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transition to secondary in september

(22 Posts)
LiamLikesLemons Sun 06-Mar-16 20:45:16

So most of us know where we are headed - good luck this week to thise on wait lists.

Once we are all sorted how are we going to make the transition to secondary easy for our DC? Are there any wise words of wisdom - apart from going thru the school toute with my DC i havent a scooby about ehat else to consider.

I vauguely recall the school bag angst from when i went to secondary .........

helenwilson Sun 06-Mar-16 22:36:27

Hi, I have no words of wisdom but would like to offer my "transition" support. My ds (eldest) is really worried about secondary school, it took him a long time to settle into infant school, a long time to settle into Junior school and now he's terrified of secondary school ! He doesn't want to leave all his friends behind, there are three going to his school from his class but they are not good friends. His secondary school is outstanding and was our first choice, but it has an intake of 300 and I think he's a bit worried that he's going to feel completely overwhelmed. He doesn't have any particular anxieties, is bright and has lots of friends - he just doesn't do change very well ! I need some top tips for nervous 11 year olds (his sister in Year 5 can't wait to get there, and her best friend will also go !)

bojorojo Sun 06-Mar-16 23:57:12

First of all, they do make new friends. Even when old ones are around, it is not always the case they stay friends. In order to prepare, make sure you have everything he needs. No stress over wrong pe kit, wrong pens etc. Make sure he can get there on time and looks well presented. Find a good quality school bag. Make sure he goes to the orientation day(s). Tell him it takes a bit of time to settle into new routines. Ask the current school what the transition arrangements are. You will get info from the new school. Will he have a buddy? A big school like this will have transition down to a fine art and I would leave it in their capable hands!

BackforGood Mon 07-Mar-16 00:33:12

Do you mean practical things you can do to help ?

Get them used to walking home on their own now (or using public transport) - on a route that is familiar with their mates they know well

Give them a doorkey and let them get used to using it (all locks are a bit different and the key needs to be wiggled a different way)

Make sure they are thinking about what day of the week it is, and what they need to take in tomorrow - swimming kit, flute, football boots, whatever before reading MN I assumed everyone would be doing this by Yr6 but apparently not

Think about after school care - will they be alone in the house for a bit, before you get in from work / whilst you are collecting younger siblings from Primary? - get them used to being at home on their own for a bit, and build it up gradually (again, I used to assume everyone would have by now, but apparently not)

Have lots of conversations along the lines of "What would you have done if......." (You forgot your key / the bus didn't turn up / you felt uncomfortable with a person standing near you at he the bus stop or who you thought might have been following you / I didn't come home when you were expecting me / the school closes early because of snow or boiler breakdown / etc.,etc)..... not all on the same day grin, but start them thinking for themselves now.

In the Summer holidays, practice walking the route, or getting there on the bus. Have a look at alternative routes - what if a mate lives down that rd - 'look, it's OK you can then cut through here and you are back on this route' type convos

Ask them what they think is a good idea / reasonable rules re going to a friends house or them coming to yours - show them you are recognising they are growing up and will be making more decision of their own.

LiamLikesLemons Mon 07-Mar-16 07:17:43

Thanks Backforgood that is exactly the kind of thing i was looking for.

We do do some of the above but i can see we need to up the ante a bit now.

Goid oractical advice ^thankyou^

LiamLikesLemons Mon 07-Mar-16 07:18:17

Agh - maybe i should ensure he can text more legibly than me also smile

ThatAnneGirl Mon 07-Mar-16 07:24:06

I enrolled dd in after school activities where she didn't know anyone. It really gave her confidence that she could make new friends and it would all be fine. She went to a school where she didn't know anyone.

Tigerblue Mon 07-Mar-16 10:31:34

Good advice above. I'd say try not to pass your own anxieties over to them, I found it hard not to keep offering words of advice/worrying about uniform.

I don't know what it's like where you live, but if you need to buy thing with logos on, blazer, jumper, tie etc, buy them late June/early July. They are sold out in August. Also, we needed to order DD's blazer in as they had none in her size at the end of June. We were told it would take 4-6 weeks, it took eight week so I knew this was an issue.

If there is anything they're concerned about over the holidays, the school should be open a day or two before. DD suddenly started worrying if she needed her PE kit, so phoned, was advised to take it in and, yes, she did need it first morning.

He shouldn't worry about trying to fit in with others, one good thing about going to a big school is that there's loads of others to find your niche with. They'll be lots of opportunities if he wants to take them going to a big school

NynaevesSister Mon 07-Mar-16 11:39:53

What about things like lunchbags and water bottles. Obviously will be replacing his Star Wars Rebels lunchbag with something plain. But will they be made fun of if they have a water bottle? And what if it had a name sticker on it?

TeenAndTween Mon 07-Mar-16 11:51:52

DD1 left secondary last summer, DD2 is starting in September.

Have a look next term to see what bags the younger boys/girls have.
Ditto possibly shoes.

DD1 used a sistema(?) water bottle throughout secondary.

It is even more essential to name things at secondary than at primary. If it isn't named you won't get it back. A scatty child needs to try to get their act together now in primary before things get more complicated in secondary.

One thing my DD1 needed guidance on was behaviour rules. e.g.
- Not to be too like Hermione Granger in class
- Not to 'tell' on minor things, but still to speak up re bullying
- How not to annoy the elder kids
- Conversation starters for the early days

ThatAnneGirl Mon 07-Mar-16 12:23:19

My dd's stuff is named. I did order new plain stickers though. Instead of the ladybird ones she had.

She took a bottle of Highland Spring water on the first day but she takes her own water bottle now.

I agree with Tiger that its not such a big deal about fitting in as you might think it is. At high school it's more like they find people that are like they are. I did look at kids bags and shoes when I went on a tour but there were every type of bag and shoe known to man. Or child.

Lurkedforever1 Mon 07-Mar-16 12:43:52

Dd's in y7 and I gather the ones who found it hardest to adjust are those not used to organising themselves. So if you don't already I'd definitely recommend starting now with him being responsible for homework done, bag etc ready for next day, remembering extra equipment, whether Pe kit needs washing, putting uniform ready for next day, him telling you if something is lost or broke when it happens etc.

Other thing not already mentioned is somewhere for books/ homework. Dd had a desk anyway but we cleared some shelves, left space for some school books and put her reference/ non fiction books there, spare stationary and space for a timetable. Paper on kitchen notice board for her to write anything different she needs buying/ saving so we have it when needed. Y6 it mainly contained 'empty cereal box for Monday' type entries, but handy habit because it's now stuff like ingredient lists for cooking in plenty of time.

AveEldon Mon 07-Mar-16 12:48:22

We are doing walking home alone and learning to lock/unlock the front door

I will also be covering what to do when you lose your phone / travelcard / keys & what to do when you miss your stop or catch the wrong train

Lucsy Mon 07-Mar-16 13:02:08

My main piece of advice after ds started year 7 last sept is to get them to think for themselves right now before they leave primary

I say my ds down and told him what I was doing- that he needed to think for himself at high school so we were going to start now

No more reminders for doing HW or emptying PE kit into wash basket. That he asked me in good time if he needed something for school and I would never have mad panic trying to buy emergency cooking stuff at 8am because he hadn't told me the night before.

He has a desk, on it is a clear protector thing from staples, under that is a timetable and a HW time table so he can see what he's doing when.
He has a file on his desk that holds all his exercise books and he packs his bag after tea every day, no exceptions ever.

We got a good bag - this has been a lifesaver actually. It has pockets for phone/wallet/ etc and bigger compartments for other things with a key loopy thing for his locker key and house key so they never get detached from his bag so in theory can't get lost. It wasn't cheap but will last years I think. It also has good shoulder straps as he really complained of an aching back with the first cheap bag I got him. They carry so much stuff and ds barely uses his locker at school.

Independent thinking though. That's the important bit, let them solve problems, even let things go wrong without jumping in to rescue them so they can sort it out themselves without panicking

Ds knew nobody in his high school and my Dd will not know anybody either when she goes this September. ( different schools)

It hasn't been a problem. There are 150 boys in his year and he has made friends with a good group of them. He was so awkward and geeky in primary school, had such poor social skills I was very worried about the friends thing, but he has a huge number of peers to find a likeminded boy to be friends with, versus the 12 boys in his year at primary. Statistically they are much more likely to find a friend at high school just because of numbers!

Savagebeauty Mon 07-Mar-16 13:07:26

On their induction day make sure they smile and talk to children not from their primary. Too easy if there's a big cohort to stick with primary friends.
My DD met some girls on that day and they met up in summer holidays . Some schools do a week in the holidays for new year 7s which was great .
And yes to stop doing things for them!!!

redskytonight Mon 07-Mar-16 13:31:39

DS was quite independent by the time he finished primary. Things like
- cycling to and from school (further than secondary!) and putting bike away/letting himself in
- knowing to tell me if arrangements changed
- unpacking and packing bag

The big deals for him were not ones I think we could have prepared for in advance. Firstly, he was shattered! And not the journey as secondary school was actually closer. Just the amount of walking they do in the day plus all the new ideas. Secondly, although he'd previously considered 6.30am a lie in, we were then having to drag him out of bed at 7am! So getting himself up was a new skill.

Another big deal was balancing the homework i.e. not leaving it until the last minute and thinking about how long it will take and whether you need anything like e..g something off school network.

I'd check (if you can) with others already at the school about practical things. For example, we didn't realize that the DC weren't allowed bags in the corridor, so that meant getting a bag that would shove into his locker and abandoning any idea of winter coat.

NynaevesSister Mon 07-Mar-16 13:45:09

Lucsy wondering which bag you got - does it have a make or model? Where did you buy it?

BackforGood Mon 07-Mar-16 14:14:12

My dc have always just refilled a water bottle that you buy water or pop in - not used a 'drinks bottle' as such. Seems to be the 'right' thing at their schools.

Those coiled keyring things you can pick up in pound shops sometimes are useful for keys - attach it in the bag, or blazer pocket if they have a blazer maybe) and they theoretically shouldn't be able to lose it. I did put 'If found, please return to 'school name' on their key rings' as obvs you don't want your address on it ! grin

I also agree about not letting them see you are anxious. Lots of dc breeze through the change, and it's only the parents that are anxious smile

Lucsy Mon 07-Mar-16 14:46:54


Ds has a jack wolfskin bag like this
Most JW bags have the same strap system and organiser thing at the front under the clips that ds likes so much. It has a padded bit at the back too supposedly for laptops or tablets but ds says it stops all the books digging into his back.

It's been so successful Dd will have one th same with her birthday money a blue one though. Not pretty but very good and I've washed it in the washing machine too
We live round the corner from a JW outlet shop so managed to get ds one for £30 instead of £70 , and they have lots of bags half price online too
I think the strap thing is called snuggle back - anyway it's worked wonders with my ds who is small and I hope will do the same for Dd who is positively tiny

Lucsy Mon 07-Mar-16 14:48:07

Oh and ds has a luggage label strap thing on his bag that's bright green so he can find it in the scrabble after lunch in the mound of other black/grey/blue/brown bags

Lucsy Mon 07-Mar-16 14:54:29

One more thing.
One of ds friends does so many after school activities and early Saturday morning sports that he was nearly broken by Christmas of year 7

I make sure at least Saturday ds gets a long Lie in and we don't do after school activities this year
They are so so tired especially if they have to travel home a long way. I pick my ds up outside school in the car and some days in the lead up to Xmas he was asleep by the time we got home 10 minutes later
He is though very very happy and although I worried massively about transition, he is having the time of his life and tells me regularly how much he loves his school and his life after a difficult time at primary school with friends.
Dd wants to go today and not waitsmile

NynaevesSister Mon 07-Mar-16 15:00:33

So reassuring! And that bag looks the business. Thank you.

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