Starting School

Some parents have a wide range of schools to choose from, whereas others can be limited due to their geographical location. Whichever category you fit into, you will find deciding between schools a very
difficult task.

You will probably want to visit the schools you are choosing on a number of occasions. This will allow you to take a tour of the facilities, talk to the teachers, and watch the children in the both the classroom and the playground. The head teacher should inform you of the values and aspirations of the staff and the children, factors which are of great importance in later life.

Your child’s first teacher will be the most important person in their daily life at school, so ensure that you have a chance to talk with him/her. Communication between yourselves and this first teacher is vital in order to ensure your child is developing appropriately. You need to assess whether you feel comfortable talking to the teacher, and question them about their teaching beliefs and general classroom behaviour.


  • What happens if your child wets them self?
  • Will you be told if they have been upset whilst
    at school?
  • How and when will you be informed if your child
    has a problem with their work?
  • Do you have the opportunity to speak to other
    teachers in the school?

Your child will begin to learn basic science, history and geography in their early years at school, but reading and mathematics are the basic components of an academic curriculum at this age. The school should be able to explain in detail as to what approach they take. Ask about the systems they use in reading, and what schemes they use. Will your child receive individual help if they require it? A coherent mathematic
programme will have clear objectives and aims should be to develop the child’s ability to begin to think about mathematical problems. Is the mathematical scheme interesting and relevant?

As a parent, you should be wary of schools that offer a wide range of fashionable programmes but lack depth in their teaching. There is only so much time in your child’s day at school, and a great deal of time needs to be taken with learning basic skills.

When you have assessed the pro’s and con’s of the schools, you may have an out right winner. Trust your intuition, is this school a warm, loving place where your child will be happy? It maybe worth a second visit to a number of schools to check that your first impressions are correct, as your child will find the school  easier to settle into when you feel happy with the school.