Is your child moving up to 'big school' in September? We asked parents with kids in senior school what their top tips would be for an easy (or easier) transition from primary school.
Encourage independence and be prepared
"Teach them resilience…You will find the teachers much less involved and definitely less interested in playground disputes etc… ensure that they become responsible for their own timetable and packing their own bag etc, knowing what lessons they have on what day etc. I found making my daughter solely responsible for this just about the best thing I did - for example, she only ever forgot her PE kit once and I didn't deliver it to school for her. As a consequence, she never forgot it again."
"Print out a pocket sized time table and laminate it (few copies) then they don't have to get their planner out just for the time table… Also a laminated big copy for their room/where homework is done. So at a glance can get the books ready for the next day."
"If they are using public transport for the first time, take them on the same bus journey over the holidays, getting off at the correct stop and walking to the school or point of connecting bus if that's the norm. Then return with them back to the home bus stop. In between walk to places that might be commonly used by students highlighting safe places to cross etc."
"Walk the route(s) they can take to and from school so that they know the way and remember the landmarks."
"We cleared an area and popped in a shelving unit. All books were on there and a tray for homework. It worked for year 7, not for the rest as the amount of books increased."
"Get a cheap mobile phone for contacting them if they are doing homework club."
Communicate and get to know their technology
"Get their form tutor's email address. Then garbled messages sent home can be clarified of needed."
"My sons year 6 teacher told them you go from being the big fish in the small pond to being the small fish in a big ocean. Very true! I found it hard as a parent with the lack of communication. You don't get the parental contact at the school gates.
"Keep talking. Accept that you’ll lose them a little bit at this age, and if it’s your eldest child, explain you’ve never had a teenager before so you need them to help you by communicating and telling you how they’re feeling."
"Phones are a big problem at secondary actually- get some rules in place about their usage before September!!!! E.g. No phone after 7.30pm (or whatever works for you) And don't forget to check their chat - lots of issues go on via instagram etc - stay on top of that. It's a minefield!!!"
"They’ll get loads of information at school about staying safe online, but you will lose a lot of control over their social media habits and they’re likely to know a lot more about it than you. It’s really important to be aware of what they’re doing and set limits on screen time.
"Be prepared to have virtually no contact with the school. They do this to teach the kids to be responsible for themselves."
Be supportive (without being seen)
"Let them go! Don’t be over protective they need to find their own way (which is hard for us)."
"If using public transport, don’t be that parent that stands at the bust stop waving them off."
"Patience and plenty of it during the first half term."
"Get used to ‘Kevin the teenager’ living in your house!"
"The best thing I would suggest is to keep talking to your child and always be open. I think too much is put on moving schools, when I was younger it was no big deal, you just moved and got on with it, I think when parents get all worked up and anxious about them moving schools, it ends up freaking the children out, when they would normally be excited."
"Try and relax and be positive to your child about secondary school , if you show you are anxious they will be.