Tips & Advice

Advice on Transitioning to Secondary School

Published: 25th July 2023
Updated: 27th July 2023

Advice on Transitioning to Secondary School

We know that some of you will be thinking about your children’s transition to secondary school after the summer break. Although many children may feel excited about this, we know for others that the change of moving from primary to secondary could make them feel anxious.

We spoke to Childline and here are some of their top tips on how to support your children in their transition to secondary school:

What are children worried about?

  • Worries about being bullied
  • Having new teachers
  • Going to a different school from their friends and losing contact with them
  • Not being able to make new friends
  • Exams and homework being hard
  • Finding their way around a bigger school

A boy aged 11 said: “I’m feeling nervous about going to secondary school, I don’t really know what to expect or who to ask questions to. I know there will be all these different classes with different teachers, and I think that will be confusing. What do I do if I get lost between classes? Will they be really strict?”

Helping your children to cope and feel positive

  • Being prepared for how they will get to their new school can help them feel calmer and more confident. If a parent or carer is taking them, it can help to plan what they need to do to be ready on time. If they are going on their own, make sure they know the way.
  • Taking time to make sure they have everything they need. This could include things like:
    • Finding out what they need to take, such as pens, pencils or a calculator
    • Having a copy of their lesson timetable
    • Writing down their homework and when it’s due, so that they don’t forget
Mother Comforting Unhappy Bullied Son Wearing Uniform Before He Leaves Home For School

Speak up

Children should ask questions if they are worried about something. We know it can be scary when they don’t know who to talk to at school, but it’s important to remember that teachers are there to help. They can also ask reception staff or the school nurse if they need support. Some schools will also have mentors or other pupils who are there to support them as well.

Making new friends

If they’re starting a new school and don’t know anyone, they might feel anxious or scared that people won’t like them. They could feel lonely at first, but there are things that can make this easier.

  • Positive body language, such as smiling, looking the person in the eye and speaking clearly and confidently.
  • Try practising going up to someone new. The more they try, the easier it can be.
  • Remember that it can take time to make new friends. If they’re worried about break or lunch times, they could find out if they can use the library or ICT rooms until they feel more confident.
Portrait of a happy teenage girl going to school - lifestyle concepts

Talk to someone

If they had a great first day or if they found it difficult, it can help to talk about it. Saying what they found hard can help them to think of ways to cope and feel better. They could speak to you as parents or carers, a friend or a Childline counsellor. Childline can be contacted on the phone on 0800 1111 or online at

Cheerful female students wearing blue school uniforms walking in locker room

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