Settling into a new secondary school

In our last post we looked at helping your child settle into a new primary school. But what if your children are older, and have just started, or changed, high school/ secondary school?

Starting a new school can be fun, exciting, scary – but it’s rarely easy, and any new pupil will be on a steep learning curve. This is especially true for those moving up to a secondary school from their primary school or a child who is moving to a new high school as a result of moving home.

Kids in that second group, in particular, can have a pretty difficult time. They are not moving with a group of their friends, and they are probably having to adjust to a new home and a new town as well as a new school. Although some settle in very quickly, others can find it an intense and difficult experience. For the children their priority is finding and fitting in with new friends, with their academic needs sometimes taking a back seat.

Even if your kids get off to a good start at their new schools, you have to bear in mind that so many new experiences all at once can have an adverse effect on their learning. It can be difficult to stay on top of academic subjects when they are adjusting themselves to new faces, new subjects and different ways of doing things.

As a parent, what can you do to help in this situation?

  • Be encouraging at all times and be aware that your children need particularly intensive support at this stage of their schooling.
  • Talk about your child’s new friends but don’t forget about schoolwork when you’re talking about the new school. Yes, it’s great that your kids have new friends and new teachers, but it’s important that this is balanced with their schoolwork. If friendships don’t happen and your child is really struggling then you can consider home schooling with the help of tutors.
  • For this first few weeks at least, keep a close eye on schoolbooks and levels of achievement. Are they generally consistent with performance at the previous school? This can be an issue because different schools and regions may cover topics in a different order or follow an entirely different syllabus. It’s worth chatting to their teacher to identify any gaps in their knowledge.
  • Liaise with teachers. This is less easy if your child has moved up to the first year of a new school, when form tutors and heads of year will be beseiged by anxious mums and dads. If your child has gone into a new school in a higher year, you should get a bit more attention. In this situation, it can be a good idea to get your child’s new form tutor or head of year to call his or her opposite number at your child’s old school and get a sense of needs and priorities.
  • If your kids are starting a new school in the first year, make sure their teachers know that they are new to the area and aren’t part of the cohort of friends that has moved up from primary school.
  • You probably know your child’s strengths and weaknesses reasonably well – so make sure the new school does too!

By and large, most children are very adaptable and resilient, and settle into new schools easily within a week or two. If you’re worried that your child is falling behind academically with their schoolwork because of the upheaval of starting a new school, he or she could perhaps benefit from some extra tuition. If you’re based in the Manchester, Stockport, Wilmslow, Cheshire areas and would like to discuss tuition options, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 121 Home Tutors and we’ll do our best to help!

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2 Responses to “Settling into a new secondary school”

  1. Isabelle says:

    Gee wliilkers, that’s such a great post!

  2. Alison says:

    Thank-you 🙂

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