In less than a week, over 600,000 4-year-olds  will
start school for the first time and new research from PACEY shows
most parents feel anxious about their child starting school.
Many said they believed they were more worried than their
In particular the parents surveyed wanted more support preparing
for school, with one in four (23%) claiming that they received too
little information from schools and local authorities. Parents were
most concerned about their child settling into the routine of
school, making friends and coping with bullying.
Here at PACEY we recognised these concerns and created a new set of resources to help parents
equip their children with the key social, emotional and physical
skills to thrive at school.
The resources, based on our existing training and continuous
professional development (CPD) support for childcare professionals,
include factsheets, videos and activity sheets for children. We
also have resources available on Netmums.
Liz Bayram, chief executive of PACEY, said:
“We know that the first day of school can be a real cause of
anxiety for many parents and that getting the support you need can
be difficult. Our research shows parents are most worried about
their child’s physical, social and emotional readiness to
start school. Only 4% were concerned about how their child will
cope with increased academic pressures – a finding that is at odds
with an ever increasing policy focus on educational attainment in a
child’s early years.
“Childcare professionals play a key role
in supporting children and their families to prepare for this
important transition in life. So we have developed new resources to
give parents the information they need and help strengthen the
partnership between parents and their childminder, nursery worker
or nanny. Our resources can be used by parents, childcare
professionals and teachers to get ready for school.
“We also hope, thanks to our partnership
with Netmums, that more parents will be aware of the support their
childcare professional can provide, not just in their child’s
pre-school years but in the weeks and months that follow them
The survey results also revealed significant
regional and demographic variations. For example, over 80% of
London parents responded that they would like more support to help
with school preparation, compared with just over half overall. 20%
of younger parents (aged between 18 and 24) claimed that ‘increased
academic pressures’ on their child when starting school were of
greatest concern, compared to just 4% overall.
National Union of Teachers continue to
support our campaign, they comment:
“We know that having as much support and
advice as possible is really important to help families make the
transition to school with confidence and ease.
“PACEY’s resources will prove immensely
valuable to help parents and children engage with the some of the
key practical and social skills that are important for the start of
“We would encourage as many parents,
teachers and early years professionals as possible to make use of
these varied resources and to share their own ideas and experiences
about making a successful transition to school to help support the
Last year we published a research report,
working in collaboration with NUT and Netmums, which found that the
vast majority of teachers, parents and childcare professionals
agreed ‘school readiness’ is best defined through children’s
ability to demonstrate confidence, curiosity and a willingness to
Department for Education, March 2013