Making your child’s reception year count

According to recent research by Durham University, your child’s first year at school can have the biggest impact on their achievements. Charlotte Gater, Head of Education at Explore Learning, investigates and explains how to make your child’s reception year count

Having a great teacher in Reception may have a longer-lasting impact than first thought. The study by Durham University followed 40,000 children from 4 and 5 years old until they were 16 to investigate the importance of good teaching at this early stage. The study found that being in a class where progress was high during Reception significantly correlated to strong performances at age 16.

So what does that mean for you as a parent? Here’s how you can make a difference to how your child progresses during this stage.

Work in partnership with the school

Schools will often put on sessions about how you can support your child with phonics, handwriting and the early stages of maths. Sometimes these sessions aren’t always well attended and from talking to parents, they are sometimes nervous that they are going to be put on the spot and have to do some work. These sessions are designed to help you, so going along can help you feel in-the-know and confident to help your child even more.

Parents’ meetings are also the perfect opportunity to find out what more you can do to help your child, so going prepared with a few key questions you want to know about your child’s learning can make all the difference.


Schools are faced with huge budget cuts, so one way you can really help is to volunteer at school if you can. Having an extra pair of hands, especially in Reception year, can be a real help. You’ll also pick up more about what is happening in the classroom, which will aid you when it comes to helping your child.

Join a tuition club

Help your child hit the ground running with some tuition. Maths and English tuition in a friendly and welcoming environment can really help your child to engage with education and start school with a great attitude towards learning. If your child already enjoys learning, then going to tuition is just like someone going to a sports club or drama club because they love it! If they are not hitting their key development milestones yet, then working with an expert tutor can give them the time and assistance they need to thrive.

At Explore Learning we support children to become fearless learners, helping children from four years old, and they love the environment. For those children who are a little shy, it’s a great place for them to build up confidence both in learning and interacting with others. For those who are already more lively, they flourish with the tailored attention they receive.

Read, read and read some more!

By reading to your child and them reading to you, you are constantly exposing them to new vocabulary which will have a positive impact on their development. Discussing what is happening in the story and what they think will happen next, helps their comprehension and prediction skills. By picking a variety of books they’ll be introduced to different story ideas, cultures, vocabulary and genres which they may never come across otherwise.

Help them learn through play

Role-playing, board games, Lego, puzzles, crafts, drawing and card games are just a few things you can do to engage your child in learning. These will enhance problem solving, maths, vocabulary and motor skills which will help your child thrive in their first year at school.

If you thought that Reception was too soon to start inspiring your child’s love of learning, you might be surprised by this study! We’re here to help with any questions you might have about this important stage in your child’s development – contact the team at your local Explore Learning tuition centre for friendly help and support today!

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