When children make the jump from primary to secondary education, their parents often have a job keeping up with them! Once upon a time, school was an easy topic in the household because it just involved one teacher each year covering a range of topics. In secondary education, things change quickly.
Secondary education is a really exciting time for kids because they actually start to get to grips with the subjects they enjoy. They start to learn where their skills actually lie and their educational development really begins.
This is an exciting time for parents as well because they often see their children flourish. This is partly down to the new relationships they build with their peers, but it is also about how their minds are broadened by the new information and teaching methods they are exposed to. Then there are the opportunities in sport and other extracurricular activities that are provided by secondary schools.
Of course, not all children relish the jump from primary to secondary education. Many experience a sense of upheaval, especially if they move from very comfortable surroundings at a local primary where they were popular and always top of the class and find themselves at a secondary school where they don’t shine quite as much.
The important thing for parents to do in this situation is provide support and accept that it takes time for some children to settle in and find their place. Parents who are good listeners and who engage in proper conversations with their kids without pushing too hard are a real help to young people who stay or become introverted at secondary school.
It’s also important for parents to familiarise themselves with the new school. This can be done in various ways. PTA meetings are a good place to start and parents’ evenings are obviously a rare opportunity to gain insight into children’s development from the teachers’ perspectives. These should be approached with a sense of eagerness because they do really matter.
Parents also do well to familiarise themselves with support networks for young people just in case this tumultuous period proves challenging. Adolescence provides loads of challenges for young people at a time when they are actually trying to develop socially and academically. Many fall out of love with the school system. Many never felt in love with it to begin with. The important thing is to be open-minded, level-headed and sensitive to how hard it is to be a growing child.
Roger Bannister is an advocate of the parents evening booking system as it helps him as a parent in making things easier to meet his kids’ teachers.