New Year 7 tips...(89 Posts)
I was wondering if anyone had any tips that would help with my DD starting Yr 7 in September? What do you wish you had known before your child started? What really helps? What really doesn't?
All advice gratefully received
The main things my DC struggled with were organisation (DS found out the hard way you couldn't leave homework to the last minute when you had 4 pieces due on Friday and were out on Thursday night) and tiredness.
The tiredness was not something I'd even considered as the secondary school was actually physically closer than their junior school but they weren't used to walking round all day plus all the pressures of meeting new people and constant noise and business (bizarrely neither were remotely tired after starting Reception, which is when lots of well meaning people told us not to plan anything for after school!) - however it helped to try to make evenings low key and relaxing.
In terms of organisation, it's a tough one as I think you have to let them find their own way and in some cases it's trial and error. DD has a complicated filing system going on at home, whereas DS leaves all his books at school ...
It's useful to have a stock of stationary, paper, glue sticks etc at home. If they don't have access to a printer and/or the internet at home, think about how they will do homework.
Definitely keep a stash of spares of all the stationery they need and be aware of anything that might trip them up. At DS's school, for example. they have to have their journal every day, or the money for a new one, or they go into isolation, so he has £3 in a zipped pocket in his blazer, just in case. He's never forgotten it but it took that worry away for him that maybe he would. We also have a spare school tie and a couple of pairs of black socks in the spares box in case of emergencies!
Remind her that everyone is new, no one knows where they are going for the first few days and to write down as much as she can. They get so much information that some is bound to go in one ear and out of the other. Good luck!
Get your uniforms in ASAP many outlets run out.
Make sure you have the right equipment pens for some reason they need purple pens , calculator etc. They get a negative if they don't have what they need even if it's really minor.
Get the best shoes you can afford they walk a lot.
Cashless system make sure she has money in her account.
Bus pass if she needs one.
Let her know that overall it's very different but quite fun.
If your child already uses social media accounts, make sure you have full access to them, including private messaging. If you intend allowing your child to have access to social media accounts when she starts Y7, make it an explicit part of the arrangement that you will have access to anything and everything she posts/shares.
Over the Summer, practice the travel. My dc walk to school, but, if they want to walk with new friend A or new friend B, they might take different routes. In that Summer between Yrs 6 and 7, we did a lot of walking and bike rides around the neighbourhood, learning where all the paths and cut throughs were, and where you ended up if you took route X or route Y.
If they are starting to go by bus or train, then practising using it on their own - what to do if it doesn't come or if they get on a train bus that is an express one and doesn't stop where they were expecting it to, etc.
Things I have found helpful -
Having a copy of the planner/ timetable stuck on the wall above the desk
Having a to do list for homework with due date
Doing homework as soon as possible rather than leaving it for 2 weeks and the night before
Having a printer, paper and plentiful ink is essential
The saying ‘everybody is going’ and everyone is wearing non uniform socks/ shoes/ makeup etc. is of course not true
If not already doing so - make them learn to pack and organise their own bags the night before for the next day
Agree firm rules on an allowance and lunch money
Most importantly have rules and boundaries in place for phone and social media use
Good thread - thanks OP! I suspect DS1 will struggle with the organisation, and would put serious money on a lost phone or bus pass before the end of the first term.
Any good bus pass tips?
For less 'with it' children (e.g. less mature, ASD etc), go through the new 'social rules' of secondary:
- mind your own business unless it is really serious (eg smoking, drugs, bullying) or affects you directly
- don't be cheeky to the bigger kids
- don't be over keen in class (no Hermione-like putting hand up all the time
Talk to people on 'going up days' and in the first weeks. Don't just stick with friends from primary.
Parents - some children need more scaffolding than others for longer than others. Set up systems and support your child in taking ownership.
Good quality still A4 plastic wallets are great for carrying work sheets too and from school.
Insist that everything is written in the planner , homework, messages, the fact there is a letter. It's OK to forget things but not OK to have not written it down.
Talk through some 'what ifs' both for journey and things going wrong at school.
Take copies of their timetable and display it somewhere eg kitchen/hall.
Pack bag the night before.
Have a rule regarding mobiles in room overnight. It might not be an issue now, but it is easier to put the rule in now than in y9.
I'm so grateful, thank you! I suspect my daughter will be fine but I do want to support her as much as I can without doing it all for her
Buy roll of Sticky backed plastic. They needed to cover their books.
Big Box in room for books. If it’s not in the box it has been handed in to teacher.
I sat with dd while she packed bag each night for first few weeks.
Timetable stuck up in a few places at home.
Yes to printer easily accessible in house with ink and paper.
Make sure you apply for bus pass asap, in our area there are limited places on school bus. Passport photo needed for bus pass.
See if there is a year 7 parents WhatsApp/Facebook group to join.
In contrast to Dixie DD has never had to cover any books. She also doesn't need a big box for books as they are kept in school and it's pretty hard to get them home at all!
Attitude to books is very school dependent!
I gave ds enough folders for each subject and made sure he had the stationary he needed. He has trays/drawer on my office desk to keep his school things in and he had the space to study /do homework there without distraction from other things in his bedroom.
I gave advice such as pack bag night before, it's best to do homework as soon as you get it, use an app for timetable, discussing why he got a demerit for forgetting homework and how to avoid in future (he only got 2 in the first year of secondary, none in second) etc but other than that left him to find his own way.
The first year of secondary is the perfect time for him to learn what works best for him, I'm a bit of a control freak and would loved to have organised his work and timetables etc my way so it was really hard to stand back and let him get on with it, but it has worked out well.
My dd is going to be Y7 in Sept. he had an elder dd there.
My dd found organising pretty easy. Hopefully your school will have a parent/teacher online system where homework details are posted etc. I find it very helpful to double check myself on big projects.
Join in loads! My dds school has 103 clubs!! Many of them on lunchtimes and after school - from choir, drama, dance, chess, chicken-club ......everything really.
My dd started secondary knowing no-one. She found the first 6 months quite tough socially, but her break through was joining drama club. There she found lots of people she clicked with and they were from lots of different form groups. From there she's formed a wide group of friends.
Dd says the people who don't get on well are people who find one friend and cling to them, don't join in or try new stuff.
Also, don't tell other children off for swearing. Yes it's horrible but it remember your own schooldays, you just look like a complete snitch who's not a team player.
Sorry my DS is going up to Y7 in Sept. DD is soon to be Y9.
Get a big strong bag for lugging everything around (DS’s school don’t have lockers).
For children who have difficulties socialising (and they may not be aware of this) join clubs. Try out lots of different clubs, be open to anything, even if you never considered it before. It's an excellent and safely structured way to meet people, especially people outside your own tutor group.
Set a time by which the dc must have arrived home, unless previously agreed with you. My dc go to school 10mins walk from home. Our home-by time is 40 mins after normal school-end time. This gives them time to hang out a bit, too.
Any changes must be replied to by a parent. So a text saying "Mum, gone to shops with Joey, back by 5" is not enough - dc needs to have received a reply from me OKing it. (This has been important to us because someone needs to be home to let primary-age siblings in, but the structured behaviour has helped my dc understand that families need to cooperate with each other.)
Don't be tempted to buy a arm / hand bag type bag as they really weigh you down one sided and will cause you to walk unbalanced. My DD has an Animal rucksack that is plenty big enough and her form teacher (a pe teacher) commented on how it was the perfect bag for school.
Also best advise I have DD was if you ever forget anything then as soon as you go in that class walk straight up to the teacher and apologise and say you'll email it later or bring in first thing tomorrow etc. DD has done it twice and saved herself a detention both times whereas those who teacher found out hadn't got it but hadn't let them know til later in class got detention.
Photocopy timetable and have spares in blazer / bag / at home etc.
If ill and off school ask classmates for homework as one day DD had one day off and h/w was set (1st term in yr 7 and knackered so I gave her a Friday off to sleep and recuperate) and she didn't know and so didn't do it and she was told she'd get detention as she should have asked friends. She did it in break time luckily so missed detention by skin of teeth.
In year 9 now and never had detention. Also volunteers for lots of things so teachers know they can trust her. Has been chosen to be a buddy for a group of year 7s and she'll take it seriously too as she doesn't remember her buddy bothering after induction day with any of them.
Exciting times and v different to Primary. They expect a lot and for parents to let their children get on with it. DD caught bus from day one (school bus so no chance of a practice run) so she's had to get on with it. She's since found a friend who lives nearby and we share lifts now so that's an idea if you're planning on driving.
For those with girls:
Even if they haven't started periods yet, make sure they have an 'emergency bag' in their school bag containing sanitary stuff and spare pants. Tell them they can throw away soiled ones, or given them a nappy bag or similar to put them in. <Actually do it now if you haven't already got this in place at primary>
An emergency period kit is an excellent idea. Does anyone else do other things like deodorant or brushes or anything?
Get a big strong bag for lugging everything around (DS’s school don’t have lockers).
Another example of where advice is school dependent. DC's school have a "no bags in corridor" policy, so buying a just about big enough squishy bag that fits in a small locker would be the advice here!
Deodorant and brush/comb probably a good idea for PE bag, I'd doubt they would use them the rest of the time (mind you I have DC that have to be reminded to use deodorant at the best of times ...)
If you have a DC with long hair extra hair bands at school (in bag/locker) are a good idea (DD seems to be forever losing them, and they have to have long hair tied up)
Yes to emergency period kit. Dd carries a small travel sized deodoriser.
Plenty of sturdy hair bands. Dd hates her hair up but has to put it up for PE and Sciences.
She also carries an emergency £10 note in a small pocket inside her rucksack. Hers is a rural school - it's incase she misses the bus and somehow can't get hold of me and needs a taxi or any other reason.
Tbh, I think the biggest adjustment at transition is for parents. Most children sail through but a lot of parents get anxious. It is hard to adjust from accessible (ish) staff and lots of events and schoolgate chatter (where applicable) and PTA stuff to what can seem like Colditz to the uninitiated!
If they are going to let themselves in when they get home, an extendanable key chain that clips to an inside blazer pocket is fab.
DS still uses his from Y7, and he's just coming to the end of Y12. the fact the keys are physically attached to the blazer means they don't get forgotten
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