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Making the jump from Primary to Secondary school

If your child is making the jump from primary school to secondary school, it's normal to feel excited for them – and also a little nervous!

We've got a few tips to help settle them into a new school – everything from helping first-day jitters by getting a bit of exercise, to playing on a calculator to see who can make the most words. 

Fun ways to get them ready for school

Tip#1: Get moving

Keeping active is a good way to spend some time together, get some exercise, and is the perfect way to prepare for a big change like starting school. Take the time to do something together over the summer – like going for walks. Grab a water bottle and stay hydrated. 

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Tip#2: Reorganise their room

Helping them to reorganise their room can be a great way to clear out all the stuff they don't use anymore, and can make them feel more "grown up".

Encourage them to draw a plan of the layout before and after using a ruler and protractor to make them as accurate as possible. It's a fun way to get them used to measuring things and using their protractors before they use them in the classroom. And you get a tidy room at the same time! 

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Tip#3: Calculator messages

Help get them used to the buttons on the scientific calculator by seeing who can make the numbers 1-20, using only the digit '4' and the operations buttons (e.g. + and -). You could even put a time limit on it!

And what childhood would be complete without sending each other secret messages on a calculator? 

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Tip#4: I wish my teacher knew...

Just like you, your child might be feeling just a little bit nervous about their first day of school. Writing down their thoughts, feelings and ideas as they make the move up to secondary school is a good way to express that.

One thing they can do is to think about what they'd like their new teachers to know about them. 

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Getting them settled once school starts

How their primary school will help

Primary schools prepare kids well for learning at secondary school. Their new secondary school will arrange visits throughout the year to meet secondary school staff and other staff.

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How your child's secondary school will help:

Before they start, it's normal for you both to feel a wee bit worried. Try not to worry too much though – once they start, most children settle in very well. Secondary school has a lot of new opportunities that their primary school wouldn't have, which can be really exciting for them to look forward to.

Your child will get lots of support from their guidance teacher, their head of year, support for learning staff and other pupils. If you or your child have any questions, all of these people will be happy to help.

Schools also often have a buddy system, where older children will be paired up with new pupils. If there isn’t a buddy system in place, you can request one for them.

When term begins in August, there will be a couple of weeks where children are introduced to new lessons and activities. 

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How to get them involved:

Secondary schools have lots of extra-curricular activities, before and after school and at lunch time. Some of these might not be available as soon as the schools open and might be phased in over the coming term. Read our FAQs on the schools reopening to learn more.

When they do start, encourage your child to get involved to help them make the most of their time to build skills and meet new people!

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How you can get involved:

Schools are always keen to make you feel part of the school community, so look out for family learning sessions in school bulletins.

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Fun ways to keep learning over summer

  • Why not visit your local library? Not only do you have access to brilliant books – including non-fiction – libraries often have activities and events on throughout the summer. (Libraries have been allowed to reopen from 15 July.)

  • Watch an Authors Live children’s author or illustrator event together – choose from one of many on-demand videos here:

  • Encourage your child to take part in the Deputy First Minister’s Summer Maths Challenge! Visit the website for puzzles, solutions and fun.

  • Use the BBC Bitesize website – there are lots of great games, free videos, step-by-step guides, activities and quizzes by level and subject for your child to have a go at.

  • Practise the new school route – what are the different options and which is the quickest?

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More tips for parents

Health and wellbeing for your child

These websites are all about making sure your child is healthy and happy as well as how to deal with bullying:

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Online safety

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Money and support

If you’re looking for help with the practical side of things, and for money advice, you may the following support useful:

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For help with getting your child to and from school and to find out more about free school transport options, check out these websites:

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Play & Learn School & homework Pre-teen (9+ years)

Last updated: 24 Nov, 2020