Back To School - Starting Secondary School


Starting secondary school comes with mixed emotions. 

Your child is finally at 'big school' and feels really grown up.

But with that comes a lot of changes.

Wessex FM has a few things you can do to make the transition - and the first few weeks - easier. 

5 changes to expect, how to prepare for them and deal with them in the first few weeks:

1. The new uniform

It is more than likely that your child's secondary school has more formal uniform than their primary. It might be changing from a soft polo top to a crisp shirt - or perhaps a tie and blazer is required.

Whatever the change it will be another reminder to your child on their first day of everything that has changed - and it may be a little uncomfortable until worn in.

Make the tip to the shops to buy the uniform fun - a day to bond with your child and have lunch. This can act as an opportunity to bring up other worries they might had about their new school.

Wear shoes in around the house and get them trying on the uniform a couple or times before the fist day. 

Particularly practice how to do the tie - this will come in handy after PE.

Wash stiff items with a fabric softener. They will be comfier on the first day and smell of mum's clean washing - a great comfort.

2. The new bag and all its contents

When it comes to buying the new stationary there will probably be great excitement. 

But check the school rules before letting them choose the trendiest - and likely least practical - bag in the shops. 

Secondary school means walking to different lessons and carrying text books and notebooks for each class - not to mention PE kits and lunch. 

Make sure they have a bag big enough and strong enough to cope - and with suitable straps to carry it around safely without hurting their back.

3. Getting to school

For some this could mean catching public transport, a school bus or walking a new route.

Which ever way your child is getting to school practice the journey with them over the summer. 

It can cause great distress if they get lost and turn up late on the first day.

4. Getting around the school

You can't practice this one but you can still prepare your child. 

Students are responsible for making their own way to each class in secondary school and that can be daunting in itself -  let alone when you have to do it in a building you don't know, much bigger than your old school.

Ahead of leaving primary school your child may take part in a 'taster day' visiting their new school. This will have given them an idea of what to expect on a daily basis and what the school looks like.

But that's hard to remember over a six week summer holiday. 

Talk to them about the format of their new school day during the summer.

They will probably have been given some information and a map of the new school - study it together and recognise where departments are, toilets and the canteen.

Remember: Everyone will be in the same boat - it is ok to ask for help.

5. New people

Starting secondary school means meeting new people and gaining new teachers. 

Where once they were the oldest in their school with one teacher's name to remember, now they're the youngest with several teachers.

If your child has a friend starting at the same secondary school arrange for them to walk in together on the first day or meet in an obvious place. 

Remind them that there will be lots of new people and they may not be in the same classes as their friends - but it's a great opportunity to make new friends.

It's ok to ask a teacher their name - they are not expected to remember everyone right away.

A good idea is to write the teacher's name on their book with the subject. And if in doubt, 'sir' or 'miss' is usually acceptable.