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Tips to support your child as they start secondary school

Moving schools from primary to secondary can be a daunting time for both parents and children. It is the start of a new journey and a significant milestone in a child's life. It is also a time of great change and mixed feelings are only natural. They will go from being the oldest in school to being the youngest, having to find their way around a new school as well as the daunting task of making new friends. They will also take on more responsibility for making sure they get to school on time, that they have the right books and equipment and completing homework. 

Talking through any concerns with your child beforehand helps to support them in coping with the changes ahead and helps to build their confidence.

There are also some proactive measures you can put in place to help combat any worries or concerns you or your child may have about the big day such as:

Plan the journey to school. 
Take a practice run with your child beforehand so that they feel comfortable with the route they are going to take each day. You can also accompany them on their first day if they feel they need extra support. 

You can also try to find at least one other local pupil who is going to the same school so that your child has a familiar companion for the journey to school. Although they might eventually make other friends, these familiar faces will also help to provide some welcome support during those first few weeks.

If your child is taking public transport to their new school, ensure they are equipped with the correct travel pass in advance of starting. 


Encourage your child to be organised. 
Get them to pack their bag, pencil case and check their timetable for the following day the night before so they don't have to worry or rush in the morning.

Having a shared kitchen calendar can help remind your child what they might have on at school for example a music lesson or that they need their PE kit for sport. Encouraging them to check this each night is a good way to instil a helpful routine. Getting to know their timetable can also help support your child, for example on a day when they have their least favourite subjects and might be more reluctant to go to school you could pop their favourite snack in their lunch. 


Encourage them to make the most of all the new opportunities. 
They will have the chance to try out new clubs and activities not previously available to them at primary school. Encourage them to enjoy it! Making new friends, trying new activities and learning new things is exciting. Remind them that everyone else is in the same boat, so they should just aim to have a good time!


Don't do everything for them. 
They need to learn to manage their own responsibilities and time efficiently. However, you can let them know that they can always ask for help or to talk to someone they trust if they feel like they are struggling, like you or their form tutor.


Create some example go-to scenarios. 
Discussing these with your child will help them cope with unexpected situations. Without causing any panic, gently go through what do if certain things should happen for example: missing their bus, feeling unwell in school or feeling unhappy at school. 


Once your child has started school, make time to talk and listen to your child each day to check in on how things are going. This is a new adventure for the both of you and can be a positive and exciting experience. Providing your child with attention in this way can help your child feel fully supported and more confident as they start out on their new adventure. 
 

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