Transitioning to high school

Moving on and dealing with change

Moving onto the next stage of their education can be a daunting process for both children and their parents.

This can also be a really exciting time however, and with some careful planning and organisation, lots of talking to your children, and more importantly lots of listening on your part, the process doesn’t have to be stressful or upsetting.

Changing schools can be both an exciting and challenging time for children and their families.

There will be new challenges, new uniforms, new routines, changes to the environment, changes in teaching staff, and often changes to friendship groups.

Whilst many children are able to go with the flow and adapt to change, many are not.

Our own experiences

As parents we have a responsibility to make this transition as smooth as possible. We need to be mindful of how our own experiences may reflect on the way we talk to our children. If our experience was very positive, we might overlook some of our children’s concerns. Likewise, if parents had a poor experience of high school, that may negatively influence the way we talk about it to our children.

As a child the biggest change I felt came when I moved from primary school to high school. I made this transition alongside all my close friends but we were not all kept together, and of course we moved to a school with children from a number of other schools in the area.

I was excited about the move to high school but there were still things that concerned me. Looking back these were all practical or logistical things. How would I find my way around such a big school? How would I ever remember my timetable? And so on. I was always someone who enjoyed school but when I think back now I think this transition must have been very hard for those children who didn’t enjoy school.

So as parents what can we do to ease the transition to high school?

be brave, be bold, be you

How can we help our children make a smooth transition?

For families of year 6 children, the summer holidays can seem like a long run-up to that great ‘big’ school. Some children will quite possibly be starting a new school that is ten or more times larger than their primary school, so even just on the subject of size, the transition to year 7 is a massive step.

There are things that we can do as parents that will help our children adjust and settle in quickly, here are a few examples:

Build their confidence

Settling into somewhere new can be a lot to do with confidence and self-esteem. High self-esteem often means children are less likely to be bullied and more likely to have a wide circle of friends. High self-esteem also means that children can confidently say no to anything they don’t feel happy about, which is really important as independence increases.

We can boost self-esteem in our children daily by praising them for both small and big achievements. Especially around how they treat other people or responsibilities they take on. Supporting them to try new things and even take on things they have previously found difficult or challenging can also help.

Acknowledge their fears

We all have fears, whether we talk about them or not. Sometimes the anxiety of discussing our fears comes from the worry that others will consider them silly or trivial maybe.

Some of these things may be easily fixed – for example, what happens if they get lost? What happens if they are late to a lesson because they can’t find the classroom? Setting them up with a ‘tool box’ of things can help. So for example, they could ask a teacher, go to the office, use a map, stick with a friend and so on.

Remind them of their best qualities

One of the things I always tell my children is to be kind, even if someone is not kind to you. We don’t know what happens in everyone else’s homes and perhaps other children haven’t had such a good day or week as your child.

Reminding your child to be kind and to think of others can help not only them but also other children who are maybe finding the transition harder. A friendly smile, an offer of help, including someone at lunch can be a life line to others.

Be positive

Being positive about your child’s next step is hugely important. Show that you too are excited for their next step and be positive about the school and all the things they can get involved in.

Go on a tour

If your child’s new school has a visiting or tour option prior to term commencing then make sure you are there and your child attends. Just spending time in the school, moving from one place to another can be a huge help and prepare them for what is to come.

Marking the occasion

A big transition like moving to high school can feel like it needs ‘marking’ in some way.

Many primary schools have proms, discos, leavers’ services and even t-shirts printed with the names of all the school leavers. It’s a time to celebrate what they’ve achieved so far and inspire them to achieve more wonderful things in the future – tackling their next step head on.

My daughter moves to high school in September and is really making the most of her last few weeks of primary school.  She’s excited about her next step and to mark this occasion I had the wonderful people at Songfinch write and produce a song for her. One of her goals is to become a singer-songwriter when she’s older so this was the perfect gift for her.


be brave, be bold, be you

You can click below to hear the song and here are the lyrics.

It’s Yours to Build

Since the day you were born
You have overcome so much more
Than you’ll ever know
You’re strong, inspiring
And the first of my four favourite things

You are kind, you are caring
You guide your brothers with grace
You are confident and beautiful
Without being vain
So embrace the challenges
Next chapter’s about to begin

Life’s in your hands
It’s yours to build
If you believe you can
Then you will
I know you’ll shine through
The halls of your new school
Just be brave, be bold, be you

You’ve achieved so much
In just 10 short years
You’re driven and committed
Despite any fears
So passionate, though young
You can sing, play, and write your own songs

You can dance, you can rock-climb
And you know how to ski
You’re a runner and a swimmer
And a hula-hooping queen
You’ve kept your feet on the ground
Now let your heart soar to the clouds

Life’s in your hands
It’s yours to build
If you believe you can
Then you will
I know you’ll shine through
The halls of your new school
Just be brave, be bold, be you

If the world gets dark
If you feel all alone
Just look to your stars
To guide you back home
There you’ll find love unconditionally
For support and a hug
I’m there when you need

Life’s in your hands
It’s yours to build
If you believe you can
Then you will
I know you’ll shine through
Whatever you pursue
Just be brave, be bold, be you

be brave, be bold, be you

It’s a wonderful process with a magical outcome – just submit a few details, choose a genre and a feeling that you want to convey and Songfinch will allocate the project to their chosen songwriter. A week later you have your song emailed and that’s it!

Whatever occasion you are trying to celebrate or mark, a Songfinch song is a very special and memorable gift.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *