5 Top Tips to Support Children with Their Transition to Secondary School

According to Mentally Healthy Schools, 2 in 5 students fail to reach expected academic progress after transitioning to secondary school and children with SEND are more likely to feel isolated if they don’t have a smooth transition. When moving to secondary school, children can be worried about a variety of things including getting lost, losing old friends, a larger school and the list goes on. It is important to get children excited about the transition as it is a stage in life which builds resilience and strength of character. 

Teachers and parents can facilitate with the transition by preparing children accordingly. We have put together 5 top tips with resources which can be used at home or in school. 

1) Transitions activity

Teachers can download classroom activities on YoungMinds  and use these to create a safe place for discussion, helping students learn about change and how to cope with it. This resource has activities  including the ‘Change Tunnel’ where children can discuss what they are worried or excited about when they think of going to secondary school. Each child can write their idea on a post it and add to a hat/bowl. Each statement can be shared with the class and then added to the board underneath the headings ‘Nervous’, ‘Excited’ or ‘Not Sure’. It may be useful to set up a worrybox for children who have other concerns about the transition, these can then be used to create discussions in class. 

2) How to make friends hacks 

Schools can show this short film to their pupils as they are transitioning from Primary to Secondary school. You could show this fun Beano video to your students on transition day or in their first week at their new school. Encourage children to show off their skills to others or to start a conversation with those who may appear to be on their own. This light-hearted video is a great starter exercise to get children thinking about how they may interact with others on their first day. 

3) BBC Bitesize starting secondary school 

BBC Bitesize have launched a new campaign aimed at 10-12-year olds, teachers and their parents. This website offers various resources including ‘Year 7: A day in the life’ where you can follow Alfie through a typical day in year 7 as he explains step by step what happens at school and some of the rules and changes you can expect  when you start. This is a great way to introduce Secondary school to your students, play the video get your class to point out all the changes from a typical day in year 6. 

4) Get organised using Mental Health Foundation tips

Moving to secondary school can be exciting and can also be scary due to a big change in environment. Mental Health Foundation spoke to young people to ask for their advice on how to get prepared for the big move and these are some of their ideas:

Ask for a map of your new school

Practise getting ready for your school

Ask your teacher to look at a weekly timetable so you can get used to what this looks like

Ask your new school for the school rules so you can be familiar with them 

5) 5 simple steps for a good transition 

Mentally Healthy Schools have designed a poster with 5 important steps to make the transition process run smoothly. Some of these tips include developing a buddy system where older students are trained to support the year 7 students. Buddies can be introduced before the summer break to make the first week less daunting. 

Sometimes change can cause worry and anxiety and this may cause an impact on behaviour in the classroom. Check out our blog ‘8 Techniques to Encourage Positive Behaviour in the Classroom’ for more tips on behaviour management. 

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