Primary to secondary school transition – advice from foster carers

Transitioning from primary to secondary school is an exciting time of life, but for many children it can also be a daunting prospect. So we’ve asked Caerphilly foster carers for some advise.

A new, much bigger school can offer greater independence and a world of opportunity but it can also mean new teachers, new subjects and potentially a whole new set of friends.

So what is so different about transitioning from primary to secondary school?

  • Classes may be larger
  • Bigger school environment
  • No personal desks and the use of lockers to store belongings
  • Subject specific teachers
  • Independent travel to school
  • Homework – greater volume and expectation
  • The need for greater organisational skills and meeting deadlines.
  • Career choices at a time when the child may not see they have any strengths

We asked our expert foster carers who have experienced children transitioning from primary to secondary school for their advice and this is what they had to say:

Maintaining friendships and making new friends

Your child may have gone through primary school with the same group of children, however the idea of making new friends can be daunting. Your child may be lucky enough to have their classmates join them at secondary school, but in most cases they will only know a handful of children at most. Joining extracurricular sports or clubs is a great way for your child to make friends with people who have similar interests.

Schedules and independence

In Primary school, schedules are usually dictated to your child by a teacher or by yourself, but when they move to secondary school, schedules will vary from day to day. They will have classes with different children and teachers, and they will need to be responsible for their own homework schedule.

We suggest that you offer your child more opportunities to vary their schedules and be in control of planning. It will give you a chance to step back and see how well they manage while you are still able to help in a more hands-on way. Prepare yourself – and them – by encouraging a more independent way of living. Explain that life will be quite different and prepare them for that.

Homework and Time Management

As mentioned above, your child will have to learn to manage their own time and homework schedule. Assignments are no longer issued one day and due the next. They will have varying deadlines, and teachers in different disciplines will not necessarily think about homework in other subjects when they assign their own. If your child is struggling to cope, see if you can help them put together a study rota. If the tasks become too much altogether, see if there is someone at the school you can speak to for advice. You may find that time management is the root of the issue, or it might be that there is too much being assigned.

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