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Moving up to 'Big School'

By Jo Green - Fri 22th Jul 2011

The old Spanish 'communication is overrated' thing kicked in again this week.

I was at my daughter's daily swimming lessons, and chatting with a couple of the other Spanish mum's who have children in my daughters class (School, not swimming), when they told me that my daughter would be at a different school next year.

Nice of the school to inform us (Verbally would have done !), despite every assurance when we had our Parent Teacher meeting 3 weeks ago, that this would NOT be the case.

Just to give you a bit of background to the situation, and the problem that has arisen :

There are two schools in the Town, a small one in the centre and a much larger one on the outskirts of town, a ten minute walk away.

The smaller school is the pre-school, for three, four and Five years old. The larger school is for the six to twelve year olds.

The schools are kept separate for obvious reasons : For one, three year olds need different standards of care and different resources, and secondly the three to five year olds are classed as 'Pre-Schoolers' - meaning that the first three years of education is not compulsory. Compulsory education starts at six years old when the children move up to the larger school.

The problem arose partly because Pre-School is a concept that has grown in popularity over the years, and partly because our Town has expanded considerably in the years since the smaller school was built. The small school has just three classrooms - one for each year.

However, the regional education authorities state that there can only be a maximum number of pupils per class at this age. Understandable - can you imagine trying to get thirty five three year olds to take their coats off, hang them up, and then sit down quietly every morning ? - That's before you actually get around to teaching them anything !

My Daughter's year was a bumper crop of new starters - 32 in total, and so the year had to split into two classes of 16. This meant that the 5 year old (the last year of 'Pre-School') had to move up to the larger school a year early to make room room for them.

So instead of the three classrooms being one each of three, four and Five years olds, last year they were made up of two classes of three year olds, and one of four year olds.

However, the problem now is that the year of three-year olds due to start in September is also a bumper year, meaning that they too will have to be split into two classes.

So, in effect the three, four and five year olds will number a total of five classes, but there are only three classrooms to accommodate them.

Regulations state that the classes can not be combined because of the numbers.

It wouldn't make sense to move up one year of children, but keep the older year back in the smaller school.

So the solution is that the two classes of four year old move up to the larger school at the same time as the five year olds, leaving the three year olds with the run of the school.

This means that in order to make room for them, the five year old are moving up 1 year early, but the four year olds are moving up 2 years before they should !

Putting a four year old in a school self service canteen with a load of 12 year olds seem a little extreme to me, when by rights she should be down at the other school in a fully supervised dining room with staff recording what and how much she eats for us in a little book every day.

Fortunately, she has spent every morning this last month up at the larger school because of Summer School, and as such she is perfectly happy and confident with her surroundings and knows many of the older kids. Even before we knew she had to make the move she was asking to go the big school next year, so we shouldn't have a problem on that score.

Personally, I'm not going to worry too much about it at this time because there is still 6 weeks until the new school year starts again. Things could change.

And then change back again.

Comment on this Blog

The horror, the horror. Seems like the only sensible response!
Mo - Sat, 10th Sep 2011

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