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 can 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.

Find out about the application process in Essex by clicking here.

You can also find out more by watching this short animation:

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

Search schools in your area and contact to arrange visits in the autumn term before your child starts school.

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.

School Height Chart

Download our ready for school height chart here
(Please note: this chart needs to be printed on A3 paper to be accurate)
Download Height Chart

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.
  • Borrow a ‘Starting School Bag’ from your local Essex Library. Each bag contains specially chosen stories and information books exploring what it’s like to go to ‘big’ school. Find more information about your local library here.
  • 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.

Need additional help?

For further guidance and information, click the following link.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Are you looking for advice about your child's learning and development? We answer your frequently asked questions here.

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For further support or advice, please feel free to contact us on the email address below.
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