New Parent Tips
Before term starts:
1. Do a trial run of the journey.
Before term starts, make test journeys - ideally more than once - to the school from home and back again.
Help your child organise themselves to arrive in time, calmly and with time enough to chat with their friends before school starts. If you child is late to school they will be given a late detention at lunchtime.
2. Organise a space for your child to do homework and keep school books.
Once your child starts secondary school, they will be expected to do around an hour of homework every evening. Take a look at the curriculum section for a typical year 7 homework timetable.
Even if your child doesn't initially use a desk space and prefers to do homework at the kitchen table, it's still a good idea to have a personal zone where their school stuff is based. This includes PE kit, ensure students are organised with bringing their PE on the days they have lessons or afterschool clubs. Lockers will be available for year 7 in September. More information will follow when we return to school.
3. Buy more of the stuff they will lose and give up on the gear they will never wear.
Buy as many shirts and trousers as you can afford to. In our experience, these are the items of clothing that children need to change most days
Label everything on the list of things required, even down to that huge calculator and their PE socks. Year 7 children often lose items of uniform in the changing rooms or leave items in classrooms. We collate lost property in main reception just in case your child does lose anything.
4. Recognise the tempo of your mornings will change.
Students are expected to be in their form room before 8:40 so aim to get in school at least by 8.30. If your child has a long journey ahead of them, they may well be leaving the house before 7am.
Ensure your child has enough sleep and have an alarm for your child and set it early enough. Make sure they have eaten a properly filling breakfast. Some students may start the day with 2 hours of PE.
Encourage them to pack bags with completed homework and the days required text books the night before to deflect missing items tension.
The first week of secondary school:
5. If at all possible, arrange for yourself, your partner or a caring adult to be at home to greet your child for the first week.
Your child will arrive home wanting to relate all the excitements of their day, but also extremely tired, so it makes sense to be able to share this momentous time with them before they slip into exhausted 'dunnos' and 'fines'.
You will also want to set up a routine for the coming term that works - maybe snack and chat, followed by homework, then screens (whatever works best for your child, you and your family), evening meal and sensible bed time.
6. Make a copy of their timetable.
Within the first week, they should arrive home with their class timetable. Try and make at least one copy, preferably two - one for wherever they are going to keep their school books and one for the kitchen or hall so you can double check they really have got their PE kit before leaving. Your child’s timetable will also be available on the SIMS app.
7. Encourage and help children to organise themselves.
It's your child who will be given detention if he or she forgets kit, homework, signed letters. But at age 11, a child still needs your help and encouragement to take on this responsibility. It's a balancing act between being too much of a control freak and expecting your child to remember everything. It's worth checking planners for any messages from teachers and asking if you need to sign anything.
8. Instill good homework habits.
You don't need to hover over them pointing out spelling mistakes, but you do have to check they have done what's required every day. If your child prefers to work in his or her room, that's fine but it might be worth checking every now and again that they are doing homework. You will be able to access what homework they have to complete on our new online learning platform which is going to be launched before September.
The first term:
9. Try to relax and trust in your child.
As a parent, one of the biggest changes that secondary school brings is the realisation that your child will have to let themselves into your home alone. Whether you are collecting younger children from primary school or at work, it's simply unrealistic to think that your child will be greeted every day by you or can hang around outside your home until you're there.
At first the idea of a latch key kid will seem potentially frightening for you the parent, but most children are happy to gain this new independence. Issue your child with a key (obviously not attached to your address in case of loss) and perhaps at first ask him/her to call you once they are home.
At primary school there will be written permission slips for after school activities and you will probably be expected to pick up. At secondary school, after school clubs and team sports rarely need parental permission (unless they've got an away match and will be returning extra late) and as a parent you will gradually relax into this new status quo.
The days of organising play dates are over. Chances are your child will invite friends back or pop into friends' homes. You'll need to lay down some ground rules on times expected back, numbers welcomed back to yours, still making homework a priority, but allowing your child some degree of freedom is all part of trusting your child now he/she is at secondary school.
10. But save the numbers and names of all new parents.
Unlike primary school with the chance for playground chat and years spent forming friendships or cordial acquaintanceship with your child's friends, secondary school friendships are more long distance because you won't be allowed within a mile of the school gate (unless it's for a parents' evening).
All parents of Year 7s feel the same anxiety about their children's new friends and parents. Everyone is looking for reassurance, but is worried about appearing 'uncool'.
Don't let children go for visits, sleepovers or parties unless you have spoken to the child's parents, been reassured by them and have those vital contact details. Don't let your child invite anyone until you have had a chance to call parents and give your numbers and reassure.
11. Feed them well.
Year 7 children, especially boys, seem to develop enormous appetites overnight. Try and make a special effort to provide nutritious after school snacks to fend off the munchies until it's time for an equally nutritious and big enough meal.
12. Sort out any problems quickly.
Most children will settle into secondary school very happily, but if anything is troubling your child or you, do not hesitate to contact the school immediately. It's infinitely better to nip potential problems (bullying, friendship clashes, homework worries...) in the bud rather than letting them fester. All staff at Campion will play a part in the pastoral care of your child however, if you have any concerns there are a number of people whose job is specifically to sort out problems with settling in or being bullied such as your child's tutor, House Learning Leader or Head of Pastoral Care – Angela Burden. Your child’s form tutor is a good first point of contact.
13. Arrange a really relaxing half term break.
You've just been through a momentous life change and you may all, not just your child, be in need of a little relaxation. If you possibly can, arrange a chance to refuel your batteries and take stock of how far your child has come since the start of their new school.