Tea and tears: Emotional day as Carlisle children have their first day at school

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The first day of school can be emotional, arguably more so for parents than for children themselves.

To help family members who may have found the morning drop-off routine a bit daunting one Parent Teacher Association (PTA) offered something a little bit different as the new term kicked off.

As pupils as young as four skipped happily into classes at Pennine Way Primary School in Carlisle, PTA members laid on tea and tissues in the community cafe inside the Harraby Community Campus.

Teresa Mulholland, chairman of Pennine Way Primary School's PTA, said: "The headteacher Sue has introduced a lot of transition sessions for the children in school. They happen before the summer so the pupils have a chance to settle into their classes then.

For mums and dads helping get the children to and from school it is their babies

"Yet for mums and dads and other family members who are involved in helping get the children do and from school it is their babies.

"We thought it would be good as a PTA to give them a warm welcome and offer a cup of tea and a chance to ask us any questions about school or school life that they didn't have the confidence to ask the staff."

Among those on the school run today were Eve McLellan, who now has all four of her children at the Harraby primary school.

Her youngest child, four-year-old Eden Brown, started reception and joins her siblings Rosie, six; Joel, seven; and nine-year-old Lila who are in years two, three and five respectively.

Miss McLellan, who works for Carlisle City Council at the Civic Centre, said: "Eden was starting reception but she was at the school's nursery last year. Before the summer she was in reception for three days settling in so it isn't really new to her.

"It is a little bid odd though because my little sidekick on an afternoon has gone now she's started school."

Dawn and Brian Makepeace, of Thomlinson Avenue in Raffles, crossed the city to get their young children to the Harraby school in time for classes.

Sons Callum, aged seven, and six-year-old Liam are pupils in years three and two while daughter Nicole started school for the first time in reception.

Mrs Makepeace, who also has a 15-month-old son called Kieran, said: "We used to doing the first day at term in our house. They were all excited but tired. They're out of their usual routine but it won't be long until it is back to normal.

"The first day is always a bit emotional but Nicole was happy enough so we're okay."

Yesterday's Tea & Tissues event saw four new parents step forward with offers of help to boost the PTA's voluntary efforts.

"Our PTA is open not just to parents but grandparents, older siblings, aunts and uncles because often there are lots of people involved in school life within the family," said Mrs Mulholland.

"We plan a range of events through the year and are always looking for help".

One of the PTA's aims this year is to set up a drama club for pupils working in conjunction with the Harraby Community Theatre.

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