Thank you for your interest in or for choosing our schools. We love welcoming new families to our school family and helping them settle into school and community life in and around our fantastic villages and their surrounding areas.
We recognise the value of a positive and happy start to school life in helping all our children and families to ‘Love Learn Thrive’. From initial enquires through to the first day and until children are established and settled, we work closely with families to help them prepare for and settle into life in our schools.
Many children start their school lives when the begin school in our joint Early Years class hosted at Spofforth school see http://follifootandspofforth.co.uk/early-years/. Some children also join us part way through primary school. All are equally welcome and we work closely to ensure effective bespoke transition whenever it takes place.
Our Early Years Team
Class Teachers Mrs Helen Lee & Mrs Jessica Curtis ably lead our fantastic Early Years Team. They are both very experienced and dedicated teachers. Children in Early Years are also supported by Mrs Laura Caldecott and Miss Millie Ellis who have a wealth of experience. Their combined years of experience are surpassed only by their enthusiasm for Early Years.
New Starters – September 2020 – Welcome Video
New Starters – September 2020 Transition Information
Typically one of the teachers would visit every child in their nursery or pre-school setting over the summer term. However due to the current restrictions including many settings being closed to the majority of children we will contact nurseries by telephone.
Children would normally have a series of visits to school to help them prepare for starting school in September. After careful consideration and discussion it has been decided that school will not host visits for the new starter children during the summer term. We are disappointed that the children will not visit during the summer term as they usually would. However taking into account the current set up of Early Years classrooms, the requirement to keep groups in isolated ‘bubbles’ and the focus on transition support for the current reception cohort we believe it is the correct and responsible decision. We will continue to keep in touch with families during the summer term including sending you a new starter pack later in the term.
Recognising the changes to our usual transition arrangements we have developed the following provisional plan for the children starting in September.
Thursday 9th July 2020 7.30pm – Video Call Welcome meeting for parents. This replaces the meeting in school planned for Monday 22nd June. Details of how to access this video call will be sent nearer the time.
Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th September 2020 – By prior arrangement (please email email@example.com to book a time) children and parents may visit school for a familiarisation tour with Mr Griffiths.
Monday 7th September 2020 – Training Day. School closed to all children.
Tuesday 8th & Wednesday 9th September 2020 – Children who have not previously attended Spofforth in nursery will begin school.
Thursday 10th September 2020 – Children who have attended Spofforth nursery start school.
Monday 21st September – New nursery children will begin attending sessions.
This plan is provisional and subject to change depending on the requirements on schools in September. We would also like to reassure parents that if they feel their child needs more of a phased start than outlined in the provisional plan we will be happy to discuss this on an individual basis to ensure each child has the very best possible start to their primary education.
We look forward to seeing you later in the term at the welcome meeting. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this or any other aspects of your child’s entry into school please do not hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
New Starters Top Tips
Help your child
- Help your child to develop the skills they need to be independent, such as getting used to playing with other children, dressing themselves and looking after their things.
- Get storybooks from the library about starting school and read them to your child. In the week before they start school, get your child used to the times they will need to get up in the mornings and go to bed.
- Decide who is taking your child to school on their first day so they can know as soon as possible what will happen on the morning.
- Share your memories of your first day or funny and light stories about your time at school so they start to get a light-hearted sense of what to expect.
- Plan a treat for the end of the school day; it’s likely they will be tired so a simple trip to the local park or their favourite dinner would be more than enough.
- Talk positively to your child about starting school, as well as listening to and acknowledging any feelings or fears they may have.
- Help your child to build their confidence. For example, make sure they know that it is ok to ask to go to the toilet at school.
- If you are feeling worried, make sure you have someone to talk to so that your children don’t pick up on any negative feelings – and remind yourself that it is perfectly normal to have a bit of the jitters yourself.
- Encourage them to be thoughtful about other children’s feelings and remember to take turns and share.
- If you sense your child will feel clingy and not want to leave you in fear they will miss out, let them know what you have planned for the day – the duller the better!
Talk to Us
- Find out from our team how reception children are introduced to the school and what happens on the first day. We will go through this in our parent meeting. Talk this through with your child so that they know what to expect.
- Tell us about your child, e.g. any special needs, medical problems, likes or dislikes.
- If you feel annoyed by anything we are doing or have done try to keep a calm and talk to us. We will work with you to address any concerns or issues. We are human we don’t get it right all the time but we always do our very best to correct any issues and address any concerns.
- Try to attend any meetings before and after your child starts at the school. If you can’t attend, please get in touch.
- Know where you are bringing your child on the first day – your visits will help you check this out.
- Label everything please, all clothing including coats, socks, pants and shoes, gloves hats. If its named we should always be able to find it and return it.
- Make sure coats have a hook so they can be easily hung up. Help your child to be able to do this by themselves.
- Just ask – if there is anything you are not sure of please just ask one of our team. We will be more than happy to help.
- Please read carefully all information sent.
New Starters – Getting Ready
Reading and sharing books is an essential part of curriculum approach. As well ad the many academic benefits from reading widely books are an invaluable way to help children prepare for new experiences and effectively manage during periods of change. Below are some recommendations of books that you can share with your child to help them prepare for starting school. Many of these are available in local libraries. We also limited copies which we can lend if needed.
- Starting School
If you only buy one book on this list, make it this one. It tells the story of not only the first day at school, but the whole first term. It explains so many aspects of school (including the less good bits, like feeling tired or the teacher being unhappy if people are naughty) in easy to understand, kids language. My children ask to read this night after night. A must buy book about starting school.
- Starting School Sticker Book
A fun way to familiarise young children with all the things they will need to know and be able to do when they start school. Following a typical day at school, children will enjoy using the stickers to help the characters in the book get dressed, pack bags, hang up coats, change for PE, and participate in art class, lunchtime, playtime, story time and home time. With over 100 stickers, this is sure to keep little children occupied for hours.
- Lucy and Tom at School
We haven’t actually seen this book as it’s not out yet, but if previous Shirley Hughes books are anything to go by, this will be perfect for introducing little ones to the school experience, including beautiful illustrations.
- Harry and the Dinosaurs Go to School
Oh we do love Harry and his bucket of dinosaurs! This book is true to form, with the naughty dinosaurs accompanying Harry on his very first day at school. A fun way to introduce children to school from this much loved series of books.
- Starting School – Amy and the Feelings Basket
This book may be a little long for some four year olds, but it does present feelings in a new way, that may help some children to understand them better ready for starting school. If you have a child who is happy to sit and enjoy longer, more involved books, this may be a good choice.
- Topsy and Tim: Start School
A simple story about the basic facts of what happens at school. A good first ‘going to school’ book or for fans of the legendary twins.
- Bip, Bop, and Boo Get Ready for School
A lift the flaps picture book, suitable to children to ‘read’ to themselves. Colourful and bright, with something to discover on every page.
- Kissing Hand
A very different book about starting school, this is brilliant for children feeling anxious about leaving their parent or carer. Chester Raccoon seeks love and reassurance from his mother as he ventures out into the world to attend his very first day of school. She teaches him that her love for him is always with him.
- The Starting School Survival Guide: Everything you need to know when your child starts primary school
One for the parents, this book helps you to navigate the school system. It covers helping with homework, key stage exams and understanding the national curriculum. Along with school etiquette, dealing with gossip, how many holidays can you take and what to do with your child during the summer.
- Come to School too, Blue Kangaroo!
Telling the story of Lily’s first day at school through her relationship with her Blue Kangaroo, this is a great book for little ones who many be a little bit nervous and particularly for those who have a special toy that they can relate this book too.
- Starting School (First Experiences with Biff, Chip & Kipper)
Biff, Chip & Kipper books are used in 80% of primary schools, so this book is a super way to introduce your child to the characters. A simple book, with a good introduction to the school routines.
- Starting School (Wipe Clean Learning)
A wipe clean activity book for children to use (pen included). It introduces school concepts whilst giving little ones a chance to practise some of the skills they will use at school.
New Starters – Further Help
There are more useful ideas and tips available via the links below.
BBC Bitesize has a host of top tips, clips and games to help both children and parents prepare for starting school – https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/collections/starting-primary-school/1
The School Run – lots of tips for parents from parents – many elements are free and there is also a subscription element (although this is not necessary) –
Joining During a Year
For families joining part way through a school year or at the start of a school year in Key Stage One or Key Stage Two we can plan with families a bespoke transition package of visits and contact to help prepare and settle children into life in our schools. Please contact either school office for further information.
Starting Year One at Follifoot
We are pleased to have created the short video below to help children who have attended Reception at Spofforth School prepare to start Year One at Follifoot.