Survival Guide To Starting Secondary
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? Meic has some advice to share in our survival guide to secondary school.
This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma
1. You’re not alone
There are thousands of other young people across Wales that are in the same situation as you,. People that 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 will be feeling the same way, worse maybe, and this is ok. It’s natural to feel nervous because this is one of the big events that happen in someone’s life.
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 twice a day; they can help with any questions or worries 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.
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 times 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 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. 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.
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.
6. Coping with homework
You’ll probably find a huge difference in the amount of work you get in secondary compared to primary. The amount of homework might be overwhelming at first, rather than get one piece of homework like you did in primary, you might get homework for a number of subjects in one day.
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.
A massive good luck to you at secondary school from all of us here at Meic. You’ve got this! 💪🏽🙌🏾👌