2020 will see a lot of children starting secondary school after home education but for our son this will not be quite the same. You see that whilst some children have been at home schooled for around 6 months our son has been home educated for 2 ½ years.
Fears around Starting Secondary School after Home Education
Firstly there are many reasons that both parents and children can feel worried about starting secondary school, but especially after a period of home educating. These can relate to getting lost, not having their right equipment, fitting in with others, and the work itself.
The Impact Corona Virus has had on Starting Secondary School
Due to all the issues with corona virus we have been unable to do the normal secondary school induction. This usually includes visits up to the school and even a breakfast meet for those with EHCPs to get to know each other. The school have done all they can do – but in honesty there isn’t a lot that they could do. They have pointed us to transition sheets on Twinkle, made videos showing around the school and a talk from the head; produced a booklet answering questions, made it clear what will happen on the return and even sent out a book about worries in secondary school.
What Year 7 will look like
Due to social distancing and keeping people in Bubbles, Year 7 (for this son’s school) will look very different this year. In fact it will probably make the transition from home education easier as it will look a lot more like primary. Children will stay in their tutor groups and mostly stay in one classroom. This also means they are less likely to get lost and/or confused. There will be a one-way system and only a certain set of toilets they are able to use. Parents are allowed no further than the gate – and again each year group has their own entrance/exit.
Fitting in with Others
Unfortunately our son will not know anyone at his new school (well we know one of the teachers) and a lot of the other children will be from the same primaries. He is confident that he will go and make new friends and already wants a party with them for his birthday. I am now very nervous about him having the right bag, etc – whereas our other sons were very much they can take me as I am!
I do think that our son is worried about the work because his junior school really knocked his confidence. I have to admit I am nervous that I haven’t facilitated enough learning too – but this wasn’t actually a problem when his brother returned to secondary school at a selective grammar last year after home education. Mostly I worry that it will be too much, making him too tired and struggling with the homework. He has an EHCP but I am not convinced that it really even touches on his needs (which were ignored in the junior school). He struggles with sensory processing disorder which means that sometimes he knows stuff but forgets that he does. I worry that there won’t be anyone there to help remind him of this (as he will no longer have a one-to-one teaching assistant) and he will end up in bottom sets unnecessarily. I am sure he will be fine, he’s just my youngest and I struggle to let him go. Besides the school have a very good reputation for this kind of thing: The letter with the book did also reassure me too! He has managed the homework set on the website with a bit of help – so fingers crossed he will be okay.
The First Day
Now to just prepare for the first day. Knowing when to buy uniform has been hard – because who knows what may happen between now and then. We bought the Blazer and other bits that are needed for his particular school because he has been so excited for them. He managed to learn to do his tie straight away! It will be hard to just drop him off at the gate though – just hoping he doesn’t get lost and someone finds/takes care of him if he does.
Do you have a child starting secondary school after home education? Are either of you worried about anything?