Warren Tots: What’s on in December 2018

Hatch Warren Community Centre

Sessions run from 9.15-10.30 & 10.45-12

£3.50 per family (adult plus 2 children, additional children £1)

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Chalk Ridge Christmas Fayre – 1st December 2018

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The Warren Pre-School – Special Offer for November 2018

*Special Offer*
The Warren Pre-school is offering free Pre-school Taster sessions available during November.

For further details or to book a place contact the Manager on 01635 268516, 07527680196 or email thewarrenpreschool@hotmail.com.

Alternatively message us via our website (thewarrenpreschool.wixsite.com/childcare) or Facebook page (www.facebook.com/The-Warren-Pre-school-107945489317428).

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My Experience: The end of Y2

You may have noticed that I’ve been going on and on and on about our experience of moving Miss NHM to a new school so I thought it was time to write something about my experience of Y2.

Four days into September 2017 term we removed Miss NHM from her old school.

The school pastoral team were arrogant enough to do completely the opposite of the comprehensive care plan that myself, Miss NHM’s paediatrician and Miss NHM’s GP put together over the summer and made Miss NHM sicker during her first week back at school. I have since found out that it was illegal for them to do this, based on the Department for Educations “Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions” comprehensive document.

Needless to say that was the icing on the cake after two years of despicable treatment of my daughter.

It was an incredibly stressful time. During that week that Miss NHM started her new school my car broke, the washing machine gave up the ghost, my Mother had what the professionals thought was a mini-stroke and it was the Sitting with Jane Bench auction at which the Teaching Assistant, who had been subjecting abuse at Miss NHM for months, was also at.

(When I reflect on that time, I still wonder how I didn’t end up in the nut house!)

We decided on the Friday evening that Miss NHM would never be going back to her old school.

On the Monday morning I rang round all of the local schools and was beyond delighted to find that one of my favourite schools had one space left for her (I’d already visited a few in June and July in anticipation of her old school still being beyond sh*t).

We were so, so, SO lucky and I thank our lucky stars every day that she’s now at the school she is at.

They have been….FANTASTIC!! I literally couldn’t ask for a better school. ALL of the staff are so lovely and compassionate. It’s such a brilliant school and Miss NHM has THRIVED  since she started in September 2017.

Seeing her get better over the past year as a result of just over a year of the Gluten free diet and seeing her in such a safe and happy environment has made my heart sing on a number of occasions.

She’s made some wonderful friends and she really has grown into a healthy and more confident child.

Her anxiety when she started at her new school was through the roof and I was extremely concerned about the impact of moving her to a new school but we realised we didn’t have any choice and despite her anxiety and Coeliac Disease she has completely flourished at her new school and I am eternally grateful to all of the staff at the new school who have helped with this.

Now that she isn’t in pain all of the time her reading has gone off the charts! I’m having to go to the library to borrow books for her as she’s read everything at home and for her year in school! (did you know that you can now borrow 30 books at a time on a children’s library card? Thanks Su for the heads-up!)

Her maths is still behind because she missed most of YR and a lot of Y1 as she was so poorly but she’s getting up to speed quickly.

She has lots of friends in her year and is WAY more chatty that she used to be (double edged sword) probably because she isn’t in pain now. It’s been wonderful to see that she’s been in a year where the children are all down to earth and, apart from one child, there has been no bitchiness or nastiness.

Even the school Mum’s are all lovely. Yes, there are a few cliquey’s but nowhere near as many nasty Mum’s (there were lots and lots of lovely Mum’s there too!! Just in case my friends from there are reading! <facepalm>) as there were at the old school.

With hindsight we probably should have moved Miss NHM to another school earlier but we were struggling with getting her well again and that was our focus. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and when it happens when the time is right.

I’m thankful that we moved her AFTER her diagnosis so that her “unexplained” sickness didn’t carry with her and I’m beyond grateful that the “new” school have been so fantastic.

Based on my experience, if your gut is telling you that your child isn’t happy in their current school have a look around at other local schools and go and visit them. Literally everyone I know who has moved their child to another school has found it a very positive experience for the child in question.

I’m really looking forward to Y3 and seeing how Miss NHM continues to bloom, to become more healthy and overcome her anxiety and thrive. Thank you to those of you who have supported us along this journey so far! I’m very, very thankful for all of you!!!

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Schools and PTAs in Basingstoke offered free jump sessions at Festival Place

FREE family fun at Festival Place as 10,000 complimentary Flip Out sessions are offered to schools, colleges and PTAs

Schools, colleges and PTAs are being offered free sessions at trampoline park Flip Out at Festival Place, Basingstoke, to help beat the Back to School blues.

Flip Out at Festival Place is giving away 10,000 free children’s jump passes, with each organisation able to claim 100 free tickets. The passes can be used for a one-hour session at any time Monday to Friday during term time, until the end of November.

The initiative from Flip Out underlines Festival Place’s offer as a family shopping and leisure destination.

Paul Murphy, Marketing Director at Flip Out Basingstoke, said: “We know it’s a bit of a struggle to get the kids enthusiastic about going back to school and also getting them to take part in regular exercise. So here at Flip Out we would like to make it a bit more fun and, in the process, give something back to the local school community.”

Neil Churchill, Centre Director at Festival Place, said: “We pride ourselves on offering fun for families and young people and are delighted to support Flip Out as it donates these free passes.

“We hope schools and families will make the most of this offer and stay to enjoy the fantastic range of big brand stores, eateries and leisure facilities that Festival Place has to offer this autumn.”

One pass is permitted per user, who must be aged 18 or under and attending school or college. To take part in a session, a waiver must be completed and Flip Out socks must be purchased and used at £2 a pair. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

To claim the free passes and for full terms and conditions, schools can call Flip Out on 01256 830803.

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NHM Reader Comments: Homework in Infant and Junior School

Louise posted the following question on her Louise Nhm Smith profile “Good Afternoon Everyone. I’ve had a question from a NHM Reader that I’m intrigued to know the answer myself: “Has anyone advised their child’s school that their children won’t be doing homework in Infants school, and if yes, how did they go about doing this? My understanding is that homework isn’t mandatory until 8 years old…” TIA”

Thank you to all who contributed to this discussion, highlights are below and thank you to Juliet for putting this post together! 

NHM Readers comments on advising infant /junior schools their children wont be doing homework

Jaz said

“We’re clearly lucky as my school doesn’t believe in it so young. We just have to read each day- but I think that’s right! They do have a project over the summer which I think is fine. But also- if it’s making a project or something you don’t want them to be the only child that doesn’t do it and is left out…”

Mary said

“My son is y1 and his homework is a short writing exercise (often draw a picture and write a sentence); practice tricky words, read his book and number bonds. I let him chose to do it when he wants to. It takes no time at all. The teacher says it’s ok if not everything gets done. If I were you I would open the conversation with the school in an open and honest way. You might find they are open to your choice. Plus think about what aspects of homework you won’t do. Be prepared.”

Louise Nhm Smith said

“I have already had this response from a Primary school teacher who obviously wishes to remain anonymous: “I’m currently a Primary school teacher and when my little boy goes to school I will be doing the same and probably withdrawing him from KS1 SATs.

I would write a clear polite letter outlining why you do not want your child doing homework, inc references to official sources to support your view if you think the school will cause a fuss. I would also include what educational activities you will do i.e. read and discuss books, family meals, visits to places that engage your child (whatever is relevant to you). Speak to your child so they don’t rub it in to others and keep track that they are not doing it in break times.

I would however keep an eye on the projects because they can be fun for the family to share in and be aware they may miss out on rewards (merits, stickers). Good luck and I hope the school supports your plans.””

Louise Nhm Smith said

“Response from the same Primary school teacher: “After a very quick google search, there is no formal method to withdraw an able child from SATs that I can find. There is an option to simply not take them in during the week (and risk fines) or take them on an unauthorized holiday (less likely to get fines but as you will have seen in the press it is a hot topic).

From my personal perspective my boy is not due to take KS1 SATs until 2022 and a lot will change in that time. If they do not then I will have a conversation with my school about my concerns, and if not addressed, will consider not sending him in and taking the penalties/fines.

I have a lot of professional concerns about how schools are implementing the tests, especially at KS1 and the pressure that is put on very small minds, bodies and souls.

If you as a parent also have concerns your first port of call should be your child’s teacher. Understand how the school approaches the tests and discuss how your child can be supported so that they are not stressed. If this does not reassure you, I would go to the head as the ethos of a school can shape the exam experience. If you are still not happy you need to reflect on your options. The sad fact is that if you simply withdraw your child for the test week, they will still be taught as if they are sitting them and the stress that might bring. It’s a really hard thing to address and most schools have their hands tied and so (unfairly) pile the pressure on the children.

If you feel the pressure is affecting their mental health (scary at such a young age) or their love of learning/school, then I would bring that to the school’s attention asap. Always be polite and provide evidence: from language used at home (‘I hate school’, ‘I’m not doing well’, ‘I’m not good enough’), examples from work in school, sleep patterns etc. Explain that you are not happy that the year has become about a set of tests when they should be loving learning and see how the school respond.

If you have concerns you could always talk to the LEA to see what they’d expect in a year 2 class. Or consider changing school/home-schooling.

This is not in any way official, just the reflections of a mum who also teaches.””

Susan said

“My child is 5 (year 1) and has reading and maths and now spelling homework (10 words a week) and also “talking homework” but saying that the school is outstanding!!”

Emily said

“Yes. But it took my son’s paediatric consultant saying it three times before they listened…”

Louise Nhm Smith said

“A response from an assistant head at a local junior school who also wishes to remain anonymous: “Homework is not a statutory requirement in infant or junior schools in England. I am not sure it is statutory in KS3 but don’t quote me. However, parental involvement proven to be crucial in child development. There is no set definition of what parental involvement constitutes and it certainly isn’t restricted to ‘formalised homework’.

Many schools have project/topic related homework that is designed to encourage families to share in activities for those who wish to do it and many schools are more than happy to pinpoint parents to the right place to find suitable additional home learning tasks. However, this is again non-statutory.

Personally, as a teacher and a Mum, I do value reading at home (even if that comes in the simple form of a bedtime story). Spelling and multiplication tables/number facts are also areas that can make an impact.

The Sutton Trust report rated homework as having very little impact on children’s progress at school. However, parental involvement is paramount! Parents should feel confident in making a judgement about whether their child actually benefits from homework and schools will respect this if the child is generally supported by their parents in their learning.

By the way…homework is always a nightmare topic at parents evening because it generates such conflicting opinions. It’s very difficult for schools to please everyone on this one.””

Mata said

“Interesting it is not ‘statutory’ in Juniors. I wonder if that means the school does not have to set it or does it mean the child does not have to do it? My daughter’s school give them detention if it’s not done. Tried complaining but it’s hopeless.”

Karen said

“Only an education is statutory. How it is delivered is up to the parents. If you can’t find a school whose ethos you like or can negotiate with don’t forget home education is a perfectly allowable method of delivering education with no constraints on your curriculum or time.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: What to do if a sibling is allocated to a different school

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader ” Can anyone help please? My son has been allocated a school different to where his sister attends. Has anyone been in this situation? Any help appreciated.”

Thank you to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below:

NHM Reader’s recommendations for a sibling allocated to a different school

Helena said “It happened to a friend. Her children ended up going to different schools for 18 months until a place became available at her preferred choice (out of catchment) school for her youngest, where her eldest already was. I think she appealed but didn’t get anywhere.”

Joanne said “You can appeal the decision and see if that helps.”

Rebecca said “I’m in exactly the same position. You could appeal, but it’s very stressful (we went through 3 appeals for my son) and unless your second child has undeclared SEN or Hampshire School Admissions made an error (it does happen), then there’s really no point. One thing to bear in mind is that every appeal is pretty expensive for the school. We have decided to ask our son’s school if they can find out if an error has been made without going to appeal because we don’t want the school’s already stretched budget to be used for an appeal that has no grounds. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.”

Further information on the appeals process can be found on the Hampshire County Council’s website:

https://www.hants.gov.uk/educationandlearning/admissions/guidance/appeals

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NHM Readers Recommend: After School Drama Clubs

I recently had the following question from an NHM Reader: “Looking to see if your lovely followers can help. Looking for an after school drama club for my 4 year old. Looking for Monday’s or not Stage coach as it’s far too expensive for us.TIA”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend after school drama clubs

Karen said:

“My little one went to Perform in Bramley. I think it was on a Friday but I’m sure there are others around on different days. Great for building confidence and learning life skills. Not in anyway like stage coach. They do a termly performance but it’s really laid back and no pressure on the children to be perfectly forms performers.”

Rachael said:

The Spotlight Centre not sure of the time table now as this was a few years ago. The person who we did go to has his own business now and is based at QMC but this is LAMDA I think he takes children from 7. It is called In Yer Face Productions.

“I think there is a group at Sherfield Park too”

Kate said:

“Is drama tots only pre school?”

Katie said:

Merry go Round Storytelling offer fab Stage Craft classes – they are Andover based but I know travel, and are regularly in Longparish, Whitchurch etc. Worth looking into. Amanda is lovely”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Private Tutors, Yr R

An NHM Reader recently asked: “I’m looking for recommendations for a private tutor for English in Basingstoke area – ideally someone who’ll also be working through the summer holidays?

My little boy is currently rounding off Yr R. His teacher has said he’s meeting all of the required development elements for his age but I’m really worried that he’s falling behind in his reading and writing. I guess it’s hard not to compare him to others and I often see mum’s posting the things their children can write, whilst mine still struggles with his own name. I’d just like to get a jump on getting him extra support now if possible.”

Thank you to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM readers recommend – Private tutors, Yr R

Mary said “There are a few clubs and tutors around, kumon club and there’s a place where blockbusters used to be. I know people who go to both.”

TJ said “We recommend Explore Learning my children love it. They take them from 4 yrs and accept childcare vouchers. https://www.explorelearning.co.uk/english-tuition/

Prubie said “https://m.facebook.com/educationmatterstutors/?ref=page_internal&mt_nav=1

Nita said “https://www.basingtutors.com/ are good, maybe worth a try”

Lisa said “Look for South Basingstoke Kumon Centre, they have a fb page. It’s group so less pressure than 1:1. If it makes you feel any better, my son barely even picked up a pencil for the first 2 years. Now in year 2 and “the penny has dropped” so to speak. It all falls into place eventually https://www.facebook.com/kumonsouthbasingstoke/

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NHM Readers: “After school” activities for pre-schoolers

As part of “North Hants Mum Question Time”, I was asked by Andrea “Is there any “after school” activity available for pre-schoolers? As a mum who works school hours but has a 2 year old, I would love to do a class or something with both of them after 3pm, but all classes for under 5s seem to be during the day.”

My response, as well as those received from the community, are below in no particular order.

NHM Readers: “After school” activities for pre-schoolers

Louise NHM replied: “Oooh, great question Andrea! These might help:
Tuesday: Fun Tots (PM)
2pm – 4pm – 1 year to 7 years
Basingstoke Sports Centre
Thursday: Fun Tots again and Emboite Ballet (PM)
4.15pm – 4.45pm – from 3 years to 5 years
Sherfield Park Community Centre, Sunwood Drive, Sherfield on Loddon, RG27 0FP
http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/activities/

Nikki said “Andrea, we don’t offer after school, but do offer Sunday classes for 0-5s to cater for parents who work in the week. www.facebook.com/dinkydiscobasingstoke www.dinkydisco.co.uk

Rebecca said “I don’t know if it would interest you Andrea but something that I take both of mine to is Messy Church – they can play games for a bit, then there’s about 45 mins of crafts, a short talk and song, then dinner. At Christ Church Chineham it’s on a Monday (once a month) from 3:45-5:45, but there are loads around Basingstoke on different days.”

Louise said “Messy Monsters Basingstoke offer various single Sunday events which is very popular for working families. Messy Monsters Basingstoke

Karen said “Wessex Kids Club officially we start at 3 years but if parents stay we take at 2. Friday nights at Wessex Christian Fellowship. Free play, story, songs & crafts 6.30-7.30pm”

Sarah said “UCD runs on a Tuesday at Cranbourne College and Thursday at Oakridge Hall for All 4.45 all ages welcome”

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