Flexi-schooling;

 

This arrangement depends on finding a mainstream or a private school which is happy to have your child attend part -time.

 

Finance

Depends on whether you elect to send your child part-time to a private or a mainstream school. Mainstream is nominally free; but parents must pay for uniforms and trips and are often expected to be involved in on-going fund-raising and donating, sponsoring; more information here;(the figures for cost on education in this study are for mainstream education.. the study specifically excluded private school fees) http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/feb/23/cost-raising-child#data. Private schools.. Parents pay standard termly fees which cover everything from premises to teacher's salaries and must also pay for uniforms and trips. Some scholarships may be available for families on lower incomes. By no means all families who send children to private schools are wealthy; many choose to spend income on fees rather than have a new car, bigger house or a foreign holiday.

 

Time investment from you, the parents

At least one of you will need to shape your day around dropping off at school and picking up, helping with homework, sometimes facilitating involvement in Saturday morning sports activities, extra- curricular mid-week activities and supervision in half-terms and holidays. You will also very likely be expected to volunteer to help out at school and possibly to become involved with fund-raising activities at weekends. In addition, you will need to be around for that part of the week in which your child is at home and in that time you will need to deliver that part of the school curriculum which he or she is missing by not attending.

 

Having a say

Mainstream; If you join the Board of Governors, you may have some say on Staff appointments and on the allocation of funds. However, even parents who are Governors have little or no influence on class sizes, who teaches their child, how they are taught or when.Time-tables are generally set in stone. As a parent of a child in mainstream you will be likely called upon to give if your time and energy in certain specific ways, such as by hearing children read and fund-raising, but will have little or no say over what the children are reading, what the money is spent on or even when to take your family holidays. You have to apply for permission to take your child out of school during term-time and it is the judgement of the head not parental judgement which will determine whether the reason for the absence is justified.

Private; Parents generally sign up for the school policies on important matters and are unlikely to have influence on such issues as time-tabling or staffing. However, schools are keen to keep pupils and are mindful of the fact that parents have a choice. For this reason, parents probably in most cases have more of a chance of being listened to by a head at a private school than they do in a mainstream school, if they have a specific matter to raise and are more likely to be able to take their child on term-time holidays.

 

What the children learn

will be determined by the school and you will be expected to cover those parts of the particular topics which your child 's class is scheduled to cover during his or her absence.

All State schools are obliged by law to deliver the National Curriculum determined centrally and non-negociably by government. The agenda is driven by a top-down approach and schools are held to account by regular testing. Teachers generally go into the profession as they are enthusiastic about helping children learn but they have now long been raising concerns as to the effects of the top-down approach and the extensive testing on children's achievement and motivation. All parents do have some minimal right to opt their children out of certain lessons (e.g. Religion, sex education) but even this minimal right has been recently called into question.

Private schools are not obliged to follow the National Curriculum, but many do and in addition many offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities. The Steiner schools have their own specific curriculum http://www.steinerwaldorf.org/differences.html) and Montessori schools offer the children a wide range of detailed learning experiences and allow the individal child to tackle these challenges at their own pace and in their own order. (This last point is included for completeness; there are currently no Montessori schools for children over the age of 5 in Cambridgeshire, although there is a Montessori school for children 4 to11 in Bury St Edmunds; Arbor School).

 

The learning environment

As for Mainstream or Private for that part of the week when your child attends. At home you will be able to arrange matters as you deem best, but will have to present the work set by the school at the pace set by the school scheme of work.

 

The object of the exercise

is to deliver a curriculum; i.e. to present a certain number of topics in a certain amount of time and to test whether and to what extent the child has retained the knowledge. There may be some additional scope for fitting in more activities specifically tailored to the needs of the child than there would be if he or she were attending school full-time.