Helping your child to take the next big steps

Starting ‘big school’ will more than likely be the biggest change your child will have ever known. 

As a Year 7 pupil, they will go from being among the oldest in the school to being the youngest and being surrounded by much bigger children and teenagers. 

At the same time, instead of having all of their lessons in the same classroom, they will be expected to find their way around their new school.

There will be new teachers to meet, new subjects to learn and new friends to make. They will also have more responsibility for ensuring they have what they need for their classes each day and, of course, ensuring they are on time. 

Most schools will have held a taster day in the summer term so your child will at least have a basic knowledge of the layout of the school.

It can be a little bit scary at first, which is only to be expected, but there are ways you can make the transition to big school easier for them.

Firstly, make sure they are prepared by shopping for uniform and equipment in good time so they have everything they need for their first day.

If your child has to get up earlier to leave for school then have a trial run before the end of the summer holidays. This should hopefully reduce the chances of them oversleeping and starting the day on the wrong foot.

If they need to catch a bus to school then again it can be beneficial to practise a couple of times before September rolls around.

Also encourage them to chat to older friends or siblings about what to expect on the bus.

It might be a good idea to arrange for them to make their way to school with friends if you are unsure about them travelling alone for the first time. If they have a phone, you could ask them to text you as they arrive at school safely, if possible. Make sure they have emergency phone numbers in their bag should they need to contact you.

You might also want to consider giving them spare change for the bus in case they lose their pass, or cash for a taxi if there is no other option. But if you are giving them cash, make sure that they also have somewhere safe to keep it and stress that it’s only to be used in an emergency situation.

Encourage your child to join after school clubs – whether it’s sports, arts or music. This can be a great way for them to develop a new or existing hobby and can also be a good way for them to make friends with pupils in other forms and year groups. 

Finally, make sure your child knows you are always there to listen to any concerns they might have. 

Make time to ask them how they are coping so they know that they can turn to you if they feel a need to. 

This will help them to feel supported and more confident. Also, encourage them to speak to their form tutor if they are struggling, as they will be able to advise them on the best steps to take.