The past week has seen the current Year 6 students taking a well earned break from their exhibition work in the form of a trip to the Secondary School and a presentation about what to expect from some of the current Year 7 students. From what we’ve heard it was a very successful day with children getting to spend time in many different departments, meet some teachers and most importantly have ice cream in the cafeteria!
For some though, the move to Secondary School can be a daunting experience for both parents and children. The current Year 7 and 8 students outlined the main differences between Primary and Secondary as simply (!) more tests which involved studying for, more homework, different classes and no Wednesday half day. Although a highlight does appear to be french fries once a week!
La Chât en Bref have spoken to teachers and children and come up with some top tips for parents to help their child in the move to Secondary:
Make the most of the opportunities to meet Teachers, Head of Year, Class Tutors and Parents
Attend Parent’s Information Evening – this will normally take place early in the first term and is the only scheduled opportunity to meet your child’s teachers (although teachers are available for discussion on an ad hoc basis whenever necessary). See our earlier article on surviving parents evening. There will also be plenty of advice and guidance from the Head of Year, Mrs Curtin. She will stay with your children through to Year 11 or 12. Mrs Curtin will hold parent coffees which are always full of top advice and give you a chance to meet new parents. There will also be an opportunity to meet your child’s tutor and other parents from the tutor group. You can also meet members of the PTA – the Year 7 CPR Coordinators will be Susanne Kelmes and Jen Sealy. They will keep you informed of these events and social outings too!
Information re Laptops and Equipment
For the first day a pencil case and something to write in are perfectly ok. Children will be issued with an agenda to document all their homework and at each class they will be informed by the teacher what notebooks/jotters are necessary and will be given ample time to visit the book room (where they can buy supplies and you will be invoiced). A full list of equipment needed is usually posted over the summer so buy what you can if you are home over summer (as it is often cheaper) but there is still time to stock up after school has started.
Please read the guidelines for which laptop to purchase – these are available on the school website. The general consensus of opinion regarding laptops is as lightweight as possible. Laptops are not needed until week three.
There will also be an IT workshop for parents from 8h15 to 10h30 on 7th September in the MMC (the Secondary Library!)
Description: Parents of students with new laptops are free to drop in for help from school tech staff with installing and setting up school applications: Microsoft office, Google Chrome and Google Drive. We will also have sessions on the basics of setting up Windows parental controls and monitoring, and Windows Defender. This will be a mix of formal presentations (which we can run every 20 minutes) and also just a drop in help desk where people can come at any point to get help with software installation.
Organisation and Independence
Every child receives a locker and they will be encouraged to use this to store their books in, (you must supply the padlock). As much as possible encourage your child to leave books that they do not require in their locker (if not needed that day) as opposed to carrying round in their backpacks all day and then bringing home (only bring home books needed for homework). At most your child should be carrying their books for that morning or afternoon only. Understandably it does take time (sometimes years) so a sturdy backpack is a worthwhile investment particularly if your child cycles/ walks to school.
Your child should organise their bag every night for the next day – please help them if they need it. Your child will be given a session on getting organised! No homework is given until week three. Subjects are assigned certain days for homework to limit the amount of homework given on the same day.
Having spoken to a number of Year 6 students one of their main worries is about getting lost between classes. Everyone else has been in the same position so encourage your child to ask! There is 5 minutes between each bell which will help and the teachers are very aware that the first few weeks can be a challenge for the children. The majority of the Year will be going to the same building as you so travel with a group! We have been assured the students learn their way around very quickly.
As we’ve said it can be a nerve wracking experience for some so talk through any worries with your child beforehand and try and allay any fears they may have. The Secondary School staff do an excellent job of looking after the Year 7s at the start of the year and are well aware of the students’ worries and concerns.
Hopefully the above has been of some use to you. I think the final and most important thing to say is enjoy and make the most of this exciting time! Remember the next big change will probably be leaving home and heading to university…..