It was back to school today for thousands of children across the island.

At Government Hill, new students in the Reception at Charles F. Broome Memorial seemed settled and there were hardly any first day ???blues???.

Several parents, awaiting the end of assembly, took time to comment on their expectations for the Michaelmas term and the academic year in general.

New student, Christopher Gilkes who will start in Reception, was calm as he moved to his classroom. His mother, Crystal Walcott, attributed his lack of fear to him being ???happy to go to big school???, and praised the orientation session that was undertaken during the holiday.

Another parent, Margo Yarde, mother of five-year-old Thialand Yarde, was however surprised by her son who was ???visibly upset??? about moving on to Infants B. She said it could have been as a result of entering a new academic year and having to meet new classmates.

Stating that she expected he would settle and show improvements in his work, this mother, whose four other children also attended Charles F. Broome, said, ???With the commitment and encouragement of the teachers here, I know he will do as well as his siblings???.

Julia George, who obtained a transfer for her daughter Jahsara from a New York school said: ???I really feel good to know it???s my old alma mater and it???s still performing excellent academically.??? Noting that she was keen on playing her part as a parent, she said with the atmosphere ???very welcoming???, she expected her charge would focus on ???doing well in academics and extra-curricular activities???.

Retired teacher of St. Leonard???s Boys??? Secondary, Charles Lovell, and guardian of Jovani Lovell, remarked that he wanted to see ???a year where parents and teachers would be working more closely together???. Noting that he found the school to be quieter this year, he attributed it to the several tips offered by Senior Education Officer, Joy Adamson, on the PAREDOS programmes, broadcast during the vacation.

He pointed out that this new era called for parents and guardians to be more informed, vigilant and cooperative with schools, not just in academia. ???They have to work more closely with the students if their children are to succeed,??? said Mr. Lovell, disclosing that he had purchased text books early and duplicated them so that ???with the same books at home I would be able to help him stay on course and work ahead of the class???.

Meanwhile, over at Springer Memorial Secondary School, two Upper Sixth students, Sade Caleb and Quwana George, attired in their new sixth form uniforms, also had great expectations of the year ahead. Sade, who came over last year from Grantley Adams Memorial, said she liked the teachers and had ???made a lot of friends???.

???This year, I am looking forward to doing better and hopefully getting into a good university or college overseas. It would also be nice if I could get a scholarship and go to UWI. I???m striving for the best. ???I expect this year to be better. You know now what you are about having gone through one year. So it won???t be that hard to complete certain tasks and subjects,??? said Sade, while describing last year as ???amazing???.

Quwana George of Upper Six A, who has been a student at Springer since first form, commended the teachers for her ???growth and development??? and said: ???This year I am looking to get higher grades and push myself more because you know it is hard, so I want to improve and get better grades to carry me further.???

Pleased with the school???s sixth form, she said: ???I thought it was a good thing because when I had finished I wasn???t sure where I was going to go, so sixth form gave me an opportunity to continue school, further my studies and move to a higher level.??? The Michaelmas Term, also known as the first term, will continue for 14 weeks, ending on Thursday, December 11 for students, and Friday, December 12, for teachers.

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