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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Until 1st March I don't for definite which secondary school my DD is going to, but I do definitely know she is going to secondary school in September.

So for those for you who have had DCs move up to secondary, what advice can you pass on to those of us who have DCs soon to move (and those in the future).

I'm thinking practical stuff (like what do they need but no one tells you in advance , what schools say they need but don't) planning travel to school etc.
Emotional stuff, getting them mentally prepared for what is to to come. Making new friends, keeping/ditching old ones.
Educational stuff, keeping the brain ticking over during the summer by doing a bit of work or letting them have a well earned rest. Looking at subjects they haven't covered before or leaving it until they get there.

All advice gratefully received, at least by me, if not from others too.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:34 pm
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My dd moved up last year- she was really ready for it and her primary school prepared them well for it - so I did not really do any thing other than get uniform and any other kit school recommended. DD had the summer off - guide camp, holiday with dad, holiday with mum - bit of chilling at home & visits to relatives. No work at all but dd loves to read so she did read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensebility but only because she discovered them and wanted to read them. She has settled in beautifully to her GS and keeping up with the work so seems to have worked out ok.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:44 pm 
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Location: london
Good idea, here are my tips!
Tinkers wrote:
I'm thinking practical stuff (like what do they need but no one tells you in advance , what schools say they need but don't) planning travel to school etc.
What they actually need will vary from school to school, if you can get advice from someone already there take it, but otherwise start off with everything to avoid panic and nagging doubts about whether they will get a detention on their first day for not having science goggles for example. (They won't, but the last thing you want is for them to be worried that they might.) Also, go to the second hand uniform sale and buy, buy, buy, you might not think it necessary, but it will be!
Make sure DC know the journey and know a selection of what if alternatives. Maybe even print a little sheet for them to fold up and hide somewhere (humiliating otherwise) so that if someone jumps under a train on day 1 (DD1) or is a there is a 'fire on the track' (DD2) on day one they know what to do.
Tinkers wrote:
Emotional stuff, getting them mentally prepared for what is to to come. Making new friends, keeping/ditching old ones.
DD1 went with 2 friends from primary, DD2 with none, life was much easier for DD2, easy advice 'try to make friends'. Encourage DC to be open, pleasant and kind and watch, hope and step in if necessary (but only if you think there is a very strong chance of a positive outcome).
Tinkers wrote:
Educational stuff, keeping the brain ticking over during the summer by doing a bit of work or letting them have a well earned rest. Looking at subjects they haven't covered before or leaving it until they get there.
Let them rest and have fun! DD1 was convinced she was a numpty when she started doing French and Latin courses at high school which the prep kids had already done. However, in the end of first term exams she scored higher than almost all of them. Kids catch up, teachers teach, the over prepped may struggle. Make sure they realise that kids will have been taught different things so far and discourage them from making early judgements about their own capability (let alone anyone else's).
Good luck, it is a tiring time, but making sure DC feel supported is key. Finally, try (I failed) not to interrogate them about every detail and then get in a panic. They will be tired and will need to come home to a respite from school environment, particularly if they feel they are floundering. Kids pick up on stress so try to be chilled. Easily said and not what I did first time round but hey ho, hindsight and all that! :D

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:56 pm 
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I feel bad now. I once gave a child a detention in their first week of term in a new school. They reminded me of it many years later when serving me during their Saturday job in a local shop. He'd turned out very well though.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:51 pm
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I made suremy ds could independently get home from school before the end of y6 and knew the route to his new sch which bus stop to get off, etc. Apart from that I did nothing , we had a lazy summer and worked out when he began secondary that he hadnt really learnt anything for months. However he has managed well. We have kept in contact with friends he wants to see at weekends and holidays, but new friends have quickly become his priority. I chat to his old pals mums they seem to have all settled well. We also returned to his old school's christmas fair and nearly the whole class turned up.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:32 pm
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That is nice and reassuring. I expect DS to be going with no firends from his current school so it is nice to hear that it hasn't been a problem. That is all I am nervous for him in the first few weeks, but I am also excited that he will find someone like minded and make good new friends.

Strangely I am nervous about him being further away while he is at school. Which is crazy because I don't stay in the village where we live all day when they are at school now. I think it is the transition for me as a parent that might be harder!

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The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:17 pm 
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Make sure you buy the recommended calculator as if it is another model it may be very awkward to use.

Buy second hand uniform when you can - check sizes of everything as often different suppliers do vary. You might need a small jumper but a large PE top. The best schools allow you to try things on before ordering.

Don't buy 'optional' uniform until your child gets to the school. In particular, school backpacks are only worn by new Y7s!

A cheap PAYG mobile is best in case it is lost. Name everything!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
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Guest55 wrote:
The best schools allow you to try things on before ordering.


I have been getting quite bewildered trying to choose a good secondary school. Now I know how!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:43 pm
Posts: 189
Tinkers wrote:
Until 1st March I don't for definite which secondary school my DD is going to, but I do definitely know she is going to secondary school in September.

So for those for you who have had DCs move up to secondary, what advice can you pass on to those of us who have DCs soon to move (and those in the future).

I'm thinking practical stuff (like what do they need but no one tells you in advance , what schools say they need but don't) planning travel to school etc.
Emotional stuff, getting them mentally prepared for what is to to come. Making new friends, keeping/ditching old ones.
Educational stuff, keeping the brain ticking over during the summer by doing a bit of work or letting them have a well earned rest. Looking at subjects they haven't covered before or leaving it until they get there.

All advice gratefully received, at least by me, if not from others too.


Excellent suggestions especially by mad?.

Try to do one or two dry runs to the school if your DD is going to travel to the senior school on her own in public transport.

If DD is used to home made lunches in the primary school, and the secondary school has mandatory lunches at the school, maybe some briefing in that direction could be useful.

Otherwise, relax and enjoy the summer :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:41 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:28 pm
Posts: 2439
IF they haven't got a phone yet, buy one before September so they get used to it, and the novelty of having one wears off.

Get them used to being independent, even if its just going to the local shops to buy a pint of milk.

If they are using public transport, give them practice in buying tickets, reading timetables etc, and work out a contingency plan if trains are cancelled (ring home, use a taxi (have taxi numbers in 'contacts' on phone), have emergency money hidden in bag).

Switch from radio2 to radio1 so in the car so they can get used to up to date music.

My dc was the only child going to his school. Reassure them that there will be several other children in the same situation, and they they will soon settle in.

Have fun buying all the new school uniforms, stationery etc. Make it a special day for them.

Sorry if I've repeated other people's suggestions.


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