Reflections on the first year at secondary school

Published by: Teresa Norman

Published on: 5 Sep, 2019

Learn from the perspective of a student who embarked on the challenging and emotional leap from a small primary school to new beginnings at secondary school, navigating a new academic and social experience.  

I interviewed Lucy, originally from Congo on how she had found her first year at secondary school. This is a big step, you go from a small primary school where you know everyone, you often have one teacher for most subjects so its very familiar and easy to find your way around. Then, you leave this cosy environment and go to big school. We know that not only do children sometimes find this step worrying but so do their parents. This interview should help you as parents understand a bit more about what it’s like – the challenges and the joys of secondary school.

What was it like when you started secondary school?

To begin with, it’s scarey as we didn’t know where anything was or how to find anything so you are counting on the olders to show you what to do. Its different from primary school as you switch teachers so you have teachers for different subjects.  There are 6 forms in my year which each has 33 pupils so there is a total of around 190 students in my year.

How do friendships work?

After about three weeks, you know your way around and you usually make friends in your class so you start talking to people. You have your best, best buddy and then you have an inner circle of who you hang out with and then an outer circle of people you sometimes hang out with and who you can rely on for favours e.g. they will lend you stationary or tell you their opinions of the teachers. Then, there is just people you know.

How does the food work?

At the beginning of the year, the school find out if you are eligible for free school meals. This means that you are given money for breakfast, break and lunch. You have £1.00 for breakfast, £1 for break and £2.00 for lunch and if you don’t spend it on the day, you cant save it, you lose it. For lunch, you can get hot food e.g. mashed potatoes, sausages, peas, carrots and gravy and apple crumble for £2.00.

What is the best thing about Year 7?

There is not a lot of pressure, the tests aren’t too difficult. I really enjoyed English, science, photography, catering and science. Science was different at secondary school as you do practicals so the facilities are much better at secondary school.

What do you have to watch out for?

You have to be careful not to end up with friends who aren’t good influencers.  You try and stay with people you can trust and you need to look at how people act and their personality e.g. you want to watch out for pupils who don’t go home straight away after school and who try and pick fights.

What after school clubs are there?

I joined athletics and netball after school and played football at lunchtime. They were fun and the teachers kept going with them.

Thanks Lucy, we look forward to hearing all about Year 8. Congratulations on all your certificates.

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