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.
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.
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.
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.