.

 

Although a child may be full time in one setting they are undertaking transitions into something new and different and I actually don't think some short bursts to get this going is harmful. Actually the converse of unhappy, sometimes exhausted children because it's all TOO much for them is more harmful in the long run. They have to cope with often large mealtimes, large playgrounds, different adults, children aged 4 - 11 around them -it's a lot when you are 4!

 

There's such hype about "going to big school" and children often start out fine with all the big excitement of uniforms and adults making a big deal about it. About 2 weeks in you often get the "school is for life not just for a week end syndrome" where they really slump. Going to fast too soon can also hamper their transition.

 

I have to ask myself do the parent's only want to rush them in because of their commitments??? Schools cannot predict how a child will settle. Some who come from full time places really do struggle. Others don't. In order to give them the focus they need, with 1:30 ratios don't forget, I think teachers have to make the process manageable for the children primarily so this allows them to give that child their attention.

 

Don't forget also we are often taking children from all sorts of previous experiences including never being in any other setting at all! Several of our schools have no nursery so don't have their own "known" intake at all. Schools who take all children in Sept might have a part time system for their summer borns which in a school context would be supportive of children who are only just 4.

 

In my experience staying part time for a longer period would be generally with discussion between carers and the school. Schools want the children settled and in full time - it's a lot easier for them to manage the curriculum they have to cover in F2 classes but they want transitions to be supportive. If they just crammed them all in on day one to sink or swim they would be getting lambasted for that too!!!!!

And funding being there would never make me force a child to be doing something that they were not coping with.

 

 

Cx

Edited by catma
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I have a staggered intake for the first few weeks. I do my home visits over two weeks so none of the children start until the third week of term and then some do the morning and the other half do the afternoon up to the Thursday and then they all come in for lunch on the Friday then home. They are then all full time the following week. I do tell the parents that if they do not think their child is ready there is flexibility. I have done this for the last two years and although it is hard work for the staff as I have always had 30 children in my class , it is far easier having them all in quickly, they all get used to the routine togther and I have not had any problems with the youngest children coping with a full day.

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A few years ago when our nursery class began taking children for full days we began taking children into reception fulltime from day one - we had two classes totalling about 55 children in a Reception class unit. We thought we were doing the right thing responding to the needs of parents and child etc.. However it we decided after doing this for two years it was not right for our children or setting. Dont forget the ratios are quite different in reception - there were times when i was on myown with my class of 30 children - some who were very upset and once one gets upset it does often upset the others - I ended up really upset too because i couldnt comfort them all at the same time!! I do appreciate that staggerd intake does make things very hard for parents and we really do try to accomodate this - children come in part time for the first week - half in the morning and half in the afternoon and then the second week they swap and also stay for lunch - the third week they are in full time. if a parent works and cannot bring them to certain sessions we work around this together. it also gives me time to get to know each child, play with and talk to them without the worry of what is going on elswhere and most importantly it ease the child ingently to a new environment, which will most likely have different routines etc. It also gives me the time I need to talk to parents without there being 29 other parents needing me - the first week is very informal and parents appear to feel reassured by this. Ems

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Such good advice from catma as usual!

 

We do home visits in the first two weeks so no children start until the third week. Then we do very similar to your first suggestion Sara. the first week some children are mornings only and some afternoon only, second week mornings have a morning and lunch and go home and afternoons come for lunch and then stay for the afternoon and this lasts for the first new term. Then in the second term the autumn borns slowly work up to full time over a couple of weeks whichever suits them best and the summer borns are part time for the whole of the first two terms.

 

It is not about child minding it is about doing what is best for each child. Also school funding is based on numbers in school in January usually around 18th and the budget gives you an amount for the part time children as they know they will be full time in the spring term.

 

No wonder we are near the bottom of the table for the most unhappy children in Europe if we are only thinking about the budget or the school proccess when we start our youngest children into full time education!

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Well explained Catma. I have seen children start school for whom it has been plain sailing from day one, and others for whom it is a shock to the system once they realise they are there every day, and they can become very distressed. They do find it tiring once they go full time, and I have had children falling asleep in the afternoon, one little chap was found tucked up in the bed in the home play!. Occasionally parents tell me that their child has started wetting the bed again or is 'naughty' at home. So much can depend on the child and the setting can't it? If the children are in a school FS unit then the transition is so much easier because the children are familiar with the setting and most of the staff, so settling in isn't too traumatic, so I don't think they need a staggered start. I do think the children's needs should come first, not parents pushing them in because they have to go off to work, but I don't think transition should take weeks either. That is an organisational nightmare for everyone. A week or two supporting children at the beginning of their school life isn't too much to ask, as it is such an important time and they have years ahead of them. 30 new children all starting on the first day full time with Reception ratios, and in some schools this still means 1 - 30, is potentially a disaster for everyone. My LA gave us 4 weeks. I think I would revise that now that so many children are in full day care, but each school needs to look at this issue depending on their individual circumstances. Ideally each child should be taken as an individual, and if they are fine then all day and if not a bit more settling in time, but this can cause problems with some parents as they don't like to be seen as the one whose child needs extra time. One thing I have done is when a child with really problematic behaviour/serious special needs, who should have had that identified long before arriving, has done half days for a while to give everyone a break and to give us time to get something in place.

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Where I was in Aberdeenshire, the settling in period was 6 weeks which seemed like such a long time and not necessary in my opinion. 3 or 4 weeks in, most of the children had found their feet and were actually keen to be going for full days. I do agree with easing the children in slowly though as there are so many changes for such small children. Your idea of a 3 week settling in period sounds good to me. :o

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Since we became a FSU my children start full time from day one. But they are in the same setting they have attended for up to 5 terms previously and with the same staff so we don't have the settling in issues that a new environment may involve. Last year it was suggested that a full day would be too long for one child so we staggered her entry and I plan to do similar in September with another child.

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Guest heleng

We stagger in a different way where I am. I work in a Reception class with our school nursery sharing the same class space. We also have a three term intake.

 

In September half the children start full time on the first day of school and they are then in full time. One the second day of school the other half start and are then in full time. There is flexibilty depending on the child and we have had children doing only mornings etc until they are ready. And don't forget they already know the staff, setting and routines, the main difference is staying for lunch (which they have experienced on induction day) and for the first week I keep a close eye and often eat with the children.

 

In January I have the September intake chn from day one. Day two half of the Christmas intake come in from 9am for the full day and on day three the second half start. This is the same routine for Easter, current chn day one, half new chn day 2 and other half day three.

 

It works for us as we have haven't had more then 5 starting on any day at the same time so I able to greet all the chn and their parents and reassure the parents and remind the children what to do (like they did on induction day) and talk to all of them. The older children always help the younger children and ask them to sit with them and share a book. The children already know the setting and the staff and again for the first week I keep a close eye at lunch time.

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We have just sorted out our induction dates for September. We stagger them in over 3 weeks (although it actually is 2 weeks and 3 days because of when term starts!). The first 3 days will be home visits. Then the next week half are in for the morning and stay for lunch. The other half come in the afternoon. The third week they swap over mornings/afternoons. Then they're offered full time from the beginning of the fourth week. I'm fed up with comments from parents about it clashing with their work schedule! Like Catma said- it's for a couple of weeks at the beginning of their school career and it is for the children's benefit even if the parents can't see it!

 

(Moan over!)

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We are doing home visits for the first week. Then the next three weeks half the children will come 9 - 11.30 and half will come 12.45 - 3.15pm. The following week all children will be in school for the morning and for lunch - and go home at 1.20pm. The next week they are all in full time. I understood that all the children had to have the same amount of time in school when they were part-time, which is why we had to make the morning and afternoon sessions the same length. We used to start the oldest children full-time a week earlier than the younger ones, but the school was told we were not allowed to do it.

 

The first day the children stay for lunch, an adult from their family is invited to come and have lunch with them. This has been really popular with the parents and very beneficial for the children.

Edited by Guest
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It really is dependent on your LEA - we follow the guidelines laid down by Hampshire and most schools in our area have the same intake pattern as us. It's worth talking to the other schools in your cluster - we try and keep in line with them so that isn't a reason for parents selecting one school over another.

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Hi

I have just this week sorted ours out. It used to be entry dependent on when their birthday fell but that meant the summer born children were not in till week 3 - part time. We had one or two complaints last year about work etc,etc.

 

So this year I am using the first two days(Thurs and Fri) to do 20 minute parent meetings in school. Parents come with their child to school, meet the teacher and TA and have a look round the classroom - where to put coat, drink etc. Then parents have the opportunity to discuss any medical concerns or other issues. We are also going to send the child away with their book bag so that they are ready for school on the Monday morning.

 

Then the children are being split into 2 groups of fifteen each. Group A will do mornings the first full week and afternoons the second full week and then full time from the third full week. Group B vice versa.

 

I'm hoping this will work out because its the first time it has been different in years.

 

Becs

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