Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Advice from my 11 year old Twins about Starting Secondary School

Back to school flat lay
Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

This time last year I had two very excited 10 year old's living with me. They couldn't wait (on the one hand) for their school year to finish and to be a step closer to starting at secondary school. But of course they were also a little sad about losing contact with the friends who were going to go to different schools.

If you've got a child about to start secondary school this coming September you'll probably relate to what I've said and will know this is a time of change, worries and uncertainty, as well as great excitement.

I asked my girls to share their experience and give me some tips of what helped them make this transition and to settle in to their new school. So here are tips from my tweens to yours, hand the laptop over now -

Before you Start

*  If your school has an option to attend some summer classes to meet other new pupils and find out how the school works, make sure you take the opportunity to attend as you'll be ahead of many others on your first formal day and will feel much more confident.

*  Make sure you get the right uniform. You might want something different to what they state but it won't be worth the defaults or maybe detentions that you could end up with.


*  If you need to wear a tie and this is new to you, practise it over the summer, as it can be tricky at first.

*  Ask older friends who already go to the school what kind of bag is the best to take for everyday and for PE. We bought some large sports bags and found small drawstring ones much better. Rucksacks are probably the most sensible choice as you'll have loads of books to carry with you now you're in secondary.

*  Pack your bag with all the things you'll need - stationary, calculator, tissues, spare socks etc. It's also a good idea to have a note with emergency phone numbers in your bag.

*  If you'll need to let yourself in at home after school, make sure your key is kept somewhere safe. One of those rubber spring key rings that you can attach inside your bag is a good idea.

*  If you need to apply for a travel permit, do this with plenty of time, we are lucky in East Sussex and the bus pass is just sent to us.

*  Check out your route to school. Whether you will walk or get the bus, have a trial run (or two) during the summer holiday so you know how long it takes and what is the best route.

*  Find out how the catering works, will your parents put money on your account, do you pay by cash, or something else? Do you have to book your meal in advance etc?


Year 7 twin girls

In your First Week


*  Get used to waking up with an alarm clock, or your phone. Now is the time to become more independent and to rely on yourself.

*  Have a good breakfast and a glass or water or juice. If you forget you'll end up feeling tired in class and getting told off or poor results.

*  Don't forget to wear deodorant or to brush your teeth.  People will notice and if you forget them you may get a reputation for being smelly.

*  Either travel with or arrange to meet a friend by the entrance door, so you can go in together, it won't feel as daunting.

*  Be open to everything, introduce yourself to people and be friendly. Otherwise people will find their friends and you'll be left with no-one.

*  Remember you are not the only new person, you are all in the same situation, so be bold and say hello.

*  Your new school might be much bigger than your old one, but you'll soon know your way around, so do not worry about getting around. There will probably be prefects to help you in the early days too. Do make sure you know where the toilets are though!

*  Learn your timetable. Print off some copies and keep a small laminated one easily accessible in your bag, so you can check where you're supposed to be. It can also be useful to have one on the wall at home, so you can check when homework is due in.

*  Get used to relying on yourself. School will expect you to do everything for yourself and to communicate with your parents on their behalf, so get in this habit early.

*  Find out if your school has lockers you can use. Do you need to buy a lock or pay to rent the space? Lockers can be so useful for coats and heavy books.

Student in a library
Photo by Banter Snaps on Unsplash

Ongoing


*  Make sure you check your bag the night before, to ensure you are ready for the next day. Then leave it close to the door, so it doesn't get forgotten.

*  Do your homework the day it is set and that way you never have to have a last minute panic the night before six pieces are due in.

*  Hand your homework in on time, otherwise there will be consequence and you don't want to get a reputation for not caring about your school work.

*  Learn your boundaries with your teachers. They are all different and you want to know how far is too far.

*  If school and your parents allow you to take your mobile phone to school, make sure it is switched to silent so you don't get in trouble.

*  Try new activities. There will probably be loads more after-school and lunchtime clubs at your new school, so try lots of different things to see what you enjoy and its also a great way of making friends.

*  Ask for help if you need it. Ask a friend, a prefect or your form tutor. Everyone wants you to settle in well and have all the right information so they'll be happy to help. No question is a silly question if you want to know the answer.

*  Talk to your parents. They'll want to know how things are going and will be much happier, and will stay off your back if you tell them a bit about school. Ask for help with your homework too if you need it.

There is loads there for you to think about and talk through with your child. We hope this transition from Primary to Secondary goes really well and remember it is good that they are growing up, Help them to be independent, confident and able to ask for help and they'll go a long way!

Why not pin this post for later?

Starting secondary school pin

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