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School checking out home before 4 yr old starts school

(278 Posts)
dogsdinner Sat 23-Aug-14 09:09:26

A local young mum whose child starts school in September told me that the school sends someone round to her home prior to child starting to look at child's bedroom and the home to get an idea of what the child likes and dislikes. I have never heard of this and my GC starts school next Sep and I am not happy about someone from school checking out my house. Is this the normal these days? The young mum was happy about this but I find it smacks of big brother. What do others feel and have you had experience of this?

Aka Sat 23-Aug-14 09:14:48

This is common practice now. One of the reasons is to check that the address given in the original application was not an accommodation address. Two if my GC start school in September and this visit will take place then.

No need to worry.

dogsdinner Sat 23-Aug-14 09:19:08

Gosh never thought of checking the child actually lives there. No about that looking round the chaos at my home.... Thanks for that explanation.

penguinpaperback Sat 23-Aug-14 09:19:15

Not quite the same here, why look in the bedroom? But if and only if you want Teacher to visit, for literally minutes, before starting school for the first day you can in this part of the UK. No pressure to do so at all. My GC's loved the idea of Teacher perhaps having a cup of tea and a biscuit in their house! She just asked Mum if there was anything she wanted to ask before the big day, chatted to GC's. Asked them if they had a question before starting school. GS wanted to know more about "how the Earth turns..." smile and in a flash she had gone.

Nelliemoser Sat 23-Aug-14 09:23:35

It might help to ensure the child is not living in a filthy crack den.

Midwives do a statutory home visit as well to get an idea of home conditions.

There is always the cry when some child abuse/neglect scandal comes to light about "Did no one get to see the home."

Schools and children's services can't win.
It's better to make it a national practice then no one can feel they are being singled out.
Goodness knows how it can be funded though!

gillybob Sat 23-Aug-14 09:36:05

Yes this is common practice in our area too, although teacher and assistant don't look in bedrooms etc. they are obviously checking out the sort of environment that the child comes from which must help them understand the child and any potential problems that they may encounter whilst teaching.

FlicketyB Sat 23-Aug-14 09:39:00

DGC go to a local school where half the catchment area is comfortable owner occupied 1930s semis and half a run-down council estate. I suspect that the school do not need to undertake home visits as the home address of each child probably gives a broad-brush guide to family circumstances. The children mix well and DGD had friends living on the council estate as well as in the more affluent area she lives in.

suebailey1 Sat 23-Aug-14 09:40:42

Sounds sensible to me we have to get better at Child Protection in this country and if it saves one child's life it will be a small price to pay won't it?

granjura Sat 23-Aug-14 10:13:21

FlicketyB, isn't that just too stereotypical? A child might live in a council home which is clean and tidy, with a desk and books in the child's bedroom- and another in a nice semi- with a computer and TV in child's bedroom, no place to work, etc, etc. No?

RedheadedMommy Sat 23-Aug-14 10:19:06

We had my daughters teacher come to our house before she started school.
She didn't look round our house! She spent some time with her one to one so they got to know each other in a familar setting to my DD. They played in her room with the dolls house and went into the play room.
My DD went to school happily cause she knew she would be playing with her 'nice teacher' smile

Its more for the child than anything X

dorsetpennt Sat 23-Aug-14 10:30:49

My oldest GD started school last September. Her teacher and another teacher visited the family at home. They were at great pains to point out that this wasn't a spying mission, but just to give them some idea about normal family life. As it is my son and his wife have a somewhat unusual set up. He stays at home with the girls, he is very lucky that he works from home for himself, my DIL works in the centre of London. This would have given the teacher some idea of how my GD's home works. There are so many different types of family these days it makes sense.

Greenfinch Sat 23-Aug-14 10:52:38

I think it is an excellent idea. My sister-in-law who was an Infants' teacher always did it throughout her career but didn't make a big issue of it or write a report.
On the other hand ,just before my 3rd child was born, the midwife /health visitor turned up to investigate home conditions. I was horrified as the house was in complete turmoil as we were having a "meet-up" of ex-colleagues and their children. We had just had lunch so you can imagine the scene. However, I was thrilled as she showed me her report and it had "excellent" for home conditions so I still don't know what she was looking for but from that day onwards I have never minded a bit of mess and untidiness around the house grin

thatbags Sat 23-Aug-14 11:06:16

At the same time as school funding cuts, it doesn't strike me as a brilliant idea. I'd rather the money was spent on books or more classroom assistants or, even, more teachers.

gillybob Sat 23-Aug-14 13:12:34

Maybe I have misread your post FlicketyB I do hope I have. It would appear that you are saying that the school can probably see what kind of home life/circumstances the child has simply by whether they live in the posh houses or the council estate?

Is it just me? My grandchildren live in an ex-council house on a very large council estate. Are you saying that the school would visit them (after all they live on the council estate) and not visit the children on the nearby private estate? hmm

Sincere apologies if I have misunderstood your post. smile

Aka Sat 23-Aug-14 13:58:56

It doesn't cost anything Bags

ninathenana Sat 23-Aug-14 14:01:04

My DGS teacher visited my house before he started nursery and when he moved schools his reception class teacher visited DD. I didn't for one minute get the impression we were being "sussed out" We had a chat over [cuppa] she asked if he could dress himself, use the loo independently etc. She brought a few bits with her which she talked and played with DGS using. It was all very friendly and light hearted.

ninathenana Sat 23-Aug-14 14:03:14

It was a meet and get to know you session. DGS was happier having met her before starting.

grannyactivist Sat 23-Aug-14 14:05:01

Wearing both my teacher and social worker hats this is a no brainer for me. It's only a snapshot on one particular day, but great for the child to meet teacher on home turf and great for the teacher to get an idea of home life.

thatbags Sat 23-Aug-14 14:14:42

Doesn't it cost teacher time? Teacher time costs money.

thatbags Sat 23-Aug-14 14:16:19

Why do kids need to meet their teachers on home ground? Perhaps I should rephrase that: why is it thought necessary that kids meet their teachers on home ground? Or: why is it thought a good idea that teachers meet their pupils in their own houses?

I really don't see the point.

thatbags Sat 23-Aug-14 14:31:46

It strikes me as yet another scheme to make more demands on teachers.

ninathenana Sat 23-Aug-14 14:40:09

I do see your point bags but I'm assuming the idea is that the child will be more confident at home. Meeting the teacher in school before attending for the first time means new people and new surroundings all at once. If there is a familiar face on that first day then surroundings won't be so scary as it is for some children.
I haven't expressed this very well but I think you'll understand what I'm trying to say.

goldengirl Sat 23-Aug-14 14:47:26

My GS starts in the Juniors this coming term and his school held a lunch for parents and children. The parents went off with the head for an update on Junior life whilst the children went off with their new teacher to see their new classroom. We all got together after half an hour for a buffet lunch. I thought this a lovely idea and it seems more constructive to me than a home visit by a teacher. Unless a teacher is properly trained in knowing what to look for in a home environment I'm not sure it's that beneficial especially as parents can, I presume, opt out.

janeainsworth Sat 23-Aug-14 14:50:58

I see your point too Bags. Even if there are only 20 children in the class, each visit must take at least an hour if you include travel time.
Then there will be time spent ticking boxes and presumably writing a report as well.
That's at least half a week in addition to all the lesson planning and report writing that teachers have to do when then they're not actually in the classroom teaching.

FlicketyB Sat 23-Aug-14 14:53:34

gillybob you did misread my post. I talked about a broad brush guide. I didn't say anything about home visits to any homes. I was saying that I did not actually see a need for any home visits.

The estate that feeds DGC's school is not one where many, if any of the flats, have been sold to private buyers. Most of the families on this particular estate suffer some kind of deprivation, including poverty, disability, unemployment and drug abuse. Children from even the best and most loving family which is struggling to cope with these problems, is probably going to need some extra help and vigilance when they start school.

Those from the owner occupied houses are not 'posh', nor again did I suggest it, that is your gloss, but they come from more affluent homes where their parents can, and, generally, do provide more resources for their children, whether it is going on holidays or outings to leisure and learning facilities or visits to cultural venues like museums, theatres and music. Like it or not, this kind of background gives children a head start when starting school.

One of the joys of DGC's school is how well they cope with this mixed intake, how well the children get on. DGD's invitees to her birthday treat included friends from across the whole of her school's catchment area