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Moving to big school: ‘If you find it hard at first, don’t panic’

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Moving to big school: ‘If you find it hard at first, don’t panic’

They will miss their friends and are worried about getting lost. We talk to year 6s starting big school after the summer and year 7s who say there is no need to fear

Hazel Sydenham and Erin Scott in front of Whitstable junior school
Hazel Sydenham and Erin Scott in front of Whitstable junior school: ‘We do everything together’. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

Hazel Sydenham and Erin Scott have been best friends since their first day at Whitstable junior school in Kent, at the age of seven. Now 11, they are at the end of their last term before transferring to secondary school. Kent has a selective system with the 11-plus and the friends will be at schools eight miles apart.

Hazel Sydenham

“We do everything together. When one is off sick or we are apart for some reason we feel something is missing. I feel nervous about going to a new school without Erin. I’m going to Queen Elizabeth’s grammar in Faversham; I’ll get there by train. I feel a bit scared. It’s a much bigger school and I’m worried about getting lost. I think it’s a really good school but there will be a lot more homework and the lessons will be harder. But I am looking forward to seeing more of my brother Arthur, who’s there in year 8. I’ll really miss Whitstable Juniors because everybody works together and the teachers are really nice. The really bad thing is being split up from Erin. I feel sad.”

Erin Scott

“The problem is being parted from Hazel. I feel nervous and scared. Hazel and I always sit together and we help each other. If Hazel is stuck with something I help her, and when I get stuck she helps me. I’m going to the Community College Whitstable, which is a comprehensive with a grammar stream and it seems really nice. I’m looking forward to cooking because they have their own kitchen and it looks posh. But I’m worried about being in a really big school. I’m also scared about getting lost and about making friends.”

Adam Qureshi is leaving Ark Franklin primary academy in Kensal Green, west London, for Westminster academy

Adam Qureshi
Adam Qureshi: ‘I’m not worried about going to a bigger school’

“My mum went to see Westminster academy and thought it was a good school and after I got picked I went to see it and I really liked it. I liked the way the headteacher was confident and seemed nice, just like our headteacher. I’m not worried about going to a bigger school because when I visited, the older students were really helpful. And they showed me how to use the laptops. I love maths and I’m looking forward to doing more of that but I’ll miss the outdoor learning here, growing plants and using the climbing equipment. I feel confident about moving but I’ll miss this school.”

Eva Lumber, 10, is leaving Parson Street primary, south Bristol, for Ashton Park school

Eva Lumber
Eva Lumber: ‘I’m going to miss Parson Street’

“Most of my friends are going to another school, including my best friend, and I’m going to miss them but I chose Ashton Park because of its sport. I do a lot of sport – gymnastics, netball and trampoline. I’m looking forward to having lots of different lessons in different classrooms but a bit apprehensive about getting lost because the school is really massive. I’m going to miss Parson Street because it’s fun and I do a lot of jobs, such as peer mediating, helping in the library and being a house captain. I will go from one of the oldest children to one of the youngest and I will miss helping the younger pupils and being a role model.”

Jaison Paul is leaving Cavendish Community primary, West Didsbury, Manchester, for Chorlton High school

Jaison Paul
Jaison Paul: ‘I am looking forward to meeting new people’

“Most of my friends are going to different schools but I have about five friends going to Chorlton with me. I feel quite shy about talking in front of a lot more students and people I don’t know. But even though I feel nervous, I am looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends and to having more lessons, such as science, because there are more resources there.

“I’m going to miss the teachers here and all my friends and I think it might be a bit hard at first to find my way around but I’ve been to an open day and the year 8s and 9s we met were really nice. The headteacher gave a speech and said that their scores for GCSEs were better than some grammar schools and that made my mum want me to go there. I think it is pretty important to go to a good school because it could change your life if you do well in GCSEs.”

James Skinner is leaving Three Bridges primary, Southall, west London, for Isleworth and Syon boys’ school

“I’m excited but also a bit scared because everyone is going to be a lot bigger than me and the school will be much bigger. Also there is going to be a lot more homework. I’m going to really miss my friends here and the teachers because they are kind and always support you. But I’m glad I’m going to Isleworth and Syon because it is strong for sport and I like sport. Also, I’m looking forward to the science because we will do experiments. I am sad to leave Three Bridges but I think 11 is the right age to change schools.”

Year 7s offer their advice

Tyrell Cobo-Brown, Ark Kings academy, Birmingham

Tyrell Cobo-Brown
Tyrell Cobo-Brown: ‘I came up with only a few friends and now I have lots’

“Always be yourself. You will make friends, even if you don’t come up with many people from primary school. I came up with only a few friends and now I have lots. Also, if there is a deadline, always get your work done before that day, because if you leave it you might not finish it. And make sure you keep your study notes because it will help you to understand everything across the whole year for summer tests. Don’t see school as a bad thing: it helps you to get a job and it helps every day.”

Marni Barlow-Marshall, Colyton grammar, east Devon

Marni Barlow-Marshall
Marni Barlow-Marshall: ‘Try not to compare yourself to others’

“Try your hardest. There will be people cleverer than you, so just try not to compare yourself to others. Don’t be afraid to make new friends, put yourself out there. You don’t always have to stay friends with your old ones, sometimes it’s good to let go of the past.”

Cassie Bradbury, Coopers’ Company and Coborn school, Upminster

Cassie Bradbury
Cassie Bradbury: ‘The whole point of moving is to learn new stuff’

“Keep an open mind. You can keep in touch with your other friends but the whole point of moving to a new school is to learn new stuff and make new friends. I was nervous because I didn’t really know a lot of people. We had a day at the end of year 6 where we could meet everyone. I just started talking to a couple of people and I got their numbers and then we were talking over the summer holidays.”

Enya Beck, Cromer academy, Norfolk

Enya Beck
Enya Beck: ‘Some of them are small and I’m small so we got on’

“Think of all the new things that are going to happen. It was easy to make friends, there were lots of people who wanted to make friends as well. When we started, the year 8 students took us around and every time we had a different lesson, they’d take us to the classroom. They were all friendly. Some of them are small and I’m small so we got on. The lessons are awesome.”

Paris Lock, Fulston Manor, Kent

Paris Lock
Paris Lock: ‘At the start of term I was worried. Now it’s all good’

“Think about education before anything else. I appealed to get a place at my school. It was quite stressful because the other school was very far away. Then Fulston rang my mum and told her that the appeal was successful. She was running up the stairs. I felt elated. At the start of term I was worried because there were all these people and I didn’t know their names. Now it’s all good.”

Vaughn Goodwin, Haywood academy, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent

Vaughn Goodwin
Vaughn Goodwin: ‘The places where we go at break and dinner are fabulous’

“Listen to your teachers and do what they say. We went on an open day with the head of year and he said, you’re going to be with these people – the other students and teachers – every day and get to know them. He said you should be kind to the teachers and make sure you’re listening carefully. The uniform here is dead nice. We have a blazer, ties and shirt. The teachers are a lot stricter, which I agree with because if they’re not very strict then kids can get away with misbehaving. The places where we go at break and dinner are fabulous.”

Lola Martin, Wrotham school, Kent

Lola Martin
Lola Martin: ‘I really wanted to come here’

“If you find it hard at first, don’t panic, you’ll get used to it. A lot of people from my primary school came here, only a couple went elsewhere – to grammar schools mainly. I did the 11-plus, I only failed a tiny bit in maths. At first I didn’t know what school I wanted to go to, but I saw Wrotham and I really wanted to come here. I was nervous about homework, getting lost at school and making new friends. But when I started, I felt I didn’t need to worry. I was walking around the school going to all my lessons with friends.”

Liz Lightfoot and Rebecca Ratcliffe, Moving to big school: ‘If you find it hard at first, don’t panic’, (2017, July 18) The Guardian

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