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TOP TIPS: Transition to Secondary School

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September will bring lots of changes for many children. It can be daunting to move into a new class or a new key stage. One of the biggest and most life changing transitions during school years comes at the end of year 6, when children move up to secondary school.  It's an exciting time but they may also be experiencing some anxiety or nervousness about the move.

As parents you may also be feeling worried or anxious about what lies ahead.

We've put together some tips that might help you and your child feel more prepared. 

  • Talk
    Give your child opportunities to talk about how they are feeling. It's often hard for pre teens to open up and talk about their emotions. They usually only open up when they are ready to. Be a good listener and be ready to have some open and honest conversations. Can you remember when you started secondary school? Sharing these experiences will help your child.

  • Independence
    A huge part of life at secondary school is about being independent. This is a good time to start encouraging that in all aspects of life. Pupils will be expected to manage their homework diaries, follow timetables and bring the correct books each day, pack and bring the right PE equipment, cookery ingredients etc etc. 

  • New Routines
    So many new routines will be starting. That first early alarm call for the first day of school is always a shock! Start a bit earlier and plan in some early nights and early alarm calls. There are some helpful tips on the Havering website to support young people in planning for their school day, packing bags etc.

  • Focus on the Positives
    It's only natural for children to be apprehensive about a new situation. Try and be ready for any comments or questions and flip them into a positive.

  • Friends
    If suitable for you and your family, try and arrange get togethers over the summer with friends attending the same school. If you can't arrange this in person, use zoom or other social platforms to connect. It's a huge comfort to know others who are going through the same thing.

  • Information
    Visit the school website and get as much information as possible. Many have virtual tours on their websites and this is a great way for kids to become familiar with a new building. 

  • The Journey
    This may be the first time that your child has gone to school on their own. You may be more concerned about this than they are! Even if you both think you know the route really well, go out and do a practice run. Taking the walk/bus together is a good opportunity to have a chat about things too. 

  • The Rules
    Ensure you both know and understand the school rules and expectations. There may also be rules in place for children in relation to Covid.  This will all be available on the school website or handbook. We all feel happier about new situations when we know the boundaries. 

  • Covid
    Discuss social distancing and hygiene with your child. They may have concerns or worries about how they will handle this in an unfamiliar environment. 

  • Changes in Behaviour
    Where there are new challenges there will undoubtedly be some changes in behaviour. This can be difficult for everyone to deal with. Knowing that it's coming and why it's happening can be really helpful for both parents and children. Be prepared for some tears and try to be patient with them. 

  • The 'Stuff'
    There is always a lot of shopping to be done just before a new term starts and moving up to secondary school is no exception. Make a list together and only buy the essentials - their bag will weigh enough without carrying around unnecessary items!

  • Oyster and Phone
    If your child will be travelling by bus, make sure they have their Oyster card organised in advance and that they know how to use it. If they don't have a phone, and you are concerned about being able to communicate with them on the journey to and from school, this could be the time to consider buying one. There are lots of ways to limit what is spent on a phone and to monitor what it's used for. It is also a good idea to research the school rules about phones and to make sure your child is fully aware of these.

  • Support from School
    Schools will be working with the year 6 cohorts to help prepare them for the changes ahead and will be able to support you and your child. Secondary head teachers may also visit your child's school to talk to them about the new start. Home school support officers will help with questions about free school meals etc.

A few tips to help parents with what lies ahead...

  • Make a list
    There will be lots for you to do before the start of term. Source school uniform (the school may have a second hand shop), fill out all the forms (there will be many), arrange payments for school meals etc and label EVERYTHING!
  • Build your new network
    Make new connections with form tutors, parents association and new parents. You will be glad to have those connections for the inevitable questions about homework and after school clubs etc
  • Relax
    There's a good chance that your child will take it all in their stride and never look back!

Good Luck to everyone!


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