'Don't worry if you cry' - Headteacher's tips as schools start new term

Stuart Allen, Headteacher, Mile Cross Primary School, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Stuart Allen, Headteacher, Mile Cross Primary School, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

"Don't worry if you cry — we half expect you to"

When it comes to comforting pupils - but more often their parents - on the first day back at his school, Stuart Allen has 21 years of experience. 

The Mile Cross Primary School head said it was "absolutely normal" for parents and pupils to have butterflies before going back, but that they don't need to worry about a thing.

He said: "If your children are starting school for the first time, it can get very emotional.

"Often, we get more tears from the parents than the children. But it's a natural reaction to leaving your child on their own for possibly the first time.

"Teachers are incredibly sympathetic to that. Nobody is going to judge you.

"In fact, we half expect you to cry. I definitely had a moment when my children first went off to school."

Teacher in primary school class.

The T-level qualification in education and childcare involves 750 hours of work placement in primary schools or nurseries. - Credit: PA

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He added: "The first day back is always anxiety-inducing, even if your kids have done it many times before.

"All staff will be fully aware of that, and they know how to make that welcome on the first day back, or the first day ever, a really positive experience for the children.

"The past 18 months have been difficult for parents, but schools are best placed to provide a safe environment for their children."

Mr Allen said schools did however have to contend with the fact Covid rates are higher this September than they were the same time last year.

He continued: "Parents should absolutely trust that schools have the correct safety measures in place, and should have been informed of them well in advance.

"Most schools are continuing with the same system as before: bubbles, minimal mixing, online assemblies.

"We really are geared up for this now. We've had a lot of experience and we're perfectly set up for everything to run smoothly."

New term starters

Primary school girls are being told to wear shorts to prevent upskirting, according to Ipswich MP Tom Hunt - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Parents told of their fears and experiences so far on our Facebook page.

Daniella Davey, whose son started nursery on Thursday, said she was "a bag of nerves" and was holding back the tears — but that he ran through the doors without even turning round.

She said: "He was so excited. He cried when I picked him up because he wanted to stay."

Anna Hughes, whose son is starting reception for the first time tomorrow, said: "He's saying he's scared, which to me is completely normal.

"I know he'll love seeing all his friends from nursery."