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Starting secondary school

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Play & Learn Going to school

Starting secondary school is a major moment in any child’s life. It’s a time filled with mixed emotions – excitement and anxiety. They’ll be going from being one of the biggest in a smaller primary school to one of the smallest in a bigger secondary school. And the structure of their days will be different. So it’s okay that they’ll be a bit nervous. You’ll probably be nervous too! But there are things you can do to help make the move easier for them.

In this short video, teacher Chris Smith has lots of great practical advice for going back to school, including how to manage that tricky transition from P7 to S1.

What if my child is nervous about starting secondary school?

Even the most confident P7 may be a wee bit worried about starting secondary school. There’s no point pretending that primary and secondary schools aren’t different. But there’s no need for them to be scared. There are plenty of practical things you can do to help smooth the transition and ease any worries they have.

What will schools be doing to help new S1 pupils settle in?

Your child’s primary school and their new secondary school will have plans in place to help new children settle into S1, but these will differ from school to school. Their P7 teacher may show them pictures or videos tours of their new school, and given them other information to help them when they start. Some secondary schools may be inviting children to come in for a visit, while others may be using videos and online chats. Get in touch with your child’s school to find out what the options are. 

Once they start, your child will get lots of support from their pastoral support (guidance) teacher, their head of year, support for learning staff and other pupils. If your child has any questions, all of these people will be happy to help. If you have concerns, you should contact your child’s pastoral support (guidance) teacher.

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

Tips for starting secondary school

Supporting your child

There is a lot for teenagers and young people to deal with at the moment. If you’re worried about how your child is coping, or you’re worried they’ve become a bit withdrawn, we have some advice on our page about supporting your teenager’s mental wellbeing. If you’re still concerned you can contact their school and speak to their guidance teacher about any worries you have.

Last updated: 26 Oct, 2023