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09/10/2013 at 12:24
G started primary school in September and i am really not impressed with the school so far. I am considering moving her but really dont know whether to or not. My reasons are:
1. Over half of the children in her class have English as a second language and as a result they are doing far easier work at her school than at at least 3 others in the area. G is finding it very very easy and i feel she is being held back.
2. Every time we do homework or write in her contact book we get no communication back at all, ever. I feel like we bust a gut to do the homework really thoroughly and i have no idea if they even look at it.
3. The new reception children are put in the same playground as the kids up to 7 so G was spending some playtimes crying as the older kids were scaring her and not one adult came to help her. This phase has passed but now she plays with the older boys abd is coming home wanting to play violent games! One extreme to the other.
4. We are having serious school dinner issues in that every day G is either having one bite of sandwich or just a fish finger then cake. Nobody seems to be keeping as eye on the little ones at all and she has already been sent home sick once with tummy ache and this was purely down to her having cake for lunch.
I just feel that there is no communication and i feel very negatively about the school. I dont get a good feeling about it all.
It was our second choice so i just put her on the waiting list for our first choice and we are top of the list.
So my question is, are these good enough reasons to warrant the upheaval of going to a new school. The new school is next to her old preschool so she would know plenty of children but she seems to like her current school - its me that has the issues. The new school is a drive away whereas we walk to her current one. My reasoning for not going on the waiting list for our first choice before was that when she is old enough to play out, her friends will live within walking distance but to be honest i am not sure i would want her to be friends with a lot of them (sorry if that sounds snobby - i am really not!).
I really really dont know what to do?! Any opinions very gratefully received! X
09/10/2013 at 12:40
Have you gone into the school to raise these issues? If not that's what I would do first. If you are not happy with the way they deal with your complaint then I would move her. The other school was your first choice anyhow do you obviously prefer that one. She will settle in, particularly when she knows done of the others from preschool.
09/10/2013 at 12:52
WRaincloudS, I would make an appointment to sit down with her teacher and talk through your concerns before doing anything and see what their response is. It is still early on in the year, they have only been at school for 5 weeks and it takes time to feel at ease, especially when it's your first one to start school.
You say she is first on the waiting list, how long is it likely to take for a place to become available? I'd be tempted to leave her where she is until a place comes up and review the situation then.
09/10/2013 at 12:55
Yes sorry i should have said i have raised some these issues with the teachers. I spoke about the playground issues and they said "yes we are aware its an issue but we only have one playground" so i know there is no solution to that. I spoke to them about the lunch issue after she was sent home and they said they would keep an eye on her but it happened again last week. I spoke to them again and they basically said G must by lying as she would of had more on her plate but i am certain she is telling the truth and was really upset by it.
09/10/2013 at 12:58
Margot there would only be a place if a child leaves/moves out of the area so there could be one tomorrow or in 6 months. There is no way to tell. If a place comes up i will be offered it and can decide then whether to take it or not and she stays at her current school until then. I just dont see how most of the issues can be resolved....
09/10/2013 at 13:06
MM - My H is a teacher and he has a child who had to be monitored to ensure he ate his lunch. H thought all was going well and he had been eating his lunches, until he found a stash of his food hidden somewhere in the classroom. I know it is upsetting to hear that your child might be misleading you, but I think it is more common than parents sometimes like to think. I'm not saying this is the case for you - but its worth considering whether it is a possibility - as I'm sure your child is not the only one who needs to be encouraged to eat their meal / a lot more parents would be coming in if they were allowed to just eat their cake and not their actual dinner?
09/10/2013 at 13:07
MM - Also, on homework, don't be downhearted. They will have to look at it ;-) And also - regardless of them looking at it or not, homework is soooo important and it really makes the difference to a child's education and how well they develop in life, I think.
09/10/2013 at 13:16
I haven't got a LO of this age, so my experience is only based on nieces and nephews but to summarise, I would keep on at the school as these could arise on the other school too.
Re the first issue, I assume, that if this is the cultural mix of your area, all schools will be the same. When you say they are doing less advanced things, can you give an example? I know my nephew just went from reception and his school does very little "education" in the first year of reception, as most of it is learning through play. I'm not sure what you're expecting them to be doing at just a month in? It could just be that your G is a clever little love, hence finding it easy (or the sceptical part of me says you could be a mommy who's bothered to teach her little one some basic reading/writing étc skills in advance, many don't and that it's not a British v non British thing. My auntie is R1 teacher and she sees so many children who can't recognise their own name let alone spell it, which is in my opinion because no one has taught them at home).
Number two is IMO out of order. I know there Is a lot of kids. But even a tick, very good / smiley face or some kind of acknowledgement would be better than nothing.. I think that's a bit disappointing. I'd mention this to them, In a "I'm just checking, but I do have to fill that in, right?" Kind of way... But this wouldn't be enough for me to move her.
Number three is one of those things I think and there could be boys in her year, or even girls who are like it, but again comes back to my point in number two, you can't account for others poor efforts. However if the school know its a problem then IMO there should be more adults out here watching. This happens at my Nieces school, sometimes there is a teacher on duty too if the kids need someone to go to. I think you need to just make sure G knows it's not acceptable.
Number four, tbh, I'd just stop sending cake! I'd send only what you want her to eat and insist and eye is kept on her. This IMO is out of order of the school, especially if you've raised concern. There is no bin in my Nieces school hall, so everything uneaten is sent home and their lunch boxes are checked before they can leave to play. Ultimately though they can't make G eat.
09/10/2013 at 13:17
Hi Pepperoni. I hear what you are saying and i am not the kind of parent who thinks everything their child says is gospel but i am ceetain she isnt lying. We have a reward chart and she gets a sticker when she eats a proper lunch so she now eats her packed lunch but she doesnt seem to know where the potatoes/veg etc are and despite me speaking with them twice now, she still isnt getting a proper hot meal. If anything she would lie and say she had veg etc to get another sticker.
Totally agree re homework and i am still putting in 100% even if i get no feedback at all as its for G's benefit and not theirs.
I am just getting bad vibes on all levels and i dont think its just a case of me adjusting. None of my other friends whose children have just started school feel like i do except my friend whose child goes to G's school....
09/10/2013 at 13:19
As Margot says it is very early days at the school. I have friends who have moved their children during the first year and even later, so it can be done and I wouldn't worry about that part of it at the moment. I'd be tempted to wait for a place at the next nearest school.
Re the school play times. My daughter goes to a small school where they share a playground. The children have staggered play times so that the youngest get time to play on their own without being trampled by the bigger kids. However, coming home having played violent games at school is part of school - all the little boys in my daughter's class are so much more into guns and shooting, etc. She'd merrily come home and 'shoot' us all. By this I mean even if they are playing only with children their own age they will still pick up on the violent games and also some unpleasant phrases. My daughter has learnt a few choice expressions from one of the boys in her class who has an older brother and picks it all up there.
It is easy to compare what other schools are doing and worry that the school isn't doing enough. As Margot says, it is early days in the school year. To compare in our local area I know one school doesn't give the children any books with words to bring home to read for the first few weeks - its all about looking at the pictures - and lots of parents grumbled about this as it wasn't 'pushing' their children enough. Whereas my daughter's school did something different. Having children who speak English as a second language may not be a problem it depends what the school does to handle these issues. It is only the start of the year and in reception they are partly concentrating on getting all children to sit down, listen, when asked. Some of these are concerns I would bring up with the teacher now or at the first parent teacher meeting.
Re school dinners - although the school should be keeping an eye on these things, it is part of going to school that children have to learn to eat during the meal time and to eat what they are given or go without. I know that sounds harsh, but I think all children have to adjust to this being the deal every single week. Either eat the food or go hungry. I'm assuming she also gets her free fruit in the morning and her milk. It may be that she's not that hungry at lunch time.
09/10/2013 at 13:20
Can you go in and monitor one lunch-time? I don't know how feasible that is, but then you can see what goes on with your own eyes - and even show her yourself how she should do the lunch routine? I know you shouldn't have to, and I don't know if you are allowed to do such things, but for peace of mind?
09/10/2013 at 13:23
Ah she's school dinners? Ignore comment 4 then, well same point stands, it's still out of order.. And I'd expect even more monitoring,, (we used to have A teacher one each big table..) and there are women checking as you empty your plate before dessert too.
09/10/2013 at 13:25
Thanks LM. I didnt make the lunch thing very clear. The fish and cake days are the one day a week she has a hot school dinner so she only eats cake on school dinner day. She only has healthy stuff in her packed lunch and the even more silly thing is that we arent allowed to put cake or chocolate in their lunch boxes?!
With the level of work yes they are mainly learning through play and jyst getting used to being at school but 3 of my friends whose children are at different schools are doing 2 letter words now. We are up to 6 letters of the alphabet (G has been able to do all her letters for 6 months) so our school does seem to be behind but of course they need to ensure all of the chikdren are able to keep up. Maybe by the end of they year they will all have caught up...
09/10/2013 at 14:50
My best friend pulled her daughter from her first school after her first year. She had quite similar concerns to yours, especially the children her daughter was mixing with. Her daughter soon made new friends (I think it helped that she started at the start of the new school year, when they were all a little unsure again) and really thrived at her new school. Sometimes you have to trust your gut instinct.
09/10/2013 at 14:58
I am tying myself up in knots over it. Now of course not all parents are the same but i am ar the school gates and tge parents to my left are talking about his time in prison for ABH (like he is proud!) and the mum to my right just asked the toddler in the buggy if she wss f-ing cold. I coukd cry.
09/10/2013 at 15:45
Sorry to hear you are having problems, it's such a big thing when they start school. My daughter also started Reception in September, and I am a teacher, so I'll explain what we do at both schools so you have a comparison.
1. The school really should be differentiating for the different abilities within the class, regardless of wether there are children with English as a second language. My daughters school is very small, so they have Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 all together, and they have three activities within the classroom at any one time - often the Reception children are playing in one area, whilst the others are at tables. Could you ask if something similar to this is in place?
2. I wouldn't worry about not getting feedback about homework, as someone else said it's just the routine of doing it and having that one to one time that it good at this age. Where I teach the children bring their homework in and put it in a folder in the classroom - some teachers look at it, and some don't to be honest. It's hard to judge anything fairly from homework as children have such different amounts of support from the parents that you can't really compare.
3. My daughters school also have one playground, and they are also mixed in the classroom. However, I can see that you are upset if no one is looking out for her when she is crying alone. It may be that the lunchtime supervisors need speaking to and highlighting of the problem by the teacher.
4. The lunch thing is a difficult one - where my daughter goes they monitor lunchtimes very closely and she has to eat her sandwiches before anything else etc. However, where I teach the headteacher has one son who is very fussy and gets to eat what he wants at home, so her belief is that children should be allowed to choose what they want to eat - so she has told the lunchtime supervisors not to force children to eat in a certain order - so they are allowed to just eat cake and that's it. I don't agree with it personally, especially for the younger ones who need some guidance in eating in a balanced way.
I'd say if you aren't happy about the school in general and just get a bad feeling, then there may be better alternatives available. It's a hard one with the school you are on the waiting list for, because as you say you don't know how long it will be. I'd say on average we have about 2 children leave each class a year on average, so hopefully you will be lucky.
09/10/2013 at 16:47
Thanks everyone. We have parents evening on 11 Nov so i think i will review again then and try to make a decision. I asked G if she had the choice of staying where she wss or goung to the school next to her preschool where some of her friends went where would she want to go and she said stay put. In a way i think thats just made it harder as if she said the other school i would have my decision made!
Thank you all so much for your advice (again!).
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