Starting high school

12 - 13 years
Teen sitting on stairs

Moving from primary school to high school is a big change for you child. Here are some tips to help make the transition a little easier for you both!

Talk about what to expect

High school is very different to primary school. Your child will have a different teacher for every subject, be expected to find their way to a different classroom with the right materials for each class, and they may have an increased workload to manage. Talk to your child about what to expect at high school before school starts so they are aware of these changes. You can also discuss different strategies they could use to help them manage – for example, they could colour code their books and timetable for each subject to make it easier for them to remember what they need to take to each class.

Making friends

There may also be big changes for your child in their friendship group, depending on how many of their friends are moving on to the same high school. Friendships are a big concern for many children moving to high school, so talk to your child about how they can stay in touch with old friends from primary school, as well as make new friends at high school. Talk about how they could go about making new friends – and remind them that everyone else will be a bit nervous too! Encourage your child to try and talk to someone they don’t know on their first day – the other child will really appreciate it, and your child will have a new companion for the day.

Be positive!

Listen to your child’s concerns, but try to point out the positive things about the move to high school. For example, you could talk about the opportunities that high school brings, like more independence, different facilities and equipment, more extracurricular activities and being able to choose subjects that interest them.

Extracurricular activities

There are likely to be many extracurricular activities available in high school that your child might not have done in primary school, including music groups, sporting teams, clubs and drama groups. Before school starts, sit down with your child and have a look at the range of extracurricular activities available at their new school. Talk about which ones they might like to get involved in. This may help your child to feel more excited about the transition. Getting involved in extracurricular activities is a great way to meet new friends – it can help your child do better at school too!

Get organised!

In high school, your child is expected to take a lot more responsibility for their own work and learning. Encourage your child to use a planner to record their homework, stay organised and manage their workload. Try to encourage your child to set up a study routine for their homework each afternoon after school, and to stick to this same routine every day. This will help them to manage their workload and develop the time management skills they will need to see them through the later years of high school.

Set some goals

Encourage your child to write down some goals before school starts – make sure they think about social and extracurricular goals, as well as academic. This will help to motivate your child through the busy first term, and help them to have a feeling of control in amongst all the change of starting high school. Setting goals also helps your child to take more responsibility for their learning and development.

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Last modified
30 April 2020