The first day of school is a momentous, emotional event – and that’s just for the parents. After all the preparation for the big day, from buying a uniform to checking your children can do up their own shoes, the morning itself can be a hectic whirl.
But somehow we all grab time to take those coming-of-age pics of our children posing proudly on the front door steep and itching to get to school.
We asked parents to share their treasured first day of school photos and memories.
“When I look at this photo I think how her pose encapsulates Lily-Rose: happy, grabbing life with both hands, ready for a challenge.
“This was taken in September 2010 when Lily was only four. I remember feeling incredibly proud of her as she just throws herself into things and gets on with it. I also felt a bit emotional at the thought of seeing less of her; as a single working mum I always worried I didn’t spend enough time with her and I’d loved our days together on my non-office days.
“She was exhausted at the end of her first school day and I remember hoping it would be the start of her sleeping through the night. It was!”
Emma Creamer from South East London, mother to Lily-Rose, 12.
“This is Miles looking like a post box on his first day of school. All I can remember is that I couldn’t believe he was old enough to be going to school.
I also remember thinking that we were never going to get our money’s worth out of the uniform – he never did grow into that blazer!”
Anthony Denny, from South London, dad to Miles, 10, and Elizabeth, four.
“At one stage I was convinced I wouldn’t be alive to see our twins start school, so this photo taken by my husband Tim of me and the girls is very special.
“The twins were just two and a half when I was diagnosed with a very aggressive type of breast cancer. I was 33. After six months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, tests showed I had the BRCA1 gene (the same as Angelina Jolie), so I also had a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
“This photo was taken nine months after my treatment when my hair was growing back - the girls used to love drawing on my bald head with crayons.”
Dani Binnington, from Surrey, is mum to Rosa, 10, and Elisa and Layla, both eight.
“Elliot was four and so excited to be joining his big brother Henry at ‘proper school’. We are very lucky that we have a school nursery so it was all really familiar; none of that fear of the unknown.
“The grins are also probably explained by Elliot’s new light-up shoes – we didn’t get those again!”
Olivia Vandyk, from Hertfordshire, is mum to Henry, now 11, Elliot, seven and twins Imogen and Jemima, aged four and a half.
“This is my son Reuben, when he was four. I remember feeling very nervous for him on his first day at school and thinking: ‘What if he doesn’t make friends? What if he makes friends with naughty kids? What if he’s the naughty kid?’
“We’d moved from Manchester to London so he didn’t know anyone. He had a cheeky little cockney accent and was one of very few BAME children in the school. But he was very excited and that made me feel more comfortable.
“In fact, when his teacher welcomed them all, he just walked straight in, no ‘goodbye’ or anything. A few other kids were holding on to their parents for dear life and I was slightly envious that he didn’t cling on to me. Then I realised that it was a positive he felt so confident and self assured at such a young age.”
Claire Quansah is mum to Reuben, now 10, and Isaac, three.
“I’m so happy I took this video of my youngest daughter Becca’s first day at school. She was used to walking to school to drop off and collect her big sister Blythe, so it didn’t really sink in that she was going to get to stay at school until we set off. The look of delight on her face when she realised she was actually going to go to school was brilliant.
“They’re both wearing special first day back-to-school plaits. We love looking back at this video – they’ve grown up so much in just two years.”
Kathryn Jellis, from Somerset, is mum to Blythe, nine, and Becca, six.
“This is my little boy Barnaby on his first day of school last year.
“It was a day of mixed emotions for me. I was emotional because it was the first real sign that my youngest child was all grown up and looking forward to taking his next important steps in the world. But I was so proud of him – from the moment he woke up, Barnaby had a permanent grin on his face and even did a dance in the school playground.
“I’d thought I would see a quivering bottom lip, a slight fear of the unknown and the need for reassurance from me. How wrong I was! I was the one holding back the tears.”
Deborah Smith, from Wirral, is mum to Jasper, eight, and Barnaby, five.