Strategies to Assist Students in the Transition to Secondary Education 

May 15, 2021

The start of the school year is always an exciting time, both for students and teachers alike. Reuniting with classmates you may not have seen during the summer break, and experiencing the thrill of getting your stationery and uniform ready; it is something we have all experienced in our lifetimes and could be quite fond memories for some people.

However, while this may well be the case for most people, it would be wrong to dismiss the often-conflicting feelings that some students and teachers could experience at the same time. The start of the school year can often be nerve-wracking, just as much as it is exciting. None more so than when starting a new school, such as during the transition from primary to secondary school.

Pondering questions form in the minds of many; will I be in the same classes as my friends from my previous school? Will I make new friends and fit in? It can undoubtedly cause some worry for many students, and that is where we come in.

We have compiled a helpful list below for strategies that you can use as a teacher or teaching staff, to assist students with this transition from primary to secondary education. No matter the individual circumstance, we are confident that there is something of value here. Read on for more!

Addressing Thoughts and Feelings

It goes without saying but bottling up emotions can cause all sorts of adverse reactions, no matter the age or situation that you are going through. One strategy for assisting and helping students with this transition period is talking them through the emotions they are feeling.

While this is undoubtedly something that could be embarrassing and challenging for some students, it is a useful and valuable strategy to consider in these situations. It can set the student up with the tools that they would need in future situations.

There are various activities and resources available online that can be implemented into a classroom setting and in a one-to-one situation; whatever you feel will work and whatever the student is comfortable with is sure to make a difference.

Using a feelings box in the classroom is also helpful. It allows students to anonymously discuss how they feel without the worry of being embarrassed in front of their peers. Taking what has been put into the box and talking it through as a group is another effective strategy and can also work in tandem with teaching your students about the importance of recognising their feelings and how best to handle them.

Educational Support

There will undoubtedly be some students in your cohort who might be somewhat concerned about the difference in syllabi from primary to secondary school. That is an entirely valid and understandable thing to be feeling.

With this in mind, there are things that you can do to support your students, both within the classroom and beyond. Running through some of the topics that your students should expect to see when they head to ‘big school’ will bring a certain level of peace to them; having some idea of what to expect enables them to prepare as best as they can.

Particularly if you have students in your class who are sitting the 11 plus exam in the coming months, you will naturally want to do what is in your power to support them and ensure they feel as prepared as possible.

While most exams across the country have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 11 plus exam can be sat online; ideal for those who still want to sit the exam, as well as those who might be in the vulnerable category and who have been shielding since the beginning of the pandemic.

Guiding students in this position to 11+ tutoring resources from the likes of Test Teach can ensure they are receiving the best support possible while out of the classroom. Suitable for those sitting the exam online or offline, you can find out a bit more about what is available at

Discuss Your Own Experiences

It goes without saying but hearing from someone who has been in the same situation that you are either going to experience or are doing so at present can be of some comfort. By talking about your own experience of going from primary to secondary education and giving tips on what helped you, you could very well be making a positive impact on how your students view this transition that lies ahead.

Most of all, reassurance is vital. Letting your students know that change is normal and that being brave in the face of these situations is crucial. Not to mention, allowing them to visit you even after they have moved on to their new school could well provide a level of comfort as well. Providing a lifeline and a place of safety and comfort will undoubtedly make a world of difference.

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