The Year Before Secondary School
Lately I’ve been posting all over the place about my youngest child starting school, so today I wanted to move up to the other end of the spectrum and write a little about what my eldest is up to. She’s in Year 6 so I’m hoping for a bit of advice from those of you with children already in secondary school about what exactly we should be doing with her this year, to make sure she’s as ready as possible to start secondary school.
DD1 is 10 years old; 11 in December, so she’s counted among the older portion of her class. She’s doing well academically, enjoys sports and games, loves her music and has just been voted a House Captain. Apparently her behaviour at school is ‘ impeccable’. Let’s just say her father and I would like to see a bit more of this behaviour at home.
She can be moody and defiant at times, but when she feels like it, she can be so kind and helpful. These phrases seem to come and go in cycles and I fear puberty is not as far away as I would like it to be.
But most of the time she is a sensible girl, and we are starting to let her walk to and from school on her own. It’s only a 5 minute walk and there is a slightly tricky road to cross, but she does have good road sense. If she goes to our local secondary school she will have the choice of taking a bus ( makes note to research costs of travel pass) or walking. It’s only just over 1 mile, so easily doable in around 20 minutes, but she will have to cross at least half a dozen roads. I’m not too worried about this aspect of secondary school.
We are also starting to give her more responsibility. She now has to organise her own bag, PE kit and lunches on a day to day basis. I ask her to organise her uniform the night before, And I’m teaching her how to cook a few simple meals, and operate the dishwasher and washing machine.
She has just sat the 11+ for a selective place in a Grammar school in a nearby town. Her chances of getting in are slim as there are more than 100 applications for every place, but even if she is offered a place, I’m not sure about accepting it. We had to go up to the school to sit the exams, so took public transport on the way home to get a feel for what her journey would be like every day. It took us a train and two buses and 1 hour of our lives to get home. I know children do do this kind of commute to school every day in and around London, but I couldn’t help wondering about the impact on her quality of life. Also the majority of girls at the school will be from another area; there will probably only be 2-4 girls at the school from the suburb we live in. That’s not going to give her much of a social life, is it?
Last night DH took her up to an Open Day at our local school, which gets good exam results. It’s a big school, with 300 children in each year group, but seems well organised. There is plenty of room for the children, and they have plans for expansion/renovation. It runs a large number of extracurricular activities, and best of all, DD would go to school with children from the surrounding roads. Our chances of getting in here are high. If it works out that she ends up in this school, I think she’ll be very happy, both academically and socially. There are plenty of pros and not many cons with this school, which means we are not too worried about the 11+ results.
Secondary school for DD will mean big changes for us all. It means my baby is really growing up. And while she’s coping really well with the thought of it her life stepping up a gear, I think I’m having a bit of a wobble.
Maybe this post should be asking what I need to know to ensure *I* am ready for DD to start secondary school, instead.
Has anyone got any wise words they can send my way?