Common student concerns about starting secondary school:
-Getting to school and back (especially if they travel by bus)
-Not making friends
- Losing existing friends
- Being bullied
- Getting lost or being scared at the school’s size
- Not having the right books or equipment
- Not coping with the work
- How to do their homework
- Not being sure where to go for help
- Coping with so many different teachers
- Not understanding what the teacher wants them to do
- Getting into trouble
How can you help your child start well?
Reassure them – how they are feeling is how many people feel at the start of secondary school. In most cases most of these concerns disappear after a couple of weeks. However, if they do not, it is worth contacting your child’s Form Tutor.
If they are concerned it is a positive thing – it shows that they care and want to do well.
Always trust your judgement – you know your child best – but also don’t step in too quickly. Situations often resolve themselves given a little time and a key feature of secondary school life is independence.
A useful mantra is:
Don’t do anything regularly for your child which they are capable of doing themselves.
Stress that although it can be intimidating at first, there are many more children in Year 8 with whom to make friends than there were in P7. Reassure them if existing friends are spending time with others – it doesn’t mean they no longer like them. Encourage them to take an interest in these new people too.
Forming positive habits and routines
Help to develop positive habits and routines in your child right from the start. These can be very powerful forces for success. Without attention, negative habits and routines may grow which can be hard to break. Positive thoughts are likely to lead to positive outcomes.
Bag packing and unpacking at home are very important routines, especially as we run a two week timetable here at Holy Trinity College. Has your child somewhere specific to store spare books? Where do they pack their bag for the next day? Have they looked at the correct week and day on their timetable? Is their school bag large enough?
Where and when does your child do their homework? Do they start it straight-away, rather than leaving it to the last minute? Are you confident that it is their best work? Have they recorded their homework in their homework diary? Are you signing their homework diary every week? Non- school activities are generally to be encouraged, but it is important to step in where necessary in order to maintain a balance. Computer gaming, for example, can either be a harmless distraction or a major concern, depending upon what is being played and for how long.
Making a positive start to each day.
All that follows depends upon what time your child goes to bed (not just to their room). A more flexible and, at times, later bed-time is part of growing up, but your child will need just as much sleep as younger children on days that are full, active or stressful.
Are they getting up in good time to get everything done, without getting flustered?
Do they know where everything they need will be before going to bed – uniform, shoes, bag, packed – lunch, lunch card, PE Kit, Keys etc?
Do they know how they are getting to school and home again?
Do they know at what time they must leave, how long the journey will take and where to go when they get to school?
Do they know what time they are expected to be home?
Encouraging them to use a watch can help establish a routine.