Thinking about starting secondary school and the changes that lie ahead can cause a major wobble for some children. Mostly it’s fear of the unknown… and that’s where you come in.
Most schools manage transition really well. The process starts much earlier these days, and if your child attended a taster day last year, then it’s already started. They’ll go along for at least one induction day, usually mid-June, and there are often additional welcome events (for parents too), and sometimes holiday clubs and school productions they’ll be invited to. So by the time the summer holidays come around, their new school will be starting to feel quite familiar.
But it’s inevitable that with all these big changes going on, along with the excitement there will be some worries. The main ones tend to be about making new friends (and missing old ones), being bullied, getting lost, homework and knowing what to do if there’s a problem. Luckily, there’s lots you can do over the next few months to help reassure your child and prepare them for these changes.
Make time to talk to your child about school and listen out for any worries. If they’re not keen to talk about it with you, but you suspect they might be bottling things up, maybe they’ll open up to an older sibling or cousin?
Use our activity sheet to help your child express how they’re feeling about starting secondary school, what they’re excited about and what they’re worried about (if anything). Whatever their concerns are, let them know there will be lots of others feeling exactly the same way, and that teachers don’t expect them to settle in overnight and will be keeping an eye out to make sure they’re ok. Most schools also have some kind of mentoring or buddy system in place, so they’ll have support from an older child who’s been there, done it and bought the t-shirt!
- If possible, be there to see them off in the morning and when they get home for the first couple
- Let them know it's ok if they get lost at school in the first few days... it’s expected
- Keep in mind that kids are really influenced by what we say and do as parents, so if it’s you that’s having a bit of a wobble, try not to show it!
- Watch Our School on CBBC to see how a group of students adapt as they move from primary to secondary school