8 things you must do to lay the foundations of a great school year

Teacher and children
Want to know how to get your child off to a flying start next term? Who better to ask than the experts! Wendy Golledge quizzed eight primary school teachers for their tips on preparing your child for the school year ahead.

‘First and foremost I believe children need plenty of rest, which means lots of early nights over the holidays. Equally important is reassurance – a child who is secure in their knowledge and confident in their abilities will do well in the year to come. To help foster confidence, spend time going over skills they learned the previous year so that, by the time they go back, they’re in no doubt about their abilities.’
Christie Ravenhill, year 1 teacher

‘Don’t encourage that "back to school" feeling – it’s important to spend the summer speaking positively about learning and education, so your child looks forward to the year ahead. Planning a variety of fun activities, from trips to the beach and the zoo to visits to grandparents, gives children exciting things to talk and write about when they’re in class again, so also helps them look forward.’
Amy Chase, year 6 teacher

‘Try and use the summer to encourage younger children to be as independent as possible. Praise and reward them for mastering new skills like trying to do up their own coat, mastering poppers and zips or learning to put on their own shoes. Your child’s teacher will thank you come September!’
Kate Kruger, Reception teacher

‘Don’t think of the summer as "time off" learning; instead encourage it but as an enjoyment. So get your kids spotting numbers and letters around them all, or make science into a game. Counting money out for you in shops, collecting and sorting seashells, cooking following a recipe… all great fun but skills boosters, too.’
Lisa Marshall, deputy head

‘If you do nothing else this summer, read, read and read some more with your children. It doesn’t matter what; books, comics, newspaper articles, websites, packaging or even subtitles all help. Good readers become good writers, and confident readers are always the most proficient in class.’
Kate Couldwell, year 1 teacher

‘Use the time at home with your child as a chance to really talk to them. Ask questions that will promote their thinking and you’ll help them become more confident speakers (and listeners), and expand their vocabulary skills for when the school year begins again. The dinner table is the perfect place to engage your children in conversation – it helps them to see that their thoughts, feelings and opinions matter to you.’
Lauren Trumble, year 5/6 teacher

‘Children need to develop a love of learning to become self-motivated to succeed. Parents can foster this from a very early age by encouraging them to ask questions, be inquisitive, explore the world around them, to take risks and to challenge themselves.’
Gerry Simonds, former head teacher and Ofsted inspector

‘We need parents to provide us with happy, confident children at the start of the school year. That means children who have had a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast. If your child isn’t a fan of either, summer is the perfect time to get them into good term-time habits. It sounds so minor, but a tired or hungry child won’t learn as well as one who is well rested and has a fully tummy!’
Karen Boswell, KS2 teacher