Moving from primary school to secondary school is an exciting time for many children, but it can be daunting too. With a bigger school to navigate, new teachers and subjects, not to mention lots of peers your child has never met before, secondary school certainly has some new challenges. Even though it’s normal for kids to worry about not fitting in and getting lost in the corridors, being prepared for the transition and all the changes in store can make a huge difference for their first few weeks. Here are some of the biggest changes your child needs to prepare for to make the step up to secondary school feel a little bit easier.
A Much Bigger School
One of the biggest changes your child will face is secondary schools are generally much larger than primary schools. This means there are more classrooms to find and windy corridors to navigate around, which can feel very overwhelming for new Year 7s. We recommend attending an open day or orientation evening so you can help your child get a feel for the layout of the school- even if they only know where the canteen and toilets are- it will help them feel a bit more at ease on their first day.
Having A Timetable
When your child starts secondary school, they will need to be prepared to follow a weekly timetable that includes all their lessons, teachers and classrooms. Following a schedule and the independence in secondary school are often new for students, so it’s important for them to take the time to learn their timetable, how to access it easily, as well as know what books and equipment are required for each day. A great way for your child to stay on top of their timetable is to check it the night before and lay out everything they’ll need for the next day. This way they don’t need to worry that they’ve forgotten something and it helps to build up their independence!
New Subjects And Larger Classes
At secondary school, there are probably going to be a few subjects your child hasn’t studied before. It’s a good idea to find out, in advance, all the subjects your child’s secondary school studies in Year 7 so you can take a bit of time to look into the new topics together. It’s also important to let your child know that the class sizes may be bigger than they’re used to. However, remind them that even if there are more students in a room, they should never be afraid to speak up in class or ask for help.
Independent Travel To School
Often secondary schools aren’t as close to home as your child’s primary school, which may mean they have to get used to travelling independently. Whether this is walking or catching a bus or a train, explore the route with them a few times before they start school. Doing this will make sure they're familiar with the journey and feel confident making it on their own. It’s also super important to talk with them about staying safe and for them to know what to do if their bus or train is late or cancelled.
Larger Homework Load
Your child will probably get used to secondary school fairly quickly, but one of the more challenging changes is the larger homework load. Staying on top of work from different teachers, all with different deadlines, is a huge leap from just having one or two pieces of homework a week. It takes lots of organisational skills and time management practice to be able to get everything done on time. We recommend setting aside a specific time each day for your child to concentrate on their homework, as a routine will make it much easier to manage the workload.
For some great tips on strategies to beat homework stress, make sure you read our helpful blog post here.
Lots Of New Peers
Finally, one of the hardest transitions for primary school kids heading up to secondary is leaving lots of friends behind and starting afresh. Even though some children end up having a few friends start at the same secondary school, usually they’ll still only recognise a handful of kids in their classes. It’s important to remind your child that everyone is in the same boat and even though it’s scary trying to make new friends, encourage them to be brave and make the effort to be friendly and spark up conversation first!