Updated: Sep 9
As the summer holidays draw to a close, thousands of young people are getting ready for their very first day at secondary school!
Transitioning from primary to secondary school is a particularly significant change. From travelling by themselves, getting used to a much larger school, using school planners, making new friends, getting more homework, taking on brand new subjects, and even experiencing hormonal changes… There’s so much for Year 7s to tackle during their first term!
So how can we help make this transition as smooth as possible?
Schools already have brilliant systems in place to make sure students feel as comfortable as possible. But we’ve put together a few of our own suggestions which you might find helpful.
The pressure to ‘keep up’ with making new friends, being organised, and succeeding academically can feel overwhelming. Being prepared for Year 7 students will help put them at ease. Having a familiar face standing at the gates to welcome them each morning, especially during their first term, can make them feel at home and part of the school community early on. You could even introduce a ‘buddy’ system so that older years are given the responsibility to look out for new students.
In those first few weeks, remind them that it’s OK not to feel settled immediately. But more importantly, talk! According to Place2Be, the best way to reassure new students is to open up the conversation. Indeed, personalised Coaching is a crucial part of our personal development programmes for primary and secondary school students. Talking about things can be so reassuring. Once a worry or fear is out in the open, it always seems easier to tackle.
The role of the form tutor
Year 7s are used to having the comfort of one classroom in primary school, so knowing that they have a tutor room that they will use for registration can help structure their day. To make this room their own space, perhaps you could put their work up on display in the first few days. As well as this, it’s important to remind students to use tutor time to organise timetables and structure their week.
Sometimes it helps to have Year 7 classrooms all in one area of the school, so that students don’t feel as worried about getting lost. During those daunting lesson changes, it might be nice to put up positive signs or maps around the school to help guide and direct students to where they need to go.
Check out these ice breaker activities which would be the perfect addition during form time.
Parents can feel cut off when their children start secondary school. They’re no longer in communication with a single teacher and often, they won’t be collecting their children from school.
It can be useful to share more information about the curriculum for different subjects as support with learning at home is crucial. It’s important to keep your website up-to-date with key information about each term, for example. You can keep in touch with new parents through newsletters, or even on social media platforms like Twitter. Providing parents with regular updates can reassure them and save time wasted through queries via the school office.
Enjoy the journey!
Ultimately, learning about change, and how to cope, will help these students feel prepared for many other changes and challenges they will face in the future. This is such an exciting time and experiences like this make teaching all the more rewarding!
Are you looking for ideas on how to build strong relationships with your students this Autumn Term? Our FREE teacher resources and icebreaker games are a quick and easy way for you to learn more about your students.