You’ve probably found that your child’s transition to a new school has been both a daunting and exciting experience for them – and for you! Whether they’ve gone from junior to senior school or GCSEs to Sixth form, there’s still some things you can do to help your child continue to enjoy a smooth and successful transition. Simply Learning Tuition shares their top tips on how to boost self-confidence, set out clear behavioural expectations and educate them on what the future holds beyond school.
Junior to senior school
They’ve made the leap into ‘big school’! For the last few weeks, they’ve been busy juggling an increased workload, meeting new teachers and friends, navigating around a bigger school and adjusting to a new stage of life. Here’s how you can further support their smooth transition:
1. Build independence
As parents we all want to instil a level of independence and responsibility in our children, and these attributes will certainly help them cope at their new senior school. If you feel your child’s sense of independence needs a boost, begin to give them more responsibilities at home – perhaps some tasks around the home. Also, you can reinforce their senior school responsibilities and routines by encouraging them to pack their own bag, set their own alarm for school, or manage their own homework priorities. It is best to find a balance between monitoring them and also giving them the freedom and trust they desire. Finding this balance will build their motivation and confidence.
2. Regular communication
Another important process in a child’s development is regular communication, and a willingness to share their feelings. We mustn’t forget that children are still young and sensitive and will need emotional support from time to time. Fostering an environment where your child feels comfortable to share their worries and concerns will be helpful as they continue to settle and adjust to senior school and all the challenges that come with it.
3. Reassurance is key
Positive conversations about what they are experiencing in their new environment can help eliminate many of a child’s worries. You could do this by sharing some of your own stories from school, getting them excited about their new chapter in life. Reassure your child that other children are still feeling the same as they are. If they have not already done so in the first few weeks, encourage your child to be social, perhaps by getting involved in different clubs and activities where they can make new friends.
GCSEs and Sixth Form
Although GCSE’s have become more challenging in order to prepare for the academic rigor of sixth form, children still find the jump to be much bigger than expected. Ideally your child’s previous school will have prepared them for independent learning through autonomous work projects, compulsory research essay competitions and presentations. Here’s how you can add to the toolbox of skills needed to tackle sixth form:
1. Promote organisation
You may have already experienced the general trend of students having an organised and eager start to the lower sixth, which soon tails off as they begin to struggle with workload and get distracted by social commitments. If you’ve noticed this, encourage them to use their free periods wisely by creating their own timetable to catch up on work, consolidate content or complete homework. This will allow them to stay on top of their studies and free up time for social events in the evenings and weekends. We advise maintaining a level of understanding and influence over your child by setting out clear boundaries without overburdening them.
2. Reset standards
If your child was disappointed with their GCSE results and is feeling apprehensive about their success at sixth form as a result, it is important to remind them that this is a fresh start. Universities, colleges and employers will be focused on the most recent set of grades they see, therefore a strong set of sixth form grades is essential. If you haven’t already, take the time to familiarise yourself with your child’s curriculum and the demands of the next two years, such as University application deadlines. This will better equip you to be able to support them through the two years and engage help if needed.
3. Be consistent
There is a lot of content to cover over two years, so encouraging your child to work consistently hard throughout the year by reinforcing the habit of regular study and revision will help them stay on top of workload and consolidate content. Some students have a tendency to overwork so it’s worth monitoring this to ensure they aren’t burning themselves out. Sixth form is a stressful and demanding time for teenagers and they need time to relax and recover. Variety will keep their mind fresh and motivated so if they are on a school sports team, in a school play, or performing in the school choir this should be encouraged. Having an array of hobbies and non-academic skills to talk about will also help your child stand out from the rest when it comes to writing a personal statement or answering interview questions.
4. Stay ahead of university applications
As if the demands of completing A Levels or the IB are not enough, students have also got to decide what and where to go to university, write their personal statement, prepare for interviews, and if they wish to attend university in the US, start preparing for SATs. Leaving all of this to the last minute can be stressful and result in rushed decision making. Taking a thorough look into university options, visiting them, and speaking to alumni students or teachers about different universities can help with this decision making. Being up to speed on what the application process involves and beginning to spend some time on completing it during quiet times of the term will reduce anxiety.
If you would like any help and guidance at any point during these transitions then please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of Simply Learning’s education consultants.