Get set for secondary school

August 22, 2017

Jonny Simmons, Centre Director at Explore Learning, shares his advice for children taking the step up to secondary school and get them excited for this new challenge!

The year before the 11 Plus

It’s the big moment you’ve been waiting for. You’ve navigated your way from Reception to Year 6, from the phonics to the SATS. But now it’s all about to change. This next chapter brings lots of exciting new opportunities, and the chance to make so many great, new memories.

To get you feeling a little bit more excited, here are a few top tips to put your mind at ease and help with the transition, so that you can fully enjoy your first few weeks and months of secondary school.

Meeting new friends

Having grown up through primary school with the same group of friends, there will undoubtedly be the possibility that a change of school will involve you all going your separate ways. As strange as it may feel initially, it’s going to be a great opportunity to meet new friends. From day one, don’t feel afraid to get involved with everything that’ll be going on around the school, whether it’s a sports club, a music activity or just by sitting next to someone new in class. Just remember, everyone in Year 7 will be in the same position as you and will be sharing the same thoughts and questions.  Enjoy the moment with others in a similar situation.

Prepare your school bags the night before

I often reflect on my time at secondary school for the increased level of independence that came with it. Suddenly I went from being used to having a small school bag with a couple of books to an enormous backpack laden with textbooks, exercise books, pencil cases, calculator… you name it and it was in my school bag! Getting your school bag ready the evening before school will go onto become such a vital part of your daily routine. There’s nothing worse than searching all over the house first thing in the morning for your chemistry text book that you need for class that morning. Get yourself into the habit early.

Use your planner

You may not realise it yet, but the shiny, new annual planner that you will be given on your first day will become one of the single most important objects of your entire five years at secondary school. It goes without saying that the amount of homework will unfortunately be slightly higher than you’ve been used to so it’ll be vital that you note everything down along with the deadline that you’ve been set by your teacher.  Maybe you’ll need to write yourself a reminder to bring your PE kit the following day.  By writing it in your planner, you’ll be spared from having to wear whatever is lying in the lost property box…

And what’s more, you’ll be able to look back at your diary in years to come and realise how great it felt to be so organised.

Don’t leave your homework until the last minute

Which leads me nicely onto my final piece of advice. If your teacher sets you a piece of homework and you are lucky enough to be given a few days to complete it, do not leave it until 8pm the night before it’s due. You may have that feeling of complete and utter confidence that you can produce your best work at the last minute but, as you get older, the workload will increase too, and that magic power will become more and more of a challenge. So be efficient and complete the work as soon as it’s set. That way, there’ll be no frantic panic to get it finished before bed.

So, there we have it. By following just a few simple tips, here’s to you getting set for what were, for me, some of the best years of my childhood.

If Jonny’s advice has made you interested to hear more about how our experts can support your family with succeeding in secondary school, get in touch with your nearest centre to speak to one of the team!

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