Back to school: new hopes, new fears

Is your child going to a new school next year?

The deadline for applying for a place for your child at secondary school is Monday, 31 October 2016 which is fast approaching!

If your child was born between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013, you will need to apply for a Primary School from Monday, 14 November 2016 up to the closing date of Sunday, 15 January 2017 for the school year that starts in September 2017.

Read this blog to find out how to apply and read one parent’s experience of their child starting school.

Fiona Binns, from the Council’s Education Communications Team and Editor of Bradford Parents on the Go Blog, talks about her experience of children starting school and how life-changing moving from primary to secondary school can be!  Her eldest son, Joshua is eight and has started his journey in Year 4 this term and her youngest son, Finley is five and moves into Year 1.

Starting primary school is one of the most exciting milestones in a child’s young life; but on the other hand it can also be an anxious time too.

In the summer before Finley started Reception I’d be hearing the same question on a daily basis “Mummy, when do I start big school?”

Preparation and organisation is key and I recall highlighting many paragraphs in the school’s prospectus and making endless lists of what we needed in order to be ready for Day One.

In reality I was more anxious than Finley was!

Maybe it’s the fact that we, as mummies, or daddies or carers, have done everything in our power to protect our babies since they were born.  Like when they fall over we are there to pick them up, give them a cuddle and try to make them feel better, we have always done everything for them and then the time comes for that role to be given to teachers and teaching assistants.

As a family we prepared both our boys for ‘big school’ by talking to them about the start of school, making new friends and entering the world of education and learning about something wonderful every single day.  We made a big deal about buying their  school uniforms, new shoes and deciding whether or not they would be staying for school dinners or taking a packed lunch.

I need not have worried; Finley embraced his first year at school as a ‘Roaring Rocket’ (the name of his class!).  His class teacher and teaching assistants at school played a very important part in this and I know Finley will always remember his first year at “big school”.

me-and-the-boys-2016-2
Me and the boys

Transition time

The transition from primary school to secondary school is one of those life events that most people can recall in some way or other. In the main, it’s a fairly manageable period and one that parents often get more emotional about than their children.

Big fish to small fish

Change can be a daunting task for any one of us but when you are 12 or 13 – with so many other ‘complications’ in your life – it is a change that takes quite a lot of adjusting to.

The important thing to constantly remind yourself of is that children and teenagers are more resilient and adaptable than we are (or give them credit for). Remember too that within a few short weeks, their new surroundings become more familiar and they’ll be running from the PE hall to the science lab and on to the art room without the slightest stumble. The first couple of weeks can be traumatic though and this section offers both parent and child a survival plan to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Constant routine becomes constant change

The biggest change when entering the secondary school is probably the constant change in the day-to-day routine.  In primary school, they had one teacher all day in the one classroom.  In secondary school however, that routine changes utterly.  There is a subject change approximately every forty minutes, and with this subject change there is a change of teacher.  It is not unusual for a student to encounter eight or nine different teachers during a typical school day. A tip to help your child cope with this is to advise them to write down the name of each new teacher beside the name of the subject.

Some subject changes will involve a change of classroom too and the second big change that the new first years have to cope with is the constant movement between classrooms throughout the day. Depending on their subject choices, students will be moving all around the school. Getting lost during the first few weeks will be inevitable for some. A good tip is to advise your child to always stay with at least one other person from the class…there is definitely safety and confidence in numbers!

All of this ‘new-ness’ is bound to have some effect on the student and in these early days of adjusting, parents should try to be supportive, understanding and encouraging, ensuring their child eats well and gets plenty of rest and ‘down time’.

School admission information and how to apply for a school place

Secondary school applications

If your child is currently in Year 6 and is due to transfer to secondary school in September 2017, you should have received an information booklet and a letter from the Council’s Admissions Team through your child’s primary school. The letter includes a ‘Unique Identification Number’ (UID) which will help you when making an online application.

There are several benefits to applying online: you will receive a confirmation email that your application has been submitted, you can make changes to your application up to the closing date on Monday 31 October 2016 and you will receive an email with the result of your application on ‘National Offer Day’ which is Wednesday 1 March 2017.

You can apply online from the beginning of September using the Bradford Council website where you will also find detailed information about schools and the admission process. If you have difficulty applying online your primary school can assist you, or you can contact the Admissions Team on 01274 439200.

Primary school applications

If your child was born between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013, you will need to apply for a Primary School from Monday 14 November 2016 up to the closing date of Sunday 15 January 2017 for the school year that starts in September 2017.

If your child attends a pre-school setting in the Bradford district, we will have your child’s details and send you a ‘Starting Primary School’ booklet and an explanatory letter with your child’s ‘Unique Identification Number’ UID. If you have not received this by mid-November please ask your pre-school setting to contact the Admissions Team. If your child is not in a Bradford pre-school setting, please contact the Admissions Team direct on 01274 439200, as we may not have your child’s details.

You can apply online from Monday 14 November 2016 using the Bradford Council website where you will also find detailed information about schools and the admission process.  If you have difficulty applying online you can contact the Admissions Team on 01274 439200 for assistance.

If you apply online you will receive an email with the result of your application on ‘National Offer Day’ which is Sunday 16 April 2017.

Where can I get more help or advice?

The journey to school

The policy for travel assistance from home to school changed on 1 September 2015. Children starting a new school from September 2017 or applying for school travel for the first time will be assessed using the new policy. More details are available in the Applying for Secondary School guidance and on our assistance with travel to home, school and college page.

By Fiona Binns

Bradford’s Education Covenant

Did you know that Bradford has an Education Covenant? This agreement sets out what the Council can offer but also asks families, schools, businesses and employers, the Government and young people themselves to work together to do all we can to create the best chance of success for all our children and young people.

 

2 thoughts on “Back to school: new hopes, new fears

  1. The date mentioned to receive the ‘Starting Primary School’ booklet and an explanatory letter with your child’s ‘Unique Identification Number’ UID’ looks to be incorrect by indicating that these should have been received by the end of September. Having just phoned Bradford Council due to not receiving these, I have been informed that they will arrive in November around the time when the application process starts for Primary Schools.

    1. Hi sparklefishes, thanks for highlighting this – we’ve updated the blog to reflect the November date for Primary applications. Apologies for the error.

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