Top tips for starting Senior School

July 28, 2016

Moving to Senior School can be a time of mixed emotions, for both you and your child; everything will be different. They will no longer be ‘a big fish in a little pond’, they will be one of the younger ones working their way up in a much bigger environment. They will be surrounded by many new faces and will have to learn to stand on their own two feet and become more independent.  Instead of having one or two teachers, they will have lots of new ones. It will be a steep learning curve!

‘Fitting in’ for them will be the priority.  When a situation arises and they ask for advice, don’t tell them what to do, talk through what they might do.  Give them ownership of the solution to the problem. It’s about respect and recognising that they want to become more self-reliant.  Your job is to be the safety net when they fall!  Wave them off in the morning with the confidence that all will be ok.  Do not be the parent who ventures into the locker room to help them get their books ready for the morning lessons!  

At the beginning your child will come home exhausted.  You will ask them “What have you done today?” and they will most likely say “Nothing”!  It will take time for them to adjust to their new surroundings and settle in.  They will not understand everything straight away and new routines will have to become established.  Don’t be alarmed, this is perfectly normal.

Your child will have homework, possibly for the first time. Homework is an essential part of their education and will help them to establish independent study skills. Encourage them to take assignments seriously by ensuring that they have both adequate time for completion and they are able to work without distractions. Take an interest, but don’t do it for them – they need to take the responsibility for it!

Encourage your child to make new friends.  They may have gone to their Senior School with already-established friends, but it is healthy for them to expand their social circle.  A good way for them to make new friends is by taking advantage of the many extra-curricular activities on offer.  Don’t worry if they join everything at the beginning, they will soon discover what their priorities are and achieve a sensible balance.

Lastly, encourage your child to relax and be positive. With caring support you can help to make the transition a happy one.

Louise Higson, Headmistress, Farlington School, Horsham