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Top tips for moving on to senior school

Starting at a senior school can be hugely daunting, not least because it will often have bigger premises than a primary or prep school and students need to navigate their way around different departments between timetabled lessons.

Here are some tips for helping them feel as prepared as possible for this transition:

  1. Identify and discuss your child’s hopes and fears beforehand
  2. Encourage your child to practise going out on their own, so they get used to it before they start senior school.
  3. Plan and practise the travel route to school a few times before the first day.
  4. Remind your child that everyone is new and nervous – not just them.
  5. Familiarise them with the layout of the school and their new timetable, which will hopefully be given out before school starts
  6. Practise packing their school bag with what they would need for each specific school day based on their timetable, e.g. maths equipment or sports kit.
  7. Meet up with other students who will be transferring to the new school, to get to know new faces.
  8. Make sure they know what to do in case of an emergency or if they get lost: who to contact at school, ensuring both home and school telephone numbers are in their phone.
  9. Look together at the school website – you may even be able to familiarise yourselves with the names of the different subject teachers and what they look like!
  10. Read the school rules beforehand so they know how to dress and how to behave during the day – these are often given out at visits before school starts. Check in particular the rules for the playground and breaks.
  11. Practise putting on school uniform – especially ties!
  12. Try and get hold of a school Year 7 planner beforehand so they can become familiar with it.
  13. Parents should be prepared for the new term with all important dates and times diarised.
  14. Run through the ‘what ifs’ scenarios, such as: What if I lose my diary? Fall over? Lose my keys? Lose my PE kit? Have my money stolen? Lose my Oyster card? Leave my PE kit on the bus?
  15. Decide what they will do for lunch – packed or school dinners?
  16. Make sure they know when and where assemblies are held.
  17. Make sure they know where to put their coat and bag, and if they’ll have a locker.
  18. Make sure they know where their form room will be and the name of the form teacher.

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