04 Dec 2021

Adjusting to secondary school

editorial image
The change from primary school to secondary is quite rapid, over just two months.

The change from primary school to secondary is quite rapid, over just two months.

For some it can be seamless but for many it can be very stressful, given the amount of changes present – school, culture, education philosophy, time-table, teacher demands, and teacher expectations, etc

In addition, students are trying to navigate from childhood to adolescence with massive hormonal changes. So adopt a support and understanding stance for these teenagers.

The following tips can be useful.


Anticipating the move to post-primary school has been found to cause a certain amount of anxiety for the majority of first-year students while at the same time most students look forward to it with excitement. One of the main anxieties is associated with the change in friendships. But try and remember that everybody has the same experience and the same worries as you.

In most cases some of your primary school friends will have gone to different schools and it is important that you have a positive attitude towards making new friends. If you don’t know anyone, try speaking to someone from your class – imagine how much you would appreciate it if someone spoke to you. This could ease the tension and give you someone to share the new experiences with. Get involved in school activities (music, sport, debating), and you will meet new people with the same interests.

Be Yourself: The most important thing to remember is to be yourself. Don’t try to impress others by showing off your skills or being a ‘try hard’. You will be spending a lot of time with the same people in the next few years. You have plenty of time to get to know each other.

Get Organised

Disciplinary procedures, timetables, more difficult work and homework, having several teachers and subjects and changing classrooms all contribute to pre-transfer anxieties.

You need to get organised. Use your timetable and diary to keep on track, take down the subjects you have and note that teacher. Take time to familiarise yourself with the layout of the school, where certain classes will take place as this will make you feel more comfortable and less stressed.

Tackling Bullying Early

Social issues such as concerns about bullying are also common. If such issues do arise there are a number of resources available to you in the school. Meitheal leaders are available to assist you in any way during your first few days and throughout the year. You can ask the student counsellor or one of the teachers to help you if you are struggling with school – maybe you can’t manage the workload to start with, or can’t find your way around the new school. Help will always be there if you ask.


It will pay to get into a routine regarding homework sooner rather than later. After-school study and revising will become part of the fabric of your child’s education in next few years so helping them to get into good homework habits early will reap huge rewards for your child, both on an academic and personal level.

Take a Bow

Expect quite a bit of tiredness at the end of the day so cut them some slack at weekends and let things shift down a gear at home to accommodate the new weekday routine. This is a big life change and one which can be embraced and you and your child can take credit for successfully adjusting and flourishing.

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.