Starting school is a major event in a young child’s life and it is important that this transition is managed carefully. Pupils usually start school in a carefully planned transition to: 

  • Introduce routines of school
  • Help the children to form friendships
  • Make sure the children build a relationship with the staff in school and particularly Sweet Chestnut staff.

After the first week in September, pupils attend school full time. The vast majority of pupils settle into school routines quickly and once they have got used to the tiredness of full days, they usually bounce into school each morning!

Occasionally, families of 4 year old children may feel that their child is not yet ready for full time school. This may be due to a number of reasons such as a late summer birthday or not attending a formal pre-school setting. Where this is the case, parents are invited to meet with Mrs Askew and the Headteacher to discuss their child’s needs and to explore the potential of attending school part-time. When making such a decision, we take into account the positive and negative impact that such an arrangement would have on a child and, as such, we do not follow a set policy or procedure. Ultimately, the decision is made with the individual child’s best interests at heart.

All children are invited to spend time in school during the summer term preceding their entry. Parents will be informed of these dates via a letter sent out early in the summer term. Parents of new starters are invited to a meeting with the Headteacher and Class Teacher in the summer term before their child starts school. The aim of this meeting is to provide information to parents about their child starting school and to provide an opportunity for any questions to be asked.

The first few days- how you can help prepare your child for starting school:

  • Make sure s/he feels confident dressing and undressing him/herself. Velcro and buckles are wonderful fastenings initially until your child is confident with laces. You will be surprised how quickly young children can learn to tie their own with a little practice. Please help by encouraging your child, however, we don’t expect this task to be mastered immediately!
  • Aim to ensure your child can manage toileting unaided.
  • Introduce your child to an adult sized knife, fork and desertspoon if s/he is likely to stay for school lunch. School lunch is highly recommended as the preferred choice. It is nourishing and school lunch is an important social occasion for the children. We don’t force children to eat but we do encourage them to try new foods. You’ll be amazed what they will try at school.
  • Please clearly label all clothing as uniforms all look the same!
  • Try to be confident for your child. Your child will be perfectly happy if s/he doesn’t recognise any reluctance on your part each morning.
  • Your child will be happy if s/he is prepared for school in basic ways e.g. has correct clothing, P.E. bag and kit etc. Your child will soon feel part of the family when s/he develops a sense of belonging. We will not hesitate to contact you should we feel we need to discuss your child’s social or academic progress. Similarly, we encourage parents/carers to  discuss any worries and problems or queries with a member of staff to enable us to effectively meet the needs of each child. We aim to foster excellent relationships with parents which in turn impact on our pupils’ positive experience in school.

For parents who are sending their eldest child to school for the first time, many routines and expectations will be brand new. It is important to remember that there is no such thing as a silly question and that staff are on hand after school each day to answer any questions that you may have.