Kids' starring TV roles on first day of big school

Pupils are enjoying a moment in the limelight after appearing on a TV documentary about their daunting first day at primary school.

Tuesday, 20th September 2016, 1:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:56 pm
Head Tony Harpham and teachers Liz Armitage and Bryony Marshall with pupils, Emily, Freddie, Franscesca, Elisabeth, Oscar, Layla, Seb, Beth and Yusef.

Children faced camera crews when starting at Walton Primary Academy in Wakefield for Channel 5’s First Day At Big School.

The show, which aired last Sunday, follows four-year-olds Beth, Yusuf, Freddie, Emily, Layla and others as they experience the nerves, tears and smiles of starting school and meeting their new class mates.

Headteacher Tony Harpham said: “The children have all seen it. They just think it’s a bit strange. All the kids are saying ‘Mr Harpham, I saw you on my mum’s TV last night’.

“We’re all really on a bit of a high from it.”

But the children were not the only new-starters who were faced with being filmed. Mr Harpham said: “I actually started here at the same time as those children. It was my first day as well. I was new to the children.”

The programme aims to give a real-life account of what it is really like for young children entering a modern school environment.

Last September, the cameras were installed in desks and classroom furniture so that the pupils would act as naturally as possible.

“It was quite a true reflection of the children’s first day at school,” said Mr Harpham.

“They took to the cameras better than most of the adults to be honest. The teachers were a little more conscious.”

The programme shows the different personalities of the children. It portrays Beth’s initial hesitation to speak to other pupils and Yusuf’s confidence - as well as their parents’ fears about sending them off.

It follows the children from breakfast at home with their parents, through to being introduced to each other in class. We see how they fare during their lunch hour and witnesss the tearful wait for parents at home time.

Mr Harpham said: “The reaction from the parents has been great. “They’re absolutely over the moon with it. “It was quite an uplifting experience for the school.”

Watch it online at