Too small for school?

Ever since I was pregnant with the now 3 years old Baby Belle there’s been a nagging thought in the back of my mind that she’ll be one of the youngest in her class when she starts school.  At just 6 weeks past her 4th birthday she’ll be dressed in her tiny little school uniform and off to school in September 2014 and it truly doesn’t sit very well with me.  My fellow Little Pickle and sister Selina is in a similar situation with her little Shrimp being born 3 weeks earlier.

We’d always thought our only options were to start the kids part time or delay their start for the year and make her start straight in Year 1.  A part time start is at least something, BB attends pre-school 12 hours a week,  because that’s all I can find she can manage, suddenly increasing  up to 30 hours a week at school is a big jump. Reception is a very important year at school and the one my son, now in Year 9 still regards as his favourite so without extreme cause I don’t want to go down that road.

Selina isn’t one to take things likely and decided to let Hampshire LEA know exactly what she thought of the situation and had a rather surprising, positive reply.

As of July 2013 the Governement/Department for Education gave the following advice

  • School admission authorities are required to provide for the admission of all children in the September following their fourth birthday, but flexibilities exist for children whose parents do not feel they are ready to begin school at this point
  • School admission authorities are responsible for making the decision on which year group a child should be admitted to, but are required to make a decision based on the circumstances of the case
  • There is no statutory barrier to children being admitted outside their normal year group

So in English it means that children must start school the term following their 5th birthday but there is NO lawful reason why the child would have to be admitted straight into Year 1.  It also says that it is unlawful to give a blanket response that all children must be admitted to Year 1 when in fact everyone who appeals should be looked at on a case by case basis.

Excellent we thought, if the children had been born just a few week later they wouldn’t be starting school until September 2015 anyway, this could be a realistic solution.

We are lucky that our children don’t currently have any special educational years and they weren’t born prematurely which is another very justified reason for wanting children to start school at a later date, it is more down to concern that children are forced to grow up too quickly and that starting so young they won’t be emotionally equipped to deal with school.  Every child is different, some will be ready and some won’t be and we’re the last people to put on the horrible judging cap on but we also want the right to be able to decide what’s best for our children.  It seems to be a hot topic as numerous stories appear on the BBC, Telegraph and Daily Mail all quoting stories and figures why summer-borns lag behind their older peers and I don’t want to go throwing my daughter into that situation

On the plus side there is support out there for parents of summer born children.

With all this support and the advice appearing to be on our sides I foolishly thought it would be simple and I hate to say so far its not!  Each school and LEA is different, your experience may well be completely different but currently I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall.

I started by speaking to my proposed infants schools Pastoral Worker.  She’s a lovely lady, known her for years, she took great care of my eldest and had every faith she would be on my side, however when I spoke to her about what I wanted to do I was met with “that’s not how we do things, they go straight into year 1”.  Every question I asked, when I spoke to her about the advice from the DFE and telling her they’d said its unlawful to give a blanket response  I got “that’s not how we do things, they go straight into year 1”repeatedly.

After recovering from the conversation I thought I’d try the Dorset LEA and sent them a detailed, factual email with clear questions.  All I received back was a copy of their Admissions policy with the blanket answer that deferred children go straight into year 1.  I have replied again but they haven’t even bothered to reply.

So far, not so good.  There are people that have managed to get their authorities to agree so it is possible.  Some have had their dream answer, some haven’t but are fighting for other options.

Your childs first taste of school is one of the most important times of their life.  If your gut instinct is go against the ‘norm’ then don’t be afraid to pursue it.  The facebook group offer’s great support so make sure you join and speak to other parents who are probably feeling just the same as you!

We’ll let you know how we get on!

Written by Michelle and Selina

Sisters with summer born pickles and Baby Show Organisers

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A Beautiful Keepsake

Back in the Summer when I celebrated my 30th birthday, my family were looking for a long lasting keepsake present to mark the milestone, so Fingerprint Jewelery it was!
Karen from Tiny Toes Mementoes came on my actual birthday to take imprints of my 5 little pickles fingers in silver.

Tiny Toes Mementoes provided a personal service and source the exact bracelet I had in mind (yes I am always a difficult customer!) Once the imprints had been taken, it was finished and polished ready to be delivered in a lovely presentation box, a few weeks later. I love my gorgeous bracelet and it means I get to keep my most precious ones close to my heart whenever I’m not with them.
You can find Tiny Toes Mementoes at some of our forthcoming Wiltshire Markets

This is Karen’s Story
Hi I’m Karen mum of 3 little ones, 2 four legged ones & one hubby!  I started Tiny Toes Mementoes whilst on maternity leave with Archie (my youngest) I’ve been making jewellery for years as a hobby selling my wares to friends & at work as well as making a few commissions now & again. 
I love working with silver & seeing my youngest grow up the quickest I wanted to capture toughs tiny toes & fingers so I could remember that yes they were once that small!!  Everything I make is bespoke for the person I’m making it for, so items & designs can be mixed & matched to suit you, everything is handmade by me so bangles, bracelets & necklaces can be as bespoke as your charms, making everything as unique as the print upon it. 
Having studied graphic design & producing all our wedding stationary I’ve started introducing a range of Other Mementos to capture loved ones prints, from Birth Announcements to Finger Print Trees; I can use prints you already have & remember you’re never too old to have your print turned into a memento.  Pop on over & like my facebook page x
Blog written by Jessamine Hislop-Newton
Owner, Little Pickles Markets
Twitter: @mrsmummypickle

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Is this blog too naughty?

Britain has seen the biggest baby boom in 40 years during 2013.  On a personal note, pretty much every mummy friend I’ve made since becoming a mum myself has announced they are having another baby this year.  On the walk to pre-school I see bump after bump and very recently at our markets this Autumn we’ve seen a surge in pregnant women.

So why is 2013 the year to have a baby?  Sociologists come up with all sorts of excuses for baby booms: recession, wars ending, cold winters, hot summers, national disasters, national successes the list could go on.  But could the baby boom have anything to do with an erotic novel that hit the shelves last year, and now a house-hold book name?  That’s right; could it be linked to the Fifty Shades of Grey?


I’m going to admit that I actually haven’t read it!  I have a copy (which my Mother-in-Law gave to me – not sure if she was hinting at more grandchildren) but the book is currently gathering dust and even my 60 year old mum has read it whilst baby sitting on many occasions.  I’m just not a big reader.  But from what I’ve heard from Facebook  friends who have read it is that once you start reading it that your engrossed and can’t book the book down.  Now these friends haven’t gone on to admit that it’s spruced their sex life or that they’ve been fantasising about Christian Grey but from doing some research on the subject there are plenty of people who are happy to admit that it has!

I stumbled across this quote on the London Evening News site which I thought was worth sharing!

“I was having sex about once or twice a month. You know how it is, you’re so tired and the weeks just whizz by,” reminisces Eliza, who has two children, a full-time job in the City and a three-hour daily commute. “I started reading the Fifty Shades series because a member of my book club suggested it. I took all three of them on a two-week holiday to the South of France and became obsessed. They are just like crack, a stereotypical female fantasy. My husband was getting annoyed because I was opting out of family activities. I was so engrossed, we’d be having a picnic and I was off under a tree reading.

But then, he couldn’t really complain, because we were having sex twice a day. I was so turned on. I do think it is amazing — just a few words on a page can make you want to do something that moments before really was not on top of your list of priorities.”

Some food for thought and maybe I’ll pick up the book after all!  But whether you’ve had a baby this year, or your pregnant then Little Pickles Markets welcomes the Baby Boom!

Written by Selina Shrimpton

Little Pickles Market and Baby Show Organiser

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A Weekend to Remember

As some of you might have seen, Little Pickles Markets were Finalist’s in the Mumpreneur UK’s Green Business Award, which we are very proud of.

This weekend just gone saw the Mumpreneur UK 2013 Conference and Awards take place in the Holiday Inn in Birmingham, I was looking forward to going for a childfree day with Grandma Pickles. But my soppy side took over and I couldn’t bear to leave Baby Pickle with her Daddy for the whole day, yes I know she’s 5 months and nearly fully formula fed but she does need me, right?!?!?

So having had a last minute dash to the shops on Friday to find an outfit to wear, as organised as ever oops! Me, Grandma Pickle and Baby Pickle were ready for a ultra early start to travel from Wiltshire to Birmingham. The roads were pretty empty and we got to the venue with time to spare.

The day started with collection of our Goody Bag’s with some fantastic samples, including Halo’s n Horn’s, Post It, Kattoo, No. 3 London Dry Gin (by far Grandma Pickle’s favour) and much much more! Then a bit of informal networking and the good old ice-breaker, then onto the speakers and some serious tweeting. We met some lovely businesses including Jamm (look out for our product review coming very soon), The Pickle Shed plus Coconut and Chocolate.

Speakers included the very Funny and thought provoking Hazel Cushion, followed by Ben Blackman – the token man! Be sure the follow Ben on twitter for his witty tweets. Then the completely amazing Anna Kennedy, who shared her very wise words with us all ‘Give up Give in or Give it all you’ve got!’. Anna last year got awarded an OBE for her services to Special Needs Education and Autism, a true inspiration.

Then a scrummy lunch followed by speaker Miriam Staley, followed by the much anticipated Vanessa Gold and she sure wasn’t a disappointment. She treated the delegates to a little insight into the world of Ann Summers (I won’t share too much and this was a talk for the Mummy afterall!)

The day was topped off with the awards ceremony, what fantastic selection of winners. We didn’t win the Green Business Award, but would like to congratulate the very worthy winner Lorraine Smith from GTB Natural

Plus the big winner of the day was Claireabella who won the Most Inspirational Award 2013, Pickle No. 1 is loving her bags and has one firmly on top of her Christmas list.

After the awards it was time to chill and then celebrate the day with a few glasses of wine with some of the fabulous attendees.

After a pretty late night, we were looking forward to a much needed cooked breakfast in the hotel, yes we decided to stay so we could truly enjoy the wine. Picking up the Independent on Sunday, I was amazed and very proud to be greeted by my photo and a write up on page 24.


So all in all a weekend to truly remember, thanks to everyone involved it was lovely to meet you all xx

Written by Jessamine Hislop-Newton, Owner Little Pickles Markets

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