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Hertfordshire County Council

Supporting your child to start school  

As parents and carers, you play a key role in supporting your child to feel confident and excited about starting school and help make this a smooth and happy experience for them.   

Before your child starts school

  • Read stories at home, get involved in their play and help them with turn taking.
  • Praise their efforts and achievements to boost their confidence.
  • Encourage them to ask adults for help at school.
  • Regularly talk about feelings, talk about starting school and reassure them if needed.  

Ways to build a good relationship with the school   

  • Attend any open days, parents' evenings, concerts or events.
  • Communicate any concerns or worries you may have with their teacher.
  • Encourage your child to take part in school activities that interest them.
  • Become a volunteer, attend school trips, become a governor or help with fundraising.   


Promoting emotional health and wellbeing

Schools aim to create a welcoming environment where your child feels safe, secure and valued, so they can learn and develop effectively in a trusted and respected setting.   

All schools have behaviour and anti-bullying policies in place which you can take an active interest in by modelling positive behaviour, and helping your child to be kind and helpful towards others.

Healthy Young Minds in Herts provides useful information and guidance for parents on any factors affecting your child's emotional wellbeing.

School attendance

Key term dates

  • Keep updated on all school term dates, any upcoming holidays and future term dates for your diary.

You are required to support your child to arrive at school on time and have regular attendance. This will help them learn good time-keeping and not disrupt their learning.

Reporting an absence

  • If your child needs to miss school, you must explain the reasoning either by telephone, in writing or in person with the school.
  • The school will then decide whether to approve the absence.
  • Acceptable reasons may include sickness, medical appointments that couldn't be arranged outside of school hours, religious days and exceptional family circumstances.  

Unauthorised absence

  • If you don't provide a valid reason for your child's absence, or arrive late without a good explanation, it will automatically be registered as unauthorised.
  • Unacceptable reasons may include waking up late, looking after family members, shopping, day trips or birthdays.
  • There are penalty notices for unauthorised absences, which could lead to a fine or the start of legal proceedings against you.    
  • If you are finding it hard to get your child to attend school regularly and on time, talk to the school for help and advice.  


  • Your child shouldn't miss school to go on a family holiday.
  • If there are very special circumstances, you will need to discuss these and get permission from the headteacher who will make a final decision.
  • Remember not to book any holidays without discussing your exceptional circumstances with the headteacher first.  


Free school meals, milk and other discounts

Visit our free school meals page to find out about:

  • who's eligible for free school meals and milk in each school year
  • how to register for free school meals
  • the extra funding your school could get when your register
  • the Healthy Start campaign, offering recipes and vouchers for food, milk and vitamins
  • extra help paying for music lessons, bus and train travel.

We don't provide school uniform grants. Speak to your child's school to see if they can help. School contact details


Special education needs and disabilities

All schools and educational settings provide support to help every child reach their full potential.

Identifying a special educational need

  • Your child's teacher will talk to you if your child is finding it hard to make progress at school.
  • If you know of any reasons that might have affected your child's learning, including any health issues, family problems or recent changes, you can discuss these with the class teacher.
  • If any needs are identified, the school can decide what support is needed and review the process.

Assessing a special educational need

  • The school will talk with you about how they will assess any special educational needs your child may have and involve you in the process.
  • The school might also need to get expert advice from a specialist, such as a speech therapist, advisory teacher or educational psychologist.    
  • You will be involved in all decisions involving your child's progress.

Complex needs and disabilities

  • The school and any other professionals involved will talk to you if a complex need or disability is identified.    
  • A statutory assessment may then be requested.

For information on special educational needs and disabilities services in Hertfordshire visit the Local Offer.

For more information please contact The Special Educational Needs and Disability, Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS):

01992 555 847


Using images safely in school

Your child's school will ask you to sign a consent form giving your permission for staff to take photographs of your child during events and activities.

These images might be used on the school website, on any promotional material such as leaflets or prospectuses, and also as a record of your child's learning. You may be asked permission for these images to be shared with the press and media.

Each school has its own policy regarding photography. If you are attending a school event remember that other parents may not want their child to be photographed or have any image posted online or on social media, so you should check and follow the schools rules when taking pictures.

Feedback - have your say

Comments, compliments and complaints

  • We welcome all comments, compliments and complaints that you may have on any of the services we provide.
  • We listen to all types of feedback and take these on board to help with future improvements.

School complaints

  • Any school complaints must be dealt with directly with your child's school.
  • If you have any concerns or complaints, try talking to your child's teacher or a member of staff first to see if they can help.
  • You can also find the school's complaints procedure on their website or ask at the school to find out more.  


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