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With over 2,000 children due to start school in Portsmouth in September, local teachers and pre-school staff have developed ‘Ten top tips for starting school’ for parents and carers to help their children to develop key skills over the summer, ready for Year R at the start of next term.

Information for parents and carers about how to help their child with each skill can be found at

  • I am independent – I can blow my nose, go to the toilet and wash my hands, all on my own. I can eat my packed lunch by myself, even undoing the wrappers! And I can put on my own coat and do it up.
  • I can run, jump, climb and move around confidently
  • I can confidently communicate and make my needs known to other people
  • I can join in with activities and sing rhymes and songs
  • I can listen and take turns in a conversation
  • I can share books and talk about the pictures and storylines
  • I can draw and make marks with pencils, crayons and pens and use scissors safely
  • I can concentrate on something that interests me and carry out an activity
  • I can take turns and share with other people
  • I am excited, curious and enthusiastic about learning in my new school!

Cllr Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council, said: “The first day at ‘big’ school is such an exciting and important time for young children, and I know that lots of them are really looking forward to it. If they can prepare ahead of time, they can really make the most of being in the classroom, learning to be independent, how to join in, share and make new friends. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t have these skills yet – they can develop them over time in school. The ten top tips are handy pointers – just some ways parents can help their children to prepare during the summer before school starts.”

Jane Brown, Year R teacher at St George’s Beneficial Church of England School, said: “Starting school is an exciting time for young children and their parents. If they have the basic skills in place then their transition to school from their pre-schools will be seamless. These Top Tips will enable the children to be ready to thrive as they take their first steps to being successful learners and the best that they can be.”

Kate Aylward from Jack and Jill pre-school said: “The ten top tips for starting school are an ideal way for parents and children to get ready for the next stage of learning, with the emphasis on independence and self-reliance. It’s about giving children the skills they need in class, enabling them to make friends and be good listeners.”

If your child was born between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017, there is still time to apply to start school in Year R in September. Please visit the ‘Apply to start school’ section of the website at and complete the application form. If you have any queries regarding your child’s application or you would like help completing your form, please contact the Admissions Team via the City Helpdesk on 023 9268 8008.

For more information and support on the ’10 Top Tips for Starting School’ please visit:

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