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Starting school

Girl in uniform

Starting ‘big school’ can be as daunting for the parent as it is for the child! There is so much to get sorted beforehand, you have so many questions about how to prepare your child for the first day of school and settling your child into school and you want to make sure the first drop-off goes off without too many tears (yours or theirs!).

This section of the site has lots of information and tips to help you give your child the best possible academic start.


Topsy and Tim Start School
Best books about starting school
‘Big School’ can seem like an overwhelming place to Reception starters. Make the school-gates goodbyes a little easier by helping your child find out all about school, from lunch boxes to reading corners and name pegs. Here’s our pick of the best starting-school reads to look through together.
Mother picking up toys in empty house
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.
Kids going back to school
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.


My very first spelling test
My very first spelling test
Spelling isn’t usually tested in Reception, but your child might really like the idea of doing a ‘grown-up spelling test’ (especially if they’ve seen an older sibling prepare for spelling tests!).
First addition problems worksheet
First addition problems
Can you use your addition skills to work out these calculations? Use the number line to help if you want.
My first book review worksheet
My first book review
As your child grows more confident in their reading they will be asked to reflect on what they read and review it. Help them get used to reviewing books with our template – they can use words and pictures to share their views. Will they give the latest reading practice book five stars or one?
Also see:

Essential Guide to the First Years of School
The Parents' Guide to Primary School

Get your child's school days off to a flying start – no worries, no stress, no panic! Created especially for parents of new school starters, our brilliant eBook answers every question you might have about your child's primary education.

This eBook will help you:

  •     Understand what schools do and what their priorities are
  •     Understand what school life is like for your child – from the start of their Reception year, right up until they take their Key Stage 2 SATs in Year 6
  •     Learn more about the different people and initiatives that shape your child’s learning experience
  •     Understand more about how you can help your child to get the most out of their time at school

Inside The Parents' Guide to Primary School you'll find over 220 pages jam-packed with the latest information and guidance on every stage of your child’s learning journey, plus handy hints, tips and at-home learning activities to help them reach their full potential.

Nursery and Reception Activity Book

The Nursery and Reception Activity eBook

This bumper eBook of carefully crafted, interactive activities is ideally suited for parents of children in the earliest stages of their education. With 60 bright, entertaining and beautifully illustrated activities, all with easy to follow guidelines, this book is perfect for getting 3-5 year olds on the road to learning fun.

In The Nursery and Reception Activity eBook, you will find activities that require nothing more than some quality time with your child and objects you have lying around your house.

The activities are grouped together by 10 themes – from dinosaurs to the farmyard, via nursery rhymes and ‘people who help us’. Each activity is beautifully illustrated and comes with any accompanying worksheets or other resources (like board games) you might need to make the most of it.

Everything is laid out and explained simply, so that as you ‘work’ through the activities you will always understand how to go about enjoying them and exactly what your child is getting from each one.

With the emphasis on fun, interactive activities that we can enjoy with our young children, The Nursery and Reception Activity eBook is packed full of brilliant activities, games, songs, rhymes and more to make learning a real delight.

Starting School Scrapbook
Starting School Scrapbook

If your child is starting school in September they're probably feeling nervous – and no doubt you are, too! To help boost their confidence, we asked a Reception teacher (and parent) to create a subscriber learning pack resource that will begin to develop your child’s skills so they can make the best possible start.

My starting school scrapbook is packed with colourful activities that focus on early English, maths and science skills as well as supporting your child’s physical and social development.

Work your way through the pack to introduce your child to: letter formation, name recognition, story sequencing and instructions, recognising numbers and carrying out science investigations.