Top Tips: Starting Secondary School

How can you best prepare your child for that all-important step up from primary to secondary? Once again, this year's transition needs extra attention and care after Covid-19 restricted the many Year 6 celebrations and traditions that typically help prepare students for the big step up...
Top Tips: Starting Secondary School
By Carli Allan
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Do you remember your first day at secondary? The time you jumped from being a big fish to a small fish in the sea of secondary school? It’s a time of change and the end of an era for your child – and however big they may look in the primary playground, they will suddenly look very small in a crowd of teenagers.

This August and September, Year 6 students will be taking their first steps into secondary school with a host of new challenges to overcome. After an unsettled last year in primary school, many 11-year-olds have not experienced the usual preparation for the transition from primary school into a secondary classroom setting. There have been restrictions on 'jump up days', school visits, open days, and end of year celebrations, so your child may be feeling more anxious about starting secondary school. 

WhichSchoolAdvisor.com offers some top tips on how to help smooth what could otherwise be a bumpy journey.



Be prepared

  • Time the journey to your child's new school or the bus-stop and work out what time your child will need to get up too get to school on time.
  • Check all the uniform requirements and know the rules on jewellery and make-up; label everything, especially as your child will now be expected to change at school for PE and Games lessons.
  • Check what equipment needs to be bought before term starts, such as ruler, compass, and calculator
  • Look at the snack and lunch options at the school, and set a daily budget for your child to stick to.
  • Make sure your child knows your contact numbers and what to do if they are running late at school for whatever reason.
  • Get a list of your child's teachers as soon as it is available, so that you can both know who is teaching what; make sure you find out who your main point of contact is at the school if you need to ask any questions.
  • Check the school's protocol for lateness and absences, so that you know who to contact on the day.

Getting to class on time

  • In secondary school, your child will have the responsibility of using their own daily timetable for lessons; help them understand how to use this by getting a sample timetable from the school.
  • Check your school's website for a virtual tour of the campus to help familiarise your child with how to get from one lesson to the next.
  • Get your child a watch to help them manage their own time.
  • Once your child starts school, get a copy of their timetable and display it somewhere at home.

Homework

  • Your child will be responsible for completing more daily homework and handing it on time. Make sure that they have access to a desk or workspace at home with storage for books; a homework 'kit' of pencils, pens etc; labelled plastic folders for each subject; and a two -tier in-tray for homework 'to be done' and 'completed'.
  • Check with the school's prospectus/website how long your child is expected to spend on homework each evening.
  • Agree on a routine for homework with your child so that you're not always 'nagging' them to do it! It's a good idea to set rules on watching TV, playing computer games, meeting friends etc after their homework is completed.

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