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First week at Secondary School and struggling

(93 Posts)
Trb17 Thu 07-Sep-17 20:10:24

DD's first week of Secondary and she is struggling. It's much scarier to her than Primary (obviously) and she's finding it all a bit overwhelming. She's a born worrier so was never going to be easy breezy. Lots of tears this week in the mornings...

I know she'll settle eventually and I'm proud of how she's coping despite her fears and upset, but any stories of a bad start turning good would be really appreciated...

Acopyofacopy Thu 07-Sep-17 20:16:40

DS was completely overwhelmed by it all, it's horrible to see them struggling like that!

We talked a lot and decided on strategies.

DS was scared of forgetting books and being punished, so we packed his bag together and checked that everything was there in the evening.

We did a lot of "what if...?" scenarios and talked about possible solutions and outcomes.

Does your dd have a friend in her form? Can they walk together?

Drop the form tutor a line. They can buddy her up with a more confident child to help her.

Fingers crossed, it's a huge change but in a few week's time all will be good.

noblegiraffe Thu 07-Sep-17 21:03:12

One of my tutees had to be picked up by parents because he was 'feeling ill' and too upset to stay in school, then he had several wobbly days where he was coaxed into school and lessons.

This was years ago. He was fine ever after, got excellent A-level results and happily went off to uni smile

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 07-Sep-17 21:21:41

My youngest was sick every morning for the first week - I said to her every day that once she'd been there a week and had gone through her whole timetable and knew what was going on that she'd be fine. She was smile

It's worth emailing her form tutor if you have their contact details?

Trb17 Fri 08-Sep-17 11:01:26

Thank you all. We had tears again this morning. She puts the brave face on by the time she gets there but it's sad seeing her like this as she always loved Primary school.

She's got a friend to walk with and socially she's ok at the moment, it's the shouty loud strict teachers that are frightening her and the fear of getting things wrong or in trouble.

She's on fortnightly timetable so I'm hoping that by the end of next week she's going to start to feel better once she's been through all lessons over the two weeks.

So nice to hear of wobbly starts turning good in the end and I'll definitely contact her form tutor if things don't start to improve soon. Thank you all.

BarbarianMum Fri 08-Sep-17 14:36:34

Ds1 started his new school this week and is sad and overwhelmed. Finding it particularly difficult because none of his close friends have gone there with him. We are aiming for survival this week and hoping he'll relax and enjoy it a bit next week.

I'm feeling guilty even though I still totally believe that this is the right school for him long term.

ifonly4 Fri 08-Sep-17 14:58:18

Things will relax as she makes new friends, knows where things are and what's expected. The teachers don't know any of them at the moment, but as time goes on they'll relax as they'll get to know each and every one of them. By the time my DD was in Year 10 there was a lot of light hearted banter between pupils and even their teacher in class.

2014newme Fri 08-Sep-17 17:10:10

Was her primary a small one? There are 730 at my dds primary I'm hoping being used to loads of kids will help when mine start!

Trb17 Fri 08-Sep-17 18:13:55

Thanks all.

BarbarianMum I'm sure he'll have better week soon. We've been on survival mode all week too and she went with 90% of her Primary.

Yes 2014newme her Primary was 2 form entry so medium I'd say but certainly hasn't prepared them enough. Babied them in many ways angry

Thankfully she had a good day today! Met her newly declared 'favourite teacher' and had fun so is all smiles to end the week. Phew! smile

scrabble1 Fri 08-Sep-17 20:35:24

DS started secondary this week. It's been pretty rough with overcrowded school buses and not knowing anyone.

Tantpoke Fri 08-Sep-17 21:10:48

DS started Secondary School this week, we were all in a bit of a blur on Monday.
DS had to be out the door before any of us to walk to school on time on a journey he's only walked once before with me.
I had to leave for work 10 minutes later and my DD in yr 6 had to leave on her own 10 mins after that.
DS has had to navigate his huge new School there are no old friends in his new class, he has just been busy attending lessons and trying to find the classrooms to be phased by anything else right now.
No shouty Teachers yet though.
Basically he can't really get upset about going because we are all busy doing our own thing that we wouldn't have time to acknowledge it.

Middleoftheroad Fri 08-Sep-17 22:52:19

My DTs have started at two different secondaries (a grammar and a comp) without any primary friends and without each other. It's been tough.

The logistics, timings, planners and journeys are different. Aside from the organisation it has been emotionally hard for them and me and seeing all their friends go to a different school. It breaks my heart to see them go in opposite directions when they are the same academically but both did not get in their preferred school.

Hoping it will get easier but its so hard juggling this and work and life right now. I was a year older when I started secondary and I was more mature in so many ways grin

TheColonelAdoresPuffins Sat 09-Sep-17 10:11:04

That's good that she seems happier and it's good that socially things are ok. Before dd started at her comp i said that she might find the teachers very strict at first but it was because they don't want the kids running riot so it would benefit her. I think it helped her to understand this and she's been happy there.

Fretnworry Sat 09-Sep-17 19:49:55

DD is really struggling. Friends in school but non in her class and the friends are together so having a fun time already, which makes DD feel worse (no criticism of the other children, pleased they're settling).
Plus dds friends got a letter congratulating them on being 'promising students' based on CAT scores done last term. DD didn't get one so now feels socially and academically disadvantaged.
And all her primary mates are living new schools.
It's horrible seeing her struggle and we're wondering if we've made the wrong choice. Not keen on school being so ready to label them based on CAT tests - feels divisive. And the set of environment we didn't want (I know they will stream/label but in first week?!)
We're all a bit fed up. DD has health issues too and she's struggling with that so it's all feeling a bit much.

Yogagirl123 Sat 09-Sep-17 20:15:25

So sorry to hear the transition hasn't been as smooth at you would have hoped. I can understand how you feel my DS really struggled to settle too. He is a worrier so I didn't expect it to be easy. I called the school spoke to student services, who were brilliant, said it wasn't unusual and they had spoken to other parents with the same concerns. They spoke to DS and reassured him, things really improved after that and I wish I had called them earlier. DS is now 16, left school, passed his GCSEs and started college this week, yes he was still a little nervous!

missmapp Sat 09-Sep-17 20:27:13

I would agree with pp who suggested contacting the form tutor. DS 1 was really worried about certain things in secondary ( finding classes, forgetting books etc).I emailed his form tutor and she was great , spending time in the morning helping him get organised and asking teachers of lessons he was worried about to come and have a chat with him in form time. They are really keen to help so do contact them .

oncewasawarrior Sat 09-Sep-17 20:28:53

DD has just started at a selective but not overly pushy school. At her primary school she was loud, funny and confident- she's had a real wobble since starting secondary. She couldn't find some classrooms, got told off as her hair wasn't tied back enough and knows no one. They're also getting 3 lots of prep a night. There were tears on Tuesday evening, but by Friday she was a lot happier!
I think we've made the right choice but it is worrying....

Trb17 Sat 09-Sep-17 20:31:33

Thanks Yogagirl123 DD is a worrier too so I should have seen this coming really but was hoping for a miracle!

That sounds stressful Fretnworry and sorry your DD is having a hard time. My DD has struggled with many of her friends getting many 'house points' so far whereas she's hardly got any. At Primary she was that child who was never in trouble in the whole 7 years but already last week she got told off twice over simple mix ups. It's really knocking her confidence and how she sees herself as a pupil I think sad They've had tests already too but not actually labelled them as CATs although I know that's what they are.

Already tonight she's been upset at not knowing where her first class is on Monday. I was hoping to at least get to Sunday night before the worry kicked in.

Fingers firmly crossed for all of us for a good week next week.

Fretnworry Sat 09-Sep-17 20:43:09

That's rotten Trb17. You'd think they'd let the year sevens settle in before rewarding them - it just makes the struggling/under confident feel worse. The teachers can surely see who is not next to a friend and who is struggling? I know they have a lot of kids and it's not like primary but we chose a school with supposedly good pastoral care deliberately - we'd like to see some of it now.
How long do we give it before we approach the school? It's early days but each day something new seems to chip away at her; first they changed classes, removing the only child she knew (a bit), the friends who are together are making new friends, a letter labels others as academically able, primary school friends in other schools are all 'living it'. Poor DD just feels left out and lonely (her words). It's really hard to watch.

TheColonelAdoresPuffins Sun 10-Sep-17 06:52:05

Fret. When dd started year 7 she had a worry and I emailed the form tutor (who is a bit of a dragon!) and she was fantastic. Really helpful and reassuring. Might be worth contacting her FT now as I'm sure most would want to know if they can help year 7s settle in any way.
I agree the letters sound a bit pointless and divisive. Especially as it sounds like they sent them to the students themselves rather than the parents and year 7s are bound not to be very discreet about it and then inadvertantly give their friends who didn't get one the message that they aren't promising students. It doesn't sound very well thought out. If you are given a feedback questionnaire later in the year from the school you could mention it.

DizzyDandelion Sun 10-Sep-17 07:07:17

Plus dds friends got a letter congratulating them on being 'promising students' based on CAT scores done last term.
How revolting.... Very ill thought out I hope, rather than just uncaring or consciously divisive.
I agree op with contacting form tutor by email explaining concerns. School may not be aware at how stressed she is. Good luck.

RippleEffects Sun 10-Sep-17 07:10:53

DS2 started secondary this week too. Its exhausting. He's quite anxious and not naturally organised.

I have his two week timetable pinned up in the kitched. Each morning and evening we go through his days lessons/ next days. Think about where they are in the school, how to get there from where he'll be before the lesson. We list the teachers names too. We can see what equipment he'll need and make sure his bag is packed with the right stuff.

We've highlighted the changes week two and there are only a few new lessons, for less core subjects so he's slightly less apprehensive.

DS's form tutor is lovely and I'm another one who suggests dropping your DD's a quick email, just so they can keep an extra eye. The school may also have a pastoral care lead who may have some activities to help your DD settle.

exLtEveDallas Sun 10-Sep-17 07:24:48

DD took a good six weeks to properly settle in to High School - pretty much up to the Oct half term. It was a combination of losing old friends, gaining new ones, school size, moving between classrooms, homework, tests and sets. It was a hard slog but she came through in the end. Her confidence grew and that made a huge difference.

Don't be surprised if your DDis the same OP, the first term is a rollercoaster of emotions and worries before they find their feet.

MaisyPops Sun 10-Sep-17 07:35:30

It takes a while for y7s to settle.

Last week when k wasn't teaching I spent at least 10 mins of my free mopping up wandering lost y7s and taking them to the correct place. They're usually so desperate to please and terrified of being in trouble (I had a friendly quiet word with one who left his equipment at home and I thought he was going to cry. confused)

Make a copy of gheir timetable and colour code it and pin it up in the kitchen.

Pack their bags together the nigh before (but some teachers might be lile me and keep hold of y7 books so thry don't forget)

Please remind them that although staff may seem scary, we are nice and willing to help. They are better off asking for help than struggling and getting into trouble.

If you have your child's tutor or head of year/house, call them and let them know your child is studying and they'll pass it on so staff know.

Hope thay helps.

Fretnworry Sun 10-Sep-17 08:40:48

Thanks for the suggestion of emailing form tutor. We haven't met her, she wasn't there at the open evening but let's hope she's understanding. Glad others agree about the cat test letter. Thought it might be just me!

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