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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?

gazzalw Fri 21-Jun-13 17:46:39

Mankyscotslass, that's how DS looked in his and still does....(he hasn't really grown much over the past year) - on the positive side, we are now hoping it lasts him until he has to change blazer colour in Year 10....

DS's sports kit part of the uniform easily cost as much as the rest of it - mainly because it is totally exclusive to the school with sewn-on initials....

This time last year was a really money drain with buying stuff for DS going to secondary school whilst still funding the Year 6 end-of-year things too....

Lilyloo Fri 21-Jun-13 17:53:49

My ds is starting high school in Sept. He isn't fazed at all, I on the other hand used to work in secondary education and feel very differently. But am putting on a brave face.

Blu Sun 23-Jun-13 20:18:39

I wished I had bought uniform earlier - loads of places had sold out of the right size in the week before term starts.

However, secondary schools are VERY particular about uniform rules, so wait until you get the full kit seet at the induction evening. They may even specify what the bag must be like - black, no logos, at DS's school.

I didn't realise Ds needed a pencil case with calculator ('scientific' model), geometry set, pens, pencils, crayons etc.

Coats also - they may specify type and colour (black / navy, no logo!)

It all seems very scary and a lot to take in, but it all falls into place, bit by bit.

Find out the arrangements for lunch - we had to put an initial payment down on the cashless card at the Induction evening, but every school will have it's system.

Read the planner every night! The Planner is a diary they have with them all day every day and they write homework in it and any other notes and things to remember. Then they forget to tell you anyway - so check the planner!

Buy 2 ties. They get lost. Somehow. And there is no leeway in secondary for lost ties.

Make sure they know how to tie it after PE.

Chippy are you roughly in the same area of S London as me? I'm not sure why I think that.

BackforGood Sun 23-Jun-13 23:41:37

apatchylass - I watched our neighbour's son arrive home last week, fish down his t-shirt for his key, which was on a string around his neck, then open the door with it, still attached to his body (he had to get his chin in real close, it looked really funny grin).

Thing being, he's 18 grin

ChippyMinton Mon 24-Jun-13 20:00:25

Blu - I'm NW Surrey borders and DS will be crossing into one of the London boroughs for school. Have you been on the 'new schools for LB Richmond' thread?

dementedma Mon 24-Jun-13 21:22:40

Ds blazer was £45! Bloody hell.
Mind you, got two white shirts in asda for £6 and they fit fine so will get two more this leaving buying shoes and trousers until August as he is growing so fast.
Still got all the sodding pe kit to buy for a boy who hates PE and will spend the next 6 years avoiding it

gazzalw Tue 25-Jun-13 07:44:21

I actually think the boys' uniforms are probably cheaper than the girls' simply because the shirts/trousers tend to be of a generic type. When DS went to get his uniform for a super-selective, it was noticeable that the girls' equivalents seemed to have fancy coloured blouses and startlingly non-generic skirts, hiking up the overall uniform cost no end IMHO.

Lancelottie Tue 25-Jun-13 11:52:48

Demented, it only occurred to me when I looked at the uniform list for DD that I've never bought replacement football boots or sports kit for DS since he was in yr 7.

He's now in yr 10. Wonder what he's been wearing for sports for the past three years and 10 inches of growth?

gazzalw Wed 26-Jun-13 07:42:41

Sticky-back plastic for covering their school books is a MUST!

BackforGood Wed 26-Jun-13 11:26:39

I think that depends on the school gazzalw - I have a ds and a dd in 2 different schools and neither have ever covered their books, nor have my nieces in yet another different school.

mankyscotslass Wed 26-Jun-13 11:34:35

First uniform purchase made - the PE socks! I got two pairs of each colour though, since everyone tells me that there is a high chance he will lose at least one of them!

I am going to get his school tie on Friday - i think I will gt two of them too!

ChippyMinton Tue 02-Jul-13 16:55:20

Induction completed with smiles and thumbs up all round from DS and his friends.

The bus is a bit grim though. If I was doing the journey myself I would need Sheldon Cooper's bus pants.

Now I need to track down a cool pencil case DS spotted - it opens flat and has loops for pencils etc and everything is labelled 'pencil' 'rubber' etc and it has space for an A5 homework diary. If anyone has seen similar please post a link.

mankyscotslass Wed 03-Jul-13 12:59:43

We have our induction evening next Tuesday -we have been able to tell which form he is in from the Parent Pay site, and he is a bit worried - no one he gets on with is in that form. I'm sure he will be ok though no I'm not

Madmog Wed 03-Jul-13 13:56:23

My daughter started comprehensive school and I think I was more nervous than she was. In fact, on her first day she said she was a little nervous, but excited and she was going out to enjoy the day.

I copy what Casey says, do allow extra time during the first couple of weeks. My daughter was full of it. I did double check every day she had all the right equipment, books for lessons, homework done on time as I was worried she would get detention. There is so much to think about like new routine, new friends, remembering teachers names, finding their way from class to class, homework, not knowing who to go and ask, but they do work it out.

amazingmumof6 Wed 03-Jul-13 14:01:10

chippy I felt sick the day before DS1 went to secondary for the first time. I could hardly sleep.
I asked him to text me when he got off the bus, so I knew he was at school.

then again to text me when he got home (I'm out to pick up others).

by the 3rd day I didn't even look at my phone to check for messages. the next week he stopped sending any!

just saying, you'll be fine once they actually start, the build up to the big day is far worse IMO!smile

PLB rather than PFB here .... so off with big sister DD this morning for his visit day. They seemed to go off quite happily together this morning with promises she'd look after him - and look out for him at lunch-time. So, I'm hoping that's a good start on his new adventure !

A slightly different set of feelings for us PLB parents with these last weeks and days at primary all the more poignant.

LittenTree Wed 03-Jul-13 14:46:30

I bought one of these filing cabinet boxes for each DS and labelled each compartment with English/maths/Geog etc for them to sort their books easily at home.

One thing I still find odd is the lack of text books! There seem to be tons of handouts and the school 'suggest' certain books for you to buy as supplementary, but few actual books! I also bought some A4 clear zip-lock bags which are useful for subjects with loads of 'bits of paper' or additional small books (vocab books) like Spanish to keep it all together.

I bought several rolls of sticky back plastic as every new year they have to cover their exercise book though I cheat by taking the cover of last year's re-naming it with the new year and sticking the whole thing onto the new book grin. It tends to be, like maps on the Geog one, Spanish style stuff and flags on the Spanish one etc. They're not 'marked' on their effort, incidentally, it just personalises it and makes it easier for them to spot when the books are handed back out after marking.

Get a pack of those clear plastic A4 'bags' with holes punched for filing down one side. Useful for keeping posters and single bits of work safe (like when H/W is making an information leaflet about a local beauty spot and so forth)

I used a soldering iron to brand their names on things like calculators to discourage theft.

Depending on how techie your school is, set up files on the computer to file work in a findable way! Like Y7- Geog, Y7 History etc. Been very useful I admit with DS2 as I've been able to see what DS1 did with the same work 2 years earlier.

Be prepared for much less interaction with the school. At ours you can go the whole year without meeting their tutor unless s/he's one of their subject teachers whom you'll meet on parents evening! In theory, they keep the same tutor all 5 years but DS1 is on his third and in Y9. I should add you can quite easily arrange to see a teacher should you want to but our school doesn't give out teachers' emails, which is fine, but individual teachers may give theirs to you if necessary.

Accept the possibility of peer-marking! The fazed me a bit at first but I can see the point of it now.

You may never meet your DC's 'best friend's parents!

And velcro is fine at our school. Even DS1's shoes are velcro! And he's 14!

EmmaGoldmanSachs Wed 03-Jul-13 15:15:40

DD is on her 5th week of transition course now, on the negative breaking her arm (not at school) was a bit of a downer, on the plus side she has made friends with the girl who broke her foot as they both have to sit out sports grin There have been some definite wobbles but now she is either not telling or things have got better, not sure which (but in either event it is less stressful as a parent).

The main thing she appears to have learnt is that trousers with pockets are an essential of secondary school life. Which is sad, given that we had replaced her primary trousers last term on the grounds that they were the same colour needed for secondary! Oh, and the best pudding in the canteen - some things never change as I remember when she first stayed for full days at primary the only thing we ever heard about was what was for pudding at lunchtime.

EmmaGoldmanSachs Wed 03-Jul-13 15:18:51

Oh, one question for those with older dc at secondary - what is the deal in terms of meeting up out of school with new friends? DD is all keen to invite her new friends over, I am rather less keen as they are scattered far and wide over the county!

When I was at school I don't think I ever saw any of my school friends outside until I was a teenager and old enough to be going to parties and scrounging lifts.

I had thought that she could maybe get the bus into town in the summer hols & meet up with them at the swimming pool, but broken arm puts a bit of a stop on that. (Its a very small town, so its not like they can go and hang round the shops.)

RightsaidFreud Wed 03-Jul-13 16:05:16

Just something that i remember from my own secondary school days, please don't underestimate the amount of stuff your child will have to lug around. At my school, we did have lockers, but they were deemed terribly uncool, so everyone ended up lugging all their books around in one bag (more fool us, eh?). Couple this with a gym bag and/or musical instrument, and it was a nightmare! Find out if your kids have access to lockers, and tell them to use them!

A good bag is a must. Looking back, i wish i had taken my parents advise and had a back pack, as it would have distributed the weight of my stuff more evenly than the bag i did have, one of those one shoulder bag. I actually damaged the ligaments in my dominant shoulder, and my orthopedic surgeon said he thinks the bag i had for school, coupled with the weight of all the books, certainly contributed to the damage.

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 03-Jul-13 16:13:23

YY to setting up a folder on the computer for each subject.

Also important to teach them to save their work as they go along.

And back it up every week or two.

somanymiles Wed 03-Jul-13 19:22:31

Not only is DD going to secondary school in september but she is also moving countries (from Canada). Right now she is at a very hippyish Canadian school with no uniform and wear your hair as you want to (lots of boys with shoulder length hair!), so her biggest anxiety is school uniform! She absolutely cannot understand why she is not allowed to wear wellington boots to school as that is her standard footwear in Canada!

Snog Wed 03-Jul-13 19:34:21

Lots of this is completely school variable!
My dd is in Y8, in contrast to some previous posts she
- has a back pack
- no sticky plastic required for covering books
- never uses her locker
- takes gym kit in on the day only
- wears Velcro fastening shoes
- wears her coat (refused point blank for first month or two of her first term then realised it was very cold without it)
- our new uniform provider delivers in 48 hours; previous one took 14 weeks!!!

After all my worries, my dd blossomed in Y8, it was her best school year so far. She had never done very well at school in primary and is now much more engaged with much better results too.

Emma Yes, all I could ever get out of DS at primary was what they had for pudding - he was a big fan of choc sauce, which tends to feature quite strongly in school dinners grin - Anyway rarely gets a pudding at home !

So was expecting him to tell me all about the BBQ they had today - but much to my surprise he said his favourite thing was the French lesson !

nicky2512 Wed 03-Jul-13 21:49:43

Scary! Dd starts high school in September. The new year 8s (Northern Ireland) go to school for a summer scheme for a week in August to help settle in. Uniform cost a fortune. £130 for pe kit from school and almost £200 for uniform, not counting shoes or bag etc. Shoes will have to be Velcro as she has tiny feet! She is excited but I am quite scared about her being out all on her own!!! Primary was small and very local. Will just have to get used to it though.

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