Are you starting secondary school for the first time this year? Worried about finding your way around a bigger school, making new friends and the extra workload? Here are some things to remember when starting secondary school, courtesy of our friends at Meic.
1. Remember that you’re not alone
There are thousands of other young people across Wales that are in the same situation as you. People are nervous, anxious, worried, excited and all kinds of other feelings! You can be certain that most of the other children moving up to secondary school will be feeling the same way, or worse maybe, and this is okay! It’s natural to feel nervous when there’s a change in your life, and you’re unsure exactly how to handle it.
2. Help is available
The school and teachers know that this is a big thing for someone and most schools have lots of support and help available to new Year 7 pupils. You’ll have a form tutor who you will register with daily; they can help with any questions or worries that you may have. You’ll also have a head of year, learning mentors, counsellors, or well-being officers that you can talk to. Older pupils might be there to guide you around and help you settle in too. Take the time to ask them any questions or tips – they all started where you are now.
3. Being split up from primary school friends
Although you might get split up from your primary school friends, there’ll probably be some other people from your school in your form. You might already know who will be in your form before you start and you can choose to stick together in the first few days if you want to while you make new friends. Try not to worry too much about being split up from friends, but instead feel excited about making new ones. You’ll see your primary school friends during break and lunch time, so don’t worry!
4. Making new friends
Some people find it easier than others to make new friends, especially if you’re shy, but it might help you to remember that you’re all in the same situation and all want to make new friends. Introduce yourself to a different classmate each day. Think of some questions you could ask to find out more about them – this will help you to find things in common. You could ask about their favourite film or TV show, or what they’re planning on doing at the weekend.
Try not to focus on making friends with one person, this could make things hard for you if they are off school. Making a number of friends will give you more support and will broaden your interests too! Just be yourself and remember you’re all in the same situation and trying to make new friends.
5. Getting lost!
You’ll get a timetable with all your lessons, who the teacher is and the classroom numbers. The teachers know that it takes time to get familiar with a new school and will probably be a little more lenient if you’re struggling to find where you’re meant to be. It’ll probably take you a week or two to get used to changing from one lesson to the next and finding out where you’re going. Just ask a teacher or older pupil if you’re not sure where you’re going – they’ll be happy to help!
6. Coping with homework
You’ll probably find a huge difference in the amount of work you get in secondary school compared to primary school. The amount of homework might be overwhelming at first – rather than getting one piece of homework like you did in primary, you might get homework for a number of subjects in one day.
The most useful tip is to be organised. Set a time and place to do it, like after school or in the early evening. Do it when the lesson is still fresh in your mind and don’t let things pile up so that you’re overwhelmed with how much you have to do – keep on top of it. If you don’t understand the homework then ask the teacher – it’s better to ask than to not hand anything in when it’s time. If things get too much and you feel you can’t cope then talk to your parents, your form tutor. or teacher who might be able to help you find ways of coping.
Bullying is something lots of young people worry about when moving up to secondary. All schools have an anti-bullying policy and are keen to stop bullying before things get out of hand. Check out the schools website to see their bullying policy, or if you can’t find it then ask the school. Speaking out and telling someone is the important first step when it comes to bullying.
If you can’t get the words out to tell someone at school or at home, then you can contact Meic at any time between 8am and midnight, 7 days a week. Meic will listen, talk you through your options and can help you talk to the school.
This article was originally posted on Meic. If you are worried or scared about joining a secondary school or going back to school, and you want to talk to someone, talk to Meic confidentially and anonymously for FREE!
You can check out our Education Info pages here.