Making the jump up to Secondary School

As we approach the end of another academic year, there will be mixed feelings of trepidation and excitement about making the jump up to secondary school.

There will inevitably be a few tears, as friends and class mates go their separate ways, not only for holidays, but potentially to different secondary schools. This time also marks the end of other established relationships too. The primary school teachers have played a big part in the lives of our children at this stage and it will be quite the wrench to part.

Memories of our favourite teachers, friends and primary school experiences last a lifetime, as well as establishing long-term friendships.

As we break up for the summer holidays, secondary school will seem a long way off, with the yawning chasm of the holidays to come. And yet, as parents, we know the new term is but a few moments away.

For every child filled with excitement about the prospects of a new school and a new adventure, others will be uncertain and even fearful of what is ahead. One always hears horror stories of rites and initiations, at least one did in my day, but thankfully, most of it was greatly exaggerated teasing.

Whichever way one looks at it though, making the jump up to secondary school, does present a new set of challenges for each student. A new, larger environment, new classmates, new teachers, and more demanding expectations are just part of what can make the move up a testing time.

Something else to consider is the educational demands and competitiveness. While most students will already have experiences homework, there is a substantial increase in out of school work requirements at secondary school. And this brings me to the next point around support.

Up until this point, our children will have been taught most of the subjects by the same teacher, who will know each pupil and their idiosyncrasies. That familiarity is not there in a new school, and certainly not in secondary schools. Each subject will be delivered by a different teacher. They’re in, they’re out, and on the next class. Room for one to one support can be scarce.

Some schools are better at easing students in to this new world than others. So, for some if may feel seamless, while for others it will feel like several weeks of chaos and confusion.

In amongst all of this upheaval, it’s important that learning standards are maintained and improved. The volume of work will increase, the subject material is covered faster and it is a relentless cycle through the next summer holidays.

It is vital is that students don’t fall behind because it’s incredibly difficult to get back on track without specific support to do so. Just this factor alone can be detrimental to a student’s confidence, which in turn affects everything else they do.

As we draw this article to a close I’d like to mention that in moving to secondary school, there’s a much broader talent pool. Children that have been the shining stars of their primary classes may not be so in secondary school. While this makes logical sense, it can be quite a shock for the unprepared!

Speaking of preparation, it is a key part of getting ready for secondary school and everything it holds, all the way through to exam time. As a tutor, it isn’t just only about subject learnings and exam grades. Preparation and confidence-building is a fundamental part of the role I play in helping students to excel.

I wish you the best of summer holidays and the most exciting of times ahead.