Supporting Year 6 transitioning to Secondary School

Thanks to Your Grey Matters for this blog. 

The last day of Year 6 is always bittersweet; the joy and elation at “growing up” versus the fear of change and stepping out of a comfort zone. A final class assembly and running round school armed with a shirt, an array of coloured pens and enthusiastic requests for signatures, our children are exhilarated. Many parents will do the school run for the last time, with children wishing to walk home from secondary school with their friends. Teachers will fondly wave goodbye to children who they have seen grow up from the age of 5, watched them develop interests and, until this year, prepared and supported them to sit their SATs.

This year there have been no SATs and even though Year 6 have now returned to school (in England), the final term at Primary school will not be the same. In the final term of a child’s primary journey, the Year 6 teachers will invest a vast amount of time in the preparation for transition. This may involve small “nurture” groups, an increase in sessions covering self-esteem, positive affirmations and all children are able to visit the secondary school they will be attending and to experience it in full. In some cases, a teacher from local secondary schools will come into school and talk to pupils about the changes they will experience when they move from primary to secondary school.

However, this year, more than ever, parents have an increased responsibility to prepare and support their children for transition.

How can you prepare your child for transition?

  • Talk to them: Communication with your child is important. What are they most looking forward to at secondary school? What are they nervous about? This will help you to support them to “thought challenge” and to develop a more positive mindset moving forward.  Download a thought challenge template to use as a starting point.

  • Encourage independence: At secondary school, pupils are expected to be independent and have developing skills in self-efficacy. They will be expected to always have the correct equipment and be up to date with their homework. Practise this from home. Maybe you could try creating a home checklist to make sure they always have what they need?
  • Responsibility: Secondary aged children are expected to take responsibility; for their actions and as wider citizens. Now is the time to begin to encourage this at home. Could they have a task at home which is their responsibility? Some ideas are the recycling, caring for animals or preparing a meal once a week. Give it a go. Empower them.
  • Mobile devices: Children are using mobile devices more frequently at younger ages. Most apps can be shared so that they can be on more than one device; this allows you to see their content and allows them to form good online habits with supervision. Discuss online safety with them and encourage “digital detox” hours at home so that they can have a break.  
  • Practise, practise, practise the route: Make sure that your child is comfortable taking the route that they will be taking to and from school (as best as you can if your child is required to use public transport). Start off by practising the route together and encourage your child to begin to practise the route alone so that they are comfortable with the journey when they begin secondary school.


Your Grey Matters specialises in PSHE, RSE, mental health and wellbeing. Our values are underpinned by ensuring that pupils are taught the skills to emotionally regulate and are ready to learn. We are committed to supporting professionals to have a greater understanding of the impact of trauma, pupil mental health and wellbeing and their own mental health and wellbeing.

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