Most of us are used to a flurry of cheerful posts on social media documenting first days, new uniforms and nervous smiles at the beginning of the new school year.

This time, however, is likely to feel very different as we are living through a period of ever increasing change brought about by COVID-19 and for many of you, this feeling of uncertainty is increased by having children who are due to start their school journey somewhere new. Anna Hutchinson, AFF’s education & childcare specialist, offers some words of reassurance…

At the time of writing, we were still awaiting information as to how the new school year will begin and what measures will be in place to allow this to happen.

Schools which reopened for the end of the summer term had been reorganised completely with children experiencing life in social bubbles and smaller class
sizes. For those with children starting in reception or Year 7, there were less opportunities for your child to spend time in their new setting prior to starting and,
with delayed moves, many of you didn’t get an opportunity to visit the school in person.

Behind the scenes preparations

Rest assured that schools understand and should be well prepared for this. They’ll quickly learn all about your child and what they need to do to ensure they make good progress in their first year.

The Avenue Primary School in Warminster, which has many military children, highlights the importance of talking to your child’s school as they transition.

Their parent and pupil support advisor Emma Leeson says:

“Here at The Avenue, staff work closely with parents to ensure children are settled and supported ready for their academic adventure. “Staff are available to answer questions in advance and support is always available. “Parents should feel confident in highlighting their worries to their school early on, so that you can work with the school, and this will benefit your child going forward.”

Here to help

I’m here to support you during the year ahead and am always happy to receive your education and childcare questions. Email me at ec@aff.org.uk

You can also find more information on service children’s education at:
aff.org.uk
Directorate Children & Young People
Children’s Education Advisory Service
Helpful toolkits

Ready for returning

Make time each day for your child to talk to you and share their feelings. Maybe on the way home from school, during dinner or as they get ready for bed. Giving them a chance to share their thoughts will give you an insight in to how they feel, help you to identify any problems and offer reassurance.

If you have any questions or concerns, speak to your child’s teacher; they’ll be more than happy to talk to you – they want the best for your child too. If you have more than one thing to discuss, arrange an appointment as collection is often busy. If your child’s school has a parent support advisor, you can always talk to them too.

For all new starters, check if the school has any social media groups you can join, these may help you and your child to feel part of the school community,
especially if social distancing measures mean you’re not able to interact with other families in the playground.

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