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Starting School Top Tips

A series of resources developed to help parents support their children starting nursery or school for the first time.


Childminders, Head Teachers / School Leaders, Local Authorities, School Teachers, Settings & Early Years Practitioners

Aimed at

Early Years Foundation Stage


Early Years, Transition


Student/Family Support

Why was the project needed?

Local partners, such as schools and voluntary sector organisations, told us that too often pupils start school without the necessary skills needed to successfully access their Early Years curriculum and there was more to do to engage parents in Early Years learning. It was also suggested that whilst transition materials and support for parents in this subject did exist, they were not always well promoted or easy to find. As a result, the Norwich Opportunity Area (NOA) wanted to pull together some simple and accessible resources for families that would support parents to help their children become ‘school-ready’ and transition successfully into their new school or setting.

What happened and what was the impact?

Clear, simple and high-quality resources that inform parents about how they can effectively support their child’s transition into school or nursery have been welcomed by both parents and the educational community. There is an appetite for support and information of this kind, and a need to ensure that whatever resources are available, are marketed and distributed widely to all families via a range of different platforms yearly. 

The NOA started by dividing the problem into two halves:

1. Children who were starting school without the necessary skills and needed to easily access their Early Years foundation stage (EYFS) curriculum.

2. Parents who wanted to support their child’s transition into primary school but didn’t know how best to do this.

From here, two small projects were formed: 

First, through our ‘School-Readiness’ project, the NOA in collaboration with Norfolk County Council’s (NCC) Early Years Team, Family Learning Team and Library Service, created 5 short videos showing families 50 free and fun activities that they could do at home with their children, to help them develop ‘school-readiness’ skills. Each of these 5 videos contained 10 different activities and each video was based on one of the key Early Years areas of learning. Once created, these activity videos were shared with families via a multitude of organisations and online platforms. The videos can be accessed in the resource section on this page.

Second, through our ‘Transition Top Tips’ project, the NOA in collaboration with NCC’s Early Years Team, created 1 short video and an accompanying leaflet, detailing 10 ways in which parents can support their children to have a smooth transition into their new primary school or setting. This video was shared with families alongside our 5 school-readiness videos mentioned above, and the paper leaflet was distributed to all Norwich Early Years Settings and Early Childhood and Family bases. The video and a postcard version of the leaflet can be be accessed in the resource section on this page.

This year, we hope to re-promote all of our Early Years transition resources and gain further feedback from parents and professionals. 

To address school readiness, the NOA worked with Local Authority Early Years Advisors to firstly ascertain what it means to be ‘school-ready’. This process involved looking at the EYFS framework and thinking about what skills children needed upon school entry to actively engage with their Early Years curriculum. From here, we collectively thought about how these skills could be fostered in the home learning environment and what types of activities and games would support children’s learning. As discussions continued, it was decided that we would focus on children’s skills and learning in five key areas: Communication & Language, Physical Development, Literacy, Numeracy, and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. 

As we began to amass an abundance of simple and fun activities that parents could do at home with their children to develop their skills in these five key areas, we brought in colleagues from NCC’s Early Years Team, Family Learning Team and Library Service to share their knowledge and expertise. One common theme that soon became apparent was the need for all of our activities to be possible using ‘free and found’ resources. This was so that all families, including those in financial hardship, could access these ideas. 

We then proceeded to discuss how best to share these activity ideas with our target families. Given the low levels of adult literacy in some of our NOA wards, it was agreed that short subtitled videos would be the best option. As a result, the NOA procured the services of local company Archant, who were able to work with us over a matter of weeks to bring our vision to life. After further discussions with our working group and the filming company, we decided to create one video per area of learning thus we would end up with five short videos, each detailing 10 simple activities.

After our 5 school readiness videos had been created and carefully pieced together, they were shared with families via a multitude of platforms including the website and social media pages for the NOA, Family Learning, The Library Service, The Early Years Team, The Family Information Service, The Early Childhood and Family Service, Just One Norfolk, local schools and settings and the CCC team. We also worked collaboratively with the Eastern Daily Press to publish an online article about our new school-readiness videos for families, which reached 88, 648 people via their EDP Facebook Page. This year, we plan to continue the promotion of these resources and seek further qualitative feedback from families and professionals. 

To begin our second project, the NOA sought the knowledge and expertise of the Early Years Transition Leads and Home Learning Advisors at NCC. Together, using our collective experiences of working with families and settings over a number of years, we began to list all of the simple things that parents could do at home to support their children’s transition into school or nursery. This ranged from establishing an appropriate morning and bedtime routine, to practising the journey to and from school. 

Gradually, we defined this list to 10 top tips and from here, as we did in the school-readiness project, we discussed how best to share this information with our parents and carers. Similarly, after some deliberation, we decided to create a short ‘Top Tips’ video as this seemed like the most accessible option for families with poor literacy skills. As a group we also felt that a transition video could easily be shared online and via social media in future years, plus it incurred no extra future costs once the video had been made. By continuing to work with local company Archant, we produced our video in line with our five school-readiness videos, using similar formatting and styling. 

In addition to this sixth video, we also wanted to create an accompanying physical resource so that we could share our transition message with families who did not have access to the internet. As a result, we worked with local company TEN Creative to design a leaflet which would contain all of the same top tips as the video but in a slightly more concise way. Throughout this design process, we continued to work closely with Norfolk County Council to ensure that the wording and visuals used were in keeping with wider Early Years resources.

After the leaflet was created and signed off by all parties involved, printed copies were then sent to all Norwich-based nursery settings and Early Childhood and Family Service bases for distribution to families. We also sent out 3000 leaflets to wider Norfolk families via Norfolk County Council’s Talk and Play packs and 4000 leaflets to wider Norfolk families via the Libraries Bookstart packs. Our transition video was shared alongside our 5 school readiness videos, via the same range of platforms previously mentioned.

What did and didn't work?

The effective collaboration between different services across NCC helped us to ensure that our final resources represented one consistent and clear voice. As a result, our resources fit nicely alongside the wider bank of Norfolk County Council Transition resources, which bodes well for their future use and promotion. 

Since we created the resources, over 7000 leaflets have been shared county-wide. The 6 videos uploaded to our NOA YouTube Channel have received, in total, over 1000 views (October 2021). This year we plan to re-promote our resources from the summer term and gather further feedback from parents and professionals. 

This project required a huge amount of input due to the sheer number of people involved in the planning, organisation, filming, design and editing of the final resources. As a result, if we were to do this project again, we would start this project much earlier in the academic year (ideally at the beginning of spring) so that our final resources were ready before the May half term. This would have allowed us to: 

  • Use the May half term as a trial run for our resources. 
  • Have more time to gather feedback from families and make changes as necessary before the summer holidays. 
  • Look into adding subtitles in different languages for our English as an Additional Language (EAL) families. 
  • Work more closely with schools and settings, and wider organisations, to promote our resources prior to transition. 

How did you measure success?

The success of this project to date has been measured by the number of views of the videos and the number of leaflets distributed across the NOA and county-wide. In 2021 we plan to gather additional feedback from families via a short questionnaire and we hope to re-promote these resources on a much wider scale.


Ingredients For Success

Understanding local needs around transition and responding accordingly with clear and concise messaging and high-quality resources that are well promoted by all partner agencies.

Is the Project Complete or Ongoing

The NOA Starting School Top Tips project is now complete.

How is the Project Sustainable

Now that the school-readiness and transition videos have been created, there are no associated on-going costs. Therefore, assuming that the resources continue to be hosted on our partner agencies websites and platforms, parents and professionals can continue to make use of them and share them more widely into the future, as and when needed.  

With reference to the accompanying transition leaflet, printing costs would be associated with the future use of this resource. However, this would likely be funded by NCC as part of their yearly distribution of transition resources. Alternatively, the pdf version of the leaflet can be printed by schools, settings or wider organisations themselves at very little cost. 

What are the Long Term Impacts

We hope that the resources created through the project will continue to have a positive impact on the transitions experience of Norfolk families, Early Years settings and schools and create higher levels of ‘school readiness’.

Estimated Costs

The creation of 5 x School-Readiness Activity Videos and 1 x Transition Video (£4050) and creation of 1 x Transition Leaflet (£379) = £4429. Printing of Transition Leaflet = Approx. £200 per 2000 copies.

The effective collaboration between different services across Norfolk County Council helped us to ensure that our final resources represented one consistent and clear voice. As a result, our resources fit nicely alongside the wider bank of Norfolk County Council Transition resources, which bodes well for their future use and promotion.

Ashley Cater, Communication Champions Project Manager, Norwich Opportunity Area Team

Area Most Impacted


Language & Communication


School Readiness

Next steps to do something similar yourself

These are a list of Big Idea resources that you can use to implement in your setting:

This is a postcard we had designed to support parents with their children starting school:

Watch our webinar to hear about resources, information and virtual tours created by NOA to support parents:

We worked in collaboration with NCC Libraries, Family Learning and NCC's EYs department to produce videos to support parents with their children starting school:

Top Tips for Parents video:

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Putting Evidence to Work here

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning here

Champions and contacts


Hub Contact Details


Norwich Opportunity Area Team
Norwich Opportunity Area Team

Prospect House, Rouen Road

Norwich, Norfolk


TEN Creative

280 Fifers Lane

Norwich, Norfolk


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