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By Louise Pennington, posted on 9th July 2020

Moving on up (to secondary school)!

The transition between primary and secondary school can be both an exciting and daunting time for children and their families.

Because of this year’s school closures, many regular end-of-primary activities like visits to secondary schools cannot happen. So, I thought I would share some ideas about how you can help your child make a confident transition to their new school even without these events.

Many primary schools will currently be celebrating your child’s time at primary school, and will be helping your child navigate the social and emotional aspects of transition. With that in mind, this post will focus instead on the many maths-related ‘life skills’ that your child will find invaluable when they start in Year 7. 

1. Plan your route

Your child’s new school is probably further away from where you live than their current school, so it is important to plan and practise the new journey.

Talk about the journey together, find the best route, and plan what to do if things go wrong (like the bus being late). Look at the time it takes door-to-door and, if possible, actually take the trip together. This will give your child practice crossing roads safely and will make the journey feel familiar. You could also:

  • Record the journey a few times and work out the average time, also noting the longest time it took.
  • Study bus timetables and decide which bus your child will need to get to be at school on time.  
  • If comfortable, let you child practise taking the journey while you follow behind.

2. Find your way around

Check if your secondary school has added a map to their website and if they have any additional support for transition this year, such as a recorded video tour or clips from key members of staff.

Study the map and ask your child to find different rooms or areas. See if they can show you how to get to and from different places within the building. You could also take turns giving verbal instructions and following them on the map. Don’t forget to talk about what to do if your child gets lost!

3. Prepare your uniform and equipment

One of the most enjoyable things about the transition to secondary school is getting prepared with uniform, stationery, and equipment! Talk about specific uniform items and special items your child might need for certain subjects. You could ask them to research and write a list of what they need, complete with prices.

Can they get these items within a particular budget? Are there cheaper or more practical alternatives? Take a look at our activity sheet to create a budget with your child:

Activity: My money

Learn how to organise money with this table.

4. Plan your daily schedule

A big part of the secondary school experience is taking more responsibility for personal organisation. You can encourage your child to take on more responsibility even before they begin.

When you receive your child’s timetable, ask them to colour code it for different lessons and list what they need in their school bag each day. Draw up a homework plan too, so that they are not overwhelmed on a particular day and are able to meet their deadlines.

A top tip here is to get your child to pack their bag the night before. They may need a checklist for this initially!

5. Practise using money

For some, the newfound independence of secondary school means more freedom with money too.

To help your child adjust to this shift, you can practise buying things in shops (or online) and checking change. If the school canteen menu is on the school website, look at this together. Try to reinforce healthy choices and discuss what your child is likely to be able to buy within their daily budget.

6. Use a mobile phone

Finally, for many children, this will be the first time they have their own mobile phone.

Alongside discussion around safe and acceptable use, a new mobile phone provides a great opportunity to practise maths skills by exploring tariffs, download, and call charges. What are the best deals for their usage? How much does this cost? What happens if they go over their usage allowance?

Finally, for more guidance on the transition to secondary school, check out this useful Parents’ guide to starting secondary school.

More from Oxford Owl

Books to prepare for secondary school

Bond 11+: English Get Ready for Secondary School

Katherine Hamlyn

Bond is the number 1 provider of 11+ practice, helping millions of children improve their literacy and numeracy skills. Bond Get Ready for Secondary School English provides essential support to help your child adapt to secondary school education, ensuring they have the core skills expected and the confidence to succeed.

Buy on Amazon >

Bond 11+: Maths Get Ready for Secondary School

Andrew Baines

Bond is the number 1 provider of 11+ practice, helping millions of children improve their literacy and numeracy skills. Bond Get Ready for Secondary School Maths provides essential support to help your child adapt to secondary school education, ensuring they have the core skills expected and the confidence to succeed.

Buy on Amazon >

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