There are only a few weeks left of this school year, and they tend to move quickly as we head into warmer weather. Many children will be attending induction days at their chosen secondary school in the next few weeks. Moving up to secondary school can be both exciting and worrying for both parents and children. Many children may also be leaving friends behind as they head to a different secondary school which can create additional anguish.
Often children moving from primary school to secondary school go from being among the oldest children in their school to the youngest. Secondary schools are often larger than primary schools too so this can be even more daunting.
Schools will often work hard to ensure transition to secondary school goes smoothly, making sure children are placed in classes with friends wherever possible and providing opportunities to talk through concerns. There is plenty that parents can do to help with the move to secondary school too.
How can parents help their children with the transition from primary school to secondary school?
Provide a safe space at home. When changes are happening at school, it’s important that children have a safe space where things remain calm and steady.
Keep asking questions, even if answers are not forthcoming. Asking questions about your child’s day shows that you are interested and you care. Even if they don’t answer, ask again the next day.
In secondary school play dates are a thing of the past - but you can still provide opportunities for your child to invite friends around to socialise with them. A home study group could be a good way of helping your child to build new relationships in school.
Secondary schools often have a wider range of extracurricular activities and this can be a good opportunity to foster some enthusiasm around attending a new school. Encourage your child if they show interest in a new instrument or sport.
Keep an eye on internet and screen use. By the time children reach secondary school parents can feel like they’ve no idea what their children are doing online - but it’s important to keep an eye on what they’re doing. Find your own way of agreeing upon how you will access or check up on their social media, screen use etc.
Find ways to stay in touch with friends that have been left behind. When children move up to secondary school they can find that they miss children from their old school who have either moved to a different secondary or are in a lower year group and so are still in primary school. Finding ways to stay in touch with old friends can help to ease the transition.
Encourage organisation. Often moving to secondary school can mean juggling different text books, PE kits, moving between classrooms, different homework and other things that have not been a major concern in primary school. As well as this, secondary school students are often held responsible for their own timekeeping etc. As parents we can help them by encouraging them to pack their own bag - but not doing it for them!