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Any top tips for your DC starting secondary school?

(129 Posts)
Joyfulincolour Tue 30-Jul-19 22:07:00

Following on from the useful thread re DC starting in reception, I just wondered if you had good advice for starting secondary school?

OP’s posts: |
winewolfhowls Tue 30-Jul-19 22:26:02

Let them follow the fashion for shoes bags etc in year eight and above. Never mind if it's impractical expensive shite, make it be a birthday present or a something but it's really important when you're a teen.

Plenty of spare biros. Some in bag rather than pencil case.

Emergency money in school bag incase they lose wallet or miss bus or lose bus pass etc.

Instead of spending ages backing books with wrapping paper or rolls of stuff, there are covers that just slip on like a hardback book cover.

A long ruler is important.

Chase them about homework, it's not that there is none they may have rushed through it at lunch instead.

Don't let them take slime or any disruptive toy in.

Be prepared for them to come home speaking in tongues or whatever the local teen slang is. Google is your friend.

Year sevens are exhausted after school just like reception kids. Give hearty snacks after school and let them have at least thirty minutes of zombie out time before you quiz them about their day, homework etc.

Have basic cooking stuff in ready for when they ask last minute for ingredients, and check in bags for letters or the online newsletter as they are bloody oblivious until panic about that thing you know that was due in yesterday.

Food is terrible compared to primary, might need to take a snacks or fruit to bulk it up.

Disclaimer : all schools are different and the above may not apply to yours

BackforGood Tue 30-Jul-19 22:26:41

This holiday, get them to practice their journey.
If they are fortunate to be within walking distance, then walk / cycle different options they can use, so they know where they are if they walk part way home with a new friend. If they need to use public transport, then send them off on various journeys on their own to get used to traveling on the bus / train / tube / tram.

Put their front door key on an extendable coiled keyring thing and attach it on the inside of their bag (or blazer or whatever suits).

When they start, make a copy of their timetable and stick it up on the fridge or back of the front door or somewhere obvious, so they and you in the first instance can check they've got what they need for the next day.

SlatternIsTrying Tue 30-Jul-19 22:27:56

Thank you for this.

GreenTulips Tue 30-Jul-19 22:30:52

Buy box folders to store books when they don’t need them
Check PE days and remind them - see if they need gum shields or similar
Medication can be stored as spares in the school office
Tell them to be nice and not write and new friendship off. Being in the cool gang shouldn’t be their goal.

Cuddlysnowleopard Tue 30-Jul-19 22:41:16

As soon as they get their timetable, photograph it, copy it, laminate it...

Encourage them to pack their bag as soon as they finish homework. Avoid last minute panics in the morning.

If they have a planner, suggest that they write down when a teacher takes a book in. Avoids the panic...

They eat a lot. At home and at school.

Buy more than one pair of sports socks. Expect stuff to get lost and to take months to find it's way back to them.

Sick a spare bag in with outdoor games kit for muddy boots.

Expect the first week to be more overwhelming than Reception. They have a huge amount to take in, particularly the number of teachers and moving between classes.

fruitpastille Tue 30-Jul-19 22:43:32

Timetable (laminated possibly) by front door. We have a drawer for all school books with another timetable in for easy reference. Also have a checklist by the front door for what to do each evening - pack bag, charge devices, uniform ready, instruments/PE kit ready. I helped with bag packing for first few weeks. My DC (and others I know) worried a lot about getting into trouble. I actually recommend they forget a book/ homework in first few weeks just to get the first negative comment or whatever sanction out of the way! If they never put a foot wrong it can be a lot to live up to all year.

C0untDucku1a Tue 30-Jul-19 22:52:30

LABEL EVERY ITEM OF CLOTHING AND THEIR BAG!!!! PLEASE!!! Especially their coat. That’s most likely to get lost. Make sure they have a coat. So many parents seem to think a blazer works as a coat. It doesn't.

Pens. Plenty of pens. Pencils, sharpener. Ruler, maybe three as they snap, calculator, compass. Bare minimum. pencil crayons are also useful to have. As is their own glue stick.

Help them each evening to pack ready for tomorrow. They need to be taught by parents how to be organised at home. And also check they've completed the homework due. This help should get less you and more them as the first term
Progresses. But they will need to be shown by you first.

Be interested in their day every evening.

Limit screen time. Get them reading more.

Enforce a reasonable bedtime. Especially in year 11. Tired children playing fortnite late at night arent the best workers. Theyre tired.

CherryPlum Tue 30-Jul-19 22:54:50

If they get a bit lost in the corridors trying to find their next class, DON'T advise them to ask an older pupil the way. Older ones will usually send them the wrong way for the fun of it!

Have some of that clear sticky stuff ready to cover workbooks with - most of the first couple of weeks the homework is to put covers on books.

Overseasmom100 Tue 30-Jul-19 22:56:06

Spare tie, spare pe top and shorts.

Be prepared for a melt down at some point mainly due to tiredness. Try and have a couple of early nights before starring

Jambalaya76 Tue 30-Jul-19 22:58:29


BackforGood Tue 30-Jul-19 22:59:09

Make sure they have a coat.

You can take a horse to water.........

IWantMyHatBack Tue 30-Jul-19 23:01:14

Brilliant thread, thank you

ineedaholidaynow Tue 30-Jul-19 23:04:23

We had coloured magazine holders for each day of the week for books etc to ensure they had the right things for their bag everyday. Had a spare pencil case at home so didn't need to take out the one in their bag so couldn't leave it at home.

Timetables everywhere! Help them in the first few weeks to organise their bags, don't set them up to fail early on.

Glue sticks!

MyDcAreMarvel Tue 30-Jul-19 23:04:33

Make sure they have a coat.
Do you actually have a teenager? They don’t wear coats at high school.
My top tip - don’t waste money on a coat.

Twocoffees Tue 30-Jul-19 23:12:19

Coats only in freezing weather and only if it squashes down into a very tiny space in a school bag

AndMyBirdCanSing Tue 30-Jul-19 23:19:23

Make sure they have a coat they have nowhere to store coats in school these days, even if they will wear one.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 30-Jul-19 23:22:54

Water bottle ( the metal ones ) my DD has 3-4 and my DS has just asked for one , they are very aware of plastic waste .

(Mine are 6th Form & University now)

Will they get a locker? Ours didn't for the first 2 weeks and had to cart everything about.
On the first day its usually the Yr 7 only so they have a chance to find their way when its quieter .

Find out how they pay for lunches. Is it a pre-pay top up card or do parents pay online.
YY to a few £1 coins hidden away .
And some sanitary protection for girls .
Make sure they always have a tissue ! No bloody sniffing in class.

DD took handgel, she said the loos were rank and no soap.

Pens/pencils/rubber/ruler/glue stick/Maths Set /colour pencils ....and they lose them pr lend them.

They'll get used to moving around the classes.

And no coats unless they ask. DD peer group all wore Superdry (back in the day) then parkas .
DS ....nope .

C0untDucku1a Tue 30-Jul-19 23:24:45

MyDc Teenagers do wear coats at high school. The ones who don't get very, very wet. Daily. Yours teens might not. That doesn't mean all teens don't. They dont have to wear them every day. Check the weather and decide whether it is worth taking.

multivac Tue 30-Jul-19 23:24:58

Yeah, no coat. I last bought my boys a Sensible Outdoor Coat in, I think, Y5. They're just about to start Y10.

Remember they still need you. They don't suddenly, magically, become 100% independent once they start KS3, even though they may like to think they have.

Keep talking smile

ineedaholidaynow Tue 30-Jul-19 23:27:12

DS's school bag has a separate waterproof section at the bottom, which I think is designed for pe kit (but DS has to carry that in a separate sports bag as he has so much kit) so he has a cagoule stuffed in there. Not sure if it ever sees the light of day, but it is there.

I have managed to send him in a coat when it has been snowing (with much complaining), but that is mainly because his school is stuck in the middle of nowhere and the bus route is mainly country lanes and I worried that it might get stuck and they might have to walk somewhere.

ineedaholidaynow Tue 30-Jul-19 23:30:23

DS's school only have a few lockers, very few children use them. Might be good to find out from older pupils at the school what most people do.

There is another current thread on here about things for secondary school and a couple of teachers have posted on that their schools have a no bag policy, so everyone has a locker and then only carry things for the next lesson.

multivac Tue 30-Jul-19 23:33:19

The ones who don't get very, very wet. Daily

Bless. DAILY!

Pipandmum Tue 30-Jul-19 23:33:44

Never seen a child in secondary school wear a coat and we live between two of them.
My daughter came home and said she wasn’t allowed shoes with a strap on them (what I would call Mary Janes). I said I’m sure I didn’t read that in the uniform list but she looked at me and said the girls themselves had proclaimed it! So go with what they say fashion wise.
I always made sure she had a change of panties and a couple pads just in case, secreted in an inner pocket of her bag.
Always make sure they have a bit of cash for those spontaneous ‘let’s go into town for a coffee/hot chocolate/sweets’ trips.

Missanneshirley Tue 30-Jul-19 23:35:16

Any tips for parents who aren't ready?! (Only half joking)

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