My Summer Born Babies – The Follow Up

Following on from my previous post on summer born babies and my earlier one on nursery nightmares I thought it’s about time I updated on the situation.

Firstly I’d like to share that in the past week or two my boys have been happier going into nursery. We, as a family, have been talking to them a lot more about nursery and trying to get them to open up more about what they do, what they like, the other children etc and I believe this has helped a great deal. They also had a visit from a farm every day last week; different types of animals to see/touch, which really helped them get excited about going in every day.

They still struggle with me leaving but all of this week so far we haven’t had any tears. Yippee!! All the nursery children have a trip coming up next week too to Butterfly World which my boys are looking forward to (but only if I go – I’ve put in a request to go as a helper but I’ve yet to be told if I can..not sure my boys will go without me). So all in all, a lot more positive.

Next thing to report is that I’ve had my meeting with the Head Mistress to discuss my worries regarding my boys not being ready for reception. I have to say that straight away I felt bombarded with her views and opinions and while, in her own way, she did try to reassure me that they are fully aware of my twins needs and that the feedback from their nursery teachers was positive in terms of improvement, I wasn’t convinced.

Education wise she promised me that by Year 2 they will have caught up and no one would be able to tell from a class full of children who were born late in the school year. Hmm well I’m not holding out for miracles there but I hope that will be the case. I’m so worried that they won’t be ready but keeping them back a year just doesn’t seem feasible without a huge fight with the council and I don’t want to make the wrong decision. It’s confusing when, as parents, we rely on the teachers to help guide us, we are not the experts so it’s very difficult to be confident about making the right choices.

The fact that I’ve raised my worries with her should be enough though, I hope, for her to ensure my boys are kept a close eye on and that they are not falling way behind. She suggested that they could ‘stagger’ the start of school if we wanted, perhaps just going in for mornings for as long as needed as they still get very tired in the afternoon, if this would be helpful. I was pleased about this.

But still I have my concerns.

twins at nurseryMy boys in the nursery uniforms! They are so young and small, they are much smaller than the other children at nursery. 

I don’t want my boys to suffer at school. They will be a whole year younger than some of their classmates and naturally they may not be as advanced, a year is a long time for children to develop at this age… they learn so much in a year so to be a year younger in the same class learning the same stuff….. well, it’s not fair. Head Mistress HAS given me some positives though and the school IS very, very good so maybe she is right, maybe they will be absolutely fine. It may take a little longer to start off with, as in reading and writing…. but they will could catch up and even excel.

As I mentioned in this post about Summer Born Children, the hard facts are there though, the research has been done and the majority of these poor children ARE falling behind…. not because they’re not bright, but because they are younger. I believe this research is bumped up by the children in poorer areas where parents don’t invest as much time into helping their children read etc or simply don’t have access to as good a school so obviously these children will suffer the most. If we’re doing all we can at home to help our boys, maybe they will be fine? I just don’t know.

I’m just going to see how it goes, we’re in May now and my boys will start Reception in September. A lot can change in four months but I simply cannot imagine they’re going to be ready.

 photo name_zpscd74d280.jpg

Comments

  1. This is a horrible situation to put you in. I can understand the school can have an opinion and tell you that they advise splitting twins up for whatever reason. However they should say so as a recommendation not enforce it like some ridiculous rule.

    You are the mummy and you know best so I’d say stick to your guns. I wouldn’t want my children splitting up either if they wanted the security of each other (we actually plan on home educating though). My niece and nephew are twins and I’ve never heard of a policy to split them up before – seems a bit interfering of the school. Give the option yes but you can’t enforce something like that!

    Keep us updated and hope all goes well! L x

    • Mummy Endeavours says:

      Hiya sorry it’s taken me a while to reply, thanks for commenting and no I can’t understand the mentality of a Head Mistress who doesn’t seem to want to budge on an issue that is obviously very emotionally important to a parent. I should have choice. That’s what i’ve learned in all of this but at the moment I’m not being given one. I’ll keep you posted. Also I’m intrigued by home parenting (not that I have the patience for it myself) but will look forward to reading how you get on with it, even if it’s a few years away yet :) x

  2. Hi Carolynne,

    As promised have given this some thought….

    First off, I am not surprised that you came away feeling as you did. It is an unfortunate fact of life that people who wear special ‘badges’ or hold special ‘keys’ feel that they can intimidate their customers – let’s call them that – by using patronising language and stern tones. It is an abuse of power to do this, especially when it comes to children. While it is important for every parent to inform themselves in relation to the issues that arise in their children’s lives, (and thus we all need experts from time to time) in the final analysis you know your children better than anyone.

    The delivery of care and education to children the age of your boys (they are in the same year group as my daughter) is governed by the Early Years Foundation Stage. It is a legally binding framework that ensures children’s welfare is prioritised, and it is also a structure, based on sound research evidence, that should guide every practitioner and institution working with children up until the start Year 1 proper. One of the absolute fundamental principles upheld in this document is the uniqueness of every child, and the need to meet individual needs, whatever they may be. There is a duty to work in genuine partnership with parents and other professionals, and to form a rounded picture of each child’s life before plotting a course for his or her learning that would seem the best fit. Here’s the link for this document https://www.education.gov.uk/eypqd/eyfs-statutory-framework.aspx and though it is a bit legal-speak it is interesting to read through the lens of your current plight; the overarching principles on page 3 talk of a ‘unique child’ who will develop well in ‘enabling environments’ with strong partnerships between partners and practitioners’ and a recognition that ‘children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates’. It also highlights personal social and emotional skills as being a fundamental body of skills and knowledge for children to acquire, and sees that other types of learning can grow out of this, but that these things need to be present in everything that is done. If your boys pse skills are best promoted by their being together, then that should be their guiding principle.

    If you are planning to challenge the Governing Body on this decision – which I would whole-heartedly suggest is the right thing to do – then you can draw heavily upon this document and and accompanying one called Development Matters which can be found here http://www.early-education.org.uk/publications-and-resources/1435 which describes the work that adults must do when creating places of learning and forming relationships with children in order to encourage progress, and is used as a guide by a large proportion of the early years community.

    Ultimately British children start formalised school earlier than most of their developed world peers – and here in England earlier than the other nations in the union. There is no raison d’etre for all of this, apart from the Victorians desire to get children out of slums or factories and into schools as quickly as possible. All that is irrelevant now. The Cambridge Primary Review in 2009 was a huge study that drew conclusions based on thousands of world-wide studies about ‘how children learn best'; it concluded that we should leave children to enjoy play based learning until much later, but both this government and the previous one rejected it on the basis that that wasn’t what British families wanted. But actually, British families want their kids to be rounded and happy above all else, and a school system based on the ideas of the CPR would have given us a better model for acheiving this.

    Schools are under a huge amount of pressure at the moment from a target and results driven Dept for Education and a frankly, fanatical and ill-informed, minister. I could send you a hundred links to pertinent journalism and research that directly challenges everything they are saying – but it is hard for Heads to resist the pressure from on high; increasingly funding is about bums on seats (as quickly as possible) etc, etc, ad nauseum.

    Anyway, I’m in danger of digressing. You have a right to have your knowledgeable perspective on your boys taken more seriously, there is research that would back you up, and they have a duty to think more carefully about your boys needs. A school policy on twins just doesn’t wash, to be honest – how is that respecting their right to have their individual needs met? You have some good evidence from TAMBA and hopefully the confirmation from your LA that it is a parental choice. Add in some of the things we have looked at here and you formulate a strong arguement for being heard.

    I’d be more than happy to assist you in getting something down on paper…

    • Mummy Endeavours says:

      Well what can I say? I’m so grateful you left this comment, it will give me something substantial to take to my meeting. It’s so kind of you to take the time to share your expertise. I’m so cross that this matter wasn’t cleared up before half term but Head Mistress said she had passes this on to the Head of Foundation Stage (a reception teacher) who hadn’t contacted me before the school broke up. I have had a long conversation with one of the governors who insisted I take the matter up with them should I not be happy with the outcome. In the meantime I will put together something, hugely made up of what you’ve written here amongst other bits I’ve collected myself, to take in. Thanks again and I’ll keep you posted x

  3. The Head Teacher is making rules according to her opinion and not parents. There is increasing research showing that class placement decisions should be flexible and decided by parents of multiples who know their children best.

    I have twins – a boy and a girl – but have been lucky as we’ve been allowed to choose so far. I would not have been happy for anyone else to make such key decisions about our children. They spent their first two years together in the same classes – nursery and kindergarten – in a school in London. Both years the Head Teacher (who was fabulous) first checked with us. We were very happy with the decision as we saw them grow in confidence, perform well in class, make friends while still having the support of each other. Last year we moved to the United States and decided to put them in separate classes since they were a bit older. The school’s Principal once again allowed us to make this decision. He said in the past they had always separated twins but had changed their policy only last year due to increasing pressure and complaints from parents of twins.

    I’ve discovered there are now parent movements in many states over here pushing for legislation to stop mandatory separation policies. Head Teachers, like the one you’re dealing with, have to do some homework and realise times have changed.

    • Mummy Endeavours says:

      Hi there thanks so much for taking the time to leave a message. It’s great that you’ve been given the choice and have had a good experience. That’s all I want is to be given a choice. When they are older and their needs have changed we can then look into separation. It’s not their fault they are twins but being together is all they know and at this very young age why traumatise them by forcing a separation that nobody wants? I think you’re so right about the old fashioned way of thinking. I’m sure this Head thinks she’s doing the right thing but times have changed and parents should have the choice. Thanks again.

  4. Jane Leming says:

    Hi, I have the same issue – my (very) non identical twin girls are to be separated in September and my husband and I are very upset about it. Apparently it’s ultimately down to the Head and county won’t get involved. The 2 reception teachers are obviously terrified of her and wouldn’t speak to me and even though their pre-school recommended that they stay together (11 weeks prem and one possibly aspergers/brain damaged), she has overruled it. My next step is my paediatrician and the Governors but I feel upset that school life will have started out so badly for us. We chose it because it’s one minute walk away and I have an older child I need to drive to school (1 hour round trip) and she asked me why I’d bothered to pick that school knowing full well my children would be separated (didn’t know – no policy in writing as I suspected). I’m awaiting your outcome with interest.

    • Mummy Endeavours says:

      Hello there. Oh no I’m sorry to hear your story. My best advice is be persistent. Arrange another meeting ASAP and tell her you feel strongly about it and you won’t let it drop… she may at least go away and think about it some more. Councils won’t get involved no but they don’t make these policies either and nor should schools without any real grounds. Find out who the governors are and if you know any, or if someone you know might know one. Approach them if you can and tell them how upset you are. If not, then a letter to them is fine. The thing to remember here is that there is no evidence to say separating twins is best. Lots of schools keep twins together and one form entry schools obviously do. It should be parents choice first and foremost. Read the comment by the lovely leoarna on this thread, she is an early years expert and her understanding (there is evidence that she gives) is that Reception should be first and foremost about the childs welfare and happiness and if you believe your twins will be happier together, as I do, then that should be the overriding factor. A letter from your doctor will be very helpful too and have you looked at the Bliss Organisation Website? – they are perfect for you and your twins to be involved with. Get as much info as you can and take it all with you when you meet governors/Head (after you’ve tried the nice approach one more time!). It’s not a government or council criteria to separate twins. It’s not compulsory it’s just a silly school policy. I can see pros and cons but ultimately it should be a family decision they are YOUR children. I appreciate you don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with the school but the Head is probably so busy and snowed under with other stuff I doubt she will hold it against you :). I have an update on my own situation which I will share in a new post this week. Let me know how you get on xx

Trackbacks

  1. […] within the system, and in spite of what he does. In the last few weeks I have chatted with another blogging mum about a school’s reluctance to work with her for her twin boy’s benefit, and have spent […]

Please leave a comment... I try to reply to each and every one :)

%d bloggers like this: