The similarities and differences between primary and secondary school
The transition from primary to secondary school is a big one and as parents, you’ll notice some big differences between the two for your child. There are, of course, some similarities that can help ease anxiety and make the move a smoother one for both you and your child.
Similarities between primary and secondary school
For many children, moving to secondary school in the same area will mean they move with some if not all of their school friends. Perhaps they’re moving to the same secondary school as their siblings or older friends too which will help ease them in as they’ll know someone already.
The presence of homework is similar to that at primary school, where teachers will ask them to complete tasks or finish reading activities over the weekend. Secondary school will have the same expectations for homework, and often more of it- so it won’t come as a surprise.
At secondary school, they’ll have a teacher who will remain as their class teacher throughout the school year, just like primary school. This is another positive similarity which will help children transition into a bigger school with more subjects to learn as they’ll always have one teacher they can speak to or share concerns with.
Both primary and secondary schools have a uniform so children will be familiar with wearing one. Uniforms and other school essentials like shoes and school bags stay consistent throughout their school life which helps with setting expectations even when starting a new school.
Differences between primary and secondary school
There is more emphasis on independent learning at secondary school, with students being encouraged to read and research subjects in their own time.
Unlike primary school where teachers will teach more than one subject, secondary schools will have more subjects and teachers. Students will be expected to get to class on time and move between lessons promptly at secondary school too.
Secondary schools also have a great range of ‘extracurricular’ subjects for children to enjoy such as extra sports lessons, food technology, graphics and woodwork classes. These are a great way for students to explore their creative sides and start developing interests in hobbies outside of the classroom.
Tips for supporting the move to secondary school
- If you know your child will be worried about their friendships or having to make new friends, have an open chat about them and ask how they’re feeling. Discussing their concerns helps them to come to some good solutions and will help them feel more confident about making new friends in their new school.
- Another great tip for helping to settle a child into a new school, as we’ve previously touched on in our ultimate back-to-school guide , is to write a list. Writing lists for things to pack, tasks to finish in the summer holidays or even writing down their worries and talking about them can really help children work out their anxiety and help manage things task by task.
- Embrace their independence, even if it’s hard for you as a parent. Encouraging independent thinking and even doing things like walking to school or having their own phones are all steps towards becoming independent as people.
There are many differences when exploring primary school vs. secondary school; whilst it’s a necessary move for all children, it’s also an exciting new chapter to embrace.