From primary to secondary school: tips for parents and carers


From primary to secondary school: tips for parents and carers

The transition from primary to secondary school is a significant change for children. It is often an exciting yet nerve-wracking time – for children who have a loved one with a serious illness, they may experience additional worry and uncertainty when starting this new chapter.

Here are our top tips to support a child with their transition to secondary school:

Explore their thoughts and feelings

One of the most valuable things you can do to support your child through this time is to encourage them to explore their thoughts and feelings, both positive and negative. Have open conversations about their favourite memories from primary school, the things they miss and how secondary school is different, for example a bigger site, different teachers and moving between classrooms. Encourage your child to ask any questions they have and explore their worries, both when they start and a few weeks in – children can end up comparing themselves to others who seem to have settled in more quickly, so reassure them that nerves are normal and it’s ok that everyone moves at their own pace. It can also be helpful to chat about the things they are enjoying or looking forward to in secondary school too!

Get familiar

It can really help your child if they feel familiar with their new school. They may feel reassured knowing that key information has been shared with the staff, such as their needs and what they are currently going through. It can be beneficial for you and your child to identify a trusted adult at the school (for example a Form Tutor or Head of Year) who can be a first point of contact for any worries or emergencies. These are all brilliant ways of preparing them for this new change, and helping them feel in control of the situation.

Keep some reassuring routines

It can be really helpful to keep some of your child’s routines the same, whilst introducing new ones. Seeing primary school friends and enjoying familiar hobbies or activities can be a positive relief from starting their new secondary school, and if there are routines such as dinner and bed-time that can be kept the same too, children often benefit from this predictability and security – although they may try and convince you that now they’re at secondary school, they should be able to stay up a whole lot later!

In terms of new routines, making a task list of things to prepare can help ensure a calm start to the day, and a planner can help them balance increased homework with any caring responsibilities or hospital visits they may have.

Remember, setting in and adjusting can take time and that’s ok – this can be a big change for the whole family, as well as the child, so keep the communication going and reach out for support if you need to.

Hope Support Services

Overross House
Ross Park

UK Registered Charity 1135680

Leave a comment

Stay up-to-date with the Hope newsletter!

We will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know what you would like to receive from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.