Supporting your child through the change to secondary school
It may seem like yesterday that your child started primary school, but now secondary is looming. You may worry about choosing the right school, how you can help your child prepare and how to help them get the most out of secondary education. Your child will have to take more responsibility, such as:
- Take a new and unfamiliar route
- Planning for each day’s timetable, making sure they have the right books and equipment
- Doing homework most evenings...
Jennifer: I'm at my wits' end with my 15 year old daughter. She absolutely refused to attend school at the end of the last term and is now saying she won't go back this week.
ACE: I'm sorry you are having problems getting your daughter to school. You don't say what you have tried so far so I'll give a few suggestions for how you might deal with this. First of all you need to try and find out by talking to your daughter if there is something or someone causing problems at school - is there a particular lesson that she is having trouble keeping up with, a teacher she doesn't get along with, bullying or falling out with friends. These are...
Children can achieve well at school when their family and friends take an interest in their school and schoolwork. Getting involved, even in the simplest way, shows that you care about their education. Often, the more supported a child feels at home, the more effectively she or he will learn at school. Whatever your lifestyle, or family situation, it is never too soon (or too late) to start helping a child develop a positive attitude towards learning. Here are some ideas:
- Give encouragement and show appreciation of the child’s achievements, whether great or small.
- Allow them to make mistakes and to learn from them.
- Give feedback rather than criticism, eg saying ‘that didn’t seem to work’ rather than ‘you got it wrong’. This helps them think...
Much distress can be avoided through helping your child establish a regular routine by:
- checking the timetable together
- packing the school bag the night before
- getting enough sleep
- getting up in time to have breakfast.
Once your child has started school, make time to talk and listen to your child each day to check how things are going. Just giving attention in this way can help your child feel supported and more confident. However, resist the temptation to ask too many questions, especially when a child first gets home from school and is likely to be tired, hungry and short-tempered from coping with many new people and things. If your child is attending boarding school, make arrangements for him or her to be able to contact you or...
We’ve looked at how involved parents feel with their children’s schools, their opinions on bullying and how parents and teachers are trying to combat these problems.
School and Communication
‘My son comes home and says, “Mum, you’ll never guess what! Someone had to go to the headteacher’s office because they hit somebody!” One parent spoke about her child’s school, where, she said, parents don’t respect the teachers. She spoke of incidents where verbally abusive parents had been banned from the school playground. These incidents are far from rare. A study for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) claimed that 39% of staff have faced aggression from a student’s parent, guardian or family member.
This behaviour from parents...
The key to a stress-free school run begins with an organised routine. The amount of tension generated by running around the house searching for your children’s P.E. kits, homework or school bag – when you should already be on your way to school – is huge. And as we all know, schools take a dim view of it if your child is persistently late in the mornings. Being persistently late also affects a child's attainment and ability to settle. But the frantic atmosphere can be avoided with a bit of organisation. These tips will help:
Get prepared the night before
A stress-free morning should start with an organised evening routine. Being prepared the night before is key. You’ll cut out a lot of unnecessary steps in the morning, which will allow you to focus on the more...
Education is more than just maths, English and science. Sports, art, computers, whatever your child’s talents, you can help them aim high by boosting their confidence.
Tips on how to show your child you believe in them:
- Encourage them to join after-school clubs or activities.
- Tell your child how proud you are when they do well.
- Let them hear you praising them to other people.
- Talk together about their future and the kind of job they think they would enjoy.
- Ask them to help you with things they are good at.
- Help your child to find someone to look up to; a relative, friend or celebrity.
If you need advice or support on any parenting or family issue, call our free helpline on...
You might find contacting the school or talking to your child’s teachers difficult, or think they will not have time for you. But finding out more about their school life and what they are learning shows your child how much you care about their education. And getting to know the school and the teachers is the best way of finding out more.
Tips to help you keep up with what’s happening at the school
- Make sure your child gives you any letters that are sent home.
- Look out for notices and posters for parents.
- If you can, check the school website.
- Try to make it to the fun events, like school fairs, and to parents’ evenings.
- If you are worried about anything go and talk to a teacher. They will want to help.
Young people live and learn in two worlds – home and school. The way the two connect and communicate can make an enormous difference to how children learn to manage in both places. If teachers, parents and young people all trust, listen and talk to each other, the final goal of helping children learn and develop to their best ability is most likely to be achieved.
While many schools welcome parental involvement and make great efforts to listen to their pupils and many families take advantage of this, calls to our Parentline on 0808 800 2222, do show that this is not the case for every family. Parentline Plus receives many calls concerning schools and schooling, with bullying as the largest category. Other issues raised include:
- school non-attendance
When your child first starts school, it’s a big change in your family life, especially if it is your eldest or youngest child. You may feel sad and be worried that your child will be unhappy, will not make friends, or will not enjoy schoolwork. Remember that most children love school and go on to make the most of their education.
- Help your child to develop the skills they need to be independent, such as getting used to playing with other children, dressing themselves and looking after their possessions.
- Find out from the school how reception children are introduced to the school and what happens on the first day. Talk this through with your child so that they know what to expect.
- Talk positively to your child about starting school, as...
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