Back to School! Tips for Year 1

Apart from checking to see if all the homework has been done, here’s some extra tips going into the new academic year, especially if your sprog is going into year one. Find out what to expect and the essential parental inner knowledge you might need.


Uniform – make sure you have enough. It’s a royal pain in the posterior, having to keep up with supply and demand of school particulars. Make sure you use a permanent, good quality name label that irons in. Buy an indelible fabric pen and write their names in the labels. Ask at your uniform store to have name/initials sewn into important items, like blazers. This, like day follows night, brings us to the second point of interest…

…Lost property. The ‘Dreaded Lost Property’ to be more precise. Make sure you know where this is and how lost items are circulated to this area. You will be here, seemingly more often than not. Year 1 is part of a push to make kids more aware for their own stuff. Gone are the days of Foundation level and you will look back on how well they were looked after during this bubble wrapped time. There’s a new beast in town and it’s called Responsibility.

Try not to book appointments straight after school. Nothing ever seems to go according to plan and we don’t want that head falling off in front of other parents now, do we?

If your ‘mini me’ is going into Year 2 or above, make sure you are aware of any new projects coming up and familiarise yourself with the topics. Those questions will come thick and fast! There might even be fancy dress to contend with. Check the school letter/communications.

Y1 essentials:

ABC’s.

Counting to 100.

Weekly homework & Home reading (basically every night).

2x, 5x, 10x times tables.

Geography (China/Africa/Russia/America/Europe).

Handwriting: (Capital Letters, Full stops, Fingers Spaces, Cursive (joined up).

Projects (Examples): Family, Home, Holiday, Garden, Pollution, healthy eating,

Online Learning platforms – get login details ASAP. Library resources (online? AKA Free books!).

Dates/Topics/Awareness: World Book day, Anti bullying awareness, Flu vaccination, Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes), Religions, Christmas Production,

Trips out (Examples): Museum/Garden Centre/

Parents evenings: some lucky schools use online booking systems. Try and keep your eye on when parents evenings are and keep an eye out for booking details, ‘coz it’s first come first served. It’s especially important if there are younger siblings involved that need to go to bed as soon as possible. Try your best to go to parents evening – the feedback and action points are invaluable to continued progress!

You can help yourself to help your little pupil by downloading a timetabling app for your phone. The one I use (Android) has a widget that tracks the day, so I always know the what/where/when of the day. Also, it’s a good way of asking how they got on in school today. “What words did you learn about in phonics today?” is a great way to ask – but remember they are tired and won’t always want to try to remember (a bit like how we don’t want to talk about work!).

Get your hands on a term dates leaflet and start planning the year ahead into your phone/diary. Add in any INSET days and keep an eye out for school events/special days.

Be prepared to lose all your spare change! It seems every week you need to send in more and more permission slips and a few quid. Get some cheap envelopes so you can write who and what it’s for and that way it reduces the chance of getting lost too.

Follow the school social media on Twitter (turn on alerts) and Facebook. Download any school apps or save the homepage to your favourites/add to homescreen.

Sorry if there are silly errors in this article. I’ve written and published it on the way to a campsite in the summer holidays. We are, right this minute stuck in a traffic jam on the A590. Bliss! I’ll clean up the article if I can get on my PC at home at some point.

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Back to School! Tips for Year 1

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