My Experience: Things I have learnt since Miss NHM started school…

The school run sucks but you get used to it. Sigh.

Not to buy more than one logo’d T-shirt or cardigan. Even though we had labelled everything in advance, Miss NHM lost a logo’d cardigan (£16!!!) in the first week of school, we think because the ironed on label fell off. Miss NHM also refuses to wear her logo’d T-shirts because the logo scratches on the inside.  So, next year she will be getting one logo’d cardigan and one T-shirt which she will only be allowed to wear for school photography day ;-).

That “Biff and Chip” books are soul destroying.

Stamping clothes is the ONLY way to go! I bought the stamp and pad from Stamptastic and they have been fantastic. No more needing to get the iron out, iron on labels falling off and it’s very easy to immediately stamp clothes as we get them. The stamp also works on plastic, socks, pants, books, etc and we’ve used it on a weekly basis since Miss NHM started school. I also bought the white pen which enabled me to label everything black, including Miss NHM’s shoes (which she actually hasn’t lost yet, shock, horror! :-D)

Attendance at school suddenly becomes this MASSIVE thing. We have literally had a letter home every week about this, including an attendance sheet. If the school spent the time on teaching children, that they are spending on these letters, I’d be more comfortable with it!

Your child will be “tested” within the first 6 weeks of starting YR. They will also be weighed and measured, but you can choose to opt out of this.

It’s worth buying school uniform online in June/July. We bought most of ours from Tu Sainsburys because I’ve been really impressed with their clothes previously. I managed to order everything we needed, in the right size, and have it delivered in to store. I also sneakily did it when they had their 25% off available. You can save a fortune on uniform doing it this way. We also bought the logo’d stuff from SkoolKit (how are we supposed to teach our children to spell!!!), which gets VERY busy in August. Skoolkit normally have 10% off during the last week of the July term, although you might have to queue for a while!

I also recommend if you can afford it, having an outfit for every day. Otherwise you will find yourself washing clothes at midnight one evening realising that you’ve run out of pinafores and white T-shirts. Yup, been there, done that :-D.

If your child needs a specific piece of clothing for the Christmas play (like black trousers and a black T-shirt) don’t leave it until a week before (yes, that’s a week before, not even a day before!) to get sorted because it’s a given that Amazon Prime will let you down and you will have to schlep through town on your lunch break to find a plain black t shirt and there won’t be any ANYWHERE and you will be pulled aside by the teacher a day before “dress rehearsal day” telling you that you MUST get the outfit sorted in time. (Obviously this didn’t happen to me ;-))

That schools no longer have school nurses and if you want to speak to the “school nurse” you have to ring a number at the hospital and someone will phone you back “hopefully within a week”!!!!??!?!

If your child goes to any sort of after school care straight from school, expect to lose at least two jumpers or cardigans each term (see above about logo’ cardigans and Tshirts).

Toilet humour suddenly becomes a big thing once your little one starts school. Miss NHM is obsessed with the word “bottom” and likes to use it all the time, including at the most inappropriate time, and then likes to laugh manically after she’s said the word. Sigh.

It’s called the school RUN for a reason 😉

Find out where the lost property box is as soon as you can.

It’s worth buying a water bottle which is pre-named or, like me, getting a selection of water bottles in for whenever your child loses theirs. We’ve gone through three already!!!

That every week there is something extra to do, from providing a white shirt to make a super hero’s cape, collecting for harvest festival, baking cakes for the school fayre, selling raffle tickets, non uniform day, and on and on and on it goes. It never ends.

If you are taking your child out of school for a medical appointment, you need to provide written proof of a letter to the school.

That every other day there will be a leaflet in your child’s book bag and God forbid you don’t read every single leaflet because even though the school sends email and texts you can guarantee that there will be a very important piece of information in small print on one of these letters and you will miss it and then be chastised by the teacher. Again.

That the unofficial parents Facebook group is a necessity!!! (Set one up if there isn’t one already set up and be sure to make it secret so the teachers can’t stalk you all on it :-D)

It’s best not to wake Miss NHM in the mornings but to either let her wake up by herself or let the cat into her room to wake her up for me :-D.

That delegating the PTA role to your husband is a stroke of genius! Even if everyone does bang on about him being the only man to have ever been on the PTA !! (How is this possible in the modern world that we live in? Are men not allowed to join the PTA or something?)

That you will literally LIVE for the half terms and school holidays and then half a day in to said holiday you will beg to go back to work for a rest!! :-D.

Another small piece of my soul died in mid December when I pulled out a piece of paper with a column of names from Miss NHM’s book bag, and realised it was a list of names for Christmas cards. 30 of them. Deep joy.

I’m glad I only have one child. I have absolutely no idea how anyone gets more than one child ready for school, including yourself, by 8.30am EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKDAY. MORNING.

That it’s easier to accept that your child is going to eat crap as part of the free school meals, rather than have to think up a packed lunch every day. Every time Miss NHM joyfully tells me what she’s had for pudding I shudder! :-D. However, despite the chocolate cake, ice cream, flapjacks and jelly, they have fruit at snack time which apparently makes it ok to have rubbish puddings!!?!?!??!

Despite all my comments above, Miss NHM absolutely loves going to school and gets quite upset at weekends when she can’t go. I try not to take it personally ;-).

What have you learnt if your little one started school in September?

Here are a few more tips which Mata added on the NorthHantsMum FB Page

This is what I’ve learned:

Uniforms: when my girl started a friend suggested to get 1 uniform per day. So I did that and she only needed 2 per week. When my son started I got him 3 uniforms – he could easily have 2 per day ;-). 

My kids’ school insists on logo jumpers/cardigans only. I write their name in marker pen. None got lost so far. Lots of gloves have gone missing though. I buy them in bulk in the spring.

Kids need to change for PE and back again. They have to manage themselves. If they can’t do buttons or laces, get them clothes without! Don’t be surprised if they come home wearing clothes back to front or inside out. My son is always amazed how can I know they had PE.

Check if kids get a mid-morning snack. They are entitled to free milk and fruit – but at my kids’ school they get them when they go home. What’s the point? How are they supposed to learn when they’re hungry?

They need to take a bottle of water, which is then kept out of reach. The kids pour it out at lunchtime to pretend they’ve drunk it.

Most children try to avoid using the school toilets.

The school book bags are not very sturdy. They’re not designed with water bottles in mind. If you get a sturdier bag for your child – or heaven forbid a backpack – the school will probably not like it, as they have microscopic drawers for storing bags.

Homework in primary school is optional. Repeat: *optional*. And it usually involves some craft work done by the parents, sometimes with the child’s ‘help’. Remember: it’s optional.

Attendance is more important than learning. More important than health. It seems the very survival of the universe depends on it. It should be 96%+. If your child has 95.9%, you will get an ‘amber warning’ letter. If it’s below 90%, the world will come to an end. If your child has a doctor’s appointment at 9.30, you’ll be expected to take them in for the morning register, then collect them right after. If they are ill, give them paracetamol and take them in. When it wears off, they’ll call you to pick up your poorly child (hopefully after the afternoon register, just to get in another attendance). If you take your child out for a week of term time holiday, they’ll end up illiterate. But if they miss the same number of days because of inset days that’s fine.

Children take teachers a lot more seriously than they take their parents.

Education is free – but they’re constantly asking for money for this or that. Or donations for fayres and bazaars, that you then need to attend and buy said donations to clutter your house.

On the positive side, most of the staff genuinely care about children. Many of them are themselves parents and may understand that the expectations in the curriculum are unrealistic. Many children form a good relationship with their teachers, make friends with other children and enjoy going to school. It’s not too bad :-). 

And a few more from Wendy

We haven’t had any comments about attendance. Here are my tips.

Turn your text notification off, you will get more from school than you do from PPI, none apply to you.

Boys clothes need washing every day (I bought 5 of everything).

The menu is the menu, there’s not a lot you can do so look it up now and get used to it.

The stamp isn’t suitable for all uniform so you will still need labels for some things.

Your child will pick the unhealthest food on the menu even though there is fruit and yoghurt available (it’s a HCC requirement, it is there no matter what they say).

Go to local toddler groups so you know some mums beforehand.

The school run requires every type of coat and shoe that is available.

You will get your school run clothing wrong about once a week.

Lots of parents flip out in early Nov as their child is doing too much/doing too little/not getting enough attention, it’s a control thing just nod and smile and all will be well by Dec.

No matter what the Huffington post or Cbeebies say there is no technique for getting information out of your child about their day.

And a few more from Sue

I’m so glad I bought 5 lots of uniform. There is no way K could have worn any item two days running and it means I don’t have a sudden panic mid-week that we have run out of something.

I need to remember to go through the menu with K before we leave the house. His favourite colour is green so invariably he will choose veggie option even if it’s something he won’t eat. By telling him the meal he can choose which one he wants and then I can tell him what colour to go for.

Never trust your child to put water bottle in their school bag themselves. We have had two leakages so far (luckily it was only water) meaning spreading books on a radiator overnight to dry.

Be careful what forms you fill out when LO starts. We inadvertently ended up on a list of children whose parents may struggle financially and K brought a voucher home for redeeming a bag of food. I was mortified and cross in equal measure and ended up having a chat with the school to confirm that whilst I understand the scheme, there are perhaps more deserving children than my son. It was something to do with him receiving free school meals (though all YS1 children receive them…) and a pupil premium form. In my defence I must have filled in about 10 forms and ended up slightly cross-eyed by the end!!

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One thought on “My Experience: Things I have learnt since Miss NHM started school…

  1. Sue Walker Reply

    Things I’ve learnt

    I’m so glad I bought 5 lots of uniform. There is no way K could have worn any item two days running and it means I don’t have a sudden panic mid-week that we have run out of something.

    I need to remember to go through the menu with K before we leave the house. His favourite colour is green so invariably he will choose veggie option even if it’s something he won’t eat. By telling him the meal he can choose which one he wants and then I can tell him what colour to go for

    Never trust your child to put water bottle in their school bag themselves. We have had two leakages so far (luckily it was only water) meaning spreading books on a radiator overnight to dry.

    Be careful what forms you fill out when LO starts. We inadvertently ended up on a list of children whose parents may struggle financially and K brought a voucher home for redeeming a bag of food. I was mortified and cross in equal measure and ended up having a chat with the school to confirm that whilst I understand the scheme, there are perhaps more deserving children than my son. It was something to do with him receiving free school meals (though all YS1 children receive them…) and a pupil premium form. In my defence I must have filled in about 10 forms and ended up slightly cross-eyed by the end!!

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