Starting Secondary School – Tips & Advice
Starting secondary school can be a worrying time for both parent and child. They might be going to a totally new school, with new friends and new faces. A lot of kids may also be making their own way to school for the first time! But if you’re worried about the transition from primary to secondary school then do not fear – because we’ve compiled a list of our top tips and advice for parents.
Arrange travel with local friends
If your child is going to the same secondary school as their friends, it’s worth arranging for them to travel to school together. This is a great way of easing the transition into secondary school as well as allaying your fears about their trip to school. Travelling there with friends can also minimise the risk of any travel mishaps.
If your child is going to a different secondary school than their primary school friends, one idea is to connect with local parents to try and arrange a journey together with local schoolkids. You might already know local parents – perhaps with children in different year groups – but if not then it’s easy enough to find local groups online and on social media.
Plan the journey to school
If your child is making their own way to secondary school, it’s possible that it will be the first time they’ve used public transport on their own. With that in mind, try to plan the journey to school as diligently as possible, making sure they are fully aware of bus times, bus stop locations and – if applicable – have arranged a bus pass well in advance. If you or your son/daughter is especially worried, you may also want to do a dress rehearsal of the journey before their first day. This is also a good idea if they are planning to walk to school.
Get organised the night before
Try to organise everything your child will need for their first day well in advance. Ideally, everything should be packed, prepared and ready to go the night before their first day. Make sure their bag is pre-packed, including any textbooks, their lunch (or lunch money), bus pass, P.E. kit (if applicable) and a list of emergency contact numbers. Having everything ready in advance will make the first morning of secondary school that little less stressful for everyone!
Remember that this is about independence
When your child is starting secondary school, it can be tempting to plan the day like a military operation. However, it’s important to remember that the transition to secondary school is a key stage in your child’s development. They’re learning to be more independent, become their own person and take control of their own affairs. For that reason, try not to plan every single detail of their first day (or subsequent days). Let them organise and plan their own days wherever possible. Encouraging them to take responsibility of their schedule will help them to become more independent in the long run.
Be there for them (especially in the first few weeks)
Some kids will take to secondary school quickly and with minimal fuss. But in truth, most won’t. It’s a big transition in their lives – one of the biggest so far – and it’s perfectly natural to encounter some obstacles along the way. That’s why being there for your kids will be especially important during their first few weeks of secondary school. Talk to them after they get back from school, ask them how their day was, and be prepared for a grumpy son/daughter on occasion! And remember: if you managed to get through your kids’ first day of primary school, then anything is possible.
If you’re still looking for more tips and advice for starting secondary school, we’ve also included some links to further reading from around the web.
- Starting secondary school – BBC Bitesize
- Starting secondary school – a guide for parents – The Spark
- How to survive starting secondary school – TheSchoolRun
- Transitioning to secondary school – BBC Teach
- Advice for starting secondary school – Mumsnet