From Primary to Secondary School: The big step!

by Sara

The move from primary school to secondary school is a big step for your child. The secure and perhaps small environment of primary school where your child may feel like a big fish in a small pond will suddenly be exchanged for a large school building that can seem quite intimidating to many children.

The transition from primary to secondary school can also be a difficult time for parents too. You may be worried about the school your child will be attending and wonder if they will be able to cope with so many changes. New friends, new subjects and perhaps a new travel route too, are just some issues many children worry about.

Here are a few tips to help you and your child overcome some common concerns.

  • As a parent it is vital to be positive and up-beat about the change, try not to pass your anxiety to your child.
  • Set aside an "exciting" day with your child to buy all necessary equipment your child will need for their new school.(i.e. school uniform, PE kit, stationary etc.)
  • Make sure you and your child have visited the new school- most primary schools will arrange visits to secondary schools but if this is not the case with your primary school, arrange a visit yourself well before the new school term begins.
  • Parents should encourage children to be independent. If your child has to travel alone to school, make sure they are aware of road safety issues, bus routes and timetables.
  • Some children will be quite worried about starting secondary school, be sympathetic but remind them that all the new children will be feeling the same.
  • Once your child has started secondary school, keep an eye on things while he is settling in. Talk to your child everyday about his new subjects, new friends and teachers. Show a real interest in what your child has to say.
  • Your child will be given more homework at secondary school so they must learn to organise their time so that homework is completed when requested. Ensure your child has a quite place to work.

Some children will have encounter difficulties a few weeks after starting their new school. Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Lower self-esteem.
  • Difficulty managing their time.
  • Fears about new social situations.
  • Increased academic stress.
  • Not wanting to go to school or frequently "sick".

If you recognise any of above symptoms, talk to your child's teacher and also to your child. If the problem appears to be academic stress or low self-esteem, consider finding a private tutor who can help find a solution to your child's individual needs and offer ongoing support.