Starting Secondary School: A Teacher-Parent Guide

secondary school students walking with backpacks

If you have a child starting secondary school this September, they might have misconceptions about the whole process. If this is your first time sending a child to secondary school, you might have a few questions of your own too! This handy teacher-written guide will run you through the process of getting your child ready for starting secondary school.

Dispel Any Silly Myths

There are certain myths about starting secondary school that seem to self-perpetuate and echo down the ages… occasionally doing the rounds because older students and mean siblings like a laugh. Assure your child that not every teacher is a strict monster and that they’re probably not going to get ‘bog-washed’ by a Year 11 because ‘that’s what they do to every Year 7’.

Discuss any concerns and myths early on because that will set your child at ease. Also consider asking your student what they hope to get out of secondary school, too!

Be in Contact with the Secondary School

There’s a fine line here between being overzealous and ‘just right’, but being in contact with your child’s teachers will make everyone’s life easier. If you know your child struggled with English in Year 5 and 6, having that discussion with their new teacher will help them formulate strategies in the classroom. If you’ve already contacted the school ahead of time to get in touch with form tutors, you might consider asking your child to write them an ‘All About Me’ letter to break the ice early.

Conversely, being overzealous can be stifling for a teacher. Teachers are professionals after all, and if there’s ever a cause for concern, they’ll be the first to pick up the phone. Don’t feel the need to check in on your child every day!

Get Organised Before Secondary School

When a child is starting secondary school, they’re bound to be set homework so make sure they plan their evenings accordingly! Similarly, put up a calendar somewhere in the home that can be accessed by everyone. Put important school dates (and demand that your child finds key dates!) on the calendar because there’s nothing worse than accidentally miss a parents’ evening or forgetting an important bit of kit.

It’s also important to find out what public transport routes your child might need to take ahead of time so if they’ve got buddies nearby going to the same school, organise with other parents to make sure they travel together!

In addition, it might also be a while off yet, but getting your head around the new GCSE grading system might be a good idea if you haven’t already so you’re not confused when teachers begin throwing numbers at you.

Be Ready the Night Before!

There’s nothing like a last-minute rush to flare up tensions, anxiety and conflict on the first day of school. You’re worried you’re going to cry as you leave them at the gate and they’re just as terrified of being left to wander the halls of a new building. It pays to plan early. Better yet, encourage your child to pack their own bag with a checklist to take the burden away from yourself – after all, they’re growing up now!

Talk to Your Child as Often as You Can

Your child will quickly grow up (and you’ll wonder where the time went!) so make sure you talk to your child every day. Starting secondary school can be a daunting time full of new people, new experiences and challenges. Make sure you talk to your child about their day and find out what they’ve been up to. Also, check-in with them on an emotional level because starting secondary school is a whirlwind of feelings. Continue to be supportive as they develop and take an active interest in the final stretch of their school career!

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You might also want to read:
What Teachers Want Non-Teachers to Know – Beyond Blog

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