Top tips on easing children into secondary school

The new school year is an exciting time, but for some children currently heading back to school, there will be mixed feelings about the return to education. As well as the thrill of seeing friends, having new stationery and perhaps even a new school, children may be feeling anxious about new classes and teachers. For those making the transition between primary and secondary the concerns can be even greater.

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Starting at a senior school can be hugely daunting, not least because it will often have bigger premises than a primary or prep school and students need to navigate their way around different departments between timetabled lessons.

In order to help your children make the transition, we at JK Educate have compiled a list of top tips which should help make the process of ‘going to big school’ a little smoother:

  1. Identify and discuss your child’s hopes and fears and discuss these with them.
  2. Remind your child that everyone is new and nervous – not just them.
  3. Familiarise them with the layout of the school and their new timetable, to help them settle in quickly.
  4. Encourage children to pack their school bag the night before school with what they need for each specific school day based on their timetable, e.g. maths equipment or sports kit. Not doing it in a rush before school will make mornings much easier!
  5. Make sure they know what to do in case of an emergency or if they get lost: who to contact at school, ensuring both home and school telephone numbers are in their phone.
  6. Look together at the school website – you may even be able to familiarise yourselves with the names of the different subject teachers and what they look like!
  7. Read the school rules so they know how to dress and how to behave during the day – these are often given out at visits before school starts. Check in particular the rules for the playground and breaks.
  8. Parents should be prepared for the new term with all important dates and times diarised.
  9. Run through the ‘what if’ scenarios, such as: What if I lose my diary? Fall over? Lose my keys? Lose my PE kit? Have my money stolen? Lose my Oyster card? Leave my PE kit on the bus?
  10. Decide what they will do for lunch – packed or school dinners?
  11. Make sure they know when and where assemblies are held.
  12. Make sure they know where to put their coat and bag, and if they are able to use a locker.
  13. Make sure they can remember where their form room is and the name of the form teacher.

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Above all, listen to your child and reassure them they will soon get used to the new environment. Remember they will be very tired to start with; you might see some tears and hear them wish to return to the familiarity of primary school, but before you know it they will be confidently navigating senior school life and wondering what all the fuss was about!

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