School Days – backs, tennis and new children

This week was the first back after a half term that seemed to come so quickly.  With Easter only a month away, N’s first school year is speeding by.  It’s been an interesting school days week with a few issues for parents rather than the children who’ve likely taken it all in their stride.

Back problems

For the first time since N was at school, for most of the week his hero teacher was off with a bad back.  On Monday he was in school and N did an interesting impression of how the teacher was walking.

As the head is currently teaching a class, there was no teacher cover, so the TA had been leading the foundation class with support staff for 3 days.  I’m not sure what they’ve been learning this week as N had said that this half term they’d be starting their next phase of phonics, but  that’s not happened and presumably won’t until the teacher’s back.  They did have a woman supply teacher in on Friday, although I think N was pretty oblivious to her.  He certainly couldn’t tell me her name.

Hopefully his teacher’s back will improve and he’ll be back at school soon.

Tennis progress

I love how young children have no worries about stating how good they are at something (even though they may not be as good as they think).  N says that he’s good at tennis, and from what he says, it sounds like he’s very confident with the tennis coach as well, chatting away.  Whether the reality matches what he says is another matter.

This week they had been playing a swish swash fish game where the coach was the shark and the kids were fish having to swish with the ball on their racquets without getting caught by the shark.  If they did they were seaweed. N seems to have enjoyed the game, and has even devised his own version which he tells me he told the teacher he wanted them to play next week!

I’m really pleased he’s still enjoying the tennis. It gets a lot of mentions compared with football (and dance) which are rarely mentioned.

Red band vs blue band

Lunch is a very important part of N’s day at school, although when I ask him what he had, he can’t remember.

We pre-order the meals in advance, and it’s a choice of red, green and blue bands. So before going in they’re given the colour band that matches their order.  N is pretty much always red band which is meat or fish, unless it’s a green macaroni cheese day.  Occasionally he’ll have blue which is lighter meals – pasta or jacket potatoes but that’s rare.  This week, the bands were obviously on N’s mind.

‘Mummy, only 3 people were red band today and 1 was green. Everyone else had blue bands. Why am I always red?’  Obviously because he likes the meals, meat fish is a good protein source, and he’s got a livestock farmer dad. Veggie green option probably wouldn’t go down well.  Although looking at the meal options, the veggie meals are more likely to be meals that he’s less keen on.

It amazes me how N takes in the little facts that really aren’t important.  Hopefully the important things go in as well.

eating food samples in Tesco

Another new pupil

N’s school is a small village school.  Each year’s intake is 15…supposedly.  This school year, two children got in on appeal without any painful discussion.  That worked out well for N because his best friend got into the school.  Then in September they started school to find another boy had moved into a nearby village and got given a place in his year.  Another boy arrived in January having moved into catchment as a neighbour of ours.

This week, yet another new boy arrived at the school.  Taking the year to 5 over the 15 intake that’s stated.  I’m concerned because this is going to mean a really big class when they move up the school.

At the moment it’s workable (although not ideal because most parents apply on the basis of small classes and years, plus having 17 boys and 3 girls in the class must be a nightmare) because some year 1 pupils stayed in Class 1 while the others moved up to be in the 2nd class with all of year 2 pupils.  According to N, year 1 are now all in class 2 so having a class of 20 for pure reception is still ok.  But once they’re in year 3 and upwards, assuming the other year is full capacity of 15, they’ll end up in a class of 15…where’s the room for them going to come from?  What about needing a second teacher?  That seems to me to be an insane number of children in 1 classroom when I think back to the sizes of my primary and secondary school classes.

I can’t understand how the school has been able to let more children in to N’s year, when spaces become available higher up the school from people moving – some go on to prep/private school or moving house.  But when there’s not room without impacting the children and changing what parents expecting when they chose the school, I think that’s unfair.  Especially when there’s no need to consult.

From what I’ve read and spoken to other teachers about, it seems there’s only a limit (30 in a class) up to age 7, so Year 2.  Any additional children can be admitted over the class limit if they’re classed as an exception – so forces children, special needs children and any where an appeal’s been upheld.  But then after a year, if the number is still over 30, then an additional teacher needs to be provided until the numbers come down to 30.  I just still don’t see how extra children can be let in even as an exception when schools sell small class sizes and there’s not the room.  There’s usually 1 or 2 who move during school life, that still wouldn’t take it down to 30.

I’m planning to ask the school how it’s going to be managed.  It seems unfair for the children who would usually move up the class after reception year, when purely because of numbers they may not get the opportunity and potentially lose out being stretched.  I’m not sure whether N would be in that group – I hoped he would have been if only a handful were staying down but now I’ve no idea.

So, we wait and see the impact and what changes it’ll mean for the year and how the class continues.

Let’s see what this week brings.

What’s been going on with school life where you are?  Are you waiting on secondary school admissions this coming week?  Good luck if you are.

Bubbablue and me school days linky

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  1. Our school sends out a menu every 4 weeks and we choose O’s meals too – I take photos of the sheets before sending them back in so that, when he forgets what he’s eaten, I can check what was scheduled that day and jog his memory! x

  2. its so good that you can pre order his lunch so you know exactly what he will be eating – Popping over from Mummy2Monkeys xx

  3. It’s great that you can pre-order what your little one is having in advance. We can see online what he had for lunch, but can’t pre-order. When he moved to the new school last year, he was having jacket potato for the first few weeks, until he settled and started trying the other items in the menu.

    1. I thought it was the norm nowadays that you ordered in advance for lunch, it certainly would reduce waste and let the schools know what they needed to cook. It also caters better for children who don’t know what to choose or are fussier.

  4. We have a small school too but they are really strict with their class sizes and its tough if you don’t get in. We have just had the Night Zookeeper into school and the kids loved it so much that they have not stopped talking about it

    1. I wish ours was. It used to be, but this last year seems a bit mad. None of the others have been oversubscribed. They’ve not let any in on appeal for years according to the admissions information.

  5. We have this problem too my 6-year-old class has 32 and only 2 teachers in there and I don’t think the children get any quality one to one help or support thankfully Kaiden is 2 years ahead of his peers which are great but he’s also not being given harder work so he’s starting to get bored the headteacher as spoken to his class teacher but she’s under so much pressure with her large class and hasn’t time to tailor to my sons individual needs

    1. That’s the issue I had at primary school too. We’d be set work (class of 33, although in juniors) for the week. A couple of us would have finished on the Monday, then spent the rest of the week tidying the paint trolley and reading. I’m presuming it’s a teacher and TA your son has? After a year, they have to get a second qualified teacher in if the class size hasn’t reduced down to 30.

  6. I’m glad that N is enjoying tennis and I can imagine how as a child you’re analysing differences such as the bands!xx

  7. Glad that N is enjoying his tennis, its nice for them to have interests they enjoy out of school. I think all kids at this age are oblivious to what new things that happen at school

    1. His tennis is in school. We don’t have time after school for activities because he goes to after school club, and on Saturday mornings he has swimming. It’s a shame he can’t make tennis classes out of school, but maybe when he’s older

  8. The boys both have 20 children in their class and I think that’s still a manageable number. Ben does tennis and he loves it, I like the sound of the game N was playing this week.

    1. The 20 is fine, but once they’re in the next year they’ll be mixed with the next year up (or below) as they go through school. That means it’ll potentially be 35 in 1 class.

  9. I loved tennis too when I was in school although I was much older when I started coaching but it’s still one of the things that stands out for me in terms of sports and enjoyment. So nice that he has found something he enjoys.

  10. Glad that N is enjoying Tennis it is a great sport and he is a curious little thing isn’t he? I hope that he gets on well with the new lad?

  11. It’s a tricky one if there’s just one village school. I know people who have managed to get in because the school needs to serve the village even if it is full in certain classes. I guess if the children are all very local it makes sense – one of my main criteria for a school was being able to walk there. That said the classroom size and the resources available have to be an issue too. My son’s class is very male heavy too, but seems to work well because there aren’t too many of the really boisterous boys in it – in fact, other classes with less boys seem to have more problems with that sort of behaviour.

    1. Of the extra 5 people though, only 1 is in catchment. 2 are 7 miles away in town and there’s 3 other schools nearer than ours (but still in village in areas), 1 is in another village, and I’m not sure where the latest lives but probably in town.

      There’s a large village the other side of town who say anyone who lives in the village can get in, but I don’t know how they’re going to manage that now they’ve built another 2 big housing estates there.

      That’s lucky with the boys. Seems to be a theme – quite a few have boy heavy classes at the moment. We have quite a few boisterous ones – certainly some who are a lot bigger and stronger than the others.

  12. Little T also goes to a small village school. But just as N’s school, the numbers are also rising. One of the good things though is that, they can’t really take more kids in because the school is too small. Otherwise, I’d probably be worried too. I’ve never come across your linky before, glad to have found it! 🙂 x

    1. Ours has always been a popular school – throw back to when it was a top one in the country, but it’s just madness that everyone’s getting into the one class when there’s 2 schools within 2-3 miles which have spaces. I’m just hoping that next year’s intake won’t be over the 15 otherwise it’s going to be way over capacity for the mixed classes once the 2 years are together.

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