It’s been a crazy mixed-up year, hasn’t it? At times the days have dragged, gone so slowly – but now the return to school for #ClassOf2020 is fast approaching for most of our school-age children. Sue and Jo have some tips here for parents and carers, helping you support your Year 7 children as they get ready for their new school start in September.
Jo says “My cousin’s daughter Effie had her school leaving party the day schools were closed in England. Effie was in Year 6 – and as it was only March, she wasn’t due to finish primary school for another four months. All of a sudden, the norm, the usual, the known, were all in the recent past. So, Effie and her friends all became part of #ClassOf2020 – looking into the unknown future. As the weeks and months went by, Effie and her mum started to become more anxious about what was going to happen when Year 7 eventually began.”
Sue says “The changes around COVID-19 were...
We're joined in this interview by Liz Stevenson, who is the Transition Manager at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council – a large local authority in the Midlands. Sandwell has about 90 primary and 20 secondary schools, so that keeps Liz pretty busy.
Liz is a real expert on transition and she shares her real-world insights into the transition process from primary to secondary school, and what could be done to improve the process.
I was filming in Essex yesterday for Disney Junior UK, and I got chatting about my new programme for parents and children making the transition to secondary School.
The cameraman started sharing with me his concern that his usually happy-go-lucky son was finding friendships difficult, as his usual mates had started hanging out with other boys with similar backgrounds and cultures, and had started ignoring him.
It got me thinking about friendships in the teenage years.
Every stage of your child’s development will present you with its own challenges, problems and difficulties to overcome, and entering the teenage years are probably among the scariest for most parents!
Teenagers have a lot going on in their lives and have always strived for more independence, but young people seem to face more pressure than we did growing up due to social media. Things have changed enormously in a relatively short space of time, due to advances in technology.
But teenagers also battle real-life...
Isn't it funny how things just seem to happen out of nowhere, how coincidences pop up all the time?
I was in the queue at my local Co-op this afternoon. It was a LONG queue, because it's always busy at school pick up time, and that's when they only have one person on the till – you can probably relate to this…
Behind me were a couple of mums and their children, two boys in the same uniform.
"Are you going to look for schools?" asked a mum to a friend. "Yeah" she replied, “though I know where I want him to go, so I'm only looking at that one."
"Is it Springfield High?" said her son. She totally ignored him and said, "He's going to Wilton Academy because the sports facilities are really good and his Dad and I want him to go there."
"We're going to look at that, and St. John’s, and the new one – Bowcross," said the other lady.
(By now I REALLY wanted to butt in, but I held back!)
"Are we going to look at Springfield High?" asked the first woman’s...
With lots of secondary schools opening up their doors to families, for open days and taster sessions, we must think about what we’re looking for – before we visit potential schools. Choosing the right school for your child is critical to their future wellbeing.
Many of us parents have worked in various companies and places of work over the years. In some, we may have been really happy, and in others much less so. Think back to what it was about those jobs that made you happy or unhappy. There are so many factors that add to job satisfaction, aren’t there? But top of everyone’s list is usually to do with colleagues and management. If the atmosphere at work is negative – with very little positive connection to others; if there’s gossip, put-downs, cliques, favouritism, bullying or oppressive behaviour … Well, that’s a toxic environment, and nobody thrives in a toxic environment – except the bullies.
A company’s culture and...
Our youngest daughter teaches in primary school. At the beginning of the summer term this year, she told us about their Inset day, where the headteacher had eloquently spoken to the staff about the school’s grave financial situation. He talked, among other things, about his struggles to keep staff jobs, including teaching assistants employed to work one-to-one with vulnerable children, and those with SEND. At the end of the meeting he warned everyone that, unless more funding followed, the next year is going to be extremely difficult and there will be staff cuts.
A recent BBC Panorama programme followed staff and pupils at North Denes Primary in Great Yarmouth through an extremely challenging summer term. The programme shows how, in order to balance the books, the headteacher has to lose almost a fifth of her staff, as well as cutting services which help many families in the wider community. It showed how a young boy with cerebral palsy and in need of constant physical...
When our children are facing big change in their lives it’s sometimes uncomfortable and a little bit scary for us, their parents. Seeing them growing up, facing new challenges and life experiences, becoming more independent and more open to outside influences – well, that’s a lot to consider. And the unknown and the uncertain can bring lots of worries our way. But if we are to support our children effectively through these times, then it’s vital that we role model both confidence and positivity. If our children see that, in our language and our actions, then they are much more likely to adopt a confident and positive mindset towards the approaching changes.
Transition to secondary school is one of the most significant changes your child will go through before they reach adulthood. Research shows that many mental health disorders in young people, mainly anxiety and depression, begin around this critical stage. Therefore, as parents, we must give them the...
One of the factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a secondary school is the catchment area of the school of your choice. It has a huge impact on whether your child will be given a place in the school.
This September, many nervous 11-year-olds have been taking their first tentative steps to the gates of their new school. Many will be new to the area, as a result of shrewd parents having moved to a new home specifically to be in the catchment area of a high-performing state school.
Private schools cost an average of £4,763 a term for a day school – so for many parents who place prime importance on their child’s education, it’s a no-brainer to move to the catchment area of a desirable state school. For a while now, moving to be nearer the best schools has been an expensive option. This is because properties in these areas usually carry a “good school premium” – parents are willing to pay more for properties in the...
Handling change is one of life’s greatest challenges and is a major element in my work with parents. My passion is to help parents handle change positively and with clarity, direction and confidence.
Change is inevitable, and although it’s perfectly natural to resist the changes in your life and feel overwhelmed and anxious about them, you can also learn and choose to adapt to them and benefit from them. It’s about learning to embrace a new perspective on your circumstances.
When change happens in your life, from your daughter growing into a beautiful and independent teenager, your son going off to university, your youngest starting secondary school, or your partner wanting a divorce, you have a choice.
You can either cooperate and go with the natural flow and rhythm of life and learn to bend or handle these shifts with subtlety. Or you can become frozen with fear and resentment, become bitter and detached and slowly isolate yourself from the joys of new...
Did you know that you may be entitled to FREE school travel?
Travel expenses can be astronomical, can’t they? Each day’s costs soon mount up. It was recently reported that millions of parents in the UK are completely unaware that they could be entitled to free school travel for their child, because of their home's location and their child's age. We’ve got some information together for you, so that you can easily find out whether YOUR child is eligible for free travel. Why miss out?
So, here we go then.
Government rules state that any child under 16, who has to travel two miles or more to get to school, should get state-funded support. That’s whether you live in London (where travel for under-16s is free), or live in another part of the country. It's also there for you even if you claim any benefits such as income support or Universal Credit.
The guidelines state that all children between the ages of 5 and 16 qualify for free school travel...