Headteacher’s 7 back to school tips for anxious parents and new children

Headteacher Isabel Stubbs and pupils at Cecil Gowing Infant School in Sprowston

Headteacher Isabel Stubbs and pupils at Cecil Gowing Infant School in Sprowston. - Credit: Isabel Stubbs

Back to school signs have been on display in shops for weeks and the countdown is on for children to return to classes.

Schools in Norfolk will welcome back pupils from September 6, and classes will return with fewer coronavirus restrictions in place.

For hundreds of children it will be a big leap as they start for the first time.  

Every primary school in Norwich has produced 3D virtual tours and welcome videos for infant school reception classes and junior school Year 3s, to help children get used to their new surroundings.

Headteacher Isabel Stubbs, who leads Cecil Gowing Infant School in Sprowston, said: “As a parent myself, I learned the hard way that you need to get organised in order to acquire the essentials. 

“I remember a difficult year when I left it too late and spent forever trawling around shops looking for the perfect trousers that were long enough in the leg, but not too big around the waist."

Ms Stubbs, Norfolk County Council and the Norwich Opportunity Area, which is behind the welcome videos, have shared tips for parents as the new term looms closer.

Parents and children at school gate

Back to school - parents and children are getting ready for the new term. - Credit: PA

Be positive


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Starting school or returning to class is a brilliant experience. If you can focus on the positive your child will follow your lead. If you can show trust in the staff, your child will feel secure. School is so much more than a place of learning, it is where children make friends, are supported to take risks and make mistakes. 

Be prepared for them to come home a lot less pristine than they left! A great day at school often involves paint, water, mud and lunch!

Practice the school run.

Practice the school run. - Credit: PA

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Rehearse the school run

Being late on your first day is not the best start for you or your child. Check you know where the entrance is, think about where you will park, timetable in breakfast, dressing, walking and add in extra time for the unexpected - like needing an extra wee before setting off! Punctuality will be important throughout your child’s time at school so try to start as you mean to go on. 

A Norwich shop is struggling to cope with school uniform orders.

Parents should plan school uniform including getting well fitting shoes. - Credit: PA

Get school shoes early 

Shops may appear to have every size and style available, but when it is your child’s foot to be fitted, this will be nothing further from the truth if you don’t get to those pairs quickly. Make the time for your child to wear them in a bit before the first day of school. 

Harleston Church of England Primary Academy

Starting school or returning to class is a brilliant experience. If you can focus on the positive. - Credit: DNEAT

Make sure they’ve not got the wrong trousers!

Make it fun and exciting to have a school uniform. Try it on before they start school, and remember they’ll quickly grow into it. Like shoes, trousers can be very uncomfortable if they don’t fit properly. How can children with ill-fitting trousers be expected to focus on their phonics? Encourage your child to dress themselves. Skirts/trousers with an elasticated waist are easier than buttons and zips.

School lunch

Pupils will be faced with packed lunches, water bottles or school lunches. - Credit: PA

Dinners, lunchboxes and water bottles

If your child is going to have hot dinner and the school provides the water bottle, think yourself lucky. But if your child may need these items, now is the time to start shopping. Having a certain style can be important! For school dinners, can your child sit at a table and use some cutlery? Practice with them using a knife and fork. 

Pupils at Cecil Gowing Infant School in Sprowston

Expect pupils to come home looking less than pristine - but its all part of a normal school day. - Credit: Cecil Gowing Infant School

Toilet trained

If your child isn't fully toilet trained or still has accidents, mention this to the teacher. Have spare underwear in their school bag, so they don't feel embarrassed or have to be wet all day.

Make sure that your child knows how to wipe properly and pull up their pants. Teach them to flush the toilet and then wash their hands properly.

Walk to school

Make the first morning as relaxed as possible - Credit: Getty

Prepare and relax 

Make the first morning as relaxed as possible. Have everything set out the night before, so you aren't rushing around trying to find a lost shoe or misplaced bag. Being calm and on time will lessen the stress for you and your child.

Say goodbye when leaving your child, even if they’re upset, and reassure them that you will be coming back later. 

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