Well, we’ve survived it. A whole year of secondary school. And what have I learned about year 7 and secondary school? We could keep this pretty brief. We could sum it up in one word.
Secondary school is a big place. In our case it’s not just down the road. We don’t take our son there every day or pick him up. So we don’t feel a part of it. And in our eldest, we have a child who is unwilling to share information. So we really don’t know much about secondary school at all.
It started off well – I felt confident that this was going to be the making of my son. But it hasn’t been.
He’s the same as he always was, but, either down to his age or down to school or down to his friends, he tells us even less about what’s going on his life. To be honest, I feel he’s not quite as happy as he used to be, but I can’t be sure. Because he gives nothing away. I hoped he would make new friends, but it’s rare I hear any new names. There’s still plenty of time, though. Six years, to be precise.
For what it’s worth, here is the handful of things I have learned:
A cool bag is a worthwhile investment – it helps your child to fit in.
If they go on the bus, you really have no idea when the bus goes or when they will be home. Or even if they’re actually getting the bus or getting a lift from a friend.
Letters from school are non-existent – or they simply don’t get passed on.
At 7.45 on a Thursday morning they will suddenly demand £15 for a bus ticket, despite repeated reminders to give a little bit of notice as it isn’t always possible to come up with £15 immediately.
Fruit is not cool. You can put it in the lunchbox, but it will come straight back home again.
Ditto suncream. Don’t even bother putting it in their bag, even if they do get sunburn on an almost daily basis (grrrrr!).
Teachers don’t know your child half as well as their primary school teachers did.
They will carry absolutely every book to school every day, even though it makes their bag weigh as much as they do, for fear of forgetting anything and getting into trouble.
They hardly do any homework, less than their year 2 sister, despite other parents sighing and lamenting about the sheer volume of homework their little darling in the same year at the same school has.
So that’s pretty much what I’ve learned. I doubt it will be of much reassurance or use to parents of year 6 children about to make the transition to secondary school, but I thought it was important to mark this milestone in my son’s life.
Onwards and upwards.