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Mumsnet users share their experience of their child moving up to secondary school with O2

240 replies

EllieMumsnet · 23/08/2018 13:32


Sending your children off to secondary school can feel like a milestone in your child's life and a big step as a parent. It's likely also a time where your child is seeking more independence, leading you to wonder "is it alright to...?" on a regular basis. With this in mind, O2 would like to hear about your experience or concerns about your child moving up to secondary school.

Here’s what O2 has to say: “#IsItAlright to let them use a tablet at breakfast? We hear you. Parenting is full of #IsItAlright questions, challenges and dilemmas. That’s why we’ve launched O2 Family, to bring advice, safety tools and kid-friendly offers to parents across the UK. We don’t pretend to have all the answers. But hopefully we make it a little easier to navigate the everyday messy magic of family life."

September will see a whole new start for loads of kids around the country and parents have to adjust too. Whether you're about to do it, or remember it well, how do you cope with your child making the move to secondary school? Are you giving them the independence of doing their homework without reminding them? Perhaps you’re debating whether the move to secondary school is a good time for them to get a smartphone? How have you changed the rules to give them more independence while keeping them safe? And how are you handling the emotional side of seeing them all grown up (yet still your baby)?

Share your experience or concerns with O2 in the comments below and you could be in with the chance to win a £300 voucher for the store of your choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck!

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Mumsnet users share their experience of their child moving up to secondary school with O2
OP posts:
lolly2011 · 23/08/2018 16:17

Secondary school can be overwhelming they are going from having one teacher to several and the suddenly expected to make notes, record and complete home work. I try to make this as easy as possible, from at start getting their uniform together until he settled then encouraging him to sort out everything the night before and then getting a routine to keep on top of homework. Don't get me wrong sometime a little help is required but eventually he realised getting homework out of the way actually frees him up. When they start I encouraged him to take part in as many after school clubs etc to help make new friends.

NoLeslie · 23/08/2018 18:16

I've one in high school already and one just about to start. The eldest has said what worried them most was missing the bus, as I never really explained what would happen, just told them not to miss it. Doh.

For my youngest I am generally concerned about the fact they hate change, so September is always a bit stressful. They have met up with some others going to the same school which helps.

sharond101 · 23/08/2018 20:08

Iam concerned my Son will go from being the most popular and brightest in a smaller environment to being one of so many at secondary school. I don't want his confidence to suffer.

Theimpossiblegirl · 23/08/2018 21:37

My DDs are in a 3 tier system, First School (reception to y4), Middle School (y5-y8) then Upper School (y9-y11/13).
It has been great for us, a more gradual transition and the first schools don't have Y6 sats, so there's a whole period of just being children before they go up and it becomes more formal.
My biggest concern was them getting the bus from age 9 and moving up younger, but it was a smooth transition.

Thistly · 23/08/2018 22:37

For some children it is a whole new world opening up. We hear a lot about the limitations of education, which I agree can be damaging in many ways, but going from having one class teacher who you may or may not get on with, to having many subject teachers who are passionate about their subjects can be a really positive experience for those kids who found year 6 boring.

Treaclespongeandcustard · 23/08/2018 22:47

I am very worried that my vigils will be bullied and will be unhappy at school. I’m also worried that the teachers will be overworked and underpaid and won’t have the mental capacity to care for each student as they should.

JellySlice · 23/08/2018 23:36

My youngest is about to start secondary. A mixture of confidence (been there, know the school is going to be good for him) and anxiety. Not because he's my baby, but because he's different to his siblings. I'm confident that the school will do their best to treat him as an individual, unfortunately his personal objectives are not to do his best, but to live up to his sibs.

NeverTwerkNaked · 23/08/2018 23:48

DD is starting in September and I am very nervous for her but presently she is just excited! I think the schools have put a lot of work into the transition which helps- she spent a lot of time there once SATS were over.
I’m nervous about the extra independence and responsibility for her, they seem so young still really at 11. We didn’t start secondary until age 13 where I grew up, and were much more ready by then

AlliKaneErikson · 24/08/2018 00:15

My son’s about to start year 7 in secondary school. Although I’m not worried at all about the academic side of things, I do worry that as one of the youngest in the year (11 this week) he’s not quite as ‘steetwise’ (maybe not the right word?) as some of his peers. He’s quite anxious about starting as his 3 closest friends are all in a form together and he’s in a different form with lots of people he doesn’t know (although I’m trying to get him to see that it’s a positive and that he can meet new people).

WellySocksBox · 24/08/2018 06:15

I'm worried that we will forget to take him in for Saturday school.

KAKADU2001 · 24/08/2018 06:54

To be honest with all four of our children it was stress free. We took them all for a visit to their new school before they officially made the move.

barbsbarbs · 24/08/2018 06:57

this has always been an exciring time for my children, new found independence, new friends and facing new adventures and challenges. We have loved the whole expereince

hmariez · 24/08/2018 07:19

It hasn’t happened yet but my daughter is already asking lots of questions (going into last year or primary in September)

start100 · 24/08/2018 07:21

Oh,this is a good question becouse my son just start a secondary school this year.It is a stress for him and for them becouse I dont have a experience with high school education in UK (we are from Poland).I choose a good school in my area and I hope everything will be good.I also bought him a new phone to have a contact all the time and a new grow-up things to school:)

Pastychef · 24/08/2018 07:21

Schools don't always have the resources or patience to deal with issues such as bullying so it's important to persist and escalate gently if you have concerns. Schools also don't like trouble so tread carefully but don't shy away from holding senior staff to account for systemic failings. As a last resort pass on your concerns to the DfE or Ofsted. Been there, done it, solved the problem.

maryandbuzz1 · 24/08/2018 07:45

The move to secondary school didn’t seem to bother our son but as we live in a tiny village it meant a long bus journey to and from school. So with this in mind we decided that a phone was essential so we could check where he was and whether he had missed it!

madeyemoodysmum · 24/08/2018 07:52

Don't be naive about the changes

I was too casual about it and my dd took till Christmas to really settle. I was getting very worried. I worried I'd chosen the wrong school for her.

do talk to the form tutors and year head and they can really help the child.

Now my dd is settled happy has a lovely bunch of new friends and has a fab report so we are very pleased with the school and her.

emmav6 · 24/08/2018 08:04

I'm pleased that they spent quite a lot of time at the school before the holiday which is a huge help getting to know the place. I will support my son as much as possible and when he wants me to

asuwere · 24/08/2018 08:31

DS1 has just started secondary. To be honest, it hasn't been stressful at all, he had several visits and induction days before the summer so he knew what it was going to be like and just took it in his stride, as did I. :)

hdh747 · 24/08/2018 08:36

My biggest worry was the journey, ours had to get two buses or a bus and a train, and that meant a very early start.

mshell1231 · 24/08/2018 08:37

My eldest is at high school and I was worried when she started about how she would cope with the change. However, she dealt with the changes well and has made lots of friends over the first two years she's been there.

AR2012 · 24/08/2018 08:39

Ours go to a tiered school also so the transitions a lot less daunting. They see the older kids in the other buildings etc so know that's their journey in their school life.


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RueDeWakening · 24/08/2018 08:44

My oldest will be starting in September. She's uncertain at the moment, her primary school year are going to 16 different secondary schools so she won't be with many people she knows, and none are in her form group. Her two besties are going to different schools.

She's lucky in that we live very close to her new school so she can walk, so no worries about public transport.

She'll need her own door key as she'll get home while I'm picking up younger siblings from primary. She wants to join allll the clubs, so I'm cautious as she tends to over commit and I can see her getting stressed about time available for homework.

I'm concerned about how much everything costs! £400 on uniform Hmm

Trampire · 24/08/2018 08:56

My biggest advice is give it TIME.

Ignore the Facebook posts of photos of new starters and claims after the first day that they absolutely adored it and has taken to it like a duck to water. The chances are, that everyone takes time to settle. Everyone has nerves and wobbles. Everyone feels a bit insecure (even the parents).

My dd took about 6 months to settle. She started secondary knowing no-one. I thought it would be fairly easy but it took a long time and took effort on dd's part.

Practical tips,

Get a school bag big enough to hold EVERYTHING.

They will want a phone if they don't have one already. Don't get the most expensive super dooper model has it will be a target for little thriving fingers. A reliable, mid range smart phone is the best choice (you'll convince yourself they don't need a smartphone, but they will)

Get in spare rulers, protractors and pencils.


Always carry a £10 in a secret pocket of the school bag incase of emergency (if travelling on bus to and from school)

Put together a discreet period kit for emergencies (if you have a dd)

Join in as much as you can! if your school offers lots of clubs - join as many as you can. Lunchtime Drama club was my ds's saviour. Found a lot of new friends there.

All in all, don't rush to email the form tutor with every tiny thing. However, don't hesitate to email the form tutor with any real worries or problems.

My youngest ds is going this September and I think I'm doubly nervous. I'll try and remember my own advice but I'm sure I'll be worried lots and often stressing.

Overall, I will try and relax and let things work out.

Spices001 · 24/08/2018 08:56

Extremely stressful! As well as many structural changes to get used to, there’s the other kids & their behaviour. My daughter had a huge shock regarding the language used! It was helpful that they did a residential on 1st week of term but their safe guarding since has been very poor. Luckily they are now in special measures so have to address their failings

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