Going to school

When will my child start school?

Your child will start school the year they turn 5. The school year runs from September to July. For example, if your child turns 5 in July they will start school the previous September when they are still 4. Most children will start in the September before their 5th birthday, however, deferred start is possible. Admissions will send letter with information about how to apply for your child’s first school place in the autumn term, the year before they are due to start.

Find out about the application process, deferred start and submission dates in Essex by clicking here.

What else can I do when my child is about to start school?

Look up schools in your area and contact to arrange visits in the autumn term before your child starts school. Use the school finder by clicking here.

By visiting a school you begin to build up a good picture of how each school runs and where you see your child being happy. Gather as much information as possible to help make your decision.

It’s a big step for both of you and being prepared can make all the difference. Your local children centre, preschool and school should be able to give you support and advice. The school will also hold some transition sessions prior to September.

Download our ready for school height chart here

Alternatively, email tlc@essex.gov.uk to request a printed height chart for your home.

(Please note: this chart needs to be printed on A3 paper to be accurate)

Helping your child cope with change

Here are some simple things you can do to help your child get ready for their first day

  • Sharing and enjoying books is the first step towards learning to read so visit your local library and sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.
  • Encourage your child’s independence over the summer holidays. Going to the toilet, dressing and undressing, blowing their own nose and putting shoes on are all skills that will help them settle into the school routine. Let your child practice by dressing up in their new uniform and PE kit.
  • Make independent dressing easier by choosing school uniform with elastic waistbands and shoes with velcro fastenings. Help your child to put their shoes on the right feet by marking the bottom of the pair with a smiley face. Draw half the face on each shoe so they need to be matched correctly to make the picture.
  • Help your child to make friends before the big day by arranging to meet up during the summer break with other families who also have children starting school. The first day will be made easier by having a friend to share it with (for you and your child!).
  • Encourage your child to recognise their name, mark their uniform, shoes, bag etc. and show them where the labels are. Make sure you know what else they need to take each day (book bag, drink, sun hat etc.).
  • Get into a bedtime routine before starting school by having some early nights and practising getting ready and out of the door in the morning. Do a practice journey to school and time how long it will take to avoid rushing and help keep the mornings calm and manageable.
  • Spend time talking about what school will be like and reassuring them if they have any worries. Talk about playtime, school dinners, assembly and who to talk to if they need help.
  • Plan what will happen on the first week. Who will take and collect them and what you will be doing while they are there? It is likely that they will be tired after their new experience so prepare an early teatime and bedtime. Plan a treat to look forward to at the end of the week such as going to the park.
  • Your child will take their lead from you so embrace this next step and help them enjoy a positive start to their school days.

Further guidance and information can be found here: www.foundationyears.org.uk/school-reception-class/

50 things to do

Looking for things to do? Why not download our ultimate list of ’50 things to do before you’re 5′?

Games and Rhymes

Play games with our TLC friends and sing along to your favourite nursery rhymes.

Milestones

Learn the best ways to improve your child’s language and communication at their different ages.