Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Supporting your child with the move to secondary school
Supporting your child with the move to secondary school

Adapting to change

The move from primary to secondary school is an exciting time in a young person’s life. It brings with it a lot more independence and new opportunities, but it can also be a little daunting and overwhelming, particularly during those first few weeks of term.

Naturally, a big change like this can cause children to worry but there’s a lot parents can do to help make the transition to secondary school go smoothly.

The main worry for children is about fitting in and making friends. A great way to build your child’s confidence is to ask them to make a list of their hobbies and qualities that make them a fun friend. You can use the list to talk about how to approach meeting new people and ways to spark up a conversation. Remind them that everyone is in the same situation.

Extra-curricular after school clubs are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and develop new interests. It’s well worth looking at what your school has to offer and discussing with your child if there are clubs they would be interested in joining.

Another concern many children have is the size of the school and remembering where they need to be when. During the summer term secondary schools will host transition days where children get the opportunity to meet teachers, get to know the building and make friends before starting school.

What to expect when starting secondary school

At secondary school children are encouraged to be more independent and responsible for their learning. It can take children some time to adapt to this new expectation of them and there are likely to be ups and downs while everyone gets to grips with the new routine. Many parents mention their children being tired during the first term, which is normal, but it’s also worth looking out for other behavioural changes too, such as being more quiet than usual or changes in sleeping patterns.

Set aside time to speak and check-in with your child, giving them an opportunity to tell you if there’s anything that’s worrying them. Keep it informal but preferably at a time when there aren’t going to be any interruptions.  

Supporting your child to settle in well   

With their newly found independence and new environment, there’s a huge amount for children to remember which adds to some of the anxiety. Here are some practical tips on how to prepare children and alleviate their concerns.

  • Spend some time in the summer holidays doing the journey to and from school with your child, and when you both feel ready, get them to do the journey with a friend and eventually by themselves.
  • During the last week of the summer holidays instil a good routine by getting your child to go to bed on time so that early starts aren’t such a shock.
  • Attend the induction events hosted by schools to get all the information you need to help you feel prepared so you can support your child.
  • Find out who you need to contact at the school for any situation. Head of Year 7 and/or your child’s form tutor are key people to get to know.
  • Make a fun day of buying the equipment and stationery your child will need.
  • Being well rested will make a huge difference to your child’s ability to adapt to the change. Going to bed at a reasonable time and turning off devices well before going to sleep is crucial for learning.
  • For the first few weeks leave a little extra time to get to school and in class, being a few minutes early can put your child’s mind at ease. Rushing to class and entering a room full of people, some of whom they don’t know can be daunting for a young person.
  • Make copies of your child’s timetable in case they lose theirs or need help remembering where they need to be when.
  • Have a checklist of the items they will need daily and encourage your child to get into the habit of packing their bag the night before with the relevant books/equipment.
  • Teach your child how to create a to do list and prioritise their work according to homework deadlines.
  • Help your child stay on track by checking their homework diary daily.
  • Set aside time each day for homework. It could be as soon as they get in, or before/after dinner, and make sure they have a quiet space where they can work.

We look forward to welcoming all our new Year 7 students in September.

Supporting your child with the move to secondary school
Himali Dolatessim