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Preparing for school – whose job is it anyway?

Posted by School Run Mum on 09/05/2012. Tags: School Run Mum Parenting

text re imageIt is that time of year when parents like me, whose child will start school in September, have lots of conversations about this significant milestone. We can’t believe our ‘baby’ is going to school. We can’t believe they have grown up so quickly and we can’t believe that they are ever going to be able to put their straw into their juice box ‘all by themself’ without spilling it everywhere.

Starting school is a big deal – for parent and child. And even if this is your second, third or fourth child starting school, it is as significant a milestone each time. Of course, we hope that we have done our best to prepare them for their school years ahead and for many parents, the introduction of the pre-school year scheme in recent years has helped significantly in preparing for school. But to what extent are parents expected to prepare their child? What skills should we be sending them to school with already, or does the responsibility of education lie entirely with the teacher and the school?

Interestingly, a recent comment by the Schools Commissioner in the UK (as reported in The Telegraph), suggests that parents are not doing enough to prepare their children for school.  Speaking to the Forum of Independent Day Schools in central London, Dr Elizabeth Sidwell said: ‘Even the outstanding primaries tell me children, at five, are coming in with lower and lower ability. It is not a good situation that we are in.’ She goes on to say that parents needed a “five-a-day” guide – modelled on the push to get people to eat five pieces of fruit or vegetables – to help them to get children ready for school. ‘Mothers and fathers should be told to “get up in the morning, give your child breakfast, get them to school on time, read with them every day and talk to them”.’

For some, this may seem like a case of preaching to the converted, or simply a case of stating the obvious. But perhaps there is - unfortunately -  a real need to keep reminding parents of the vital role we play in preparing our children for school and in ensuring that they, quite simply, get there every day.


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