And She’s Off

After all that, I almost missed it.

It was 7:15am and I was standing on the pavement outside our house, watching my oldest baby set off on her first day of Secondary School.

We’d been up since 6:15, checking and double checking she had everything. I watched her eat breakfast and check her phone for last minute texts from her friends.

DD1 had been fine. She reported feeling a little sick before breakfast, but I knew it was just nerves and once she’d been swept up into the maelstrom of the school run, she’d be fine. She was travelling with a small herd of girls, no doubt all experiencing the same strain of butterflies.

On the outside, I appeared fine too. My upper lip stayed stiff, and my eyes remained resolutely dry but inside I felt decidedly wobbly.

How could that tiny, spiky-haired, stork-marked bundle they handed me, after 42 weeks of pregnancy and an induced labour, be old enough to use public transport on her own? Surely she had just started Primary School last week? Last month? Okay then, last year?

Where had the last 11 1/2 years gone? Did she *have* to go to Big Big School. Couldn’t I just keep her safe at home?

As much as I’d like to, I know I can’t. She’s growing up, she’s moving on. The fact that she had the drive and confidence to get her school place, and even contemplate such a commute means I’m doing the job I’m supposed to , right? I keep reminding myself that independence is the ultimate aim.

DD2, wrapped in an over-sized pink dressing gown on the pavement with me, and not caring who saw her, was crying. She has always had her big sister to show her the way at Primary School. Now she’s in Year 6, she’ll have to go it alone for a year. I think it will do her good.

As we watch DD1 get smaller and smaller as she approaches, then reaches the corner, I can feel myself tearing up a little. I can’t remember if I kissed her goodbye. I don’t think I did. I breathe deeply and DD2 hugs me tighter. I look down at her and smile reassuringly, and tell her it’ll all be okay.

But when I look up, DD1 is nowhere to be seen. All there is is a blur of blue uniform and a swish of blond hair as DD1’s friend breezes past and catches up with her.

She’s gone. She’s off.

I hope she has a brilliant day.

First day at secondary school

First day at secondary school

First day at secondary school

A Survey About Starting Secondary School For Year 7 And 8 Children.

This coming September my eldest child will start secondary school.

She is excited, but also a bit scared. Me, I’m mostly terrified for her. I know she’ll be fine but I’ve been doing my bit as the over involved mother by Googling and following Secondary School starter threads on Mumsnet.

But DD doesn’t want grown up advice; she wants to hear this stuff from the front lines. So, if you have a child in Year 7 or Year 8, or even Year 9 if they aren’t too busy, could you ask them to reply to this post and answer the questions below?

My daughter, along with many other forthcoming Year 7s, will be eternally grateful.


  •  How did you make new friends? Do you still see friends from primary school, especially if you are not at the same secondary school together?


  • What stuff was it useful for your parents to buy for you? What stuff don’t you use? What don’t you have that you think would be useful?


  • How do you organise doing your homework? Where do you do your homework? Do your parents help at all?
  • Did you ever get lost when you started secondary school? If so, what happened?
  • Tell me about your phone – is it the one you wanted? Have you ever lost it?
  •  Do you have any more advice for a new Year 7 ?
Thank You.
starting year 7