Thursday, 13 June 2013

Parents’ school induction: praise for a county council school

It is scary – very scary. Number One Son will start Reception Class in late August and we parents had an induction last night. One has to move proceed from a simple toddler mode to something more advanced. The Early Years Foundation class look pretty much like the room at the nursery, but Number One Son have to still brush up a couple of skills in order to be prepared for a new environment. Luckily, he can put his socks on now, if he really wants to. If there is something interesting enough outside, he will also master his shoes in no time. But coat is still beyond his capabilities.

As a Finn, I am totally lost at sea with the school uniform and had to ask REALLY stupid questions from the school administrator about purchasing their crested sweatshirts and bags in the near future. First time ever I heard the words PE kit said to me and Archaeologist Husband. This was something I may have overheard in the sitcom Outnumbered. Luckily, the induction pack comes with lists of compulsory items (with photographs). Now it is down to trying to figure how many shirts and pairs of trousers Number One Son will be trashing in a week.

One element we were made feel more comfortable about is the practical help in encouraging Number One Son’s speech development. The school has a classroom assistant who is trained speech therapists, so he will get two short special sessions a week. Where other parents can have sensible discussions with their offspring we are still doing very basic tying up words together as in ‘dog gone’ and ‘Tom home house’. It is a mystery to us what he thinks about going to school and if he knows what a school is. He does not usually answer to our question about how his day has been, so we are not totally sure who he counts as his best friends now. He makes progress all the time, but we cannot always understand what he tries to say - to the frustration of both parties.

The situation where you have an educated classroom assistant who is helping children in need of help with their speech and pronunciation monitored and helped by a county council speech therapist makes me think about the new policies on stand-alone primaries with an academy status and the promised cull of classroom assistants. They are doing a good job here and now the government tries to close down these existing services and make schools to cobble together some kind of provision – if there is enough money in the academy budget. How lucky we are with Number One Son’s school! And just a thought that it may be at just the right time makes me shiver...

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