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The big move to secondary school – lessons I’ve learnt six months down the line

Have you found out which secondary school your child will go to this September?
Six months ago I stood at a bus stop sobbing my heart out as my ‘baby boy’ went off to big school – here’s what I’ve learnt since then.

There’s a lot to remember
For seven years my son sat in a room while various teachers, who all seemed to resembled Blue Peter presenters, taught him. It came as a shock when he was dropped into a large building and asked to remember all manner of things from where to go, what equipment to take and where to find lunch. Four weeks into secondary school and we had tears because he ‘just couldn’t remember everything’ PE kit, tech equipment, homework, locker key, lunch money and bus fare. It does get easier though.

The first term is tough – hold out for January
My son moved from a small rural school with just over 200 pupils to a school with more than 1,000 pupils. There were also lots of rules; lose your tie and you’re fined £5, late for lessons or forget a piece of kit – that’s a detention.
If that’s not enough, the move coincides with bits of hair sprouting from places it didn’t before. It really is a tough time. Things eased for us in the second term when he knew the ropes much better.

Uniform is expensive
All in all we spent £250 on school uniform – which is a bit of a shock when I was used to spending about £60 on a few polo shirts and some trousers. The PE kit alone cost an arm and a leg as ours included a rugby shirt, football boots, football socks then you have a calculator, stationery, school bags on top of the actual uniform which, for us included a blazer, shirt and smart trouser.

They won’t want your help.
At primary school – all problems were sorted out by Mum. Now he knows better. It seems arriving at secondary school means they suddenly know absolutely everything, you know nothing and they are not afraid to remind you of this – a lot.

There are parts of their lives you don’t know about
The Mum’s from primary school are some of my closest friends. We go out together and even go on weekends away. If I walked by the parent of one of his new friends on the street I wouldn’t have a clue who they were. It’s just how it is.

They are ready for it
Harry was bored of primary school and although it has been a huge and sometimes difficult transition to secondary school he was well and truly ready for it. He has now started to find his place in the world, what he does like and doesn’t and I’m convinced – despite his complaining – he does enjoy it.

And lastly – you are far more worried than they are
I was beside myself on the first day and not much better on the second – I still worry now. For them though it’s a huge adventure. They might be a bit apprehensive but nowhere near as worried as the tearful parents waving them off on day one.

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