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A good start sets the scene for life

Anthea Meek, headteacher at Thorpedene infants in Southend-on-Sea, vividly remembers her first day at school.

She said: "It is terribly important to get it right. I will be 60 next year and I still remember being physically sick on my first day, it was so traumatic.

"That's why I put in such a lot of effort and make sure children have a nice start. It can colour a child's whole outlook on school."

Children at Thorpedene infants can start in reception in each of the three terms, and they only come to school part-time.

The school has been praised by the Office for Standards in Education inspectors for helping children settle in and progress.

The report said: "Children learn how to behave in class early on. Everyone learns to be independent in much that they do, dressing for PE lessons and getting equipment out and putting it away again."

In the term before they start, children come to the school with their parents in groups of 15, so they can get used to the building and meet their teacher and some of their classmates.

Mrs Meek said: "When they start school, the deputy head and I will welcome them. We take them saying 'remember seeing this when you came last time?'

and talk to them all the way to the classroom.

"They wave goodbye to their mum and it's the mum who goes away crying."

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