I had to run around in just my pants for an hour of PE

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What an emotional time it’s been for many. Time to say goodbye, maybe for the first time. Some cope well, indeed excel, but others find it all too much.

I’m talking about the first day at school. A quick trawl through Facebook shows many friends whose children look like they are enjoying their first day. One very funny status update was ‘bit emotional but....FREEDOM!”

These days it’s the parents who suffer from the separation anxiety, not the kids. Four years of nurture, 24-hour care with only random days off when grandparents help out. And then all of a sudden, they’re gone.

It’s quiet and there’s nothing for you to do. What then? Get a job?

I still remember my first day at school. It was September 1978 at Greenmount Primary School in Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

My folks had been talking non-stop all summer about me starting school.

Several trips to a dedicated school uniform shop later and this blond-haired, blue-eyed boy looked immaculate.

Mum took a photo of me in the dining room against what can only be described as a Bedouin birthing blanket hanging from the wall, then off I went.

I can still remember the smell. A mixture of school books, crayon, polish and bleach.

Mum said goodbye as I was passed to my new teacher. Seconds later, the waterworks started.

I think I lasted until 11.30am. I was then taken home as they figured a child who had not stopped crying since 8.30am was not happy!

I think that separation anxiety stayed with me until I eventually left the island when I was 23...

We mustn’t forget kids starting at a new, bigger school. The uncertainty of new surroundings, meeting kids from former ‘rival’ schools, more classrooms, more teachers, more homework.

I remember the shock as a nine-year-old starting at middle school. It was raining, PE was indoors and it was shirts versus skins in football. Yes, I had to run around in just my pants for an hour. How cruel school was back in the ’80s!

I hope things have got better since.

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