A Guide for new Year 7 students: What to expect in the first week of high school
Starting secondary school is a major milestone in anybody’s life. It’s quite possible that it’s the most nerve-wracking event that any 11-year-old has had to face in their young lives up to that point.
For some, there might be a degree of excitement about the prospect of starting at ‘big school’. However, those feelings are likely to be mixed up with a lot of worry, nervousness, and anxiety.
And that’s the first important point to make here: those feelings are completely normal.
It’s totally okay to be feeling that way.
If you talk to your friends about it, you’ll probably find that they are feeling the same way too.
If you talk to an older brother or sister – or your parents – about how they felt about going into secondary school, you’ll probably find that they understand exactly what you are going through because they felt the same way when they were your age.
Don’t bottle your feelings up inside though – talk to people.
It is a bit of a cliché… but it really is good to talk!
The biggest difference: Size and scale
The biggest single difference of secondary school is the sheer size of it.
Typically, Year 6 at your primary school will have been just 1 class of kids. Year 7 at your new high school might have 6, 7, 8… maybe as many as 10 classes (called forms). This means that the year group you are becoming a part of in September could have more kids in it than the entire primary school you have just left!
And remember there are Years 8, 9, 10 and 11 (and possibly a sixth form) as well.
Because of that, everything just seems to be on a much bigger scale at secondary school.
The thing is… your old primary school will have seemed huge to you at first too when you started there.
But before you knew it, you got used to it and knew your way around it like the back of your hand.
The same thing will happen in secondary school. It might take a bit longer, but you’ll get there.
You’ll be given a map of your school and advice about how to get around. In the first few days many schools ask teachers to collect students and take them to classrooms to make it easier for you to get used to it all.
On that note, you won’t just be thrown in at the deep end at all as you begin secondary school. The start of the school year is usually staggered – so you’ll find that on the day you start, there might only be one or two year groups in school. This makes it less overwhelming.
Similarly, Year 7 often have a longer lunch or have it at a different time from the rest of the school for the first few days – again, this is to make you feel more comfortable and to help you get more used to things.
Don’t worry about the ‘rest of the school’ either. Yes, those Year 11s might seem big and scary but, in general, they are far more bothered and interested in each other to give the new Year 7s a thought.
5 lessons a day: Different subjects and teachers
The other major difference between primary and secondary school is that you have different teachers for different subjects. Whereas in primary, you largely found that you stayed in one place with one teacher, there’s a lot more moving about and changing around during the high school day.
This will take some getting used to – but you will get used to it!
Information, information, information
Secondary schools go to lot and time and trouble to make the transition from primary school easier for students. But one thing you can be sure of is that you will be bombarded with a lot of information: rules, policies, expectations, advice – you name it, you’ll get a lot of it in your first week.
Although it might all might seem a bit overwhelming and too much to take in, the good news is that most of this info will also be written down for you – in your planners, on posters, on the school website.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your new teachers if you don’t understand something. They are there to help!