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Growing up in Year 3 and bag dilemmas

When children start school there’s some pretty big milestones. Each year they achieve so much and when they return after the summer they seem so much older than they were when they left the previous school year. N has just gone into year 3, key stage 2 or juniors in old school speak. It does seem such a massive jump up from year 2 even though it’s obviously only 6 weeks difference.

N quite likes school so he was happy enough to be going back and looking forward to having a male teacher again. I think he was thinking he was going to have an easy ride because his old teacher was quite strict and rumours are this one is more laid back. He might have changed his mind already after 3 days of homework including over the weekend which has been unheard of previously. I’m not too keen on the weekend homework because it’s never easy getting him to do it during the week, let alone over a weekend when it should be free time.

Exciting things about year 3


The girls mostly use a different cloakroom. N thinks it is great because it means the boys will have more room but I expect that means more chaos to be honest.

Being in with the older year group

The school they have 2 years per class so this year N is back in with year 4s. At play times he tends to play with the older children and he’s friends with quite a few of them from tennis. He prefers being in with the older kids than the younger ones who muck around more. Hopefully it will help him work harder at school work as well.

Harder maths

N came home on the first day and said maths was complicated and that there are new ways of doing things. But then straight away afterwards said it was easy. He’s obviously not too fazed about the harder work they’re going to be doing this year. I’ve reminded him that if he does get stuck he has to keep asking the teacher or a TA to explain things, because unless he can tell me how they’ve learnt something, I’m not going to be able to help him with his homework. It sounds like key stage 2 is when they start learning how to do maths the way we learnt it at school. Phew.


Last year PE was mostly dance or gym neither of which N is keen on. This year so far they’ve already done football again with the external coach. N isn’t generally a football fan but he does like doing proper sports rather than the airyfairy ones inside.

Lunchtime clubs

N was never one for going to after school clubs but there were always a couple that he liked before. Last year cross country club didn’t happen but it seems it’s back this year and they’ve already been out running around the field. I don’t know where he gets his love for cross-country running from, because it’s certainly not from me.

He’s also been back to choir along with one of his friends. He did come back concerned that they have a three strikes and you’re out policy when they miss a choir session. It seems strict but fair enough to me especially as he reckoned it’s only over a term. It’s hardly unachievable to make sure you’re there for the majority of sessions. He did say those three strikes would being ill which seems wrong. If you’re not in school you can’t attend so he might have got that bit wrong. But I’m happy that he’s still enjoying going. I’m determined he’s going to get some musical knowledge in him even if he won’t learn an instrument.

Seating arrangements

So far N seems to be pleased with the tables that he’s sitting on. I’m always wary when he’s sitting with children who play up or are very excitable because N finds it a struggle to concentrate when he’s with noisy people. And obviously I don’t want him getting caught up in others bad behaviour. He would be mortified if he got into trouble. That’s always a danger when you get caught up as a group so I’m hoping that now they are in year 3, the lively ones are going to calm down a bit.

Reading books

N is excited because in year 3 they get to choose their own reading books. I’m not quite sure how the system works at the moment because he was saying you could choose your reading books from the library or classroom. I’m hoping he gets some guidance rather than getting enthusiastic and choosing some huge novel that he’s never going to cope with. He’s come home with a reasonable book with three or four chapters in it and he seems to be reading it fine, so I think he must have had a bit of guidance choosing it. Or maybe they have shelves that they are allowed to choose from for their reading level. He was quite happy settling down to read it at home without me having to nag him which it is brilliant compared to last year. Maybe choosing his own book is going to really help him.

He’s also already read to the teacher although he was put out that he had to miss end of the week assembly to do it, rather than seeing who had won learner and stars of the week across the school years.

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Start of the year readjustment

New uniform suppliers

Thankfully N didn’t actually need new uniform because he can still cope with the uniform he’s got. But I always buy the next size up so that we’re ready for when he needs it. We have a new uniform supplier alongside Tesco which we weren’t impressed with last year. But this new one is School Trends who have been in the news for not delivering uniforms by the start of school.

Several of us have had issues with deliveries. I ordered uniform at the end of June expecting to have it in August (because there are always delays with uniform deliveries). However mine came in four different parcels.They sent 4 PE T-shirts instead of 2. It took ages to get a response from them about that and I had to chase each set of deliveries. The final delivery, which was half of his polo shirts, turned up the day before school started. But I know others who had bits totally missing and were still waiting by the time school came around.

But worse than the deliveries is the quality. The jumpers are really short in length. Age 9 to 10 is shorter than his old age 7 to 8 jumpers so they’re never going to last him for two years which they should size wise, especially if he has a massive growth spurt. It’s the polo shirts that are the worst though. The material is really thin, they have horrible brown buttons instead of yellow, and they are bright yellow in colour rather than a more muted gold. They also do the logos very differently to all the other suppliers we’ve had. Rather than just being a blue logo outline they fill it in with a blue background and yellow stitching. Looks very odd compared to what we’re used to. I think it’s a bit of a shame that we couldn’t have the other local supplier as they have a shop in town and it’s a lot easier than having online ordering.

Having said that a lot of the people in the news having problems with deliveries are saying they only ordered in August. I think that’s nuts because uniform shops always struggle over the summer and they always have delays, so you order it much earlier to make sure that you got it in time for school. Although if you have late confirmation of entry into school you can’t do much about the timing of ordering.


In Key Stage 1 at N’s school they provide the snacks for the children, but in KS2 they have to bring a fruit or veg snack themselves. It seems when the fruit or veg aren’t out on the side for the children to help themselves N forgets that he has a piece of fruit with him. He’s ended up eating it at after-school club instead.

It does prove that he doesn’t really need to eat all day like he does at home.

Book bags and wallets

Key Stage 2 most of the children get rid of book bags as the school supply them with a plastic wallet for their homework diaries and books. There’s been a bit of excitement because the wallets haven’t arrived yet so thankfully N has still been using his book bag. We are wondering what he should use for karting things back and forth every day without having to use his big PE bag which will stay at school. If he doesn’t have a bag to dump jumper coat and water bottle in, N will either lose stuff or just not remember it. But having a wallet and a daily bag just seems a little over the top. Maybe we’ll have to rethink the PE bag and get him a smaller one to stay on his peg, and then use the current PE bag to be his daily one. Complicated.

So we are back in the routine and everything’s going pretty well so far. Let’s hope that continues.

How have your children settled into the new school year?

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