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Join in here if your PFB is off to secondary school in September or if you have any advice for thew newbies

(331 Posts)
ChippyMinton Sun 12-May-13 10:10:23

DS is obviously taking it all in his stride and I am quietly fretting investigating the practicalities of high school life. Anyone want to join me?

monstermissy Sun 12-May-13 21:39:07

My second starts in September but he's my first to go up with asd and I'm worried about him coping. He won't tap into any extra help (unless needed) as he pretty much manages now but it's a little primary. He's very relaxed about it tho even tho it's only him and one other from his school going up. Luckily I work where he's starting so I can try and keep an eye on him. He's into heavy metal with longish hair etc so not typical i suppose. I just hope he finds like minded kids. They all look so little still...

MothershipG Sun 12-May-13 21:49:18

Personally I found PFB's move to secondary very stressful - by contrast he wasn't at all bothered! grin

What I found hardest was the completely different relationship you have with the school, as someone mentioned up thread. DS is dyslexic so he got lots of support with the transition, including going in during the summer to get to know the layouts and routines while it was quiet. I could have done with a bit more support myself. Instead of 1 teacher, TA and senco to liaise with there were dozens. DS way of dealing is to keep his head down and avoid any sort of attention or support, it was a bit of an uphill struggle to change that,still not there really.

He has also lost various things including his lunch card and Oyster, I'm making him pay for replacements now to focus his mind!

Not nearly so worried about DD who will start at the same school in September.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sun 12-May-13 22:10:20

I have been through this once with DS1, who is now coming to the end of Y8, but now DS2 is about to start and his SENs make him quite vulnerable, so I'm having kittens all over again.

These would be some of my top tips:

Put locker key / house key on to some sort of chain and attach it to the child / clothes or bag somehow. DS1 has a split ring keyring attached to his school trousers and then the keys clip on with a caribiner. None lost yet!

Warn the child that you will charge them a nominal amount for each item of uniform / kit / equipment that goes missing or gets broken. It seems to focus their minds towards looking after their belongings more carefully.

This is a hard one; try to step back from getting involved with the homework too much. They need to learn what happens when they don't hand it in on time or when they hand in substandard work, and Y7 is the best time for this.

Try to encourage them to carry a bag that distributes the weight on both shoulders. With padded straps. Many secondary school children are carrying more than 10% of their body weight, and they will only get one spine.

The coat / jumper thing seems to vary even within one school. In Y7, coats were socially unacceptable for DS1's year group, but jumpers were fine. In Y8 it was the other way round.

AChickenCalledKorma Sun 12-May-13 22:23:29

I'll join in. DD1 starting in Sept. She's quite relaxed at the moment, and looking forward to being reunited with a friend who has been abroad for a couple of years and is returning in the summer to start at the same shcool.

I think she's going to suffer badly from "small fish in big pond" syndrome. She is very much the golden child at her primary - prefect, top of the class, "joy to teach" etc etc. Which is lovely, but I suspect she won't get quite the recognition she is used to at a comp of 1500 students grin.

TheDetective Sun 12-May-13 22:35:20

Dreading it, both for me and DS1!

He's been mollycoddled in primary - his Grandma is the head. She doesn't mollycoddle him, the other teachers do though. Even though I keep saying don't hmm.

Anyway, he is going to a school where he knows NO ONE. Literally, no one. He's a sociable thing, so I'm not so worried. But I still am, if you know what I mean!

I'm also worrying at the fact my mum won't be around to remind me of stuff grin as our life is pretty hectic at times with me working full time shifts. Juggling balls can be dropped grin.

I'm absolutely dreading him walking to school, it is 0.7 miles mostly down quiet roads on an estate. However, we live on the main road, and he has to cross this. There are no pedestrian crossings at the traffic lights that allow him to do a complete cross over. They do have someone to cross them morning and afternoon, but he won't be always coming home right at the end of school if he has an activity.

I'm dreading giving him a key to the house. I'm dreading Tuesdays when he could possibly be on his own at home from 3pm-7.15pm if I am working a late.

Also, shoes/bag/coat/jumper! Which ones, and what is cool/not cool!

I am thinking I'll not buy him a coat til after he starts and he susses what to get. Same for the jumpers. I'll get him one, then get more if he actually wears the thing. He doesn't at primary....

Shoes - school rules state no trainers, no boots, no velcro. Um, I hate to point this out, but having just scoured Next, Clarks and M&S, they don't actually have what the school are asking for! Plus I want him in something supportive and safe for bad weather. I don't see what is wrong with something that is more boot than shoe?!

I haven't heard a peep from the school. With him being the only one going there, I worry we will miss out on things and won't hear about what we should. I think I will phone on monday and ask if there is any information I should have received yet.

BackforGood Sun 12-May-13 23:01:08

My youngest moves up this September. I'm very laid back grin but was extremely nervous before my eldest went, so ask away, if there's anything I can help with - no question too silly....

What kind of school bag? Will depend a bit on the school, at my 2 older dcs schools there is a mix, and there's no 'wrong' bag in Yr7

Are velcro shoes a no-no? yes

Do they ever wear coats? Or jumpers? DS is always cold - does he need to toughen up?!............ ds never does, but dd still does (she's Yr9)

Does sports kit stay at school or go in when needed? ds - in when needed / dd stays in her locker, so once again, this is a 'depends on the school, and on what the situation is with their lockers

How often will he lose his Oyster card? No idea - mine walk wink, but probably if they had had them... ds, about once every 3 days, dd, never.

Are they allowed to carry their phones around all day (presumably switched off?)...... Yes, in most schools - generally school rules are 'must not be seen or heard', no-ones going to go around frisking them or searching their bags

HTH - ask away as you think of more things smile

QuintessentialOHara Sun 12-May-13 23:02:16

Oh yes.... DS1 starting secondary in September. I need to know EVERYTHING!

BackforGood Sun 12-May-13 23:02:33

You don't tend to hear anything from the schools yet. At the moment they are doing all they can for the pupils in exam years. It does tend to be late June or into July before anything gets going for the new intake.

QuintessentialOHara Sun 12-May-13 23:04:12

We received LOTS of paperwork last week.

Now I know that the only type of winter coat they accept is navy or black duffel coat styles....

BackforGood Sun 12-May-13 23:05:24

Oh! Shows they are all different then smile, but don't worry, those that don't hear anything for a while.

ohforfoxsake Sun 12-May-13 23:17:59

I am more worried about bawling at DS1s leavers service than him starting secondary school blush

I'm going to look at uniform after half term.

He's going to get a phone for a birthday present. What should he have? I'm guessing its quite important to them?

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 12-May-13 23:18:01

How can a school say no Velcro? Kids shoes rarely come without Velcro unless they are unsuitable fashion designer brand ones.

alreadytaken Sun 12-May-13 23:22:53

coats are definitely a no around here. Some carry umbrellas. Scarves and gloves are acceptable in bad weather. Bags vary a lot.

Uniform, especially sports kit, will be "lost" and will disappear for entire terms (if it ever returns). Make sure you have spare items, second-hand sales are ideal. Do charge them for items that are lost as it does reduce the frequency.

Think about their internet use. They will need it for homework but if they use Facebook monitor it.

Your relationship with the school and with other parents is likely to be very different to primary school. Encourage your child to invite friends around.

scaevola Sun 12-May-13 23:25:45

It's not the school that says no Velcro (they only say 'black, no trainers'). It's peer pressure, to move away from 'kids' shoes.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 12-May-13 23:28:16

I've been known to wear shoes with Velcro, you just have to watch they don't snag your tights.

I do wish shoe manufacturers would make mace up/buckle style ones in smaller sizes.

bruffin Sun 12-May-13 23:36:42

At dcs school no boy would be seen dead wearing the school jumper and no girl would be seen dead without the jumper.
Made the mistake of buying jumper for ds but thankfully dd has taken to wearing it.

WilmaFingerdoo Sun 12-May-13 23:49:08

Ds starts in sept. He can't wait to get away from kids in his primary class. He's had to put up with so much bullying he's ready for a fresh start. I'm anxious for him but I wouldn't show it.

It's such a large school but luckily the yr 7s are in a building of their own 10 mins walk away from the upper school.

Vivacia Mon 13-May-13 07:50:29

I think Casey raised a really important issue about getting in to a routine - a routine for when and where homework is done, a routine for school bag and being ready for the next day... I also think that providing a safe time for talking about problems is a good idea. When you are all getting in at the end of the day and everyone's about, it's easy to say nothing really happened today. But an hour later, just the two of you doing the pots or walking the dog, might be a safe time for them to confide in you when something's bothering them.

Theas18 Mon 13-May-13 08:45:27

Please stop sweating the small stuff!

Shoes velcro? clarks? etc doesn't matter. If the school has a good anti bulling ethos they can and should wear what they like in line with the policy. All mine have had fitted shoes through to 6th form. It is the norm in their school- seeing 16yr olds in mary jane stylee startrite is as common as in a pair of rubbishy ballet flats .

Buy a decent bag that will carry weight. Don't spend ££ on band though to find they have " the wrong one" a basic bag and after a month or so a " fashion bag" on the Xmas list is probably a good way forward.

MOST OF ALL equip them with the skills to travel to and from school- buses/trains etc with LOTS of gradual practice (yes it'll cost a few train fares etc). What if the bus breaks down, what if they get on the wrong train /platform etc etc . If they have a transport hiccup and call you will you absolutely 100% be able to answer and help with advice ?

Ultimately a taxi number in their planner and an emergency £10 in a deep corner of a school bag is a great fall back plan.

Biggest stresses have come from transport early on and, apart from, DD1 getting chucked out of a bus when the police stopped the traffic about 2 weeks in ( and DD1 had no idea where she was, she has no sense of direction at all! ) they were easily sorted - in that instance DD1 had a cool head and planned to wait till the next bus however long it too, but got a lift with another girls dad as she was crying and he came to get her!

Theas18 Mon 13-May-13 08:45:50

Yup and don't buy a coat till the beg for one..

Theas18 Mon 13-May-13 08:46:44

Sports kit usually festers in lockers till you nag...

lljkk Mon 13-May-13 09:18:47

My tip is to search their blazer & bag once a week for letters they have forgotten to give you. Also check the school website calendar for events (like parents forum), and if you want to go, pester them to bring you the letter.

I am clueless what parent signing the planner means, has never been explained to me.

DS yr group is fine with backpacks, thankfully; I hear they are considered naff at other schools. Have to check your local culture. Shoulder bags or satchels are terrible for shoulders & backs.

Locklaces are good for kids who can't tie their laces. The real problem with velcro is it's unavailable in size 5+ studs (footie boots), easy enough to find for trainers & black school shoes, at least.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 13-May-13 09:26:04

I sewed a pocket in the bottom of DD's school-bag (black sports one, in Y7 no one cares they are still finding their feet..)- holds £10 note + change so she can get an emergency taxi, pay her or a friend's bus fare if ticket runs out/gets forgotten etc.

I have found that in Y7 no one much gives a damn about the little stuff - bag/shoes/coat/jumper - or maybe I have a child that could not care less....??

Confidence when travelling is the key issue - makes them so much more independent - we did a lift share with her friend for the first month for the journey TO school and they got the bus home. Now they travel whatever way they want - if a lift is available they ring round their mates and take them too, if not they get the bus... nice.... AND I've finally persuaded mine to actually use her phone to CALL HOME if she is delayed.....

Oh - and if your school has a computer page for parents LOOK at it - EVERY day - they sneak things up on you!!!

DeWe Mon 13-May-13 09:32:02

Dd1 is in year 7 and went to a school without any of her old friends.

We decided to wait the first week to buy shoes/pencil cases/bags etc. so she could look around and get something like everyone else. She used her old bags for the first week, which was great. Generally she's not someone who's bothered by what everyone else is doing, but she wanted to fit in, so she was very happy doing that.

Coats: Her school they all wear those hooded jackets with the tie cord by the neck. Almost without exception. So that was something that came up about half term, so these things do sometimes come up later.

For shoes, the girls are divided into lace ups or slip ons. I think velcro is a definite no.

If you can find someone who has a child in year 9-11 they're usually very happy to answer all the questions that the school doesn't really have an opinion on.

drivinmecrazy Mon 13-May-13 09:40:13

Definitely invest in a good bag. DD1 went through several during her first half term. She now has a Cambridge satchel and shows absolutely no sign of the strain. Wished we'd got one from the start. Probably spent at least as much on fashion bags she insisted on having. Now she's the envy of her friends (and teachers).

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