Secondary School offer day: Expert shares tips on supporting Children through transition top seconda
March 1st marks National Offer Day, when many children in England and Wales will find out which secondary schools they will go to.
School transitions can be incredibly challenging. Children in schools continually experience transitions – between different schools, classes, and year groups. A key part of an educator’s role is to make sure these periods of change run as smoothly as possible.
In a children’s emotional health study backed by The Prince’s Trust, young people highlighted the transition to secondary school as being particularly hard on their self-esteem, due to increased concerns about not fitting in, and being judged.
Dr Richard Anderson, Head of Learning and Development at online training provider High Speed Training, shares some tips on how to support a child through this often challenging transition.
“If pupils are overwhelmed by their new routine and environment, they may become angry, frustrated, withdrawn, disengaged, or anxious. Their attendance may also begin to drop.
“At home, parents and carers can support children during school transitions by re-establishing bedtime and mealtime routines, creating family calendars, and designating some time in the day to talk and share.
“At school, it’s imperative that teachers and other staff members understand the needs and challenges that students face. Ensuring that they are up to date with the latest training and guidance means that they will be well placed to assist any child that needs their support.
“Parents and teachers can also help to alleviate nerves and worries by keeping conversations open and honest. Children need to be able to communicate how they are feeling, so that they can begin to process their thoughts.”
At home, parents and carers can support children during school transitions by re-establishing bedtime and mealtime routines, creating family calendars, and designating some time in the day to talk and share.
Parents and teachers can also help to alleviate nerves and worries by keeping conversations open and honest. Children need to be able to communicate how they are feeling, so that they can begin to process their thoughts.
Dr Anderson continues:
“School transitions can be overwhelming, particularly if children may have had a distressing experience in a particular setting. A key component of anxiety is uncertainty.
“As humans, we are driven by a physiological desire to be in a state of predictability. If children are not helped to regulate and navigate unknowns, they will be much more susceptible to experiencing uncertainty, which can lead to anxiety.
“We know that children find the transition into secondary education particularly difficult, so it’s vital that schools help children prepare for the change into their new setting.”
Initially, schools can work with local education settings to facilitate staggered induction periods for key children, offering them a slow, steady introduction to their new setting and learning environment. As part of the process, the child can attend taster days, explanatory talks, and even work with a buddy to receive peer support.
The school should also aim to make wellbeing a dynamic topic within the curriculum, helping children to build self-confidence, self-esteem, and resilience. Secondary providers should also promote open and honest discussion. Embedding talk in the classroom gives students the opportunity to assess their thoughts and reflect on their experiences.
Courses such as High Speed Training’s Child Mental Health course give educators and people who work with children the knowledge and confidence to support any children who need additional help.
Dr Anderson said:
“Building a safe, secure, and nurturing environment is the bedrock to learning. If children feel stressed or unsupported, they simply won’t be able to access the wonders of the curriculum. Whichever age range you teach, it’s crucial that your school’s behaviour policy is followed by all members of the community, and is implemented consistently.
“All children need to understand what is expected of them, both within the classroom and during recreational times. Respect, warmth, and unconditional positive regard can help children to develop resilience, and build self-esteem.”
For more tips and information on assisting children with education transitions, you can visit https://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/hub/supporting-children-through-school-transitions/