My PFB is starting secondary school in September(103 Posts)
As title says. PFB is going to secondary school in September. As transitions go,it "should" be straightforward - the school is 15 minutes walk away, half of the intake will be from his current primary and he already knows quite a few older children from scouts and a sports club he goes to, as well as plenty of children that used to go to his current school.
But of course I am still worrying What do you wish you/your DC had known before they started secondary? Is there anything I/he should be doing?
It all sounds fine. DS had a very difficult transition due to being one of only two children from his school and ended up being lonely and bullied. In his case, our best friends became the school guidance team who were wonderful and always available for an email or phone call. If you have concerns, flag it up with them, find out who is guidance teacher is and where the learning support base is. I am sure your Ds will be fine by doesnt do any harm to be prepared.
DS secondary also operates a cashless system for meals and the kids have swipe cards which parents can top up, or the kids can top up in school at the machines. Might be worth doing a bit of financial management with him over the summer if this is the case and practicing by getting him to do the swiping and paying at self service tills when out shopping with you.
My PFB is also staffing secindary school in September. Nearly everyone from his primary school will be going there - there's a school bus from our village and when he's at his dad's house he'll be able to walk. I'm sure he'll be completely but it's just all going to be different. He's not looking forward to having to wear trousers for school (he always wears shorts ) but he is generally ready
not to phone your parents during the day and get them to ring school to complain about stuff without telling the teacher first
I say this as a teacher
I felt quite out if the loop. I was used to seeing a least a few parents at school things and in the car park at Middle School morning and afternoon, and then all of a sudden we were just texting, and having to arrange coffee to see each other.
No more 'what homework was it?' texts because there were 20 plus parents of children all in the same class at Middle to choose from.
Lost Property. No more strolling into school and having a rummage. Once it's gone it's probably gone for good and you will be replacing.
Find out what the phone policy is. DS1's school it has to be off and unseen from start to end of school, if seen it's confiscated. Ds2's they are allowed it at break and dinnertime but not to make calls or something. I would prefer the former for both.
Be aware you will have much less contact with the school, unless there are problems. But also, be confident that if there are problems and you need to be (politely) assertive to get someone to listen, you are well within your rights (and responsibility) to do so. If your child doesn't need you to advocate for them, great. If they do, it's damn well allowed!
I have actually found the secondary more flexible & still professional in many ways than primary . . . But I wouldn't like to generalise that.
And yes, yes, yes to the problem of lost property and missing stuff that needs replacing!
My PFB is going to uni in Sept. How the fuck did that happen? <sobs>
Label all his kit, discreetly because he's a big boy now, but label it anyway. That stuff is expensive and WILL go missing. Never did get his watch back.......from being "lost".
Let him know that you can see online (well most secondary schools do this) exactly what he has eaten for his lunch - and the many snacks they all seem to have when they think you won't know. And that yes he can have the odd cake but that actually cakes a day is a bit excessive.
The art of packing your bag with what you need the night before so there is no last minute panic in the morning.
How to use the front door key and also the one to his locker. Remember to take your key on a MUFTI day!
Both my DSs high schools have Parents Portal where you can check attendance, any late marks and positive and negative behaviour marks, plus homework outstanding and school reports. V useful.
pug a whole seperate set of rules for you.
Dont buy him/her enough equipment to fit out the Master chef kitchen. They all share and most of it gets lost.
Make sure he/she can cook and if self-catering make up a box of basic store cupboard stuff,herbs, pasta etc
If uni uses pay as you go washing machines,equip with big bag of pound coins (or whatever they take)
Buy railcard/travel card
Do not cry! This is not the end of the world. Its fun and it means that at least one of the buggers is finally flying the nest.
Finally, make up an emergency box with a "break here in emergency label on it" for him/her to open when you have gone.DDS contained stuff like a funny card,spare knickers and tights, a tenner, a bar of chocolate, a bottle of wine and corkscrew, tampax, condoms,a scratchard etc. She loved it!
I wish I had known not to spend most of the summer worrying before my pfb started secondary school. It has been the making of him and I love not having to be so involved. Even parents' evening is optional
and I haven't been to one yet.
Make sure he doesn't leave his brand spanking new PE kit with EVERYTHING in trainers, football boots, shin pads ect (because he didn't know what he might need) in café, you will never see it again.
and don't text them during the day too see how they are getting on. According to ds quite a few people got detentions on the first day because their phones were buzzing in class
Find out if there's lockers. So much easier if they have.
DS2's school doesn't have them and everything has to be lugged from class to class all day.
I can't find it - just tried hunting - but a teacher tackled this last year and made a really good point (may have been noblegiraffe - can't remember name I'm afraid) - anyway she said that the first few weeks are very exciting as a new secondary student but about week 4/5 there can be a bit of a slump - and some kids may be a bit blue/ tired out.
I certainly found DD1 hit this week 4/5 wall in a number of ways. Like your DS she went to her new secondary with friends from primary and knew some of the older kids. She also had a great transition day there. But about week 5 she was very tired, a little weepy and it turned out that many of her old primary friends had started making new friends and she felt a little left out.
She got through this just fine - but I had an exhausted DC on my hands for October half-term and she was pining for old school friends who had gone to different schools as well. Our solution was plenty of rest and a few special outings with old friends. I think the warning that week 4/5 when the shine of the new school wears thin and when your DC can be a bit tired out - is worth watching out for as a parent.
Other than that - my advice is invest in a good, sturdy rucksack - with lots of pockets -and fortuitously we went for one with a hook to put your door keys on (has prevented lost keys and makes checking for keys really easy). We also opted for one with a little mesh bag for your water bottle on the outside - again this just meant life was easier and water didn't spill all over school books/ notebooks.
Sparklingbrook is correct - it's much less social for parents and there really aren't the PTA type activities (at least at our school). However it can be very social for your DC - and encouraging them to join clubs in Y7 is a great way to settle in, keep busy (at breaks/ lunches/ after school) and make new friends.
Homework was a real shock for DD1 - she had virtually none at her primary so wasn't use to it - especially extended projects. Our solution has been to really help in the first term with planning her work (when to do it/ how to prioritise/ how much effort to put in), discussing what the task is designed for and doing preparation work before putting pen to paper. Getting DD1 to not just write whatever comes to mind, with very little research has been a lot of work - but I think we're winning now. As a parent - keeping an eye on the planner, making sure your DC is using it and regularly signing it (if the school requires it) - needs to become part of the weekly routine. Certainly at our school if a parent doesn't sign the planner it's a detention.
Aww thanks for that demented
I remember when he started secondary school - on the first day someone started a thread on here and we chatted about the ups and downs for the whole of Yr7.
Am still fb friends with those Mner's now.
I work in a secondary school. What I would say is... never bring a coat in during the day for your child because you might think it is going to rain at home time and yes... I have had parents do this.
Don't ring up and say my "little boy/girl" is in Yr7 - have lots of parents do this too!
Label, label and do more labelling (even trainers if you can). We always try and get stuff back to the kids if we have an idea who it belongs to. DON'T go in and ask to root through lost property, they need to go and look for themselves.
Ah, but if they do have lockers, check that there are enough to go around
Seriously, don't panic! Although it seems like a huge step now, a couple of weeks in, it seems like they have been there for ever.
They can and do lie that they have looked in Lost Property and you will just never know.
Parents Evenings are interesting. The first one was a bit of a shock. DSs have to get a time for the appointments for each subject teacher. Tell them what sort of times to get.
That said, the times are not adhered to
due to parents taking too much time but they give the teacher at least an idea of order so be careful of people trying to push in. you have to kind of hover. Helps to take your child with you, some schools insist on it.
You are out of the loop - check e mails / school website for information. Ask for any letters as soon as they get home - you are likely to be given a piece of paper which has been folded at least 3 times to fit into a blazer pocket!
Schools will not ring you (unlike primary school) if you don't return a permission slip - your son will not go even if it's a whole year activity.
He will make friends with children that you haven't met nor have you met their parents. His friends could live in the opposite direction from the school to you which can make some parties etc. a journey. A colleague who chose to send her son to a school 20 miles away was complaining that he had been invited to something 17 miles in the other direction.
Homework may all be on the computer too so get them to check and not leave until the night before.
Yes to the key and bus pass etc taken out of blazers on mufti days - and don't forget to put them back afterwards.
Make sure that you know when the cookery lessons are - they may have been told a week in advance but you'll get a request to rustle up exotic ingredients at very short notice.
Parents' evenings are a whole new experience - even with appointments it's often every man for himself !
Re trips. Very often, certainly at DS1's school the letters are in a pile and they take one if they are interested. So you may think that the educational trip to the museum would be great for your child, but if they don't fancy it they won't take the letter.
The whole year does not go on the trip. Just those interested.
So if they have got a letter get the money/slip back asap. Sometimes it's first come first served, sometimes names out of a hat but just get it in.
DS1's school only accepts payments online by ParentPay.
My advice on parents evening is to get there early and whizz through them all before everyone else arrives after work. Oh and develop sharp elbows.
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