Starting secondary school is an exciting chapter for children but also one that can be extremely daunting for many students. They have to get used to a very different style of education and one that often requires a far greater level of independence. Here are five tips to support your child with the transition from primary to secondary school:
- Pack your bags the night before – Get your child into this habit now, and it will pay off later. Avoid the rushing around in the morning looking for textbooks and PE kits, and this will not only reduce the chance of things being forgotten but ensure your child arrives at school calm and ready to learn, rather than stressed and anxious.
- Have a means of recording homework ready to go – In the past, schools would issue students with homework diaries, but many schools have moved over to online systems such as Show My Homework. This suits some children better than others, so talk to your child about how they are going to keep track of their homework. They will be having to coordinate a lot more than they are used to and cope with different deadlines, and recording it effectively will be paramount to helping them manage this process. If you feel your child would be better off with a physical diary, then make sure you have one purchased and ready to go.
- Double-check the extra-curricular activities schedule – Whilst these activities are really important for your child’s personal development, his/her schedule is going to change now he/she is at secondary school. They will likely be starting their day earlier and finishing later, as well as potentially getting used to a bus/train journey as well. They will feel more tired at the end of the day, and will need time to recover, as well as completing their homework. This does not mean they cannot attend their extra-curricular activities as well, but be careful he/she is not overloaded and in danger of burning out.
- Know the key people at the school – A big difference between primary and secondary school is that you will have less day-to-day contact with your child’s teachers. If problems arise, it is not always clear which member of staff it is best to talk to, and the school receptionist will be dealing with a much larger number of children and may not always immediately know where to direct you, although of course they will do their best to help. Make sure you know what the norm is in terms of contacting teachers at the school – often email will be the best way to make contact initially, as classroom teachers will not always be available on the phone. Check who your child’s form tutor and head of year are, as sometimes these may be the first port of call rather than the subject teacher. Furthermore, if your child is on the SEND register, make sure you know how to get in touch with the school SENCO, as he/she will normally be the best person with whom to discuss provision.
- Talk about your fears and concerns – It is completely natural for your child to feel anxious about starting a new school and all the changes that will take place. Make sure you talk about September with your child, and address any concerns he/she may have. This is much better than bottling it up, and you will find it easier to support your child in September if you have an idea of what he/she may need help with. You can make a plan together of coping strategies, and think about potential problems that may arise. Remember to talk about the positives as well – change is scary but exciting, and necessary in order to move forward in life.
If you are looking for further English support for your child as he/she enters secondary school, or if your child is already in Key Stage Three, Four or Five, then get in touch today at email@example.com.