Moving from primary to secondary school is an exciting and important event in your child’s life.
It is an important event which, for many parents and teachers, marks a change in expectations regarding life-skills such as independent working, self-organisation and personal resilience.
When a child starts at secondary school, they are expected to cope with a whole variety of new experiences and changes, many of which demand skills and abilities that they have not had to use before. The problem is that these skills do not spontaneously develop in children in the summer before they begin secondary schools – like reading and writing, they have to be taught, and our children need support in developing them.
Most parents would like to help reassure their children, prepare them for these changes, and support them in develop the skills they need, but feel they lack the information and expertise to do so. For many of us own experience of secondary schools is all we have to go on.
The top two worries for Year 6 pupils are social concerns. Although common, most children report that they are no longer worried about these after just one or two weeks at school.
If your child expresses these worries, it is useful to tell them this, and to emphasise that everyone else will also be feeling anxious. As there will be many more pupils in Year 7 than there were in their Year 6 class, everyone has a good choice of friends, and even children who move up with several other from their class tend to make new friends at secondary school. Talk to your child’s Year 6 teacher if these worries become too great – they will be able to arrange for your child to meet some other students who will be starting (or who are already at the school) and perhaps a ‘buddy’ for the first two or three weeks.
The remaining worries are nearly all to do with the new organisational demands that they know will be placed upon them. Time spent early on in establishing habits of work and independence is an investment that will save endless time, battles and upset in the long run. The habits and routines that children develop in Year 7 are those that will stay with them throughout their secondary school lives and often throughout their working lives. It’s worth the effort of getting it right at the start. If you can help your child to do this, you will be making a real difference.
Woldgate School and Sixth Form College, an Academy, is part of the Wolds Learning Partnership, a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales with Company Number: 10518602. Registered Office: 92 Kilnwick Road Pocklington, York YO42 2LL.