A school year in England

Zayan is at the last quarter of his first school year, Reception. The school year starts in August and ends in July the next year. To those who don’t know how the school system works here, it’s like this: You either go to a state school (funded by govt) or a public school (which is a private school, I know so confusing right?). 

If you decide to send to a state school, you have to apply towards the end of the year to make it for the next year. Only kids who are 4 at the start of August can be enrolled, so for example if your kid is 4 on 20th August of that school year, he can only go to school the NEXT year. Kinda annoying esp if you want to just send them to school, heheh. 

I wasnt aware when to apply and ended up applying a week before the deadline. I only knew about it because a friend reminded me, phew!! You can apply to three schools in order of your preference. Most of the time, you will be given the school based on location, ie the school that is in your ‘catchment area’. Sometimes you can apply to a school away from your house if it’s undersubscribed (so I’m told). I did choose Oadby to live partly because I heard the schools here are good.

Anyway, it was pretty exciting on the first day of school and I was half worried that Zayan will get bullied. Cos yknow, kids can be mean sometimes. So far, Zayan has been pretty happy and made some good friends. 

The parents were also invited to attend this talk a few weeks before school starts. Mostly about the curriculum, uniforms, what kids have to bring etc. I felt like a phony adult then and had to look serious/very interested in what the teachers are saying. I felt like just a kid, pretending to be a parent. MY kid is going to school, say what?

What keeps surprising me is the lack of homework he has to do! He does one sheet of homework to do IN A WEEK and two books to read. The books were boring to begin with and I wasnt surprised when Zayan found it a chore to read. (you know, it was like CHIP HAS A HAT. HIS HAT IS RED.) Now there’s an interesting storyline at least to the books. Anyway, this homework business… only ONE page. When I’m not working in the weekend, I turn into bapa and ‘make’ homework for him. Yup, thats what my dad used to do. Extra work after homework. This week he didnt have any homework at all!! Dont think I didnt notice Zayan….

And when it was half term/holidays (1-2 weeks off), there was no homework at all! Like couldnt we have at least assignments to do for/with the kids? *Tiger mum disappointed*

The best thing though is that Zayan’s reading skills went from ‘zero’ to ‘much improved’. He started school not even recognising the whole letters of alphabet. Whenever I tried to teach him, he would be bored and not pay attention. It was like trying to teach a wall. And then I had to teach him how to read when he started school (oh yeah, the parents even had a phonics session). Those were weeks of tears from both Zayan and I. 

Me: C-A-T … what is that?

Zayan: Dog?

AGHHHHHHHHH. 

Me: C … C … C!

Zayan: C …. C …. C

*five minutes later* Me: ok what is this again?

Zayan: Mmmmm, I forgot.

Oh man, I dont know how teachers do it without losing it! 

Anyway, after awhile, he just got the hang of it and blended his letters together and started reading. His teacher was right. “He’ll get there one day…” 

Nowadays his childminder reads the books with him and because I’m a Tiger mum, I either make him read it again with me or makes him spell some of the words from the book. 

What amuses me are the gold and red face. So if you’re REALLY good that day, you get to be in gold face. And this either means doing really well in reading/writing/numbers or good behaviour (helping others, sharing, etc). Which I thought was nice. If you’ve been ahem naughty, you go to red face. Red face is NOT good apparently. If you are only a little bit naughty, you go to orange face. Zayan has admitted to being in orange and red face but he rarely ‘remembers’ why he was on it in the first place. He did remember going to orange face because he was talking too much… it was like school all over again for me. I remember being pinched on my belly button area (SAKIT PADAS TUUU) because I talked too much in class. I was about 7 then. Of course, I didn’t dare tell my parents this because then I’ll be told off at home too! (Why did you talk too much? Why did you get in trouble? bla bla) I also had a teacher throw the board wiper in my general direction (I hope he wasnt aiming at me directly) because….. I was talking in class! In my defence, the others around me were talking too!!! Anyway, I was 16 then. Lol! Nothing changed.

His childminder is the one who drops him off and picks up most of the time, unless one of us is off. I dont mind this to be honest – Going through throngs of adults and kids in the morning — not my idea of fun! 

Going to school also means an almost monthly birthday invitation by yet another schoolmate. How did my 5 year old have more of a social life than me? What saddens me though is that we never get to eat the cake at the party. It’s usually cut and packed into party bags. Birthday parties are fun for eating cakes together! And also theres only one slice packed. I once ate the slice (the icing looked super inviting) and then I ate so much of the cake that I thought Zayan would just get upset if he knew …. so I ate it all. I am saving you from tooth decay, you can thank me later Zayan!

Two more months to summer holidays! And then Year 1!! I wonder if that means more homework… 

 Morning school run – scooter/walk when it’s sunny!

Yet another party.. Zayan’s the shortest in class (good things comes in small packages, I tell him).1

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