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staggered start for reception class

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by caramel, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. I've just been told by my head that we can no longer do the staggered start because of the funding rules to ensure that parents get their free 15 hours per week. DOes anyone know if this is true. At the moment we do 8:30 till 12:00 for first week (it's only three days) then 8:30 till 1pm to include lunch for a week and then all in full time. It really suits the children.
  2. Ours are all in full time from day one. They may be a little tired in the afternoons until they get used to it, but we accept this and go with the flow.
  3. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    We do a staggered entry over 2 weeks. Day 1 we have 5 children in the morning, and 5 children in the afternoon. Then Day 2, the same 5 children in the morning, then half an hour later (once those children are settled) a few new children. The same thing happens in the afternoon.
    Over the week, we gradually build up. At the beginning of each session, we have children who have already had a day or more in school. Then a little later in the session, new children arrive. This means that when it is a child's first day, the teacher and TA have time to settle that child in and spend some 1 to 1 time with them (knowing that other children will be happily occupied by the time the new ones arrive). By the end of the first week, all the children are in school.
    In week 2, the children who were mornings in week 1, come for the afternoon. The children who were afternoons in week 1, come in the morning for week 2.
    From week 3, children are either full time, part-time, or a mixture of the 2 according to parental preferences.
    We've done it this way for a few years, and it works really well. Years ago, we had half the class arrive together for a morning session from day 1, and the other half arrive for an afternoon session from day 1. That was OK, but the quieter and shyer children could get a bit lost in the crowd. We certainly weren't able to spend as much time getting to know each child, as we do now.
  4. Thanks Cariad2. I am happy with what we do but according to the HT we must all be in full time from the beginning to cover the parental right to 15 hours free childcare. DO you know anything about this.
  5. We are full-time for all from the get-go next year....fairly scary for us, as well as the children! We have given the parents the option for the first few weeks, as they know their children best. But after the middle of September, we are all full-time! [​IMG]
  6. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    I just found this on the DirectGov website:
    "All three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of free early years education for 38 weeks of the year. This applies until they reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday). Free early years education can take place in nurseries, playgroups, preschools or at their childminders."
    Although this would relate (in terms of age) to the younger children in a Reception class, it seems to be applicable to parents who choose to keep them at a pre-school setting. I don't see how it affects Reception classes.
  7. katycustard

    katycustard Occasional commenter

    I know for nursery children there is a 4 week window to settle children in before it affects funding, although most LAs expect schools/settings to settle children in quicker than that, and most do.

    I don't know if the same leeway applies to reception classes, but it should be easy to find out from your LA or early years advisor. The nursery document is online and it's called entitlement to 15hrs for 3 and 4 yr olds. There may well be central gov advice for reception classes.
    I didn't know children in reception were funded or entitled to 15 hrs, I thought they were counted as primary school children and funded accordingly. Head count day is not in September, so it makes no difference to the funding how long your intake process is.

    I think some Heads cry budget when they just want to change things!

  8. As long as all the chn are still 4 during first few weeks then their entitlement is 15 hours a week until they become 5. As I see it there is no legal requirement for them to be full time until then. As long as every child has 15 hours a week you should be OK, I think.
    You could offer half the class 5 mornings (9-12) or 4 afternoons (12.30-3.30?) for week then change around for week 2. All chn could start full-time in Week 3.
    Just a suggestion but ultimately the HT has the last word unless you can argue that it would be beneficial to the children to do reduced hours for a while. Funding should not be affected. BUT, HT may be thinking of bigger picture. ie, offering full-time from Day 1 may persuade some parents not to go elsewhere for child's education.
  9. Thanks for all your replies. We have a full intake this year (30) and the parents were told about the staggered start so I don't think that's the problem. I think we should be ok with what we offer. I shall have another word with her and see what she says.
  10. As logn as you inform parents then you are okay- is what my LEA has told me- they quoted this as national guidance- all children who are 4 are funded and so this would have a small implication on funding- however if you dont tell your LEA they wont know!

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