Part-time settling-in periods: difficult for some parents (and not legally enforceable)

The Guardian has been looking at the difficulties part-time “settling in” periods for infants can create for parents and wondering if they are such a good idea… 

Event manager Lucy Dixon is a single parent who has worked full-time since her son was five-months old. George is currently in childcare from 8am to 5.30pm. This means, Dixon points out, that a normal school day is going to be on the short side for him – and she’s dreading the prospect of several weeks of “settling-in” with shorter hours when he starts in reception…

“It’s ludicrous,” says Dixon, from Suffolk. “It’s like schools assume there’s a woman at home baking cakes and waiting for pick-up time while their husband’s out earning a salary.” September is always the start of her busiest time of year, and she is “already panicking” at the thought of how she will manage if the headteacher at her local school isn’t willing to be flexible…

There is no national policy or consistent approach to settling-in. Some schools impose a dizzying timetable of up to six weeks of mornings only, followed by afternoons only, with lunch sometimes taken at school, and sometimes not, while other heads take a different course. “I’ve never been a fan of a long run-in,” says Sarah Dunn, headteacher at Heathlands primary in Bournemouth, which eases children in over just a week…

There appears to be little awareness in schools or local authorities of a ruling by the Schools Adjudicator [pdf] in August 2013 in response to a parent who challenged St Mark’s primary school in Bournemouth. The adjudicator said: “It is not permissible in my view for a school to deny a child a term of full-time education. The school has a duty to provide a full-time place from September and it cannot refuse to do so…” 

More at: ‘It’s as if schools assume there’s a woman at home waiting for pick-up time’

 

So schools actually have no right to insist on part-time settling in periods? That’s interesting – I wonder how many schools and/or parents are not aware of this?

Do you think schools should have the right to insist on them?

And beyond the legal aspects, do you think part-time settling in periods are a good idea or not? If yes, how long do you think works best?

Please give us your views and feedback in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. mjlongstaffe

    SchoolsImprove it should be abt what is right & best for the child(ren) as they make the transition into full time schools

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