Finding out about your child's primary school

To help prepare your child for primary school, it is worth finding out as much about the school before the first day. You may want to know about the school's ways of working and policies, what your child will need and how they will learn

Getting information about primary schools

You can find out about your local school by getting a fact sheet, or a prospectus, from the school or the Education Authority (EA) in your region. You might find it helpful to talk to parents who already have children at the school.

Many schools organise open days or evenings, where you can ask questions and see inside your child's school.

How your child will learn

In the first two years of primary school your child will come across the same sort of learning and activities they were used to in their early years - this is called the Foundation Stage. The next two years are called Key Stage 1 and the next three years are known as Key Stage 2.

At each of these stages, certain subjects are taught.

Finding out how teaching and learning takes place can help you support your child to make the most of their time at school.

You may wish to find out about:

  • methods used for teaching and learning
  • school rules
  • school policies on areas like homework, behaviour, child protection, attendance and bullying
  • facilities available, for example a library or sports facilities
  • how you will be informed about your child's progress and included in decisions about their learning
  • getting involved in your child's education, for example through parent-teacher associations or by becoming a governor
  • how best to help your child's learning at home, for example by talking to them about their learning and reading with them
  • support available if your child has special educational needs

The daily routine

Going to school will involve a change to your child's routine. It helps to find out:

  • when the school day starts and finishes
  • what the usual daily routine is
  • what happens at playtimes and lunchtimes
  • what arrangements the school has to help your child settle before the first day
  • whether the school offers additional childcare, including breakfast or after school clubs
  • the term and holiday dates
  • what happens to your child if they are ill in school
  • how long it takes to get ready for, and travel to, school
  • whether you need to buy anything before your child starts school, for example a uniform or special clothing for games or art

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