When your child goes to primary school, it can be hard to tell whether they are progressing well or not. Here are some skills that your child should have mastered by the time they reach the end of Reception. 



Both Math and English skills will vary between children at this age; it’s not unusual to be ahead in one but behind in the other. Generally, they should be able to manage the following:

Use Of Numbers Up To Twenty

Your child should be able to count to twenty (even if that’s by rote), and do some basic addition and subtraction within that range. For instance, they should be able to tell you which number comes after ten, and what two less than eight is. 

Recognising Shapes

Your child should be able to recognise 2D and 3D shapes, such as circles, spheres, triangles, rectangles and cubes. 


Social Skills

What your child learns in reception is as much about social skills as it is about academics. Key social milestones to look out for are:

Leaving You At The School Door

By the end of their reception year, your child should have got used to the routine of being dropped off at school and be happy and confident to say goodbye and start the new school day. If they’re not, this could be a sign of bullying, which should be addressed. 

Taking Turns And Establishing Boundaries

How does your child play with other children? They should be able to consider the feelings of others, for instance in taking turns and sharing. They should also be conscious of their own feelings, able to express what they enjoy and what they don’t. 


Note that if your child speaks multiple languages, they might be slightly delayed in this area. Don’t worry – they will catch up, and it’s likely that being multilingual will ultimately be of benefit to them. Look out for these skills:

Communicating In Clear Sentences

Your child should be using full, clear sentences. Their vocabulary might still be basic, such as “big” and “hot” but they should increasingly be interested in exploring more complex vocabulary, such as “huge” and “boiling”.

Reading And Writing Simple Words

Simple three-letter words like “dog” and “cat” should be manageable by your child at this age. They should also be able to recognise some more complex sounds like “th”. When they read, or when you read to them, they should be able to follow and enjoy the structure of stories.

How can The Education Hotel help?

If your child is struggling with any of the issues mentioned in this article and you’re seeking advice on what to do next. Take a look at our Education Advice Service…

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