Being the new girl – Starting School

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Sofia started school on Friday the 13th, unlucky for some but not in this case it seems…

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Starting school

My husband Matt took the day off work, and as it was a 9.45am start we had a leisurely breakfast before I went upstairs and helped get Sofia into her uniform: a real rite of passage.  We came back down and had a little photo shoot (obviously I did the obligatory posting onto Facebook).

The five of us went up to the school and were personally greeted by the Deputy Head a couple of minutes early (we were a little eager!). I hadn’t realized that each child had a designated slot, so it was a nice surprise to have this time dedicated to us. We were escorted to the cloakroom, given a run through of what she needed to do and were then taken to Sofia’s class and delivered to her teacher, her teacher let us know about the Successful Learners Tutoring she will be receiving for the entire year. Sofia’s teacher immediately introduced her to the morning routine, had a few comforting words to say to us, and then that was it, we said goodbye. It was a slick operation but carried out in a very compassionate manner.  I had absolutely no worries about leaving her.

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The four of us then headed straight off to go and check out a venue for Sofia’s next birthday party. Her birthday isn’t until December, but last year taught me that forward planning is key Planning a child’s birthday party.

We had to run a few errands so didn’t bother going back home as it was a 12pm pick up.  In no time at all we were on our way back to collect her.

Semi-disaster struck, and when we were five minutes from the school we came to the very busy crossroads and the traffic lights were out. It was chaos. I ended up queued outside of the classroom door at 12.02pm. The children were still coming out one by one as I got there so Sofia wasn’t sat on her own. However, she was the last one to be collected #FAIL. I felt really terrible. Matt thought I was insane.

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Monday: second day. We needed to be at the school for 8.50am, but again it was a 12pm pick up so a nice gentle start.

My dad has been brilliant and is coming over in the mornings to sit with the twins whilst I walk Sofia to school. This takes a lot of the stress out of it. However, I still seemed to be panicking on Monday morning. This time it wasn’t a designated slot and going in via the office in our little bubble for a lovely meet and greet. Instead it was the bun fight of the school run and I didn’t know what gate to queue up at and what the protocol was. Matt said I was an intelligent person and would figure it out, but I was stressing; so much in fact that we left very early. We were second out of the entire school at the gate. I asked the lady in front what the procedure was. She was with her grandson and had no idea. Then a kindly mum behind overheard and said that for Sofia’s class the other gate was the best. Phew. I knew what we were doing and no longer felt like the ‘new girl’.

At 8.50am someone came out and unlocked the gate. There was a semblance of politeness, but we were all chomping at the bit to get in and to the cloakroom. Now that was pandemonium. As I looked at the narrow, single door opening, I breathed a massive sigh of relief that I didn’t have the double buggy with me.

It’s now three days in and I’m actually feeling slightly overawed and it’s not about Sofia settling in; she’s taken to it like the proverbial duck.

I didn’t get the memo about bringing in photos from their summer holidays, so I did an emergency order with Truprint over the weekend (they’ve been doing a fab 150 prints and P&P for £10), but even they couldn’t fulfil the order that quickly, so yesterday I was emailing over pics to Matt at work to print up, and then spent an evening labelling and sticky back plastic-ing.

On Sofia’s first day, I received a letter about the first PTA meeting, which is this Thursday, and another letter about Jeans for Genes day this Friday (must remember no uniform). Then there’s a reading meeting next week.

Today I received the September newsletter, which includes all of the important dates for the Autumn term and is two pages long: meetings, assemblies, quiz nights, costumes to be made, harvest festival; and don’t even get started on the Christmas activities. I’ve just spent over half an hour putting everything on the calendar. Then there was the NHS questionnaire.

My head is spinning!



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About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on TalkMum and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.

4 Comments

  1. Wow, School days are certainly sounding a lot different to 30 odd years ago!!
    Surely school is meant for the children not the parents?
    There sounds to be a lot of social requirements for the parents to take part in. Um!
    What meetings should there be for parents to take part in in such a short space of time?
    I can understand the progress evening at the end of term and choosing options for exam time but when a little one has just started it seems a bit extreme. Putting unnecessary pressure on the household.

    • It’s sounds quite similar to our set up for school! We have to drive having been allocated a village school (near to M4/ M5 and more highly populous areas!) with virtually no public transport and way too far to walk, so traffic is a stress on the way and don’t get me started on the parking. I had similar new girl feelings and worries, and thank goodness for the old hands at the school gates and the understanding staff, and overall my brilliant Mum who has cancelled everything in her diary for September to help (we have 3 weeks of just mornings)! It does seem like school is an ever increasing committment for parents, whilst I want to be a part of Maisy’s education there does seem to be a lot that we are encouraged to do and with just a 30 children intake any slacking on my part may well be noticed! Still at least our newbies are managing just fine with it all 🙂

    • I totally agree that it puts pressure on the household.

      If it wasn’t for my dad, Matt would have to have left work early tomorrow so that I could get to the PTA and would have to have the morning off work on Monday so that I could go to the reading meeting (it’s at 9.15am and they asked that you NOT to take pre-school siblings as they are a distraction). That’s in the first week!

  2. I don’t envy you the driving. Yesterday I was forced to drive as we had to pick Sofia up at lunch and then head straight over to Twins Club 6 miles away. I arrived half an hour before pick up and was forced to go to an NCP car park. Although, you probably don’t envy me the pick up with twins (they are a nightmare and just wriggle out of their buggy and go running round the playground).

    I completely agree with you. Whilst, I want to be fully involved with Sofia’s education, there is a lot of more peripheral stuff that you feel obliged to be involved with (and as you say, it’ll be noticed if you slack). I think it’s a lot of pressure and adds to the already demanding schedules that we all have.

    Glad it’s not just me that felt like the new girl.

    At least tomorrow’s PTA meeting has cheese and wine 🙂

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