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Top tips for starting secondary school

The start of the new school term will be meaning a series of new challenges for families with a young person transitioning from primary to high school. At Inkpots, we said goodbye to a large number of Year 6s at the end of the summer term; they all seemed more than ready to move on from their primary schools, but many were a bit daunted at the thought of secondary school, especially if they were the first one in the family to be going there.

We also completed the second year of running a lunch time group at our local secondary school, The Burgess Hill Academy. One of the aims of the group is to provide some additional support for the new Year 7s. It’s been great to see the older students sharing some top tips to make things a little smoother too.  Nothing quite beats peer support, and we turned the tips into a leaflet for the students starting in September.

We also felt that some of the information could be applied to students from other schools too, so we have adapted the leaflet and it can be downloaded HERE for free.

One of the issues that came through over and again when talking to our group is that organisation matters. Having multiple copies of the timetable, organising your bag, knowing when homework should be in were all points which came up regularly.

For many parents, this move means some adjustments too – not least, a new daily routine which may well mean a child getting themselves to and from school on their own for the first time. One of the hardest things to do is to foster independence around the home too – it’s so much easier to do things yourself. But in the last few weeks of the summer, it might be an idea to start encouraging some more help around the house, maybe getting children to strip their own beds, unload the dishwasher or preparing a meal. Making decisions for themselves is all part of supporting children through the transition phase. It may be painful, but the result will be worth it!

Another area of anxiety may be around being separated from friends with whom your child has been close throughout primary school. At the end of Year 6, many strong bonds have been formed and it may seem hard to imagine life without a certain friend. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings – even if you know that your child will make new friends. Make sure there’s time in the diary for catch ups with old friends during the weekends and holidays.

A final thing to remember is that all change takes time to bed in and it’s fine for everyone to take a few weeks to settle. It’s important that the young person has ownership of all this though, and parents can be totally supportive, while at the same time not doing everything for them.

Good luck!

Gill

PS: if you feel that some specific 1:1 support would be a good idea, we now have just that. Please have a look at details of our new Accelerate package for more info.

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