Last week Bright Young Things shared a blog post on the transition to primary school.

But here at BYT we teach kids of all ages and many of our byts will be making the move from our Middl’uns to our Big’uns this year!

Which means they will be making another important transition, the move to Secondary School! Starting secondary school can be daunting, even for the most confident of children.

We decided this needed an article of its own as the challenges faced here are so different to those at primary school age, and just as we tailor the content of our weekly classes for age groups, we have some tips below to try and make this transition a little smoother.

Challenges

Before we think of strategies it’s important for us parents to think back and remember what is different about Secondary School. The answer is lots, classes may be larger than your child is used to, especially if they are coming from a smaller rural school. Indeed in general it is a much bigger school environment where they will have to navigate to classes regularly.

They will have subject specific teachers instead of just one and for many it will mean independent travel to school on public transport for the first time.They will be meeting new children and meeting new teachers, up to 10 subject teachers who will have different styles. They will be operating to a timetable and will have to make decisions about the books and tools required and indeed carry equipment around all day or store in a locker.

This may all sound quite daunting but all of these skills are important life skills and you will see your child grow and develop. And of course there is lots you can do to help them in advance, here are just a few tips and we have also listed some excellent resources below for a bit of further reading.

Tips:

  • Visits to school, hopefully your child has visited the school at least once on the open night and so has a feel for the building but a few drive bys in advance of the first day and even a walk in the grounds pointing out certain buildings like the Assembly Hall and main reception won’t do any harm.
  • Timetable – when your child arrives home with their timetable take a few copies  and keep on view around the house until they become familiar with it, discuss it with them and after the first week ask them how the moves to each class went.
  • Give them a break in the evening before tackling homework, they have had a longer day and at the beginning will be exhausted from moving about etc
  • Create ‘fail-safes’ – your child will find it easier to cope with unexpected situations if you have discussed what they should do first. Without worrying them, gently go through what to do: ‘If you miss the bus….; If you lose your dinner money…; If you feel unwell…; If you feel unhappy…
  • Get the kit right, take them shopping for their uniform,  make a day of it and, if you can, buy them the bag, pencil case, shoes etc they really want, all these things will help them feel confident on their first day.
  • Do as much preparation for the school day the night before – put out clothes, place the school bag by the door, give them their favourite lunch and maybe even an extra treat for the first day!
  • Never underestimate the value of a hug at the end of the day, they might be entering a new grown up world but they are still your child!
  • View it as a positive experience and share this enthusiasm with your child, talk lots in advance in a sanguine manner, it can be difficult not to be too enthusiastic and terrify them even more, try and strike a balance between excitement and calm acceptance that this is the next step!

Additional resources

Here is an excellent guide form Oxford Owl

https://cdn.oxfordowl.co.uk/2018/06/25/08/31/24/746/BTS_Starting_Secondary_School_parent_guide.pdf

And lots of great blog posts from them here

https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/starting-school/starting-secondary-school/

We hope some of these tips help! If you feel your child could do with some confidence building then our weekly term classes are an excellent tool to aid in their development. You can book a weekly class here www.bytdrama.com/weeklyclasses

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