Starting school articles
5 ways to overcome empty nest syndrome
Empty nest syndrome is normally associated with teenagers leaving for university but what about when your young one starts full-time at primary school? Lauren Crosby Medlicott's youngest child is about to do just that, leaving her with an empty house six hours a day. She shares her plan for coping with this big change.
Best back-to-school buys
Get ready for the new school year with our selection of the best back-to-school buys that won't break the bank. From uniform to lunchboxes, tick off that back-to-school checklist and avoid any last-minute stress before September.
Developing a learning style before starting school
Most of us want to give our children every advantage when they start primary school — it’s only natural. Finding the best school, taking an interest in feedback from teachers and doing homework is all great, but the best thing you can do for your child is to help them develop the key characteristics of being an effective learner.
What your child learns in Nursery maths
Times tables and long division may be a way off, but the basic numeracy skills your child begins to learn in Nursery will lay the foundations for the years ahead.
What your child learns in Nursery: English and literacy
From learning new vocabulary to mastering the correct pencil grip, here are the literacy skills your child will start to develop in Nursery.
What your child learns in their Nursery year
We explain what your child will learn in school Nursery and how you can help them develop new skills.
The parents’ guide to benefits for families with primary school children
Do you know what financial support you’re eligible for when your child is school age? We take a look at what you might be entitled to.
57 school uniform tips from parents, for parents
From buying the right kit to stopping it getting lost (perhaps!), we asked parents on social media for their advice on choosing, organising and labelling school uniform.
Supporting summer-born children at school
Your child’s birthdate could make a big difference to how they manage at primary school. We asked the experts about the potential impact, and how you can help your child thrive.
What is a school nursery?
Nursery classes are a stepping stone between pre-school and Reception. We take a look at what happens in school nurseries, and the pros and cons of applying for a place.
Understanding primary school league tables
We explain how performance measures are used to rank primary schools in England.
13 things that’ll happen in your child’s Reception year
Prepare yourself for what to expect in your child’s first year at school: from phonics to school dinners, parents' evening and headlice, our parents' guide to Reception explains what you need to know.
Moving house for school places: what the law says
Considering moving house or renting a property to secure a place at your first choice of school? We have the facts you need to know.
21 things your child’s Reception teacher wants you to know
Your child isn’t the only one who has a lot to learn in their first year of school. Here’s what their teacher wishes you’d do – and not do.
7 ways to mark your child's first day at school
Your child's very first day at school is one to remember, so we've rounded up the best ways to mark the occasion.
What is an international school?
How can you ensure your child gets a quality education while living overseas? Sending them to an international school could be the key.
19 questions to ask at the Reception starters’ meeting
The Reception starters' meeting is your chance to ask your burning questions about what happens when your child starts school. Our ideas will help you find out everything you need to know.
School waiting lists explained
Missed out on a place at the school of your choice? Joining the waiting list could keep the door open for your child.
What is a special school?
If your child has special educational needs, a mainstream education may not be right for them. We take a look at how special schools could help.
Applying for scholarships and bursaries
Considering a private school but worried about the fees? Financial assistance could help make the dream a reality. We explain everything primary-school parents need to know about scholarships and bursaries and how they work.
What is a Montessori school?
It’s a term typically associated with nurseries, but many primary-school children benefit from a Montessori education, too. We explain what’s involved.
What is selective mutism?
Around one in every 140 children suffers from this debilitating anxiety disorder. We explain the symptoms, causes and treatment.
35 thoughts you have when your ‘baby’ starts school
Your child’s first day at school is a big milestone for both of you. No wonder you’re an emotional wreck...
Settling your child into a new school
It’s natural for both you and your child to be nervous if they’re moving schools, so how can you make things go as smoothly as possible?
How to change your child's school
Not all children stay at the same primary school from Reception until Year 6. We look at the ins and outs of transferring your child to a new school.
'Help! My child hasn't been offered a school place!'
Every year, a number of parents face the nightmare of not being offered a Reception place for their child in any local school. We explain what to do if the worst happens.
Improving your child’s listening skills
Listening is a vital skill for your primary-school child, but how can you help to develop it?
What is flexi-schooling?
Tempted by the idea of home educating but not sure you could do it full-time? Flexi-schooling could be the perfect compromise, writes Elisabeth Attwood.
Single-sex schools: the pros and cons
Would you consider a girls' school or boys' school for your child at primary or secondary level? We take a look at single-sex education and whether it’s right for your child.
What is a Steiner school?
Steiner schools place an emphasis on preserving childhood, music and arts with an internationally recognised curriculum, but what actually takes place in the classroom?
What is a prep school?
A prep school education can be the stepping stone to a place at one of the UK's best secondary schools. We explain how the system works.
20 things you learn in your child's Reception year
The first year of school is a big learning curve for your Reception child – and for you, too...
What is an all-through school?
More and more schools are opening up that provide education for all children from age three to 19. We look at the pros and cons of this new model of schooling.
School starting age and deferred entry explained for parents
When does your child legally have to start school, and what happens if you don't think they’re ready? We explain the rules around your child’s first day at primary school in England.
What is a maintained school?
The vast majority of primary schools in England are maintained schools, but what does it actually mean if your child goes to one of these schools?
Beat your first day of school nerves
You've prepared your child for their first day at school, but how will YOU hold it together at the school gates? We've rounded up the best advice on how to cope with this emotional milestone.
Ofsted inspections explained for parents
Reading Ofsted reports is likely to be one of the first things you do when you’re choosing a school for your child, but what do the inspections actually involve?
Starting school: what Year 6 parents think you should know
What tips would experienced Year 6 parents pass on to families whose children are just about to start Reception? Lucy Dimbylow asked seasoned mums for their pearls of wisdom on surviving – and enjoying! – the primary-school journey.
What is the equal preference system?
How do schools take your rankings into account when you apply for a place? We explain how equal preference works.
What is an independent school?
Considering sending your child to a private school? We give you the lowdown on the independent education sector.