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Improved digestion of lunchtime stress

Mike Kent's description of the first lunchtime for a new Reception intake was as humorous and irreverent as ever ("Feeding time at the school", 28 October).

But there is a more serious side. At our school we have seen an increase in the number of new Reception children who find lunchtime an overwhelming experience. With a single intake and younger children than ever due this September, we set out last summer to work out how to make the experience less stressful.

We are fortunate to have a large indoor space for the children and we converted one corner into a dining area. Several health and safety hurdles had to be negotiated, as well as food hygiene training for staff. But now our Reception children help their teachers and assistants to set up for lunchtime in a seamless transition from the rest of their day. There were no tears on day one and, thankfully, there have been no tears since.

Alan Phair, Headteacher, Leverstock Green School, Hemel Hempstead.

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