First day at school
Your child’s first day at school can be an exciting but uncertain time for both you and them, however there is no need to worry. Preparation is key – knowing what to expect and helping your child to feel confident for their first day will help to ensure it is a positive experience.
Questions to ask before their first day
If your child has an EHCP, you will have had input into their individual support plan and may already have some details about what to expect. If not or you are unsure, there are a few things you will want to know before your child’s first day at school.
There are a few things you will want to ask before your child’s first day at school.
Arrange a meeting with the SENDCO – this is your opportunity to ask:
- Does the school have your child’s transition documents?
- Has additional staffing been put in place?
- Have all the staff who will be working with your child had training from a QTVI?
- Who will support your child and can you meet the learning support assistant (LSA)?
- Who will support them at lunchtime and playtime?
- Has mobility training/an environmental audit taken place? This may happen on your additional visit, when the mobility officer or QTVI may be present to assess safety and make suggestions (e.g. adding yellow edges to steps).
- When will there be a review? This is an opportunity to meet with support staff including the QTVI, SENDCO, mobility officer, LSA and any other staff supporting your child, to discuss how well they have settled in. It’s useful for the review to happen about 4-6 weeks after your child starts school.
Organising an additional visit
Prior to your child’s first day, it is a good idea to organise an additional visit to the school. This gives you an opportunity to ask:
- What date and time do they start?
- Do parents usually stay for a while on the first day?
- Where should I take them? You can take your child there to show them. If they are unsure in a crowd, the teacher may invite them to come into the classroom a few minutes before their classmates.
- Where will their coat, bag and lunchbox go? Can they have a peg on the end which will be easier for them to find? You can show these things to your child.
- What do I need to pack for them (e.g. spare clothes)?
- Which is the best route to the toilet? It’s important to familiarise them with this.
- Where should I collect them and at what time? For children with vision impairment, this may be at the classroom door or a handover from the LSA, so make sure your child understands where this is.
- What is the collection procedure if someone else is collecting them?
- Can I take photos? If your child would find them useful, photographs of different areas such as the entrance door, toilets and even key staff members (e.g. the teaching assistant) can help your child familiarise themselves with the school.
If agreed and the LSA has been appointed, this is also a good time to meet them.
Questions to ask at the end of their first day
Chatting to your child about their first day at school gives you the opportunity to ask them about their day and what they enjoyed. You may also find out whether they had any issues. It’s a good idea to talk these through and to be prepared for any questions from the teacher.
Don’t be worried or surprised if your child is over excited, exhausted, irritable or teary after their first day – it’s perfectly normal. You can help by planning a quiet, relaxing evening for them.
Published: June 2018